IT’S MESSY: A CONVERSATION WITH AMANDA DE CADENET

With her new book It’s Messy, photographer and media-preneur Amanda De Cadenet is inviting women everywhere to abandon the quest for perfection—and get real about the flaws that make us fearless. She sat down with Ruby Warrington to talk self-love, creativity, and why fame is the biggest head f*ck of all …

RUBY WARRINGTON: I love the title of your book—and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I feel like we’re really seeing that the world is damn messy! Like, no matter how things look on the surface, there’s a ton of crap going on underneath. Was there an epiphany when you were just like, “I’m not gonna fight this anymore. I’m just gonna embrace the mess, and see its beauty”?
AMANDA DE CADENET: There’s no way you can do any serious self-reflection if you aren’t willing to be honest with yourself about your own messiness. The biggest danger is the lies we tell ourselves, and to recover from the trauma I’ve experienced in my life, I’d be dead if I wasn’t willing to get honest about who I was a long, long time ago. For people who really haven’t done that kind of self-reflection, it can be like, “Oh, my God. How can you accept this stuff about yourself or say that about yourself?” But there’s just no way you can progress and evolve otherwise. We would’ve found a way around it if there was.

RW: People try to avoid going there do through substances, shopping. All the stuff …
ADC: Right? Which is fine until all that stops working, and then you’re like, “Right. Fine. I guess I’m going to have to deal. Okay.” To get really brutally honest about who I am was not my first choice. I did try everything else. Clearly!

RW: It also takes so much energy to pretend everything’s “fine” when it’s really not. And there just isn’t time, especially when you get on any kind of a mission in the world!
ADC: I keep showing up to interviews looking kind of … messy. And I’m like, “Well, this is who I am!” I haven’t got time for hair and makeup. I’m running a company. I’ve got three children. I’ve got another book out with #girlgaze in two weeks. So, I look a bit messy and I’m okay with that. That’s the whole point. I don’t have a problem with it. If someone else has does, that’s their problem.

RW: How about in your work life? How do you let yourself off the hook when you “mess up” publicly, or something doesn’t work in a professional sense?
ADC: Hosting live TV in the UK as a teenager, I learned fast that there was no safety net. You just got on and did it. And that’s how I made (Amanda’s chat show) The Conversation. I knew enough about cameras and sound equipment to be like, “Right. We’re just going to do it.” And the sound on the first ones was so bad because I didn’t know how to do it properly and I couldn’t afford anyone else to do it. But the important thing is, I made the thing.

And by the way, every successful woman or person I’ve ever interviewed has talked about the difference between having a good idea, and actually acting on it. They’re not like, “Oh, I’m going to wait until it’s all perfect.” No. I’m launching. I’m putting it out in the world, and then we’ll clean up whatever we need to clean up.

RW: I really like when you talk in the book about how the biggest head fuck of all was becoming famous at age 18, and learning at a really young age that you were loved and adored for being that person. You go on to describe how: “real and lasting self-worth comes from consciously creating a life that you’ve earned and that is authentic.” It gives me chills, because I think it’s so where a lot of people are at right now.
ADC: The thing is, unfortunately, the way we look and our level of fame are the biggest commodities in the world. Never more than now do we live in that culture. And it’s extremely dangerous, because it means people have zero investment in the internal self. How do you raise kids or encourage people to develop anything else, when they can point at so many people who are basically famous for being famous, and say, “Why do I have to develop myself as a person? This one didn’t and that one didn’t.” It’s like, what’s the upside to developing yourself?

RW: So, what is the upside of developing yourself?
ADC: Well the downside to NOT, is that you’re constantly relying on external sources to validate you, whether it’s how many social media followers you have. Whether it’s how many pictures of you are published in magazines. Whether it’s how many paparazzi are outside your door. Whether it’s how much free stuff you get. Whether it’s what you get paid to do an ad. It’s all about other people validating your self-worth, and that is a very, very dangerous place to live, because you’re constantly relying on outside sources to feel okay about yourself.

RW: And when that all goes away, where are you? Literally, what’s left?
ADC: Exactly, you don’t exist because there is no mirror. There’s no one to reflect back at you that you exist.

RW: You mention many years of therapy, but in terms of, like, “Who is Amanda, and what am I here to bring into the world?”—what are your practices for staying connected to that place of authentic self-worth?
ADC: It’s been different things over the years. For a period of time, it was yoga, and kundalini yoga specifically. At another, it was Buddhism. Then 12-step. Another time, it was simple prayer and meditation. I’ve taken bits and pieces from everywhere and now I’ve kind of got my own thing going on. My own tool kit. I also practice TM, and nature is a fail-safe for making me feel grounded and connected to myself.

RW: I think sometimes when you’ve been using a practice for a while, you may have realizations that can create a permanent perception shift. Like you learn to recognize, “Oh, I’m in this kind of behavior pattern. I know where that leads me.” And so you no longer need the practice, because you’ve learned how to bring yourself back.
ADC: You’ve got the years of experience, and that’s what growth is, right? The most painful place to be in for me, has been to know that I needed to stop a behavior, to observe myself doing it and know the pain on the other side of it, but not be able to stop myself. I just had this upstairs just now, where I was like, “Gosh, why do I keep going to this person for proof that I’m not good enough?”

There’s a certain person in my life who’s the least responsive, the least enthusiastic, the least excited to have anything to do with me, and yet I keep going there. Out of the 10 times I might have gone to them in the past, I probably do it two times now. The eight times I don’t, I’m really proud of myself because I’m like, “Well done. You didn’t ask for more proof that you’re not good enough.”

RW: I obviously looked at your birth chart, and your Moon is in Leo, which suggests a real emotional need to be seen and celebrated. Out of balance, this can manifest as things like the love addiction you talk about in the book, for example. Have you come to a place where you can recognize the sorts of situations that will flip you into your pain body?
ADC: I do know those people and those situations, and impulse control has been something I’ve had to work on a lot, to not tell people what I think of them.

RW: Interesting … Addiction to drama is another trait of Leo Moon out of balance. Like, “Let’s stir things up so you can pay me more attention” kind of thing!
ADC: So interesting. I come from a lot of neglect, so it makes sense that I would do that. However, I also know now that it’s just a way of creating a distraction from what I actually need to deal with in myself. I recently abstained for a year from telling someone what I thought of them. Someone I’m really close to, one of my best girlfriends. I did it as an experiment, and wrote all these emails and letters and just never sent them. Over time I learned that I just don’t need to go there, and I probably would have taken the situation to a completely different place if I had.

RW: Lastly, I want to talk to you about self-love, and specifically self-pleasure. Both our books mention the taboo around female masturbation, and you talk about how, as girls, we’re not taught that sex is meant to be pleasurable. It’s basically something to be feared, because it’s what gets you pregnant or in trouble. I draw the connection between our sexual pleasure and our creativity. How does the fact that we’re not taught to pleasure ourselves impact women’s view of ourselves as creators, as leaders, and our confidence about putting ourselves out in the world?
ADC: It’s all connected. If you’re oppressing or suppressing any aspect of yourself you’re prevented from having a full life experience. Whether it’s your sexuality, your intellect, your creativity, your spirituality, if any aspect of you is closed down, you’re not living authentically and you’re not living to your full capacity. It means you’re limiting your experience of life. Creativity does come from the same place as sexuality, and I’d actually be very curious to know about the sex lives of the women who are considered to be successful in that area.

RW: It would be a very interesting study to do actually. And a really good interview series …
AC: Yeah, right? There you go. One of us will have to do it!

It’s Messy: On Boys, Boobs and Baddass Women by Amanda De Cadenet is out now.

YES, I AM: A MANIFESTO FOR 2017

The antidote for anxiety is to create your own manifesto for 2017, says Dani Katz. All you need to begin is a passionate cry of “Yes, I am!”

Despite any and all mainstream propaganda to the contrary, I happen to know that 2017 is going to be amazing—chock-full o’ fun, joy, personal breakthroughs, real-deal love, next-level sex, and quantum leaps in consciousness, success, prosperity, and lifestyle.

I know this because I also know that I, and I alone, am responsible for how I choose to experience reality. To this end, it’s become a daily practice—aligning my heart, mind, body, and spirit with my values, my genius, my desires, and my dharma. It helps that I have created a secret weapon—Yes, I Am—a hand-drawn, transformational coloring book that supports me in being my very best me ever, and in making 2017 my most wonderful year yet.

The book is divided into twelve I Am chapters, each one focusing on a different intention. I chose the I am theme because “I am” is the most powerful phrase in every mystical tradition there is, was, and ever will be—these two words are encoded with the transformative power of the multiverse.

And so, because sharing is caring, and caring is cool, I am offering up this manifesto, inspired by that aforementioned book of intentional awesomeness, so that you, too, can make 2017 your very best year ever.

***

“I AM SYNESCOPIC POSSIBILITY”

I choose to remember that limitation is an illusion that exists to be obliterated. I don’t buy into anyone else’s attempts to limit me, and I devote myself to surpassing my perceived limitations, and surprising myself with all that I can—and will—accomplish, and be, and share.

***

“I AM LOVE”

I choose to align myself with love in every moment. I meet non-love with love. I love myself unconditionally, and al(l)ways, and I radiate that love outwards, towards everyone I meet and engage with (while remembering that boundaries and discernment are self-love, too). I know that love is a state of mind, and a way of meeting the world, and I commit to embodying this love more and more, and better and better, each and every day.

 ***

“I AM OPTIMAL HEALTH”

Because the external is ever and always a reflection of the internal, I am committed to cultivating optimal health. This means sweating, breathing, and hydrating. This means eating organic whole foods, and getting plenty of sleep, and flossing and cleansing and supplementing accordingly. It also means minding my media intake, extricating myself from toxic relationships, and not overtaxing my adrenals on yerba maté, regardless of how yummy it tastes.

***

“I AM AUTHENTIC”

While money, achievement and outward notions and acknowledgements of success are lovely, I am far more interested in being the very best, most integrated and expressed me I can possibly be. I embrace my uniqueness. I appreciate my individual quirks and characteristics, and all the ways they come together to make this once in a lifetime phenomenon called me. Fuck trends. Fuck in/out lists. Fuck envy, comparison, established standards of beauty and love and success and lifestyle. I’m carving out my own course, and I’m doing a bang-up job of it.

***

“I AM MAGIC”

Did you know that 99% of our reality is totally invisible? Yup. And so it is that I am living 2017 as a testament to unseen forces of good and love and fun and wonderful, knowing that the Universe is infinitely more mystical than I could possibly imagine, and that miracles happen every second, of every day. Bring ‘em on, I say.

***

“I AM CONFIDENCE”

I know my value. I embody my wonderfulness. I shrink for no one. I am an empowered badass warrior of light and love and giggles, and I model this elevated awesomeness for, and in service to, the world at large. We. Are. Welcome.

***

“I AM NOW”

I don’t lollygag in the past, or worry about the future, because those are mere conceptual traps that keep me from experiencing the present moment, which is where reality (and juicy magical awesomeness) reside. I don’t surrender the miracle of my now to dark, dreary future fears, or what ifs, or worst case scenarios. I meditate. I focus on sensation instead of mind chatter. I trust in divine timing. I am patient. I am patient. I am patient.

***

I AM A HEALTHY, BALANCED, THRIVING PLANET EARTH”

 

The earth isn’t just our home planet—our very own space ship, hurling us through space—it is a living, breathing, conscious intelligence. With this in mind, I honor her as I do all living creatures. I tread lightly. I conserve resources. I respect the gifts the earth so selflessly gives us—her oxygen, her water, her plants, her sunshine, and her gravity, as well as all the other beings sharing this ride with me. We are all of us earthlings. Every. Single. One. It is through this lens that I move through this magical world, ever and always grateful for these earth gifts with which we are so, so blessed.

***

“I AM ABUNDANCE”

Abundance is a state of mind that draws to it like-vibrating experiences and energies. And so it is that I attune myself to the abundance that surrounds me. I root myself in gratitude for all my blessings. I give. I receive. I know my value, which colors my every exchange. I welcome free-flowing prosperity, and abundance, and enough for everyone. And so it is…

***

“I AM OPTIMIZED”

Despite all illusory notions of time to the contrary, life is not a linear journey. It takes flexibility to flow moment-to-moment, and to hone in on what’s appropriate for said moments. And so it is that I choose to embody my most optimized version of myself, however that looks and feels in each moment. What I love about optimizing is that it requires a deep surrender to the wisdom of forces way bigger and more intelligent than I am. It’s the opposite of micromanaging. Aaaahhhh…so much easier.

***

“I AM GRATITUDE”

It was Meister Eckhart who said: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Gratitude is a magical frequency that transports us to the present moment, and infuses us with graciousness and humility and appreciation. I commit to an attitude of gratitude in 2017. I choose to honor the blessings of what is, instead of lamenting all that isn’t, and all the ways I wish what is was different. And when mood, moon cycles, weather, and mercurial boyfriends threaten my peace of mind, and I stray into the dark and murky waters of fear and doubt and grief and rage, I commit to getting grateful, and to staying grateful, armed with the knowledge that I am not a victim, that there are no victims, and that everything is happening for a blessing – al(l)ways.

***

“I AM WE”

I commit to Unity consciousness—to moving through the world armed with the integrated and embodied knowledge of our Oneness. I know that it is impossible to hurt another without hurting myself, as there is no other, and separation is an illusion. I devote myself to acting in service to the highest good of the whole of humanity, knowing that the only way to change the world is to change myself. I take responsibility for the reflections I attract, knowing that anything and everything that triggers me is merely a messenger who exists to point my attention toward shadows inviting acknowledgement and integration. I summon the courage, the will, and the fortitude to look said shadows directly in the eye, and to integrate them, in service to us all. We. Are. One.

 

Dani Katz is a human being. She writes. She draws. She dances. She lives in her native Los Angeles. Yes, I Am, her transformational coloring book chock-full of interactive inspiration, encouragement, affirmations, and awesomeness, is on sale here. Nab yourself a copy immediately!

 

GET TO KNOW YOUR VIRGO MOON SIGN

With the Sun in Virgo it’s also the perfect time to shine a light on your Virgo moon sign, says Ash Baker. Image: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

If your Sun sign describes your vitality and speaks to the way you operate day-to-day, your Moon sign is your reactionary pulse. Her phases push and pull at us like the ocean’s tides. Your Moon represents how you vibe the most authentically in the world, without time to apply logical thought or judgement. If the Sun thinks about himself, and the Moon feels herself.

You can find out your Moon sign when you do your chart for free here. And do one for your friends’ while you’re there!

So now let’s discuss what what form the Virgo moon sign takes in its fullest expression.

Being proactive is the gold standard for this spirit. People with the Sun in Virgo tend to be very organized, but with a Virgo Moon sign, being able to control (to a reasonable degree) the external chaos is key to your health and wellbeing. If your internal desire to control a particular area of your life (that area all depends on which house your Virgo Moon sign falls in) is thwarted, you will literally feel as if your whole world is out of balance.

The Virgo Moon sign is a humble creature. She wants to be seen as skilled and gifted and has a strong, deeply rooted desire to help others. Virgo is the sign of the craftsman, so to have your Moon here means you have an emotional pull towards the kind of perfectionism that is built on day-by-day effort. I always picture the worker bee when I think of the Virgo Moon sign. With each passing day she is crafting something amazing that can be of service to the world, no matter how small that contribution may actually be. Goal-oriented repetition resulting in measurable success makes your soul sign.

Virgo is ruled by logic and analytical thought. Yet the Moon is all about feeling, so bridging the gap between the heart and mind is something the Virgo Moon sign will always be working on. They will want help the ones they love tackle their problems in a practical way. Remember, this Moon nurtures by helping others heal through logic.

Hyper aware of their own flaws, they sometimes project that critical tone onto others through a simple desire to help. This may not be the best approach, so remember that constantly critiquing yourself and the people around you isn’t exactly healthy. There is a time for discernment, and there is a time for pure acceptance.

The Virgo Moon sign feels their best around authentic people who accept their flaws, because underneath they are hugely self-critical too. Their Moon cracks the whip to keep improving daily. Not only are they a worker bee for others, but that drive gets reflected a la luna back onto themselves – the feeling that they must always be working on the best version of themselves.

This can make a Virgo Moon sign your own worst enemy. Use your natural gift of hyper-awareness to improve, but don’t let it run your life to the point of feeling stifled. Your Moon has very specific gifts to offer the world when you allow intuition to get a look in!

Some ideas to put into action to assist your Virgo Moon sign tendencies.

WRITE. Making lists is an easy way to feel like you’re in control of your life. That creeping fear you may forget something and, heaven forbid, look like you made a mistake will be put to rest. Your Moon can relax while still feeling on top of her game. Also, when feeling cranky just write it all out. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the sign of communication, and is symbolized by our hands. So when emotions are overflowing, get out your pen and paper to purge what’s assailing your heart.

CREATE. Use your hands, and take a class in something that will require lots of skill. Your Moon will be put at ease by having a detailed task to perform. Your natural perfectionist tendencies will love to learn an instrument, or create photo-real pieces of art. Having a creative outlet that gives you the opportunity for others to praise you will also make your spirit sing. Cooking could be another option, because you get to work at it till it’s just right while also bringing happiness to others. Providing a delicious meal for the people you love is a win-win.

GET PHYSICAL. Virgo sign rules physical health and wellbeing, so your Moon needs to feel healthy to be happy. Whether it’s lifting weights, seeking zen through yoga or hiking out in nature, you will be more balanced once you some regular exercise to your routine. Speaking of routines, that need to control the chaos will also balanced by exercise. The Virgo Sun likes to think, the Virgo Moon wants to feel, and movement is super helpful to address this duality. Getting out of your head and into your body gives you the opportunity to just feel.

In summary, Virgo Moons make for great listeners, loyal friends and practical partners. Just keep the critical self-talk and need for control in check and all will be copacetic.

How have you learned to work with your Virgo Moon sign? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!