EMPATHY AND THE ART OF CONVERSATION

Want less small talk and more real talk? Show up naked, and equipped with vast reserves of empathy. This is the art of conversation, says Ruby Warrington

For the majority of my adult life, preparing for a “deep and meaningful” conversation with somebody meant stopping off en route for a bottle of wine. As if to go into the more shadowy, less well-trodden, and perhaps more vulnerable parts of our experience, some kind of anesthetic would be required. An “invisibility cloak” to keep the demons at bay, even as we sought to befriend and integrate them.

But putting on a mask and dressing up in bluster and bravado is not the best way to make friends. It’s better to show up naked.

Naked of expectation. Naked of judgement. Open to the possibilities. Armed only with our trust in own truths, and equipped with deep reserves of empathy.

These are the kinds of conversations Michael Ventura wanted to spark when he created Questions & Empathy, a 50-card deck designed to help move us swiftly beyond the small talk and dive right into the real talk. What can also feel like the scary, naked talk—and which is the talk we all secretly want to be having. All the time. No hiding, and no numbing. 

Also the kinds of conversation we don’t get too much practice at. Which is why we themed our next Club SÖDA NYC event The Art of Conversation, and invited Michael along to curate a special evening of deep connection and REAL TALK.

You can discover more and sign up HERE, and read on for more about communication and the application of empathy …

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RUBY WARRINGTON: How would you define “the art of conversation”?
MICHAEL VENTURA: All art forms, when at their best, come from a place of intuition and knowing. Conversation is no different. When we take the time to slow down our inner monologue, often confronting and attempting to subdue our ego in the process, we can get to a place where our true and authentic self begins to take charge. When in this state, conversation happens naturally. There’s a balance of listening and speaking. We connect. We see each other’s essential nature and there, in that moment, is where deep, meaningful connection is born.

RW: What was the particular situation or realization that made you want to dive deeper into this subject?
MV: For the past several years I have studied the idea of empathy, and more specifically, the application of empathy as a means to build rich understanding that can be used with intention. In this exploration, it became clear that there wasn’t a “process” or “framework” that was readily available. Very few of us receive a formal education in empathy. As a result, the ability of an individual to be empathic varies widely. I wanted to try and change this—creating tools and lessons that would ultimately help more of us build a comfort with this critical behavior.

RW: Why must we “apply” empathy in our interactions with others? Are we forgetting how to be empathetic? Why?
MV: I think about empathy like a muscle. If we don’t use it regularly, it can atrophy. It can become harder and harder for people to truly step outside of themselves and connect with another person if they don’t put in the work. I believe we are all born with the ability to be empathic, it’s just that some of us don’t work that “muscle” enough.

RW: What was your process for creating the “Questions & Empathy” card deck? What is the theory behind them?
MV: My colleagues (at my company Sub Rosa) and I began to develop Q&E by starting with the creation of 7 key “empathic archetypes.” Think of these like the major arcana in tarot. We wanted to identify certain forms that empathy takes and the behaviors associated with them. The cards utilize these archetypes—providing different empathic perspectives you can “try on” and work with. Unlike other personality tests (e.g. Meyers-Briggs), I believe each of us actually embodies all 7 of the archetypes—just not in equal measure. The point of the cards is to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, and then work with the questions in the deck to ultimately “limber up,” giving you more dexterity and comfort with each one.

RW: What are some of the different ways the cards can be used—and how do you use them in your own life?
MV: There are lots of ways I use the cards. In workshop settings, we utilize the cards to help participants discover what archetypes they identify with the most / least and then work collaboratively with each other to improve their empathic skills. On a more informal basis, I’ve heard of people using them at dinner parties or as a more contemplative alternative to games like Cards Against Humanity.

Personally, one of the ways I think you can get the most out of them is to create what we call an “empathy journal.” On the first day, you’ll define empathy in the journal—describing your personal take on the topic and how skilled you believe yourself to be. You’ll then ask yourself a question each day, ultimately progressing through all 49 cards in the deck. On the 50th day, we ask that you reflect back on the process and re-define empathy from this newfound perspective. It’s a powerful exercise that can expand and empower you to be more comfortable with this valuable behavior.

RW: How have you seen people transform using the cards—over the course of an evening, or in the wider context of their lives?
MV: At the end of the day, the world needs empathy now more than ever. These cards aren’t a silver bullet, but they are a great start to the process. Using them brings new awareness to our empathic gifts and will undoubtedly aid you in not only understanding others better, but perhaps more importantly, understanding your truest self.

Michael Ventura has designed special exercises for you to practice the Art of Conversation at our next Club SÖDA NYC event. Monday November 13 2017, The William Vale, 7.30pm. Info + sign-up HERE. The Questions & Empathy card deck will be available for purchase on the night.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE THE NOW AGE IS…NOW

A manifesto for change; a new Moon Club cycle; self-care for the soul; Club SÖDA NYC; and what will you donate to Standing Rock?

With Biet Simkin, Fern Olivia and Valerie Oula at our OFF THE RÖCKS event. 

:: MONDAY ::
Finished reading an advance copy of maverick philosopher Daniel Pinchbeck’s new book, How Soon is Now: From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation. Part memoir, part manifesto, Pinchbeck basically lays it on the line—either we actively choose to participate in facilitating a radical global consciousness shift, or we’re headed for social, political, and environmental armageddon. Which, as he tells it, is not nearly as scary / daunting as it sounds!

I defy anybody not to feel super inspired by Pinchbeck’s vision for a new Earth, and one which truly is within our reach. IF we all get on board—and fast. Reading this against a backdrop of the 2016 Presidential election / Standing Rock, two inter-related situations which, for me, represent the two sides of the current doomsday we find ourselves facing, there’s only one answer to the question he poses in the title: the time for action is NOW. Which is why I call it the Now Age!

The book is out Feb 21—please pre-order your copy NOW, since I just decided we’ll be reading it together for the very first Numinous book club. Click here to get yours.

:: TUESDAY ::
Sagittarius New Moon…which means the first official Moon Club cycle begins! All our members received their Moon Mission PDF for this moon cycle (11/29—Dec 29) today, with an overview of the cosmic climate, what this actually means for us as human beings, weekly coaching exercises for each moon phase, and a reading for each moon sign. But it’s actually totally fine to sign up at any time during the month—as all new members receive a link to the current Moon Mission, and there’s some kind of scheduled activity every week.

For example, for next Tuesday’s first quarter moon in Pisces, Moon Club members will be invited to a LIVE interactive webinar with Thinx founder Miki Agrawal. One of our favorite entrepreneur activists, Miki is all about starting the kind of conversations that are an essential part of Daniel Pinchbeck’s utopian vision for the future. You can learn more about Moon Club and check out a sample Moon Mission PDF here.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Favorite, favorite new pampering / self-care treat: the Crystal Ritual Cleanse from colorist-stylist duo Lauren & Vanessa. Which is essentially a wash + blow-dry…with added reiki, crystals and essential oils! Designed to balance and activate the upper chakras (heart, throat, third eye, and crown), the treatment begins with me laying back at a hair washing station and Lauren asking me to select the essential oil I want her to work with. She then places crystals in each of my hands, and proceeds with a reiki treatment and head massage—working the oil into my crown chakra…with more crystals!

The treatment ends with a blowout from Vanessa, and I leave feeling deeply revitalized. And something has obviously worked on a “material girl” level too—literally every person I encounter during the rest of the evening tells me how great I’m looking.

Which, if I’m honest, feels kind of frivolous to even mention against the backdrop of the election / Standing Rock. I’m getting a crystal head massage, while people are (literally) freezing on the front lines? But I think meditation artist Biet Simkin made a great point in a FB post today also: “I almost feel like there is a shame now to post anything that isn’t completely depressing. But if you kill our spirit, how will we stand against these dangers!? For what will we stand!? We must remember light! We must remember the spirit inside us!”

As well as time with loved-ones, nurturing our bodies with delicious food, and feeding our minds with inspiring words, it’s self-care and pleasure rituals like the above that help keep us connected to our sense of spirit. To what we are fighting for. Yes, the time for stepping into our roles as global change-makers is now. And can’t we also feel really great while we do it? Click here to read more and book a treatment with Lauren & Vanessa.

:: THURSDAY ::

Club SÖDA NYC. Another amazing turn-out and crowd for mine and Biet’s “sober curious” event—which also made Well+Good’s list of top wellness trends for 2017! Top tip from our panel on sober party pre-gaming? Write a gratitude list. I also had the realization during Biet’s meditation, that what we’re really craving in alcohol is a shift, an “escape,” into the right side of the brain—the intuitive, feeling, feminine side, versus the logical, linear left brain. We live in such a left-brain world (deadline-driven, progress-focussed), we’ve been left with a collective yearning for transcendence  that can often manifest in substance mis-use.

And yes, this shift to a more balanced brain state—where left and right, masculine and feminine, thinking and feeling—work in tandem, is also part of Pinchbeck’s Now Age vision. The challenge: investigate ways to get there that are also physically restorative, mentally enlivening, emotionally supportive, and spiritually fulfilling.

:: FRIDAY ::
Making plans to head to The Deep End Club community gathering tomorrow, and donate a bunch of Numinous sweatshirts to Standing Rock. They’re super cozy, after all. What have you got to give?

Club SÖDA NYC: SEX, LIES & ALCOHOL

Discover the truth about you and booze at Sex, Lies & Alcohol…our next Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin and special guest Betsy LeFae.

Found on Pinterest

“Sober isn’t lame. Sober is brazen, hilarious, kingly, free; Sober is a spiritual quest riddled with madness, authenticity, and true love.” The Sober Life

What are the stories you tell yourself about booze? About why you drink, when you drink, and what people will think if you don’t? About how alcohol makes you feel? About the role drinking plays in your friendships, your career, your dating life, and in the bedroom?

Our collective myths around drinking are ancient, worn smooth like old money. Learned from watching our parents drink, our peers at college drink; from how they drink in books and movies, from Cosmos in Sex and The City. New York is a drinkers town, right? Work hard, play hard. Alcohol a stimulant, a way to relax, a marker of sophistication, of camaraderie, the key to connection in a crazy world.

But what if some of the stuff what we thought we knew about booze, some of the stories we just swallowed, was a lie? What if we were actually more confident, more relaxed, funnier, sexier, and a better friend…sober?

Sex, Lies & Alcohol, the next Club SÖDA NYC event from The Numinous and Guided By Biet, will begin with a group discussion to debunk some of our most deeply ingrained drinking myths—including one of the big ones: that you have to drink when you date, and that sober sex lacks passion.

Celebrated meditation coach Biet Simkin will then share her favorite sober flirting techniques, before bringing the group together with her signature Center of the Cyclone meditation experience.

To finish, intuitive coach Betsy LeFae will guide us through some simple exercises to help us tune in to the voice of our intuition, of our TRUTH, to help us navigate beyond the half-truths we harbor around booze—leaving us free to approach our future drinking choices with more clarity, confidence and integrity.

Refreshments will be served.

Sex, Lies & Alcohol, will be held in NYC on August 23 2016. Click here for details and tickets, and sign up for our newsletter to see how the conversation unfolds.

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ABOUT Club SÖDA NYC

Club SÖDA NYC is a social experiment from The Numinous and Guided By Biet—a new space for the sober curious to investigate just how good life can get when we re-frame our relationship with alcohol. Far from “boring”, what if choosing a more sober life meant being “high” all the time?

This might not mean total abstinence from alcohol, either. The power of positive drinking can be a beautiful thing. A sacrament, even. But an occasional cocktail to celebrate life can also be a slippery slope into the kind of habitual drinking that becomes a substitute for sustained, self-generated joy; that dulls our awareness; that only exacerbates feelings of anxiety and emptiness; and that ultimately separates us from a true sense of self.

A series of meet-ups, talks, workshops, and other events, Club SÖDA NYC could be for you if:

– You drink to feel good, but it often leaves you feeling worse

– You want to drink less, but think this will mean the end of your social life

– You want to drink less, but think this will mean the end of DATING

– You want to cultivate a healthier relationship with booze

– You want to attend high-end, high-vibe events where alcohol is off the menu

– You love how good life feels when you don’t drink, and want to connect with other people who’ve discovered this too

– You want to experience getting crazy high on your own supply

And a caveat: Club SÖDA NYC is NOT an addiction recovery program – although it may be a stepping stone to AA for some people. If you think you might need a higher level of support to address a drinking problem that’s negatively impacting your life, or in dealing with any underlying emotional issues that may be part of this, we also have the resources to connect you with people who can help.

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ABOUT BETSY LEFAE

Intuition Coach Betsy LeFae holds a BA in psychology and has nearly two decades of combined experience in social work and intuitive consulting. An expert educator in intuitive development, she teaches that our body is the tool through which we can learn to hear the messages constantly streaming from our intuition and, as a facilitator of the mind-body connection, how maintaining regular practices is an effective way to keep the channel clear. She has been featured on Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, NPR, Vice and Refinery 29, and was named one of the top psychic mediums in New York City by Time Out New York.

 

 

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MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HOW TO USE THE RETROGRADES FOR HEALING

With Pluto, Saturn and Mars all retrograde, there’s rich opportunity now to transcend deep-seated patterns and re-vamp your sense of purpose. This week showed me how to use the retrogrades for healing…

Sub Rosa’s Michael Ventura

:: MONDAY (-WEDNESDAY) ::
A healing session with Michael Ventura, who also happens to be CEO of design and branding agency Sub Rosa, which also happens to be the venue for some of NYC’s most high-vibe happenings (including our Club SÖDA NYC event in April with Biet Simkin). This is what I love about New York—everybody has a side project that’s at least as interesting as their day job. In Michael’s case, 10 years spent studying everything from Traditional Chinese Medicine to Native American shamanic healing (with Yogi Bhajan’s personal healer, no less).

“These retrogrades have stirred up all kinds of funky stuff,” I told him. “You know, like ‘who am I?’ and ‘how can my voice have real impact in the world?'” (um, anybody else feeling the existential crunch right now?) My treatment was a combination of hands-on healing and pressure-point release, with some crystals and some burning herbs, after which I practically levitated off the table, leaving with the instructions to send an update by email after two sleeps. By which time I was actually experiencing a disquieting sense of wanting to completely re-evaluate my message and my mission, in line with my personal needs.

And since I know I’m not alone in this right now, I share with you here Michael’s beautiful response:

“We all too often think of our lives across two spectrums—positive and negative. However, there is a third and powerful force—neutrality—which can serve you well in these times of reflection and integration. You don’t need to have the plan. At the same time, you don’t need to get down on yourself for not having a plan. Simply un-attaching and not identifying with an outcome will let things happen at their own pace. A flower doesn’t bloom by trying to bloom. It simply allows.”

:: WEDNESDAY NIGHT ::
So I allowed the unease (WTF am I doing with my life? How is what I’m doing actually of service in the world?) to just be there. And now enter my third sleep of the week, during which I experienced the most incredible healing dream—facilitated (in my dream) by wonderful Alexandra Derby, who appeared in my mind’s eye and told me it was time to perform a ritual.

This involved an astral visitation with my ex—a man to whom I utterly subjugated my sense of self during my late teens and early twenties. Confronted with his same old, patronizing ways, I felt his words and gross, overbearing sexual energy bounce off me, like I’d developed a cosmic force-field. “You are an insect on the sole of my shoe, and I am more powerful than you will even know,” was basically the over-riding vibe. At which point I came semi-conscious to the sound of a series of “clicks” in my brain—as if a piece of code in my internal operating system had been re-written. By morning, I awoke feeling newly and fully empowered on my path. Existential crisis averted!

So…I’ve gone into way more detail here than I usually would in this column, but my this week has been an amazing opportunity to work with the current retrogrades for healing. Pluto and Saturn, in particular, are opening up deep karmic wounds, and since everywhere I look it seems people are experiencing a similar sense of having outgrown their own skin, or are having conflicting thoughts and feelings about where they’re “at” and what they really want, it felt appropriate to share.

And so, I believe this is a perfect time to:

– Seek assistance bringing any funky energy that’s being stirred up to the surface—ideally a session with a trusted energy worker (think reiki, acupuncture, sound healing—whatever works for you).
– Allow all the weird shit you might be thinking and feeling to just be there. Don’t over-analyse it—just allow it move through you. Trust that it will find its own way out—in a dream like mine, perhaps.
– Feel it to heal it. Which means resisting the temptation to numb out from it with drink, drugs, drama, shopping (*insert your preferred method of numbing here*).
– Journal. I actually wrote a poem the morning after my healing dream, my favorite new way to purge the numinous un-namables that are screeching to be let out. Try it—I bet you like it!

:: THURSDAY ::
Mainly processing the above. While also finally finishing my book manuscript (TF!)

:: FRIDAY ::
A beautiful astanga class with Makeesha Hill of the Urban Yogis—a grass roots initiative bringing the tools of yoga and meditation to NYCs inner city communities, that we’re supporting with sales of our Designer Yogis sweatshirt collection. A fitting end to this week of self-enquiry, as one of the things that’s coming through loud and clear for me right now is that if my work (like, this platform) isn’t actively in service of helping people be happier humans, in a healthier, more harmonious society…then really, what’s the point? As the Yogis themselves would say: #peaceisalifestyle!

The Urban Yogis: a.k.a. (l-r) Raheem Lewis, Tyrell Carter, Jaytaun McMillan, Makeesha Hill, and Juquille Johnston

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SHAMANIC SKINCARE, AND ALOHA TO HAWAII

Plus: healing my throat chakra, refining my elevator pitch, and conversation with the sober curious…

:: MONDAY ::
Skype chats about possible future collabs with beautiful Fern Olivia turned into a mini coaching session for me, after I shared how nervous I was feeling about hosting our Club SÖDA NY event this week (see below!) Public speaking is NOT my thing you guys. So Fern gives me a beautiful meditation to do beforehand to help open my throat chakra: lying down, place a crystal (either something blue, or a Rose Quartz) on my throat, and slowly chant “haaam,” feeling the vibrations resonate through my throat. This while visualizing a ball of blue light spinning and expanding there, until it fills up my whole body – and beyond. Which I share with YOU in case, y’know, public speaking isn’t your favorite thing either.

:: TUESDAY ::
My 11-year-old nephew (visiting from the UK): “What’s your book about Ruby?”
Me: “Well, it’s about how I used to work in fashion, but it was really unfulfilling, and so I decided to use astrology, and things, to bring more meaning to my life…”
Nephew: (looks non-plussed)
THE NEXT DAY…
Me: “You know what I said my book was about? (nephew nods) Well it’s really about how to be happy, by always making choices that are right for you.”
Nephew: “Sounds great!”
*way to work out your elevator pitch*

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A delivery from shamanic skincare line Trimaran Botanicals – as in, it’s skincare made and blessed by a shaman! Made in Vancouver, products are not only vegan, toxin-free and filler-free, but are also blessed with spirit messages from the plant and crystal realms, and imprinted with transformational mantras and vibrational potencies. I’m trying out a serum, which smells heavenly and feels like magic as I anoint my (almost 40-year-old) face with it. Self-care doesn’t come much more high vibe.

Facial Serums, $128 CAD, Trimaran Botanicals

:: THURSDAY ::
Blown away by the beautiful souls who came out for my Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin (see main pics). The discussion was on learning to trust your body to make you feel fantastic, your life to get you inspired, the people you love to feel connected, and your SELF to stay true to a life of high integrity that supports your highest purpose. And to quit outsourcing any and all of the above to the quick fix of alcohol. We pitched the event as a social experiment for the sober curious – and our findings were that this is a conversation that’s only just getting started… Join the Club SÖDA NYC Facebook group to connect and find out about our next events!

:: FRIDAY ::
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!! And what a moment in time astrologically to be stepping into my FIFTH decade. Not only did yesterday’s Aries New Moon (potent intention-planting potential) conjunct my natal Sun to the very degree, Uranus (planet of breakthrough transformation) has passed over the exact SAME degree these past two weeks. Talk about the stars aligning for me to step into my future self with a whole fresh perspective on life, the Numiverse, and everything – which I’ll be shaping during a two week vacation in Hawaii. Which is a long way of saying, no Mystical Week column now until April 29. See you on the other side!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: NUMI SWEATSHIRTS, AND LIFE AS A ROLLERCOASTER

Plus an intro to astro dating, birthday fun, and I’m reunited with my Starchild…child.

 

:: MONDAY ::
THIS WEEK IS ALL ABOUT OUR NUMI SWEATSHIRTS! Which you can now finally buy from our ACTUAL store, which is now fully up and running. We’re selling them in aid of an amazing charity called Urban Yogis, which helps bring the tools of yoga and meditation to inner city communities to help lessen violent street crime. YESSSS. This kind of initiative is WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT. When I asked Bob Roth, director of the David Lynch Foundation, what he thought the world would look like if everybody learned to meditate, he told me: “If even one per cent of the population learned to meditate there would be less divisiveness, and less violence. There would be more consensus and willingness to work together and be collaborative.” So…get your shirt and help support, world peace?

:: TUESDAY ::
An “astro date” with amazing Luke Simon. Luke is one of my very favorite people in the entire Numiverse (found out today he’s a Libra – and Libra men, what’s not to love), and he recently announced he was offering a new kind of birth chart reading. Namely, it takes place at a spot that’s a physical reflection and manifestation of the major aspects of your chart. For me, this meant a windswept walk dow to the East River park in Williamsburg, where he told me: “the ongoing construction work taking place represents the intense period of transformation you’re going through right now.” Um, u-huh. Then there’s the view across the water to the Manhattan skyline, representing all the ambition of my Aries Sun and Sag rising – but built on the watery vulnerability of the Hudson River. A snapshot that’s me to a tee. Contact Luke here for a reading.

Lovely Luke Simon – a.k.a. @lavieenrainbow

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Got my Starchild Tarot deck back, which I’d lent to lovely Lindsay Mack when she stepped in to take over Tarotscope duties last month. Lindsay liked the cards so much she decided to invest in her own deck, and for my part, I just didn’t realize how much I’d MISS them! Like the number of times I’d be all, “hmmm, I wonder what the Starchild would say?” and then experience mild panic that they were not in my possession. I have never felt like this about a deck before. It must be love.

:: THURSDAY ::
Love how somehow a cosmic metaphor follows you around – in my case, this week, life as a rollercoaster. 1) my niece and nephew arrive from the UK and suggest a trip to Coney Island this weekend. I text my friend: “I feel like what I actually need is to go on a rollercoaster and just scream my head off this week.” 2) my Strong Eye Astrology reading for the weekend advises me to “flow with the vibrant energy of the carnival.” 3) my life coach send me this link to this Jimmy Fallon skit titled “The Joy of The Rollercoaster,” as (another) metaphor for the intense period of transformation I’m going through right now. #surrenderforever

:: FRIDAY ::
Counting down to my Club SÖDA NYC next Thursday with Biet Simkin. Did you get your ticket yet? And there’s a reason I’m getting a little over-excited about this one – it’s kind of also mine and Biet’s birthday party. Last night she sent me this text: “This birthday for both of us is telling a tale of the year to come, and the next decade.” Come join us to find out what she meant, and help us celebrate!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SISTERS IN HIGH SOBRIETY, AND A VISIT WITH THE URBAN YOGIS

High sobriety, a tasty new balm, a shout out for interns, and a visit with some yogis doing some good s*it

:: MONDAY ::
Plotting for our April 7th Club SÖDA NYC event in NYC with it-girl meditation artist Biet Simkin – and discovering a true soul sister in the process. As in, we’re both Aries with birthdays two days apart (and on either side of the April event – she’s 4/6 and I’m 4/8), with Fire element rising signs (Leo for Biet, Sagittarius for me), and emo watery moons (Pisces, Cancer). The event itself? A celebration of HIGH SOBRIETY, a subject close to my heart, that we’ll bring to life with a blissful guided meditation experience, a group discussion on ways to GET HIGH ON YOUR OWN SUPPY, and seal with an intention-setting ritual for the Aries New Moon. Find out more and snag a ticket here – they’re selling out fast!

:: TUESDAY ::
Is everybody reading Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies? I guess I’m a little late to the party, and I wouldn’t say it’s gonna make my top 10 novels ever (which, to date, includes The Secret History, Glamorama, Super Sad True Love Story, and The Corrections – so, y’know, I can do DARK) – but one thing I love SO much, and which I’ve always wished more authors would do, is that early on Groff describes the main male character as: “A Leo, which explains him entirely.” And it totally does!

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Delivery of The Balm, the signature product from LA-based Nucifera – that comes with instructions to be applied abundantly “to your face, hair, scalp, skin, hands, feet, nails and more.” Intrigued by the “and more” part – my cat? Morning bagel? Lol, just kidding, but it DOES smell good enough to eat, formulated with a high grade blend of medicinal oils and scented with all our Now Age faves – Sandalwood, Patchouli, Palo Santo,and Frankincense. Delicious.

:: THURSDAY ::
Forgot to add this to our newsletter, but we are on the hunt for a DESIGN INTERN to help with flyers and general art-related tasks on the site. Our Numinous Presents event series is going from strength-to-strength, and it’s time for some assistance producing kick-ass supporting visuals and materials. Does this sound like you? Email me directly: [email protected]

:: FRIDAY ::
A visit with the incredible Eddie Stern at his new Brooklyn Yoga Club (which is decorated with stuff like the light in the main pic). Eddie is one of the main people behind Urban Yogis (see main pic), charity partner for our “Designer Yogis” sweatshirt line that’s launching on the site next week. Follow us on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss the announcement, we have a feeling they’re gonna sell out FAST – another sneak peak below! We’ll be donating 10% for every sale to the Urban Yogis, a Queens, NY-based initiative to bring the tools of yoga and meditation to inner city communities to spread peace and positivity and reduce violent street crime. #highvibelife

 

SOBER CURIOUS: GET HIGH ON YOUR OWN SUPPLY

Join The Numinous & Guided By Biet for SOBER CURIOUS, a social experiment to discover what it means to get high on your own supply…

 

“Numbing vulnerability also dulls our experience of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light” – Brene Brown

There’s a reason sobriety is in, and it’s because it feels amazing. Blissful, even. Within days of alcohol leaving your system, you become aware of how much more at peace you feel in your body. A little longer, and you’ll notice how even a friendly text sends a tingle of physical pleasure along your limbs. Give it a few weeks, and you may find yourself breaking into spontaneous laughter at the sheer ecstasy of being alive.

This is what it feels like to get high on your own supply. But modern drinking culture makes it easier, often way too easy, to choose booze as our go-to method for feeling good (by simply numbing the “bad”). The price? We’ve all been there.

And so SOBER CURIOUS is a social experiment from The Numinous and Guided By Biet – a new space for the sober curious to investigate just how good life can get when we re-frame our relationship with alcohol. Far from “boring” (an accusation they love to levy against non-drinkers), what if choosing sobriety meant being “high” all the time?

This might not mean total abstinence from alcohol, either. The power of positive drinking can be a beautiful thing. A sacrament, even. But an occasional cocktail to celebrate life can also be a slippery slope into the kind of habitual drinking that becomes a substitute for sustained, self-generated joy; that dulls our awareness; that only exacerbates feelings of anxiety and emptiness; and that ultimately separates us from a true sense of self.

A proposed series of meet-ups, talks, workshops, and other events, SOBER CURIOUS could be for you if:

– You drink to feel good, but it often leaves you feeling worse (and it helps to talk about it)

– You want to drink less, but think this will mean the end of your social life

– You want to drink less, but think this will mean the end of DATING

– You want to cultivate a healthier relationship with booze

– You want to attend high-end, high-vibe events where alcohol is off the menu

– You love how good life feels when you don’t drink, and want to connect with other people who’ve discovered this too

– You want to experience getting crazy high on your own supply

Sign up for the Numinous newsletter to see how the conversation unfolds.

And a caveat: SOBER CURIOUS is NOT an addiction recovery program – although it may be a stepping stone to AA for some people. If you think you might need a higher level of support to address a drinking problem that’s negatively impacting your life, or in dealing with any underlying emotional issues that may be part of this, we also have the resources to connect you with people who can help.

MEDITATION ARTIST: AN INTERVIEW WITH BIET SIMKIN

The girl making meditation the new nightlife, Biet Simkin shares her spiritual practices and how her higher self embraces the shocks of life with Kiran Gill

Artist: Viki Forshee

The Numinous: You’ve experienced a lot of loss in your life, including the death of your parents and daughter, and you describe these events as shocks that have connected you to your higher self. How have these shocks aided you in your spiritual journey? What advice would you offer someone going through a similar experience?
Biet Simkin:
Life is beautiful, but it wasn’t created to be a whole experience. It was broken into millions of shattered parts for our exploration. This is why we sometimes see the beauty in the shattered glass, and at other times the grief and rage. My advice for anyone at any time is to listen, listen to that inner voice and stay close to it. “This too shall pass,” is what they say. And eventually it does, and you will realize it was all worth it. In my life I actually remember experiencing ecstasy around these shocks. My higher self does not want a boring life. Only my mechanics or what some people call “ego” wants it all to be easy. My soul is interested in challenge and loss. My soul is interested in heartache and fear. Get interested in what is breaking you, look closely, it is in the center of these things that your grace can be found.

TN: Your father was a shaman/psychotherapist from Russia. How did his work and beliefs influence you as a child? In your present work, how do your father’s beliefs influence you?
BS: As a child, his influence aided me in being lazy, poetic and curious. He always insisted that I do whatever I want. Being the sad and confused child that I was, having just lost my mother, I didn’t want to do much but sit around, make art, eat snacks and cry sometimes. Eventually, this lack of structure led to rock and roll, drug use, world travel and many lovers. And finally, his passing eight years ago led to a complete shift in being, rendering me a most disciplined and focused entrepreneur in a healthy relationship, with a healthy diet, sober life and perpetual tangos with joy. I am his daughter; I continue his legacy of mixing fun with art and spirituality. The real icing on the cake of his legacy was laughter, and I carry that on.

TN: You have previously described yourself as having a “strong sensual energy.” How have you cultivated this part of your identity in a society that frequently represses and condemns female sexuality?
BS: I do not pay attention to that stuff and consider myself rather masculine, actually. I never really bought into the whole gender thing, it seems kind of silly to me. There are so many feminine men and masculine women….what is gender anyway? I am sexual because sex energy is the highest energy we have on Earth. It is love energy and it is the force with which we create. I consider myself a creator, and to me that is about the sexiest thing a person can remind themselves to be. I think all people want to create, so when they see someone doing it they get excited!

Artist: Frej Hedenberg

TN: You advocate for a more emotional meditative experience that encompasses beauty and gratitude. Why is that? How does this differ from more traditional meditative practices?
BS: My work is more than that of just a meditation teacher. I am an artist who realized that utilizing meditation and space (artistic space or otherwise) could transmute the state of a human being, so the next obvious action was getting human beings into beautiful spaces where I could assist them in transmuting their state! Everything about my work differs from anything else out there because it is an experience created from my inner world. Just like a Kubrick film is different from a Spielberg film. In my film, my work is about exploring the emotional center in a super intellectual way. I like to marry these two, and I do it well. People often comment in their testimonials that there is wit in my work. I believe that part of what makes my meditation experiences so emotional is that I laugh a lot and don’t take life too seriously.

TN: Likewise, you speak of cultivating “divided attention” throughout your day. What is “divided attention” and how does one master it?
BS: Divided attention simply means placing your attention on many things at the same time. So, one would experience the music in the room, their hand on the tea, the tea itself, and perhaps the people around them, and do that all at the same time. This helps slow down time. As it is a difficult practice, it is the ultimate practice. It’s easiest learned in a group or from a teacher, but it must be done out in the world.

TN: What are some of your greatest tools in your spiritual tool kit? Do you have a daily spiritual practice/ritual? What is it?
BS: Listen to your inner voice. It is telling you what to do and you do not listen. When you listen, you will hear it give you clear direction. My daily practice is obedience to this voice. Come hell or high water I will pursue what serves this voice within me. This means I do all the things you would imagine someone does who guards their higher state: I meditate daily, I work out, I pray, I journal, I see friends, I help people, I laugh a lot, I make love, I eat sustainable healthy food, I sleep well…It sounds kind of boring I guess, but it actually sheer ecstasy! Also, I practice gratitude as a way of “being” not “doing.” It is in being in a state of gratitude all day that everything I experience gets transmuted into food for my higher self.

To learn more about Biet and her work visit BietSimkin.com, and follower her on Instagram @guidedbybiet. Biet will be one of the featured instructors at SoulLOVEFest in September.