LUNAR FENG SHUI: ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE WITH THE CYCLES

In keeping with the vibes of Virgo season, Meghan Wallace James’ guide to Lunar Feng Shui reveals how powerful intention setting starts at home …

Photo: Jacob Dowis

The New Moon offers us the chance to use darkness to initiate insightful alignment in both our inner and outer worlds (especially true during Virgo Season, the zodiac’s queen of divine detail!)

Let’s start by bringing back the concept of boudoir—a French term that includes the master bedroom, closet, and bathroom, and designed for deep withdrawal and privacy. For this lunar cycle, we’ll start with the master bathroom. In its most romanticized context, a bathroom is a place to leisurely commune with Higher Self: a space to practice self care while contemplating the mysteries of The Universe …

Follow the steps below for each moon phase and sync your space with the cosmos! And if you want more time to prepare, you can plan to begin your Lunar Feng Shui experiment with the October 8 Libra New Moon …

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// NEW MOON// Embrace the mess & purge the past. 
1// During the New Moon phase, sit in quiet contemplation in the heart center of your boudoir. Feel into this space and internally inquire: How would an infusion of elegant minimalism and cleanliness bolster my energy? How would a streamlined bathroom positively influence my energetic imprint within my home and beyond?How does the lunar cycle provide an inherent rhythm to a beautifully powerful reset? Answers will come. Give gratitude. Then, in the name of Beauty, enter your bathroom…

2// Turn on the lights, and your ‘energy detective’ eyes. What do you see? Which metaphors are visible? Embrace the mess – yes, your mess. In divine right timing, dedicate the time to move out of your bathroom before moving back into your bathroom. Take an old sheet and lay it in the hallway to protect the floor. Empty everything out of the bathroom, placing all toiletries, cosmetics, towels, you name it, on the sheet. Allow the sheer bulk to resonate.  Your bathroom was holding all this energy for you. Energy that is likely somewhat damp, moldy, grungy, or expired.  “Thank you dear bathroom.”

3// Now it is time to deep clean. Even if you are blessed with a cleaning service, today this is your job. Play chants, or eclectic world music to lift the stagnation from every nook and cranny. Scrub: scrub the sink, scrub the shower, scrub the bath, scrub the toilet. Clean inside the medicine cabinet and any drawers. Get on your hands and knees and do not miss a spot. Here’s the kicker: you are not just cleaning your space, you are cleaning your subconscious as well. So, clean until it becomes a graceful moving meditation. When you are done, open the window(s) and apply smoke medicine: Smudge your bathroom. Smudge your body. Heck, smudge your whole home.

4// Next, head back to the sheet holding all of your items. Let go of what no longer serves you, no longer captivates you. If you would not use the product on or in your body, rinse and recycle the container.  If something carries a negative emotional trigger – no matter what you paid for it, or who gave it to you – donate it. Keep the toilet brush and plunger out of your bathroom; these are unsightly, unsanitary and should live with the other cleaning supplies in your home, for like items prefer to live together.

5// Wipe down your remaining products. Wash the towels in a hot water cycle, take the hair out of your hairbrush, wash the cup holding your toothbrush, rinse the trash can, rinse and fill the soap dispenser … you get the idea. Place what remains back into your bathroom, with thoughtful consideration of your self care routine. Perhaps a fresh placement makes more sense? Remember, like items do best together. Aim to cultivate some empty space, which is a place for fresh energy to land, particularly if you are calling in Love & Abundance.

6// Finish with a shower, and then ideally an Epsom salt soak. You will sleep well tonight and likely have vivid dreams. Keep a notepad and pen on your bedside table, to capture any downloaded jewels.

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// WAXING MOON// Get ready for an upgrade 
Whew, with your bathroom purged, cleaned and realigned, what special touches could you now add? What ‘daily gems’ could be upgraded? ‘Daily gems’ are the household items we interact with on an everyday basis – the pretty hand towels and dry brushes of the world. They should inspire and uplift us, subliminally reinforcing: “I have a beautiful home; ease and grace surround me.” Easy, affordable upgrades in your bathroom can make a huge impact on your mood, such as a new shower curtain, a vibrant bathmat, or a bud vase with a single clipping from your yard.

Please do not overlook your cosmetics kit. Consider fewer products, all natural and high quality. Consider a signature scent for the upcoming crispness of Fall. Consider a new candle, to add a fire element to a very watery part of your home.

Photo: Grace Madeline

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// FULL MOON// Celebrate the spatial shift 
This is the easy part: revel in the Oasis you have created. Reflect on your morning and evening beauty routines … do they feel more luxurious? Has anything shifted in your life since revamping your bathroom? Do you feel lighter and brighter perhaps? Hopefully you find yourself lounging in your tub even longer, dropping in some essential oils, lighting your new candle and using this time for decadent insight.  Marvelous ideas are birthed when we are inspired by what we see and sense.

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// WANING MOON// Revise & refine
You are sensing the correlation between visual metaphor and lived experience. With that in mind, is there another layer of purging that could happen? Do you truly need seventeen face creams? Do you really require that storage unit, adding bulk and taking up precious floor space? Make one final pass of your bathroom before moving onto a new spatial aspect of your Boudoir, or your home at large, with the next New Moon. Just wait and see… This work is addictive and effective. Your home will soon be completely activated and in tune with Luna!

**BONUS: Where does your boudoir fall on The Bagua? Use the chart below to discover! A Bagua is a Westernized Feng Shui energy map of a space, using the front door as a point of orientation, dividing the area into nine equal sized zones – or ‘guas’. Each gua has a name and energetic correlation, material element, color family, as well as a variety of other associations. … 

Graphic: Meghan Wallace James & Sam Haskins

Meghan Wallace Jamesis a mother, manufacturing engineer, Parsons-trained fashion designer, stylist, and healer – bringing it all together with her bicoastal Modern Feng Shui Consultancy. Meghan is honored to offer The Numinous readers a 10% discount with code NUMINOUS, for this lunar cycle ending October 7, 2018. Ready to Begin Again? Connect with her at meghanwallacejames.com and follow her on Instagram.

HOW TO TAKE A CEREMONIAL SHOWER

Jemini Wild invites us to strip down, break out the loofah, and engage all five senses with a ceremonial shower…

Alla Kostromichova by Sølve Sundsbø for Vogue Nippon, May 2010

 

Think about the last time you showered. Removing your clothes, adjusting the water to the perfect temperature, the sound of it rushing from the faucet … this might be the only solitary time you get all day. Why shouldn’t you make this precious time underneath the showerhead into a personal ceremony?

Ritual baths are all the rage—but can take hours to prep, requiring all kinds of special “ingredients.” Not to mention the time actually soaking it in!

Doubting whether a loofah and a bottle of conditioner can help you create a similarly mystical experience? Consider how water carries energy (check out the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto). Water molecules actually respond to words and music—creating beautiful crystalline shapes, like snowflakes, when words like “love” and “gratitude” are used. Imagine … a waterfall of love in your bathroom!

Water is the source of life itself. Cultures all over the world revere it for its healing properties. From the ancient Romans’ giant community bathhouses, to baptisms and Native American rituals, the act of bathing has had a long history of ritual and magic. And as the attention brought to the Dakota Access Pipeline has reminded us all, it is our duty to truly honor the waters of the Earth.

Ceremonial Showering is an opportunity to reconnect with this magical element in our modern lives and take a cleansing power-pause. Even better, when we show up for ourselves in these small ways, it allows us to show up more powerfully in the world. Read on for a simple ceremonial showering ritual…

This month we are also honoring Pisces season by inviting all our Moon Club members to join us in a 30-day Water Healing Ritual. Discover more here!

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1. Set an intention before your foot even hits the tub. Hold the intention in your mind or say it out loud, and let the water carry your words into the Universe. Take long, deep inhale and exhales as you undress and turn on the water.

Some “Shower Intentions” to get you started: “May I feel stimulated & enlivened.” “May I feel warmth, rest, and rejuvenation.” “May I feel invigorated & refreshed.” Or how about: “May this water wash away all negativity from my day.”

2. Set the mood with some meditative drums or the Acoustic Concentration station on Spotify. Put drops of eucalyptus oil in a small dish in your bathroom—the steam will disperse it and a natural opening happens in the warm water. Yes, your skin actually relaxes! Or try one of my favorite mists, Jurlique Rosewater, or Zum Frankincense & Myrrh, to set the mood.

3. Shift the Routine. If you always start the water and then take off your clothes, try removing your clothes first. Routine lulls the brain to sleep and these small shifts will signal to your subconscious that something special is happening. If you always use a loofah, switch to a wash cloth or sponge. Buy a new shower curtain for a change of scenery.

4. Tune In to the sound of the water. Notice how the droplets sparkle. Where it hits your body first. Is it the curve of your calf, the pebbles of your toes, or the dip of your collar bone?

5. Stimulate Your Senses with texture and smell. Really feel that loofah, the squishiness of it. What color is the soap? Mine’s green—the same shade as pistachios and praying mantises. What things from the natural does your soap remind you of?

6. Receive. Above all, let the water flowing over you help you become conscious of your enhanced ability to receive. Many people have aha-moment in the shower. Open up. Let it in. You may be surprised by your revelations! 

 

Jemini Wild is a Visionist, Pray-er, and Magic-Maker. She believes the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves, and that digging in the mess that makes us human is the most fun way to spend a day. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for even more beautiful humanness. 

SPARK JOY: A STYLIST-TURNED-SHAMAN GETS KONDO’D

Is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up really a book about energy healing? As Marie Kondo publishes her follow-up, Spark Joy, stylist-turned-shaman Colleen McCann gets kosmic with her possessions purge…

Colleen in her fashion stylist days

As the founder of Style Rituals, a biz that celebrates our closets as gateways to the cosmos, I was well attuned to the connections between the mystical and material world. And a recent move from Brooklyn to Venice Beach and back, means I am also very familiar with the process of packing and unpacking.

For my latest move back to NYC, I had gotten a personal ping from the Universe that I needed to ‘go light’ this time. Accordingly, I picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s now infamous The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and got to work. Overnight, this went from a cross-country move to a total life enema! But I figured if anyone could lead me through the jungle of my beloved belongings to minimalistic bliss, it was Kondo.

I had barely made it to page four when I realized that this wasn’t just a guidebook for spatial cleanliness, but was also an under-the-radar handbook in energy healing. Marie’s discussions about holding items close and thanking them for their existence was directly connected to the Shamanistic belief that every object carries an energy or vibration. Perhaps, I thought, Ms. Kondo is a secret Shaman. 

Inspired by this discovery, I combined Kondo’s teachings with my energy healing know-how to bring you this guide to navigating the spiritual wilds of your own material treasures …

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NUMBER 1 // There Is a Universal Method to the Madness, aka Memento Meltdown 

The Closet Cleanse: According to Ms. Kondo, one must sort possessions in the following order—clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany) and, lastly, mementos.

The Secret Shamanism: Shamans believe that working with fire allows release. When I do closet cleanses with clients, sometimes, we literally build a bonfire of emotionally-charged items and let it burn. While Kondo-ing my own closet, I discovered that Marie’s method was perfectly constructed to inspire a similar emotional release. With a background in fashion, I assumed clothing would be the most challenging step for me and wondered why she’d put it first. But I soon understood why mementos went last. I started reading old love letters from boyfriends, thumbing through my high school yearbook, and doodling with coloring pencils from my college fashion illustration class. I eventually found myself on the floor cry-laughing in ‘someone’s’ sweatshirt that I had un-accidentally kept after a weekend rendezvous. I couldn’t believe how many memories had been holding space in my abode that just weren’t part of my life anymore. Time to go!

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NUMBER 2 // Sartorial Reiki, aka Thank Your Lucky Clothes 

The Closet Cleanse: Kondo suggests that you hold each item in your hands and thank it for how it has served you in life.

The Secret Shamanism: Is Kondo also a secret Reiki Practitioner and Psychometrist? Psychometry, aka Token-Object Reading, is a form of extrasensory perception that allows us to “read” the energetic blueprint of objects, even if we know nothing about their origins. Similarly, Reiki infuses universal energy into people and items. Kondo’s approach fully acknowledges the spirit present in objects, and the necessity of honoring this energy. As I blended her recommendations with my intuitive skills, it became quite emotional. I remembered sights, sounds, and smells associated with each piece and channeled this energy to facilitate release.

‘Shaman Kondo’ giving reiki to a sweater?

NUMBER 3 // The Art of War with Yourself, aka Plunge into the Pile 

The Closet Cleanse: When purging your closet, Kondo commands you to throw everything in a giant heap in the middle of the room.

The Secret Shamanism: Sun Tzu’s teachings in the The Art of War state that “in the midst of chaos, there is also an opportunity.” For this neat and tidy (perhaps OCD spectrum) Virgo, creating a messy clothing monument was a Xanax-worthy endeavor (Céline and Chloe definitely didn’t want to be wrinkled, snagged, dirty, or stepped on). Yet my chaotic heap allowed me to push my personal limits. As I split my clothing commune into two smaller tribes of “keep” and “discard,” I excommunicated parts of my past life that no longer fit my current lifestyle. And, surprisingly, throwing things about and jumping into the pile of clothes made me feel like a kid again.

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NUMBER 4 // Everything Changes (Even Joy), aka Swapping Fashion School for Fortune Telling 

The Closet Cleanse: Kondo suggests that you ask yourself if an item truly brings you joy BEFORE deciding to keep or discard it. Do not try it on or even think about how often you use it. Just hold it in your hands and ask this simple question.

The Secret Shamanism: Guess what I realized? Joy evolves. And the things I wanted to keep were energetic fortunetellers of the life I wanted to lead right now. My transition from the fashion world to the healing world was anything but seamless and I was still in the throes of figuring it all out (going from styling, designing, and brand consulting to seeing ghosts and hearing voices was never gonna be comfortable). While sorting, I realized I was casting aside old items from the fashion world in favor of mystical mementos that fit my current and future vision of myself even better.

 

NUMBER 5 // Come Back to the Present Moment, aka Boyfriend Jeans are Real! 

The Closet Cleanse: Kondo states that people are unable to let go of certain items because they are either attached to the past, fearful of the future, or unwilling to live in the present.

The Secret Shamanism: This is for all the girls out there who are still holding onto college sweatshirts, worn-in t-shirts, or anything else that belonged to “the X.” Wonder why a former lover still lingers in your head? Because you’re still sleeping, lounging, and working out while wearing those memories on your sleeve, literally. During my Kondo-ing, I was going through a major breakup and the practice of purging catapulted me from the past to the present. I realized that it wasn’t about “him,” it was about me. I needed to be proactive about doing everything I could to move forward, and holding onto his belongings was definitely not helping.

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NUMBER 6 // Say Yes to Your Life Right Now, aka Magic Rocks Are Heavy but Old Memories Are Heavier 

The Closet Cleanse: When you look at an object and say “I might use this one day,” remember Kondo’s warning that “someday” means “never.” You don’t have room in the house-of-me for “perhaps one day.”

The Secret Shamanism: I carry around lots of heavy crystals in my bag of tricks, but the energy of old memories that no longer served me was WAY heavier. Why was I keeping mementos of people and things that weren’t aligned with my happy-place? As I bid adieu to objects associated with energy vampires from my former life, I severed the cord so that both parties could move forward.

Shaman McCann at work

NUMBER 7 // Repurpose with Your Love Language, aka Mermaids for my Roomie 

 The Closet Cleanse: While Kondo warns against unloading your purged belongings onto unwilling participants, finding new homes for past treasures can be an act of love.

The Secret Shamanism: In Shamanism, when we receive a physical or emotional gift we refer to it as “receiving medicine.” You are getting the “medicine” that you need at exactly that moment, no matter what form it comes in or where it comes from. Mid-purge, I started leafing through Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, and remembered that my love language was gifting. The result? A friend got all my old-life high-heels. One of my favorite adventure buddies is now enhancing her metaphysical talents using the giant crystal I moved from my alter to hers. And my former roommate discovered her passion for sea spirits through my houseplant decorated with a collection of plastic mermaids. Show love and pay it forward.

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NUMBER 8 // Spiritual Smoke, aka Burn, Baby, Burn! 

The Closet Cleanse: Kondo suggests removing discarded possessions from your apartment as soon as humanly possible.

The Secret Shamanism: After following Kondo’s practices on how to sort, I decided to insert some of my own Shamanic practices to release any dense energy that can quickly adhere to people, places, and things. Sage what you decide to keep—with the windows open or in an open area outside. As I burn my bundle of herbs, I like to say out loud: “Any energy that is not mine or of my highest and greatest good, get the f*** out … with love, but seriously, it’s time to go.” Even though the purge scared the hell out of me, as I moved the energy I felt like the shackles had been taken off my ankles—I was light and free!

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NUMBER 9 // That Elusive Equilibrium, aka Stilettos & Sage 

The Closet Cleanse: Après cleanse, I was NYC bound with two suitcases of clothing, and one small suitcase filled with the contents of my Shamanic practice (crystals, feathers, tarot cards, sweet notes from clients, sage, sound bowl, etc.).

The Secret Shamanism: Marie Kondo always asks what brings us joy. I’d recently experienced a full moment of joy when I was hired by a former fashion client to speak about the power of rituals and manifestation. As I waved a sage stick around a room full of execs while wearing fake eyelashes and stilettos, I was so joyful I could have cried. Fittingly, while purging, I realized I had to make a conscious choice to let my worlds collide. I wasn’t willing to give up all my high heels or my signature pink nail polish, but I did need to make space to bring back a bit of California in the form of a stack of yoga pants and a massive collection of crystals. To be in my “joy,” I needed to marry the sparkle, fun, and creativity of the fashion world to my personal promise to recharge in nature often, keep a devout meditation practice, and embrace a newfound love for juice.

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NUMBER 1O // The Transformation Cycle, aka Meeting Kali in the Closet 

Did I mention that this was also one of the most traumatic weeks of my life? Within five days, I had ended a relationship with someone I truly love, my beloved aunt died and, oh yeah, the cross-country move was in full swing. In Shamanism we speak about embodying the energy of an archetype. Post-purge, I felt like the Goddess Kali had hung me by my ankles and shook all of the change loose from my skinny-jean pockets.

In other words, f***ing great and completely naked at the same time. With three suitcases to my name, I was a full-on gypsy. I was light, free, mobile, and personified. And while I know that I’ll need to shape shift again and again, as of today I’m bouncily nimbly between New York and L.A. with only my most joyful possessions. All I’d needed to do was step through that closet door. 

Colleen McCann is a fashion stylist turned Shamanic Practitioner with practices in NYC & LA. She realigns the energetic with the visual through Intuitive Crystal Readings, Shamanic Hands-On-Healing, and Feng Shui Space Balancing. Make sure to follow her on Instagram, and pick up one of her new Energy Healing Kits  and Medicine Bags on Goop to jumpstart your cleanse!

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BEHIND THE BEYONCE VEGAN BACKLASH

What’s up with the Beyonce vegan backlash?! Body image expert and spiritual healthy eating coach Heather Waxman responds to the haters – and talks to Ruby Warrington about diet and spiritual development

Beyonce by Kei Nicolee via Behance.net

Beyonce’s fans were mad because they expected a tour or album announcement (to which I say, “Give her a break and get over it, people!”). Meanwhile, many in the vegan community are angry because they think she’s a hypocrite for wearing fur and “posing with captive elephants and tigers” as one person commented.

Here’s the thing: judgment doesn’t get us anywhere. And since I don’t know Beyonce personally, I don’t know her heart and I don’t know her lifestyle, so it’s not really my place to comment. But what I can say is that we need to appreciate how much publicity eating vegan is receiving as a result. Let’s celebrate that! It’s awesome.

But let’s also focus in on what she said in connection to veganism and positive body image. Here’s a direct quote from Beyonce’s interview on GMA: “I am not naturally the thinnest. I have curves. I’m proud of my curves and I have struggled since a young age with diets and finding something that actually works, actually keeps the weight off, has been difficult for me.”

From what I understand, Beyonce started to eat vegan after she had her baby as a way to lose the baby weight in a natural way – opposed to a quick fix. As a result, she said she experienced many other beneficial side effects – like better sleep quality, improved digestion, and a positive feeling that her vegan choices could effect the people around her and the environment.

Which is all great. But I will point to the contradictory of saying you love your curves, but also saying things like you’ve tried everything to stay a certain weight.

If we have true BODYpeace, we don’t feel the need to do something to “keep the weight off” because we can naturally live and eat in a way that allows us to experience peace with our body. As a result, weight becomes a non-issue. It’s just not something you’re concerned about anymore.

This has got to get way harder living in the public eye, and I’m not sure if this was just a poor choice of words or if she actually does still struggle with body image. But either way, I hope that we can all agree that a.) this is great for the vegan movement and b.) pray that Beyonce (and all women for that matter!) is peaceful and happy in her body and continues to make choices from an authentic and ethical place for her.

Read on for Ruby Warrington’s interview with Heather Waxman about spirituality, diet and body image…

Get Beyonce’s “Kale” sweatshirt here!

I feel like starting to eat ‘healthy’ like Beyonce is the beginning of a lot of people’s spiritual awakening. Do you agree? Why is this?
I absolutely agree. As we let go of foods that are not serving us, we notice that those foods were doing a really good job at numbing out a bunch of stuff we didn’t want to feel. So as we start to eat cleaner, our thoughts and feelings become cleaner too – and that can feel amazing and joyful, but also very intense depending what we were avoiding dealing with. And that’s usually when people turn to spiritual practice for help.

We also see a lot of ‘extreme’ diets in spiritual + self-improvement circles – why is this?
Whenever I see or hear the word ‘extreme,’ the concept of perfectionism instantly comes to mind. And that’s what causes problems, isn’t it? We’ve all heard the cliché “perfection doesn’t exist” – but we don’t live by it as a society, as Beyonce knows only too well. I think most people opt for extreme diets because they think looking a certain way will help them truly love themselves. But that’s not how it works.

I want to add that I actually think that the word “self-improvement” is also damaging, particularly for sensitive souls, because it implies we’re somehow not good enough, which only perpetuates the quest for perfection. What I’ve come to conclude lately is that we’re not necessarily here to improve ourselves. It’s more that embarking on a spiritual path the aim is to become more of ourselves. It’s more about an unfolding, a peeling back, layer by layer, of who we thought we were, only to allow who we really are to be revealed. Which can be messy, beautiful, and terrifying! But, I believe, it’s what we’re all called to do.

But discipline and asceticism have long been associated with spiritual development – do you see echoes of this in things like juice cleansing, etc?
I do, but I think we need to define “discipline” before we dive into this. The word has the same root as the word “disciple” – which means to be a devotee of a certain philosophy. But the word discipline has been turned into something that’s just not fun – so, I prefer to use…devotion.

I think when we lean into our spiritual development with a strong air of devotion…that’s when the miracles unfold for us. And so I also think we need to be disciplined with, or devoted to, things that we have discovered we need to do so we can show up for life ready to give love, receive love, and serve those around us.

This can include juice cleansing, if that’s what you feel called to do! But as every individual body is different, I think it’s important to first get to know your body and also to consider your own mental / spiritual relationship with the concept. I tried (and failed) so many detoxes and cleanses. So, when it came time for me to want to consider detoxing for spiritual purposes, I had to first heal the mental issues I had with cleanses and learn the real “why” behind them, before I was ready to check it out.

What are the warning signs for you as a coach that healthy has tipped into obsessive?
There are a bunch of warning signs, but these are the most common ones I have seen, and they’re always present in my clients.

– You know things have turned obsessive if you’re doing one or more of these:
– You’re constantly thinking about your next meal and counting calories
– You’re obsessed with counting your macros, or avoiding certain foods or food groups because you’re afraid they’ll make you gain weight
– You’re avoiding certain foods or food groups because you want to “fit in” with the fitness / spiritual community you’re a apart of
– You restrict your food all day and then binge eat at night
– You have to work out for a specific amount of time or you have to do a specific type of workout because you’re afraid of gaining weight…and if you don’t have a chance to do that work out, you feel depressed and like your day is ruined

So what do you think a healthy and spiritually aligned attitude to food really looks like?
Our definition of health and spirituality is very individual, but I do believe there is a common thread tying every version of a healthy relationship to food together, and it sounds something like this: “I eat for vitality, freedom, and pleasure.” (Notice how I said vitality – not vanity).

This is definitely where I’m at now, and it’s allowed me to feel the happiest in my body I’ve ever felt. Vitality, freedom, and pleasure are not exclusive, though! I went on vacation last week and vitality went out the window for me. I wanted to eat for freedom and pleasure. So, I ate a bunch of things I normally don’t eat when I’m home like frozen yogurt, sweet potato fries, and chips and guacamole. It was great! When I returned home, I couldn’t wait to return to feeling that vitality. It’s a constant dance.

And what role does taking pleasure in what we eat play in our spiritual development?
Do you have a year to talk about this?! I think one of the most volatile things we’ve done as a society is completely neglect food as a source of pleasure. For example, some of my clients – even though they enjoy eating healthy meals – still equate healthy eating with it being stripped dry of pleasure. Or they think of making meals as another annoying chore on their to-do list instead of an incredible act of self-care and self-pleasure. We’ve lost touch with our feminine relationship to food – which means that for a lot of us, our bodies and our souls are screaming at us, “I just want to feel pleasure!” Enter those “guilty” vegan ice cream binges.

When we hear the word “pleasure” we instantly think of sex. But to me, pleasure is about actively engaging all my senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing, and intuition. When we can become devoted (there’s that word again!) to bringing all our senses to every meal, that’s when we really start to feel pleasure and come to a place of BODYpeace that allows to finally feel spiritually and physically nourished.

Has changing your diet connected you to your spiritual practice? Connect with us and share your story on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

If this conversation resonates with you, you can read more from Heather Waxman in her and Kasey Arena’s book BODYpeace: Release Shame and Discover Body Freedom
– a 30-day guidebook marrying the spiritual and the practical side of food and body discovery. To book a 1:1 session with Heather, click here.

COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez