HOLY F*CK: IN SEARCH OF A SMILF…

“I want to date a spiritual guy who doesn’t LOOK spiritual, you know?” In the latest installment of her column Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo goes in search of a SMILF…

I was recently discussing relationships with my friend Loulou, and I admitted to finally being ready to surrender to my desire for a “spiritual partner” in love and life.

Lou, like many other friends of mine has a diff take on me about this. As I waxed poetic about Hawaiian yoga retreats with a lover she stopped me, saying: “A big block to finding a partner is putting a limit on who they have to be. Whether it’s the type of clothes they wear, or their career – let’s not throw spirituality into the mix, too.” And I toooootally get it. But if we share our spiritual work with our friends how can we not with a partner?

Over the last 15+ years of dating I’ve mostly stayed away from “spiritual types.” I’ve also spent years sneaking out of bed to meditate in bathrooms in the a.m. Praying silently over my food alone. But while keeping your practice sacred and personal can be beautiful, it can also get old. Most people I dated looked at my altars like I was doing voodoo. (Ok fine, there may have been a snake skin and some bones on there from time to time). A few even made fun of my “woo” at dinner parties – and, well, we DID NOT last.

In my show Be Here Nowish my character Sam goes to a Spiritual Speed Dating event at a place based on Maha Rose in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. After a few too many guys wearing patchouli offer to take her back to their place for an “aura photo” she says to her bestie Nina: “I wanna date a spiritual dude. But not a guy who looks spiritual, you know?”

Since I wrote this line I MEANT IT at the time, and have been casually “researching” this “species” ever since. My findings? There’s the spiritual guy who meditates, but still wants to call you a slut in bed. (Over it.) The spiritual guy who is spiritual by day and does molly all night. (I think this one is called “Burner”?) Then there’s the spiritual guy who dresses in all linen and calls your cooch a yoni. (I may be okay with this, but pls know I may giggle and will DEF group text all my friends about it.)

But I have faith that the “spiritual dude” who isn’t drowning in hemp and OM bumper stickers is out there – and here are 10 of my fave SMILFS to prove it! By SMILF I mean “Spiritual Masculine Identified Person I’d Like to…Follow!” Because following someone and their work and passions is a great way to “get to know them” right?

So thank you, SMILFS, for giving us hope in a world where finding someone vaguely attractive to date that also inspires your spiritual path can feel harder than doing 10 days of Vipassana followed by the Master Cleanse!

:: Kyle Gray ::
Okay, any man that works with Angels wins my heart. Enough reason to FOLLOW. Loulou just got me his book and I’m excited to read it. Not only does Kyle have the most adorable Scottish accent and is a one of few out queer spiritual teachers, but he is also covered in inspirational tattoos and obsessed with Vivienne Westwood.

:: Jesse Israel ::
I found out about Jesse through my friend Steph Simbari and her podcast with Elizabeth Kott “That’s so retrograde” where she talked to him about his project The Modern Man Experiment which I think is important work. Jesse also organizes HUGE and hip group meditations and things and I’m excited to see what’s next from him.

:: Nick Krieger ::
Nick is a trans/queer activist, writer, and coach with goals of de-colonizing and queer-ifying yoga. (Praise Goddess!) He won my heart with this article. He also wrote a book called “Nina Here nor There” about his journey with gender.

:: Light Watkins ::
I discovered Light when he taught meditation to someone I dated who then kept saying: “Oh Light this and Light that.” I may have unfollowed that person on social media, BUT in turn I followed Light! Besides his obvious physical beauty, Light brings Vedic meditation to the masses and has cute snapchats featuring his pug.

:: Michael Trainer ::
Michael founded the incredible Global Citizen project and has a new project called Peak Mind. I happened to go to his gathering in LA and witness his devotion to the Dalai Lama and how he is helping the planet with an open heart. Very genuine stuff.

:: Spiritual Stoner ::
I may have quit marijuana for now, but it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate this guy. My friend Carlen Altman intro-ed me to his insta when I was in a “conspiracy theory/illuminati K-hole” last winter in NY. Radical Instagram activism is the real deal and his posts range from poignant anti-racism memes, veganism support, worshipping women as Goddess incarnate, conspiracy theory reveals…The kinda stuff I could geek out for hours on.

:: Michael Domitrovich ::
Michael claims to help make “The power of the Spiritual plane as accessible as a bag of chips!” That’s kind of light worker I gravitate towards- anyone who isn’t afraid to use junk food in a metaphor! He uses all kinds of modalities and teachings and does a lot of workshops in LA and NYC.

:: Ryan Cropper ::
Ryan does real fun work, deep but with just enough esoteric to keep things fun and not too woo woo: astral projection courses, shadow integration, memory improvement and more, all with a cute British accent and a great YouTube channel.

:: Patrick Beach ::
His Instagram feed speaks for itself. What else can I say about a shirtless hot man in various yoga poses? “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” are the only words I have.

:: Forrest 44 ::
Okay, so we may have no idea what this dude’s REAL name, is BUT his Instagram feed is full of Goddess and Nature imagery AND he makes beautiful crystal pendants and rings. Big blue eyes, crystal grids, and visionary art?! Sign me up.

For all of us single ladies I will leave you with the wise Miss Lou said as we finished our coconut “Cream Party” juices: “How about you just choose to seek out a partner who has a practice of love. They might get high from joy when watching their favorite sports team, connect to mother earth via love for their dog.”

I LOVE that, and she is right. However! I’m not giving up on my fantasies of meditating naked in Bali and getting matching Archangel Michael tattoos with someone yet. A girl can dream, right?

I want to hear your opinion! Are you looking for a SMILF? Do you have one to add here? Or are you in a spiritual partnership? Please write in the comments your story with any SMILFS! I’m going to go deeper into this next month and interview some of my fave conscious couples so stay tuned…

TURNED ON: SPEAK YOUR TRUTH, RESCUE YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Imagine the heartache you’d avoid if you could just speak your truth. Numinous relationships expert Ellie Burrows examines the sacred partnership between our tongue and our heart chakra…Portraits: Mikal Marie Photography

I believe in astrologers, tarot card readers, psychics and mediums. However, I do not believe my boyfriend is a mind reader.

Most people are the opposite. They don’t believe in astrologers, tarot card readers, psychics and mediums. However, they think their boyfriends, spouses, partners and lovers should be able to intuit what they’re thinking.

It makes my brain explode.

For clarity’s sake, I’m not talking about couples and friends who can finish each other’s sentences. Although sweet and impressive, that kind of reminds me of what happens when women live together and all start their monthly cycles at the same time. A bit of a stretch maybe, but I think we all can all agree that when you spend enough time with other humans you begin to adopt their mechanics.

No, I’m talking about when you lash out at your partner for not knowing how you wanted something done. For buying the wrong brand of organic milk, for not pleasuring you properly, or, most commonly, for not knowing why you’re upset.

Thinking about this, I reached out to a guy friend who writes relationship advice for some major publications. I asked him for a concrete example in which someone’s partner thinks he or she is a mind reader. He responded with a one liner email: “Uhm. Yeah. My life.” I quickly realized no one was safe from this issue and that it needed addressing.

Enter my friend, let’s call her Sage (this is The Numinous after all).

Sage and I had had a long, very tiring day running around outside the city for various obligations. For a few reasons that I promised not to disclose in this article, her emotions were at “an all time high, like freak out level.” And, unfortunately for her and her wicked attitude, she was scheduled to have dinner with her husband and another couple later that evening. All Sage wanted to do was cancel her plans, spend a quiet night on her sofa with her man and quite possibly have sex.

Cut to 5pm, us stuck in traffic on our way back into the city, and Sage astutely describing our state as “eternally stuck in midtown.” A bad situation was getting worse.

Meanwhile, in another dimension called Downtown, Sage’s husband had enjoyed a gloriously leisurely Saturday. Having spent all day at home, he’d decided to run some errands and notified her by text that he was headed out now and would meet her at dinner.

Oh no he didn’t.

Everyone. Run for cover.

The conversation escalated quickly. Sage couldn’t understand why he decided to leave just as she was coming home. She thought it was “rude and unnecessary, when they hadn’t seen each other all day. How could he be so thoughtless?”

But Sage was saying this to me. Not to him.

As if it was the most obvious thing in the world (because it was) I turned to her and calmly responded: “Why can’t you just ask for what you want, and tell him what you need? Ask him to cancel the plans and stay home with you instead.” But Sage wouldn’t say it. Sage couldn’t say it. She rolled her eyes, let out an “ugh” and told me that wasn’t the point. I felt pressure in my chest. My heart constricted a little.

Sadly, the story of Sage is a universal tale – and I believe it’s deeply tied to desire.

My first piece in this series was all about arousal energy, Qi, and how when we allow ourselves to open and soften it can circulate within and excite us. I wrote: “for me, arousal is really about accessing the heart and I use my whole being and all my senses to do that. If my heart isn’t activated and engaged, then I can’t be turned on.”

Now Sage had no problem accessing her heart. Her heart knew what it wanted, but was trying to reach her husband’s mind without going via the tongue. The energetic equivalent of: “do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.”

If in Chinese medicine the meridians are the paths or channels in the body through which the Qi flows, it’s no coincidence that the external part of the heart meridian is the tongue; this organ and this muscle are bound in sacred partnership.

Now let’s backtrack a little. As babies, communicating our needs to the one we love unconditionally (our mother) relies largely on the power of intuition, as we do not possess the ability speak. And in the beginning that works, because our needs are rather simple. But as adults we have more needs, and those needs are rather more complex. We also have an entire dictionary at our disposal. Yet sometimes, when we encounter what feels like unconditional love again, we regress and forget how to use it.

Put like this, it seems only natural to assume our loved ones should be able to intuit our needs. But the thing to remember is that their needs are often very different to our own.

Any time we use the word ‘should’ we are also creating pressure and strain. Probably not a good idea when it comes to our heart meridian as that’s how heart attacks happen, energetic ones at least. The kind that can take gallons of ice-cream, buckets of tears, and endless reruns of Sex And The City to heal. Luckily, simply expressing the want, calmly and without judgement, is usually enough to alleviate the pressure.

By the time we’re grown-ups, we’ve also hopefully learned that we don’t have to get what we want. But our body never unlearns the importance of expressing what we need.

Do you have trouble expressing yourself in relationships? Connect with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and share if you dare…

TURNED ON: SEXTING ACROSS THE MADONNA WHORE DIVIDE

Is sexting the same as cheating? It all depends if you’re playing in the shadow or the light, says Ellie Burrows. Image: Katie Fischer

Sigh, the Madonna and the Whore. Is there anything more banal then reducing a woman to one of those two archetypes?

Madonna: Non-sexual woman. Keeper of morality. She offers her breasts to her children. She tempts you into eating your peas. She tempts you for your own good.

Whore: Sexual woman. Debaser of morality. She offers her breasts to everyone. She tempts your husband. She tempts you for her own good.

For thousands of years women have been cast in one of these two forms. There is no shortage of literature or decorated scholars who have devoted their lives to studying them. And, there are many feminists who have fought fiercely to destroy such narrow-minded classifications.

But I have a confession. I totally recognize this duality in myself and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Enter: Sexting – digital fingering at its finest, and the space where I recently encountered my inner Madonna and Whore pushing their respective pleasure agendas. As it turns out, I was able to marry them when I understood how to align their supposedly conflicting interests. They were willing to sign a sacred contract, but they had to look each other in the face to do it.

A few months ago, I found myself in a budding Millennial relationship: we were really into each other but having a tough time sorting out the commitment piece. It forced me to evaluate my own feelings about monogamy. And when this column launched in April, it brought some men from my past out of the proverbial woodwork.

I hadn’t talked to Eric in years (name obviously changed). We grew up in the same place and had always had that energetic-sexy-vibe thing happening but we never actually acted on it, mostly due to timing with a dash of trepidation. He reached out to tell me that he was proud of me and confess that he had fantasized about me since his preteens. Before I knew it, we were sexting and it was tons of fun, like major smile-ear-to-ear fun. And if I’m being totally truthful, it happened two more times. Over Gchat. Off the record. That was the problem.

Hello Whore Ellie. Eric has a very serious girlfriend.

The next weekend I was with my boyfriend-who-wasn’t-my-boyfriend. He put up an Instagram that also drew out a woman from his past. When I saw his facial expression when he peeped at his screen, I was intrigued. He told me that she was someone he had a one-night-stand with and since then had occasionally sexted with. He assured me that I had nothing to worry about.

But, I wasn’t concerned at all. Like, at all. See, I knew that I had just engaged in a sexting conversation with someone I was attracted to and it had absolutely nothing to do with him. It wasn’t going anywhere: I’m monogamous and I like to flirt. Of course, someone could say that if I really loved him I wouldn’t have sexted with someone else. If you’re that someone, please go buy Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. Immediately. #requiredreading

Then the following came out of my mouth:

“It’s okay if you sext with her.”

“What?”

“Well, I’m not sure sexting with her is a direct reflection of how you feel about me. It has nothing to do with me. It’s just an aggressive form of flirting. I would be fine with it as long as she knows that I know that it’s happening and it doesn’t actually become physical.”

“Explain.”

“If you both know that I’m aware that it’s going on and are still willing to sext, then you’re playing in the light. Then we are all engaging in conscious behavior and all of us get to enjoy the fantasy. However, if you can’t share it with me and you don’t think I can be part of the fun then that’s playing in the dark. That would be messy.”

Then I dropped the bomb. “In fact, I sexted with someone last week.”

“Really? Look at you.” He had a mischievous smile on his face that mirrored mine.

“Yes, and that exchange had absolutely nothing to do with my love for you. Totally mutually exclusive. It’s sophisticated flirtation. Except his girlfriend doesn’t know about it which is a problem.”

It was like we were sitting in an energetic room and the ceiling was lined with fluorescents. I could see everything. Deception is the fertile soil where the Madonna and the Whore’s separateness is able to survive. And that really is some holy shit.

The next day, I reached out to Eric and shared my revelation. He loved his girlfriend very much but was doing this behind her back, casting her as the Madonna and me as the Whore. I didn’t like engaging in this kind of shadow behavior because it didn’t allow us to play together. It kept us separate.

Maybe Eric believed that his girlfriend couldn’t see the duality and understand the nature of our flirting and so he felt the need to hide it from her. That, or he actually felt like it could go somewhere with me. But by going along with the deception, I wasn’t holding a space; I was trampling straight through one. And if we couldn’t play in the light, then it needed to end. So I ended it. I told him we could speak as long as we could keep it PG. Sadly, Eric and I haven’t spoken in months.

Hello Madonna Ellie. I support monogamy so I wanted to support Eric’s relationship. I also wanted to honor his girlfriend and only play with Eric if we could all play together.

The Madonna and Whore archetypes are in all of us. Both are remarkable extremes in their own right. I intimately know my Madonna and my Whore, and my life is an exercise in integrating them. It’s way beyond just being “a lady in the streets but a freak between the sheets.” I love both of them and so they love each other. I offer each a seat at my well-lit table and that is where they are able to break bread.

Read more from Ellie Burrows at Ellieburrows.com

@_ellieburrows_