MY MYSTICAL LIFE: MANIFESTING SUCCESS WITH CANDLE MAGIC

Would last weekend’s Club SÖDA NYC urban retreat have been so successful without a little candle magic?

With co-presenters Siri Rishi and Sah D’Simone

When I started this platform, I had literally zero idea—or desire—to become an event organizer. And yet when it comes to all things numinous, it’s been proven to me time and again that there is no substitute for real-time, human experiences to bring the magic to life. And so a LOT of what I do now (introverted, bookish, solitary, me), is producing and hosting events. And last weekend’s Club SÖDA NYC urban retreat with Kin Social Tonic was one of the best yet!

It was a tall order. Ambitious. A day-long takeover of new NYC members’ club Habitas, with nine workshops, family-style lunch, a panel discussion on the Future of Alcohol, tarot readers, sound and reiki healing sessions, and a Kundalini Disco to round it all off. And the way things worked out, my SÖDA co-founder Biet Simkin and I also only had 10 days to promote it. But we pulled it off AND THEN SOME.

Over 150 people showed up to celebrate with us. Yes, celebrate—since it was also mine and Biet’s birthday weekend, AND the 2-year anniversary of our first Club SÖDA NYC event. But mainly it was a success because of the feedback we got. Happy faces all day long. Revelations had. Friendships made. “Please can you do another day like this again soon!”

Yes, we had a killer line-up. Had called on some of our favorite and most talented guest presenters and co-hosts. Yes the mocktails from Kin got people just the right kind of buzzed. Yes, people are craving ways to connect and experience joy and transcendence without using booze. AND I called in some extra assistance behind the scenes!

A few weeks back, I received a pair of Conjure Fixed Candles from Haus of Hoodoo (a.k.a. modern mystic Jessyka Winston). When I lit the Crown of Success candle the Thursday before our event, my intention was for this project to bring happiness, healing, and new possibilities to all who come into contact with the Sober Curious movement I am spearheading. Leaving it to burn over the course of the weekend, continually checking in and praying over it, I could feel the candle magic working!

I’ll definitely be using Jessyka’s candles again. Not that I don’t trust my own ability to make magic, or the necessity and the power of my message—but when it comes to stepping up, loud and proud, and sharing my work with the world, introverted, bookish me will take all the help I can get.

Below, Jessyka explains the method and the myth behind her candle magic. And scroll down to the bottom of the post for some pics from our event!

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RUBY WARRINGTON: Where does the concept of fixed candles come from and how did they become part of your practice?
JESSYKA WINSTON: The term “fixed” comes from Southern Conjure/Rootwork/Hoodoo. Other traditions called them “dress” or “anointed.” A candle is “fixed” or “dressed” with oils, herbs, and minerals.

RW: How can you explain how they work?
JW: I consider it a form of alchemy used to manifest a certain outcome or change current conditions. The ingredients added into the candle fixing hold their own spirit energy that is activated by breath and fire. These aren’t just candles you light and leave. There’s a connection, reverence and devotion that comes with this work. We communicate with our candle and pray over it daily. It is a ritual of its very own. The more faith you put into the ritual, the more devotion you give your candles the stronger the connection. Therefore, the more successful the outcome will be.

RW: What does the fixing involve? What spirits are you working with?
JW: I have my own spirits who work with me and bless my work. My ancestors, my guides, angels and, of course my Vodou, since I am initiated in both West African Vodoun and Hiatian Vodou. I work in my shrine room in front of my spirits surrounded by their altars. The spirits in the fixing are nature spirits. The spirit of each individual herb, the spirit in the minerals, the spirits in the oils, which are made of herbs and essential oils, as well as the spirit of fire. All these elements come together to make this work happen. In addition, the candles are blessed with prayer and intention. I pray over my candles and speak to them as I’m fixing them. The connection begins with me and then it is carried out and continued by the client receiving and lighting the candle.

Conjur Fixed Candles, $29, Haus of Hoodoo. Jessyka re-stocks her online store every Saturday at 6pm CST.

RW: Can anybody learn / use candle magic, or is this something you need to be initiated into?
JW: Yes, candle magic is for all! No initiation necessary. Candle magic is something you’ll most likely find in all spiritual practices and traditions. Even in Catholicism. Every traditions does it differently. It is a practice that can be used by all and learned by all who wish to learn about it. But I do believe it is something that can take time to master and perfect.

It’s not as simple as throwing some herbs and oils on a candle. A connection needs to be established between you and your craft. Learning which ingredients go well with each other. Also, which herbs and elements respond to you most. Though I work with hundreds of herbs I have my go-to herbs that I know will always do the trick. Each herb is a spirit and just how we connect with some people’s energies and not with others, same happens in this crafts. There will be herbs, ingredients you connect with more than others. Which is why this craft takes time. There is wisdom to be gained before you can master this work.

RW: When are the best times to use these candles – and what are they NOT for?
JW: My Fixed Candles come with instructions advising on which day of the week and time of the day to light your candle and begin your work. It is always best to be in good energy when doing any ritual or any other spiritual workings. If you aren’t in the best of energy, or are feeling ill it is best to skip lighting your candle until you’re in better spirit.

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Below are some images from our Club SÖDA NYC urban retreat. A success indeed! Sign up for our FREE weekly magazine to be the first to know about upcoming events, and join the Club SÖDA NYC Facebook group to connect with our Sober Curious community. 

Pre-Kundalini Disco warm-up

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Gathering for our plant-based family style brunch

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My SÖDA co-founder Biet Simkin with keynote speaker Hawk Newsome of Black Lives Matter

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Biet leading a meditation before our panel discussion

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And thanks to amazing Kin Social Tonic for the adaptogenic mocktails!

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.

HOW I DISCOVERED THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

Material Girl Mystical World is out May 2 2017. Here’s how I wound up writing the book that changed my life…

Five years ago I moved to New York City, with high hopes that I was basically going to morph into Carrie Bradshaw—with a closet full of designer shoes, fabulous cocktail-fueled social life, and a column in Vogue. 15 years working as a fashion journalist in London had taught me two things: 1) my sense of self-worth was directly linked to the level of kudos attached to my job, and 2) you could never have too many shoes.

My first apartment was on Christopher Street in the heart of the chichi West Village, and even had a walk-in closet. It also had holes in the wall exposing live electrical cables, and was infested with vermin. With hindsight, this is pretty much a metaphor for the holes in my materialistic worldview. Because it turns out no amount of Cosmos was a substitute for the friends I’d left behind, and that as a lowly freelancer, working out of my dingy kitchen using my ironing board for a desk, I barely even got to wear the shoes.

Chasing the SATC dream…

As my SATC dream began to crumble, I found myself questioning everything. Why was my NYC adventure so fraught with anxiety? If none of the editors I tried to get meetings with ever called me back, did I even exist? And how come every Skype with my mum made me feel so angry? As if the physical ocean between us served as a reminder of how emotionally distant we’d become over the years.

Which is right about when I decided to create The Numinous, and in doing so totally flip the script.

Let’s face it, five years ago I was kind of an entitled, over-privileged asshole. And definitely not a happy asshole either. Today, I definitely still love shoes. But I’ve also remembered that, for me, true “success” means being connected to myself and others, and contributing something valuable to the planet. Less conspicuous consumption, more conscious creativity. A journey I’ve written about in my upcoming book Material Girl Mystical World. Yes, MY book is the book that changed my life!

The Book That Changed My Life…

My personal revolution has actually been a result of walking the talk and embracing with an open heart and soul the mystics, the teachers, and the healers I’ve encountered on my Numinous path. Diving head-first into the transformational experiences of the Now Age, many of which are chronicled in all their far-out, emotional, and often hilarious glory in my story.

All with the aim of showing how (contrary to the Eat, Pray, Love school of spiritual awakenings) you don’t have to travel to an ashram in India to find yourself. I found “me” in the heart of NYC! The birthplace of the American Dream—the capitalist ideology that tries to convince us true happiness comes in the shape of a Louis Vuitton handbag. And which, since the Mad Men have made it to the Whitehouse, it is increasingly evident is the root of so many of the evils of the modern world.

So how did I get here? In the book, among other heart-and-mind-expanding topics, I talk about:

  • Astrology As Basic Life Skill. Raised atheist, astrology was the first thing that ever spoke to the deep human need in me to feel connected to something greater than myself. To feel like I have a unique role to play in weaving the fabric of humanity. This chapter explains the basics of birth chart interpretation as the path to Cosmic connection.
  • Doing My Dharma. How I came to understand the concept of my work as an act of service—opposed to pursuing a career for the status, the financial security, and the shiny baubles alone. (*When you pre-order the book you’ll gain access to a special Dharma School webinar with me, to help you discover your dharma too!)
  • Finding My Divine Feminine. A deep dive into modern feminism, and how this is intimately connected to the social, political and environmental issues of the 21st Century. Also, how connecting to my Divine Feminine has been instrumental in healing my sexual identity and my relationship with my mum.
  • The Inner Beauty vs. Botox Debate. Why it’s possible to get Botox and still love yourself / identify as spiritually woke. But also how cleaning up your emotional life and doing your dharma, AS WELL AS the yoga and the green juice, is what will truly give you that “glow.”
  • Healing As The New Nightlife. How I have slowly but surely replaced the cocktail highs with spiritual highs, and become a happier, healthier, more compassionate and more WHOLE human being as a result. Who. Freaking. Knew.

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The book is out May 2 2017 (yes, she’s a Taurus—the original “material girl”) and the above is just a taster. There’s so so SO much more juicy content—and in the lead-up to the pub date I’ll be hosting a series of Facebook Lives to introduce the different chapters, and take your questions. Keep following on Facebook and Instagram for more details.

There’s also a sweet BONUS PACKAGE when you pre-order! Including the Dharma School webinar I mentioned, an exclusive missing chapter on how to work with Angels & Spirit Guides, and a month’s free membership to Moon Club. Get all the details and order your copy here.

So there you have it. THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE. I hope my story can help you re-write your own.

10 WAYS THE WOMEN’S MARCH INSPIRED ME

Written on the bus back from DC, Kate Atkinson shares 10 ways the women’s march inspired her…

Kate on the bus to DC

It’s been a hell of winter. As revered actress and feminist Meryl Streep so accurately said, opening the floodgates for women world wide: “In the last few months, at times, I’ve felt as if I “lost my mind.”

Melodramatic much? Not for me. I’m a news media professional. I thrive on absorbing information and understanding people, brands, and causes. And since 11/9, I’ve spent late nights burrowing into internet rabbit warrens. I have spent anxious hours trawling the web and raging with friends via text, levels of research I never conducted when I was at University studying for my BA in journalism.

“Why do this to yourself?” I have repeatedly asked myself. But for some reason, the outcome of a Trump victory stirred me up deeply. It awoke a furious sleeping anger I never even knew burned in me. I have psychoanalyzed it and self-helped it to death. Answers have been hard to come by. And as if my own mental struggle wasn’t intense enough, friends have come forward and told me they aren’t okay either. Some told of to sexual assaults they’d buried for years. Men who’d groped them as teens and made them feel insignificant—which they’d shrugged off as just another teenage learning curve.

The day after the inauguration, a friend and I got up at 4am and got on a bus to Washington DC to march in solidarity for not only women, but for all whose freedom and human rights feel at risk under the incoming administration. We were joined by 3 million marching globally, all of us saying: “ENOUGH.” And actually, “fuck you” to the patriarchy.

In the lead up, I read a media stories talking about this being a “flawed” protest, questioning why it was just for women, asking what purpose it would serve. I’d partaken in aggressive social media discussions and been reminded over and over (at times on a personal level) about the futility of protesting.

Well, this weekend was the most inspiring of my life. Read on for 10 reasons why:

Kate and her bus mates

1. HUMANITY = POWER
The reason the current state of affairs is so alarming, is that the bad guy appears to to be winning. Sexual assault and quite frankly, basic human values, are second to power.Or are they? The marches reminded me that WE are the power. Throughout history, we have been reminded of this by figures such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou. Collectively, we can move mountains. The only thing holding us back is self belief.

2. CREATIVITY AS CATHARSIS
I saw a woman brandishing a giant crocheted reproductive system. I saw giant moveable sculptures. Puppets, a tribe of Donald Trump horses. Paintings that could have been at MoMA. I made a new artist friend who GAVE me a sign, because she’d painted several to deal with her inner turmoil. I saw people on stilts, rappers, instrumentalists, singers. All using their talents to support the same cause. As well as the funnier signs—”WE SHALL OVERCOMB” being a fave—some really pulled my heart. A two-year-old with a sign saying “I love naps but I stay woke.” Creativity helps us heal. I will be painting, paper mache’ing, croche’ing and dancing more in the future.

3. OPEN CONVERSATIONS
So forgive me if I’m oversharing in my post-protest bliss, but I’ve had two pre-cancer operations on my cervix. And yes it was scary as shit. A while back I would have been ashamed to share this, now, absolutely ZERO fucks given. Why? Because why is that shameful? I’ve been lucky enough to milk my healthcare system at home in Australia. Other women in this country would have turned to planned parenthood. It’s a lottery of luck I wasn’t born in a red state. Just today, the NY Times reported that the death rate from cervical cancer in the US is considerably higher than previously estimated and the disparity in death rates between black women and white women is significantly wider.

This whole shit show has opened a dialogue for issues that matter. Who cares if you’re depressed? We do. Who wants to hear about your time feeling ashamed for that? We do.

4. REALITY IS UNDERRATED
Ever found yourself writing rants at a computer screen, diving deeply into the lives of people you don’t know? A few days before Obama left office, he said: “tired of having arguments on the internet? Try speaking to them in real life.” We CAN connect in person. In groups. We are not our computers and our phones. Make a friend. Have coffee. Share. Talk. I am overwhelmed by the blowing up of my phone by women in the last few weeks. Launching fashion brands, needing help in connecting people to do so, media professionals trying to create their own movements and how to all not normalize any of what is going on.

5. NEW FRIENDS
I went to a group pre-march meeting – sober – and I met new people I’m now emailing about doing more “good stuff.” Including Elizabeth Azen, one of the nastiest women around with new kickass brand The Dynasty @thisisdynasty. I also made two new artist friends on the bus and spent all day with them, cracking jokes with one common cause – equality . Repeat: we are not designed to be digital humans. One side effect of standing up for what you believe in is the rad new people you will meet.

6. YES WE CAN
It’s so easy to be a hater. It’s so much easier to say: “this is pointless, we are outnumbered, we can’t make a difference.” As the march showed me—we damn well can, and it starts with you! Show up. Read up. Stay woke. Get nastier.

7. FEMINISM ISN’T JUST ABOUT NEUROTIC BRA-BURNING BULLSHIT
Some men still struggle with feminism. Well—newsflash—I’m not really into some of the things those people “hate” about feminism either. I’ve accepted that being a woman means I’m expected to smile and flirt through life. I use this to my advantage and love it when it means I can get something for free. It’s like Madonna said, “I’m a bad feminist.” But equally, I’ve been shamed many times, personally and professionally, for being too outspoken. For not being “refined” enough. And feminism in 2017 is about an end to that BS. In our lives, in our careers. It’s fine to sexualize women. Women are damn sexy. But don’t patronize us. Like Carrie Fisher said: “Some women play hard to get, I play difficult to understand.”

8. SOBER STREET PARTIES ROCK
I’ve been to my fair share of bars and clubs. I’ve been a drinker many years. And you know what? This was the best dance party of my life. What could have felt like a wake, a day for tears, was the best “straight” high of my life. Need substances to lose your mind? Try raging down the street to the beat of a gazillion strangers from all over the country singing in time: “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” or: “This is What Democracy Looks like!” with glitter, and signs, and animals, and carnival performers, and megaphones, and parked cars with their own dance parties. Try screaming from a place you never knew you had, a guttural cathartic place you used to roll your eyes if people even told you existed.

9. REMEMBER TO RAGE
The systems are broken. They are not working. People will tell you to cooperate. But it’s time to rage against the machine. The mantra: “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.” The media aren’t cooperating—neither should we.

10. IT BEGINS WITH ME
I’ve been on my own journey with self-care this last while. Not always easy. I’m not just talking about eating right and SoulCycle. I’m talking about that breaking that feminine perfectionist tendency for blaming myself, and giving myself a goddamn break. Move towards this, I am finding, and the whole world becomes more accepting of me. I haven’t mastered it. But none of us can participate fully, until we believe in what we are here to give.

So please keep marching girls who just wanna have fun(damental rights). I’m with you every step. Get nasty. Be nastier. Read, write, CREATE, and stay woke. And like the most badass feminist ever, the Wicked Witch of the West, once said: “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.”

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: GOODBYE 2016, IT’S BEEN REAL

Brand new sweats, getting sober curious in London, walking the human tightrope, and saying “goodbye 2016″…

Meeting different versions of me, and staying cozy in our new Broome St. Temple sweatshirt

:: MONDAY ::
Got interviewed by badass yogi Guru Jagat for her RaMa Radio show “Reality Riffing,” which was really kinda cool because usually I’m the one interviewing people! And luckily the moon was in Gemini and I was feeling extra chatty. We got through a bunch of stuff about spiritual activism, walking the wellness talk, and how “being in a human body feels like walking a tightrope right now” (her metaphor, but who isn’t feeling this one??). But guess what? Maybe the tightrope is the only way across the abyss. In which case, let’s keep calm, clear, centered, and never quit cheering each other on. You can listen to the full interview here.

:: TUESDAY ::
First virtual Full Moon ritual for our Moon Club members, and we had people attend from Belfast in Ireland, Toronto, London, Mexico, and all over the United States. YES, this community is global! Since this week’s Gemini Full Moon was the last full moon of 2016, it has felt like a good week to take stock of a year that has brought so many harsh lessons, so much anguish (the tightrope, remember?), and, as a result, such tremendous opportunity for growth. What have you been through this year, and who have you become? This was the theme of Alexandra Roxo’s moving guided meditation, in which we journeyed to meet the different “selves” of 2016, and ask for their lessons, and their blessings. Intrigued? New members can access a recording of the session via the private Moon Club Facebook group any time you sign up.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Finalizing details for Club SÖDA NYC, the new name for my “sober curious” Club Soda events—which I am bringing to London on January 11 due to popular demand! And speaking of previous selves…when I left my home town five years ago for a new life in NYC, I was a full-on party girl, using alcohol and other drugs as a way to bridge the fulfillment gap (the abyss…?) that has since been bridged by creating The Numinous, and all the offshoot projects of this platform. London is also the kind of town where saying you don’t drink is often met with eye rolls and extreme pressure to “just have one,” followed by intense gossiping about how you must be a) in AA, or b) pregnant.

So to say I’m apprehensive about how my new attitude to booze will go down, is kind of an understatement. But it seems that even in the UK, the conversation is changing. Ever since I announced the launch of Club Soda on this side of the pond, I have received messages from Brits asking me to bring the events to the UK—”because we really need something like this.” Not to mention loads of newly sober (and sober curious) friends offering to help me stage a London event. Which means…it’s happening! Read more and get your ticket here.

 

:: THURSDAY ::
New sweatshirts, new sweatshirts! A couple of months back, Urban Yogis co-founder Eddie Stern approached me with the idea of creating a limited edition print of his Broome St. Temple tees (worn by people like, oh, Russell Brand and MADONNA). The Temple was Eddie’s iconic ashtanga studio in Soho, which he vacated earlier this year to set up the equally beautiful Brooklyn Yoga Club—the tees a riff on the logo for punk band The Ramones. Our version? Went went kinda glam with gold foil! As with our Chakra and Vinyasa shirts, a percentage of proceeds will  go to the Urban Yogis, to help fund the amazing work they do bringing peace to marginalized communities in the city. You can check them out and shop the collection here.

:: FRIDAY ::
And speaking of Madonna, if you didn’t already then please, please watch her acceptance speech for the Billboard Woman of The Year award she collected this week. So many truths, such powerful vulnerability, and what a fearless statement about the need for true sisterhood. But above all a reminder, fitting in the final days of 2016, that: “in life there is no real safety, except self-belief.” The tightrope is real. You’d better believe.

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?

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE ROAD

From Austin, TX, to the West Coast…it’s been a week of life lessons from the road.

:: MONDAY—WEDNESDAY::
Anybody who follows my Instagram feed will know the Pisces and I have been on a road-trip the past two weeks. Schedule: Austin—Marfa—Santa Fe—Sedona—Grand Canyon—Vegas—Palm Springs—Joshua Tree—LA. And it has been a TRIP—meaning the daily checking off of bucket list items, AND the deep and thorough examination of the contents of my head / current situation.

As I’m back in NY for a few days this week (yep there’s more to come!), I wanted to take the opportunity to record a few spiritual lessons from the road. Here goes:

Even your soul project / true calling / dharma work can become a ball and chain if you let it. In fact, there’s perhaps an even stronger likelihood of it taking over your entire life than a “regular” job where you clock in and out every day, since it’s what you were “born to do.” Like breathing. And so it feels natural to do it ALL THE TIME. Getting away from my desk and onto the open road gave me some invaluable perspective on how, with so many projects bubbling (book, sweatshirt line, live events, Club SÖDA NYC, etc!) I have allowed The Numinous to become my everything this year, to the point that there was no space in my life for…ME. Let alone for it to still feel like fun. This realization hit has I found myself trying to get a WiFi signal hiking somewhere in the Sedona red rocks, and suffering extreme bouts of anxiety at the number of unread emails that were building up while I “wasted time” checking out the Grand Canyon. I mean WT actual F?

A road trip is the perfect crucible from some honest self-reflection. Since your driving buddy essentially acts as a giant mirror for all your shit—kind of like your higher self observes your ego mind running rings around itself in meditation. In my case, the Pisces was the voice of my higher self—my fretting over where to do the conference call I had scheduled in TWO DAYS TIME, my fearful monkey mind trying to stay in “control” as my external environment shifted on an hourly basis. “You don’t have to do any of it if you don’t want to,” he reminded me. “You chose all this.” And what a fucking privilege too! The key insight being, that if I chose this work, then it is absolutely in my power to un-choose any bits that are no longer working for me. Like responding to every email I get within the hour. And same goes for all of us, in ANY situation, actually. YOU get to chose where your energy goes.

I do not need any more crystals, animal totems, oracle decks, or bunches of sage. A.k.a. all the trappings of “spiritual materialism”—a term that’s come up a few times lately, and so obviously was asking to be pondered. Not to mention my go-to on every stop of our trip being to seek out the best esoteric book store in town—which began to feel a bit like bypassing the art and going straight to the museum shop. As you can imagine, my house is FULL of spiritual paraphernalia—a Ganesh here, a clutch of crystals there. And it’s all very pretty. But I can’t honestly say I feel a true connection to most of it. And what become so clear on my trip was that all that “stuff,” for me, is simply a collection of talismans for the real spiritual work (the “art,” if you like) that’s happening on the inside. What I would define as the honest self-inquiry into WHO I AM and WHAT I NEED be the most fully me—as in, the truest expression of my spiritual self. Example: a healer I worked with recently told me a could use some Malachite in my life. But as I found myself returning lump after lump of the pretty green rock to its shelf in various esoteric stores along our route, I was also coming to the realization that what I truly need to develop spiritually is less time responding to emails, and more discernment on where I’m placing my energy (see points no. 1 & 2).

My email / work addiction is way worse than my alcohol addiction. As I explained when I wrote out my sober curious story a couple of weeks ago, my path to a more sober life over the past few years has meant a lot of sober firsts. And besides a few beers at the Austin City Limits festival on the first night of our trip, this has been my first ever (well, since the age of 15 or so I guess) sober vacation. “Holiday drinking” had always been my sobriety hall-pass (“I’ll only drink on holiday”), and so stepping outside of this has allowed for plenty of opportunity to witness my alcohol cravings and where they come from. And—ta-da!—the majority of the time I find myself fantasizing about a cocktail, it’s to flick the switch from work to play mode. Or rather, numb out the constant desire to…numb out with work and email! Being off my laptop has meant being fully present with my (not always exactly carefree, vacay-ready) self—showing me the extent to which I use work / being productive and busy, as a way to NOT just be with me. Which is what vacations are all about…which is why I now see I always held booze (believing it to be the most effective off-switch from work) as a vacay staple.

Hugging trees is the best. The hippies knew it, and every time I remember to do it I’m reminded how good and grounding, how calm, regenerative, and holy it feels to put your arms around a tree and really squeeze. Cut to Joshua Tree, where I found myself doing some filming with my boo Alexandra Roxo for a VERY EXCITING PROJECT (yes, another one!!) we’re launching on your asses next month. At one point, Roxo whips off her shirt and grabs the nearest trunk—the naked part not so natural for me, but my own tree-hug just as heartfelt. Our mutual friend Madeline has got into it lately too, “and she says it’s like doing a drug deal,” Alexandra joked. “In the city, you have to look in all directions and then go for it while you’re sure no-body’s watching.” Well, I say screw that! Who cares if they see? Tree-hugger and proud. A part of me I’ve been happy to re-connect with on the road.

Scenes from The Softer Image. Behind me, there was wild dancing and kava shots…

:: THURSDAY ::
I have to make some space here for beautiful Luke Simon’s nightlife experiment The Softer Image, a substance-free “high-vibe lounge” that debuted in NYC tonight. So happy I was back in town for this!! Said vibey “highs” were supplied by the equally divine Sah D’Simone‘s alchemical elixirs and tonics, a group trance to kick the evening off by talented hypnotherapist Shauna Cummins, and THE BEST old school housey soundtrack from DJ Bryce Hackford. There were hugs, wild dancing, impromptu reiki sessions, and my clock read 11.11pm before I knew it. Held in a Chinatown loft, maybe it was the kava shots, but the feel I kept getting was 4am-loved-up-after-party—only it all ended by midnight and everybody was completely sober. Thank you, Universe (and Luke), for hearing my pleas—and delivering a new way to switch off from work and have FUN. No alcohol required!

:: FRIDAY ::
I hate the rain. But today I love the rain. Since I’m my own boss, I shall be choosing to mainly work from underneath my duvet. Which will mostly mean reading the early proofs of Guru Jagat’s new book Invincible Living, ahead of my live Q&A with her at tomorrow’s Numinous Presents event in Brooklyn. I bet she has a thing or two to say about email addiction…since Kundalini yoga was developed by Yogi Bhajan as an antidote to what he saw (way back in the sixties) as the onset of “technology sickness.” Intrigued? There a still a few spots left—click here to discover more and sign up. 

 

THE SOFTER IMAGE: HIGH VIBE NYC DANCE PARTY

The Softer Image is a new NYC nightlife experiment from hip healer & mystic Luke Simon. On a mission to help folks “get turnt while staying woke,” we needed to know more…

 

The Softer Image is an exploration of new ways to party. Imagine, nightlife that expands your consciousness and improves your health. Let’s get wild without getting sick. Let’s get turnt up while staying woke. Let’s get psychic not blacked out. People want to let go and feel the Spirit so they turn to spirits. Our pop up party uses healing and holistic cocktails to open the human energy field to fun on a cosmic level.

THE NUMINOUS: What was the idea behind A Softer Image? Why do we need a party like this?!
LUKE SIMON: I wanted to start hosting a high vibe party because so many people in the city now are doing healing work and are no longer drinking. Or maybe just don’t like the spooky energy at bars, but still want to go out, dress up, dance and basically celebrate life.

We have so many amazing workshops, sessions and classes now, but there was this reservoir of vibes building up in me that just wanted to be free and have fun! Spirituality doesn’t have to be about serious self-cultivation and restraint. My higher self constantly urges me to DANCE through life. But when I try to do that at a club in NYC, it doesn’t even really start ’til 1am, and then I have to take off the next day of two to recover my sleep. Not to mention if there are drink and drugs involved.

TN: What’s your vision for the night?
LS: As I’ve honed my vibrational sensitivity, I’ve been dreaming of people hanging out in a beautiful space with great music and an elixir bar. The idea of Portals fascinates me—they say Stone Henge was one, and many cultures have used physical spaces and group energy to open up to the Universe. I was also intrigued by the idea of group trance, rituals and spells in the context of a party. Because a party basically is a ritual—the intention is FUN, and everyone brings their energy to the ritual in their own way. Partying is sacred!

TN: As you know, with our Club SÖDA NYC events we’re encouraging people to get high on their own supply. But nightclubs still feel flat to me without alcohol! Is it really possible to go wild on the dancefloor totally sober? 
LS: The Softer Image comes after a lot of personal experimenting with how to feel good in a healthy way. It’s a gathering for people to explore this question for themselves: can they have fun without alcohol? And also, what are the other, softer substances that can also help us let go of our inhibitions and have fun?

Softening has been a huge theme on my personal journey: softening the mind and trusting the flow. But also, letting go of the aggressive reaching for things that make me feel tense. Yoga has taught me about “arriving” to every moment, and “abiding” in my body and in my heart. The deeper healing I have done in the past years is all about softening the edges and releasing all that still tries to leave this moment—which alcohol, ultimately, facilitates.

TN: What’s the music policy? Have you got a theme song for the night?
LS: The song “Now that we’ve found Love what are we gonna do with it?” keeps coming to mind! I am so amazed by all the spiritual energy in the air and how much people are transforming. But I feel there is still this seriousness and strictness that we can integrate with a little celebration and release. What do you do with the Love and the Freedom once you get it?! You want to celebrate, but where? The Softer Image will be popping up around cities to give people a place to be their high vibe self and have fun in a beautiful, playful, temporary zone.

TN: So what can we expect on the night?
LS: Kate Falcone is creating a beautiful pink tinted interior, and the first gathering features Shauna Cummins leading us into a group trance to manifest our desires. She calls the work “Wish Craft”! Light being and wellness coach Sah D’Simone is manifesting the high vibe bar with balancing and softly altering herbal tonics, superfood snacks and juice blends. And I will DJ, along with Bryce Hackford.

The Softer Image is happening October 20 2016 from 8pm at a private location in lower Manhattan (TBA to ticket holders). Entry is $20—but Numinous readers get $5 off with the code “NUMI” Click here to get your ticket and follow @thesofterimage on Insta for more info.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: SHARING MY “SOBER CURIOUS” STORY

WTF does “sober curious” mean anyway? Allow me to explain…

Shiny sober people—pre-beers at Austin City Limits

:: MONDAY :: (and basically on my mind all week)
So the Pisces and I have embarked on a fuck-off road trip for the majority of October (planned very last minute, but totally fitting for my Aries Tarotscope this month)—and we kicked things off seeing LCD Soundsystem at the Austin City Limits festival last night. Coincidentally our favorite band just happened to be playing in the first city and on the first night of our trip. Thank you, Universe!

Those who follow me on social media will also know that I had a couple of beers at the festival (three, to be precise), which in turn led to a couple of comments from people asking “erm, what happened to #highsobriety?” Comments that were quite justified, since having begun hosting my Club SÖDA NYC events this year I have been talking a lot about my journey leading a more sober life.

These comments also made me realize I can’t then just randomly go drink a beer without properly explaining myself! As such, I have decided to share my sobriety story here this week—which I have done in person at my Club SÖDA NYC events (stands for Sober Or Debating Abstinence btw), but never in a post on this site. So here goes.

***

Having been a habitual binge drinker for the majority of my 20s and 30s, I have spent the past six years slowly but steadily unlearning the habit of reaching for a drink on autopilot in any and all social situations.

Why? Well firstly the hangovers had become pretty fucking unbearable as I entered my middle 30s, and never really worth the short-lived buzz of the night before. But on a more sinister note, I had also been able to pinpoint alcohol as, if not exactly the cause, then a major contributing factor to the daily anxiety and overall sense of doom that had begun to cloud my days.

I only made the connection recently, but this coincided with me first learning to meditate back in 2010—and subsequently having my first ideas about creating The Numinous. And stepping deeper onto my spiritual path over the following months and years, I began to question the nature of the “high” that I (we?) got from alcohol.

The more I worked on healing my emotional wounds (much of which is documented elsewhere on this site), and the deeper a connection I forged with what felt like my whole / true / spiritual self as a result, the more I began to feel naturally high a lot the time. The question became; why did I (we) even “need” alcohol, anyway?

But no way was this process proving to be a walk in the park. Booze was (is) everywhere, not to mention it being a highly addictive (in fact the most addictive) drug. They say the definition of madness is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome—and considering I spent the next few years resolving not to drink, drinking anyway, then feeling like shit and hating myself for it, it could also be said that alcohol was beginning to drive me crazy.

So eventually, a little over a year ago, I asked a friend to bring me to a couple of AA meetings. By now I was only drinking maybe once or twice a month (versus what had been three or four times a week). But if I was still having a hard time saying “no” in certain situations—or else obsessing over the next time I would “allow” myself a drink—I must be in denial about a more serious drinking problem, right?

And while I could immediately see what an amazing source of support AA is to the people the program resonates with, sitting among these brave souls I felt like an imposter. When it came time to introduce myself with the classic: “hi, I’m Ruby and I’m an…” the word “alcoholic” stuck in my throat like a puke-inducing tequila slammer.

Some people might say I was (am?) simply in denial, but I had already made so much progress cutting back on my drinking by this point, it was hard to swallow the idea I was “powerless over alcohol” (the way they frame alcoholism in AA). I also knew from conversations I’d begun having with other friends that no way was I the only one who felt this way. And so I got a bunch of us together to talk about it over a pot-luck dinner at my apartment. Which was essentially the first Club SÖDA NYC meet-up.

We shared our stories, along with our conflicted feelings about booze (could be so much fun! but at such a high price…), and it felt good, and right, to shine a light on the shame and confusion most of us felt about this. Questions that came up were along the lines of: does continuing to drink even when life is generally better when you don’t make you an alcoholic? If so, does this mean total abstinence is the only answer? Or is it possible to be mostly sober, and still drink in a high-vibe way from time-to-time?

***

These questions are at the heart of a conversation I’ve since been having a lot, not to mention a subject I’ve been doing more and more research on. And besides plenty of soul-searching and at times painfully honest self-inquiry, discussions at Club SÖDA NYC events and a few great books (listed at the end of this post) have led me to draw the following conclusions:

1. Our brain chemistry is designed to a) seek pleasure and b) avoid pain, causing us to repeatedly seek out anything that ticks these boxes. And so, since alcohol is a substance that a) provides pleasure by b) numbing pain, human beings are essentially pre-disposed to become addicted to alcohol.

2. Since we are old enough to understand that certain behaviors lead to certain outcomes, we are conditioned to believe(by society, media, and relentless marketing) that drinking alcohol a) provides pleasure and b) numbs pain. Also, that it is a necessary component to any and all social situations, celebrations, dance parties and first dates, and that it makes miserable days feel more okay.

I’ve billed subsequent Club SÖDA NYC events as being for the “sober curious,” which basically sums up the way I feel about my journey with sobriety today—much of which has meant getting curious about the above findings, in both my thinking and my life choices.

It has meant questioning the nature of addiction, and the stigma we attach to alcohol addiction in particular. For example, you’d probably be happy telling people you’re addicted to coffee…but alcohol, not so much. But if evolution (not to mention a lifetime’s social conditioning) has pretty much set us up to believe alcohol is the answer to…let’s see…the existential crisis known as “being human,” then where’s the shame in simply acknowledging this?

After all, as Brené Brown teaches in Daring Greatly, shame-breeds-secrecy-breeds-stigma-breeds-shame—and shining a light on that shit is the only way to end the cycle, as any AA advocate will also tell you. (Despite the whole “anonymous” part kind of playing into the secrecy-stigma-shame game in my opinion…which is also NOT to dismiss how invaluable the support provided by AA is for many millions of people! Jeez. This can be such a slippery conversation.)

Living sober curious has also meant facing a lot of sober firsts. If my journey thus far had got me comfortable with sober dinners and sober networking events, say, now it was time to attempt my first sober wedding, first sober vacation, first sober nightclub, first sober family visit. A.k.a. the drinking occasions I had held onto as sacred (read: not going to be much fun / even doable without a drink).

And turns out that some of these things are amazing—if not waaaay better—sober, and that some are not as much fun / even worth doing without alcohol. Which I basically see as my soul telling me to a) either not do those things, or b) accept that life is simply not endlessly entertaining / enjoyable!

Because last but by no means least, living sober curious has meant getting super comfortable with the fact that being human is not—and is not supposed to be—comfortable. We are designed to experience a whole range of feelings on a daily basis, some “good,” some “bad,” and all in service of keeping us in alignment with the choices that are in our highest good. Feels good? Do more of it. Feels bad? Either don’t do it, or do something to make it feel better (like, maybe actually have that “difficult” conversation with your mom versus getting wasted on rosé next time you have to see her). Option three? Simply sit with it, feel it, and allow it to pass. (It will pass).

The way I see it, alcohol momentarily overrides the “feeling bad,” thus providing a fake “feeling good.” The problem being that we then never get around to addressing whatever it was that was making us feel like shit in the first place. And so another soul-destroying cycle is perpetuated.

And well, at this point on my sober curious journey, I can tell you that consistently choosing not to drink feels fucking GREAT. Feels confident, calm, safe, focussed, enthusiastic, engaged, and energized. And that it’s also great when it feels awkward, sad, angry, lost, or lonely—because it turns out all these feelings are just part of my human experience, and so choosing not to numb them out feels like choosing to be fully ME.

***

So then why drink those beers at ACL? Why not show up fully “conscious,” fully myself, to an experience I could pretty much guarantee would be awesome without alcohol?

The short answer is that dancing under the stars to my favorite music is still one of the very few (if not the only) drinking occasion I still hold sacred. Sacred as in…a way to connect to the undefinable, numinous, part of me that is pure sensation, pure experience. Yes, there are other (low and high-vibe) ways to attain this state—but as humans have known since the dawn of civilization, one other use for alcohol is to get there fast. Like, in the 90 minutes LCD Soundsystem are on stage. If (and it’s still an “if”) I choose to keep alcohol in my life at all going forward, it will be solely for…dancing under the stars to my favorite music. Like a Pagan.

Which is about where this becomes a tricky conversation again.

Because the sober stalwarts might say this is just my addiction talking…and to be fair, I might well agree with them. Is it fucked up that I’m also kind of okay with that? Yes…I guess…because they might also say that it’s irresponsible of me to be preaching the joys of #highsobriety, and then go drink a beer (or three)! Even if it’s only once or twice a year. And I take this on board whole-heartedly, since I know that my path to semi-sobriety is unique to me—and that, for many, alcohol poses more of a serious if not a deadly threat.

If this is you, then I bow to your sobriety, and to your spiritual resilience. You are an inspiration.

For now, this is who I am, and this where I’m at on my sober curious journey. I’d love to hear where any of you reading stand on the issues it’s brought up—since the more sharing, and the less shame, secrecy and stigma about alcohol and the slippery, slippery subject of alcohol addiction, the better.

FURTHER READING – 

The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease

This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Rediscover Happiness & Change Your Life (Volume 1)

The Sober Revolution: Women Calling Time on Wine O’Clock (Volume 1)

The next Club SÖDA NYC event will be on December 1 2016 in NYC. Sign up for our newsletter for more details as they are announced.

GABBY BERNSTEIN: “SOBRIETY STARTED MY SPIRITUAL AWAKENING”

For Gabby Bernstein sobriety played an important role in her spiritual awakening. Ruby Warrington asks her, could we all benefit from a more sober life?

I received my copy of Gabby Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back, right when I was in the middle of organizing our #TuneInPeaceOut initiative for World Peace Day. Translation: I had zero time to sit down and read it. But an interesting thing happened.

Flicking through the pages, every time I stopped Gabby was riffing on how her sobriety had played such an important part in her spiritual journey. And experimenting with a sober life myself right now (check out my Club SÖDA NYC project here) the message that this is exactly the right path for me came through loud and clear (thank you, Universe!)

It was also clear that for Gabby Bernstein sobriety had played an important part in her spiritual awakening. I decided to sit down with her, to talk about the link between sobriety and spirituality, and get her advice on living sober.

(And p.s. the day I’m running this post—October 02 2016—is her 11 years’ sober anniversary!)

Ruby Warrington: So the reason I’m trying to be sober is because the way I feel when there’s no alcohol in my system is like, “Fuck, this is who I AM.” And honestly, I no longer feel like I can show up and properly serve on my mission these days unless I’m 100% myself.

Gabrielle Bernstein: I love that, and I think you should be sober then. That’s part of the reason I’m sober. This is the only consciousness I want to have. Although of course sometimes I’m like, ‘bye bye, get me the hell out of here’!

RW: That’s the thing, sometimes that still sounds nice! Especially when, and I know you’ve had issues with this too because you’ve written about it, I end up replacing alcohol with work. I fucking love what I do, so that’s okay. But then, where’s the release, where’s the escape?

GB: I have had to find that in the last five or six months. I realized I had become severely addicted to work, because I’ve been running for so long from these fears that I didn’t want to see. In the beginning stages of healing from this, I would find myself going to my desk and sitting down and literally numbing out with work. I was like, “Oh my God, that’s how I’ve been hiding.”

RW: I do that too. There’s a sense of relief when I can say, “Oh good, I’ve got like three hours of solid emails now and I can’t think about anything else.”

GB: Exactly. So what I’ve done is freed up a lot of that space for meditation. I meditate a lot longer.

RW: More meditation than your two TM sessions?

GB: I’m doing this Doreen Virtue chord cutting meditation in the morning, and then a TM meditation in the afternoon. It’s super good, I’m going to send it to you. As a result, I’ve been feeling more connected than ever. It also has to do with not playing into the word addiction, and being willing to heal.

Carrot juice on our interview date

RW: So on the sobriety thing, one reason I created Club SÖDA NYC is because I don’t feel like I identify the word “alcoholic.” As somebody in recovery, do you believe there is a middle ground when it comes to alcohol addiction?

GB: Absolutely. And it’s so good that you’re doing that. There’s some people that don’t find their way to AA but they want to have a way to get out of alcohol.

RW: When do you remember first finding an escape with alcohol and drugs?

GB: I guess in college, when it was uppers that I liked. I didn’t really even like alcohol that much, it was more like the snorting things.

RW: You mean uppers like Adderall?

GB: Yeah that’s what I was in to. I never liked alcohol, I just needed it to balance myself out. But by the time I hit my rock bottom in 2005 I was doing drugs and drinking every day.

RW: Were you fully aware of that being a problem?

GB: Yeah everyday I’d be like, “Shouldn’t do that again.” And then do it again. It was probably only seven months that it was really bad. The really bad didn’t last that long.

RW: So how did you seek help?

GB: I went to an addiction specialist who helped me understand that I was an alcoholic, because at the time I thought that I was just a drug addict. He was like, “No, you have an alcohol problem.” And I was like, “what do you mean?” He’s like, “Well what do you do every time you have a drink?” I was like, “I do drugs.” He showed me how this meant I was drinking unmanageably.

RW: I recently read an amazing book on alcohol addiction called “This Naked Mind.” And based on the teachings of this, plus my personal observations, I feel like a lot more people than will ever admit—even to themselves—are in a similar situation with alcohol and drugs. Do you believe this to be the case?

GB: I think that people definitely struggle…but it’s hard for me to comment because most of my friends today are sober. Well not “sober,” they just don’t really drink because they’re really health conscious. So I don’t see that much abuse of substances in my day to day. A lot of people come up to me and say, “Oh I got sober because of Spirit Junkie.” I hear people’s sobriety stories, but I don’t see people in their addiction anymore. But overall, I think it’s an epidemic. I mean addiction is an epidemic.

RW: And actually alcohol still kills more people than all prescription and all illegal drugs put together…

GB: Even more heroin?

RW: Insane, right? And in tests it’s the only drug that falls into the “extreme risk” category for addiction. Yet it’s the one that’s pushed on you from every direction the minute you’re old enough.

GB: Right. And I do think that from a spiritual perspective, if you want to have a closer connection with God then you can’t be muddying your consciousness.

RW: Which leads me to my next question. Do you believe that anyone who identifies as being on a spiritual path or who is seeking in that way, would benefit from at least trying an extended period of sobriety?

GB: Absolutely. I don’t want to say that if you’re on a spiritual path, you have to be sober. There are plenty of people that I know that are fine with a glass of wine. They have it once a week and they’re fucking fine. But I do think that it will only benefit you spiritually to have a sober life.

RW: My experience of this has been feeling truly “whole.” I think this is because as much as alcohol is about numbing out from fear, it’s also about hiding the parts of yourself that you don’t necessarily understand. That you find it hard to love and accept.

GB: Yes, that you don’t want to admit to, and you don’t want to feel.

RW: Totally. So I think for me, that sense of wholeness has been about accepting that even if I don’t really like myself today, that’s still me. It’s all part of myself. You know? So what about the plant medicines that everybody’s doing now, like ayahuasca?

GB: Well, I think sober is sober, and that’s a mind altering substance. You know my spiritual teachers do it and I’m not going to judge anybody, but I would definitely say that’s a relapse if you think you’re sober. Most sober people wouldn’t even take NyQuil!

RW: I hear you! So I’m kind of at this point where I’m experimenting with trying to experience each situation I would normally associate with drinking sober…

GB: You want to know how you quit drinking? You no longer give yourself permission. We all have permission giving thoughts—and, for example, I’ve been off sugar for three years now because I no longer give myself permission to have sugar. if you were like, “I’m no longer giving myself permission, any more, to have alcohol,” then interesting things could happen.

RW: Vacation are the really tough one for me…

GB: I feel like that’s okay! I think you can maybe not give yourself permission unless its a vacation. Except you have to be really strong, like, “When I come back I have to stop this.” Because even eating things on vacation that I wouldn’t normally eat, like cheese or bread. I come home and I want those things!

RW: Well I’m ready, because the more I commit to not drinking, the more I feel like this is a part of the consciousness shift that’s occurring right now. Like people are really invested in the idea that you can get high by tuning in, not numbing out. I think you’ve helped to spearhead this, and it’s actually been a really important part of your story, you know?

GB: There’s no doubt that getting sober was the catalyst for my spiritual awakening. I’ve had many, many more since that day, but that was the turning point for me. It was when I chose a life of deep connection rather than a life of numbing out. It was when I chose to wake up.

Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book, The Universe Has Your Back, is out now on Hay House. And we’re giving away one signed copy!

To win, tag your next Instagram post with #NumiUniverse. Make sure to follow and tag @The_Numinous and be sure to add the hashtag #NumiUniverse—otherwise we won’t see your post! Winners will be picked at random and notified via direct Instagram message.

Deadline for entries: 1 p.m. (EST) October 5, 2016.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: AN INVITATION TO CHOOSE PEACE, EVERY DAY

Our #TuneInPeaceOut initiative is an invitation to choose peace, every day and in every way…

:: MONDAY ::
Got to see Deepak “the don” Chopra speak live for the first time, at the launch of his Radical Beauty book with nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. TOTALLY get why he is who he is. The charisma! The effortless way with a deeply spiritual insight! A fave takeaway were his quotes about our relationship to our bodies: “Your body is an activity, not a thing. It’s not a sculpture it’s a river.” And how, since our cells are in a continual process of rejuvenation: “I’ve had this jacket longer than the body I’m wearing today.”

:: TUESDAY ::
Another day, another book about feeding our body right with Nicole Centeno’s Soup Cleanse Cookbook. Nicole is the founder of Splendid Spoon, one of our sponsors at Club SÖDA NYC, and she’s all about the healing power of soup. As Nicole tells it, souping changed her life (a low-calorie way to stay fuller for longer, the mindfulness of making soup, AND a totally practical way to cook and eat big batches of seasonal veg). All I really need to know is, my body just sort of gives me a big, cozy hug from the inside just looking at some of her recipes—which feels like an intuitive “yes” to a lot more souping this fall to me.

With Juquille, Eddie, Jaytaun, Tyrell and Raheem of the Urban Yogis, and Erica and Prince of Life Camp.

:: WEDNESDAY :: (Lots to say here, you might want to go make a cup of tea first…)
So roughly three weeks ago, I had the idea for #TuneInPeaceOut—an initiative to celebrate the UN’s International Day of Peace. This following some work I did with my coach Cherie Healey, when I was thinking about the big, underlying message of The Numinous. “If I gave you the loudest megaphone in the world, and put you on top of the highest mountain, what would you say to the world?” she asked. The words came immediately: “Can everybody just stop fighting. We’re all human. We all have the same needs, and the same fears. Please can we remember that we’re here to help each other work it out?”

Because essentially (besides me just being a massive pacifist), all the practices, philosophies, and ways of healing that we cover on The Numinous are about forging a deeper connection to our true nature—and therefore a deeper sense of connection to ourselves, and to each other. Two things I believe are fundamental to any conversation about creating more peace in our (inner and outer) world. This since a) connection to self is what fosters the resilience needed to respond to life’s trials in a calm, non-reactive way; and b) it becomes pretty much impossible to want to harm somebody once you recognize that we are all part of one big human family!

And then “Summer 2016” happened. Week after week we were slammed with reminders of the rampant divisiveness, hatred and violence in our world right now, and often stemming from a place of separation, of “us” v. “them.” Which is not exactly anything new. Bombings, shootings, rape, hate crimes, and other acts of terrorism are happening all over the world, every day. But what struck me was the emotional charge in the way we responded to the events of this summer. How personally we all took each heart-wrenching episode of violence and injustice.

I think this is because we’ve reached a tipping point in how we consume our news. It used to be that we first heard of such inhumane acts as mass shootings and racist police brutality from people in suits, reading from scripts, in newsrooms far away. Now, this information first reaches us via our social media feeds—the same place we connect with our family and friends, and share our own lives with those we love. As a result, it has become impossible not to empathize with the people being violated against as we would our own brothers and sisters, parents, friends, and colleagues. The veil of separation dissolves…and we are reminded that we are all part of one big human family.

And with this, comes the remembrance that it is all of our responsibility to look out for one another. To speak up. Literally. Like, “WTF, that’s not how we do things in THIS family!!” No matter how scary, or how uncomfortable this might feel. And to take whatever (non-violent!) action we can to change up the status quo.

The above is pretty much how I introduced my event in NYC for #TuneInPeaceOut, which ended up being one of 20 or so IRL gatherings held by the Numinous tribe globally. Earlier in the day I also hosted a live webinar with Bri Luna from The Hoodwitch and my dear friend and collaborator Alexandra Roxo (you can listen to the recording here), in which we spelled out what this initiative is really all about—empowering all of us to use our voice and take action to choose peace, and help create more peaceful communities from the ground up.

After all, as a friend in the UK pointed out on one of my posts about #TuneInPeaceOut, since it was inaugurated in 1981, it would not appear that the UN’s International Day of Peace has actually done much to end—or even lessen—violence. Since September 21 was subsequently declared a day of of ceasefire and non-violence in 2001, US military spending has increased dramatically—rising from under $400 billion to almost $800 billion in 2011 (there has been a slight drop during Obama’s presidency, but spending is projected to increase again in 2017). I see this as yet another reminder that it is actually on YOU AND ME to demand a different way of resolving conflict. That the power, truly, must be claimed by the people.

This message is why I partnered with the amazing Urban Yogis for my event tonight, since here are some people who are walking the freaking talk. Based in Jamaica, Queens, a neighborhood where violent street crime fueled by prejudice and lack of opportunity is a way of life, the courageous and progressive human beings behind this initiative are bringing the tools of yoga and meditation into their local community. The results? Less reactivity. Less violence. More listening. Increased feelings of self-worth, leading to more empowered and empowering lifestyle choices.

And, most importantly, the slow chipping away of stereotypes (about the “kind of people” who do yoga, for example—or who perpetrate violent crimes) that are the sick, Monsanto seed of so much separation, fear, and hate.

“Real change needs all year round effort, not just a day,” my friend noted. And I could not agree more. Which is why it is my sincere hope that the conversations sparked by #TuneInPeaceOut will continue today, tomorrow, and every day going forward. That we will continue to choose peace every step of the way. On our webinar, we asked people to share what this looked like in their lives, and what they do to bring more peace to their communities, so we could all be inspired by each others efforts. I’ve created a post with the transcript from our chat. Check it out here—and add your feedback in the comments, so we can keep the conversation alive.

:: THURSDAY ::
Pulled the above card in a mini meeting oracle deck reading with my girl Lisa Barner. Thanks for listening, angels.

:: FRIDAY ::
And all that said, with the Moon in Cancer today, sign of nurture and self-care, I shall be mainly tuning in…and peace’ing out.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: BURNING MAN PREP AND A COSMIC CONNECTION

Seem like everybody is deep in Burning Man prep? I’m getting ready for next week’s super intense Virgo New Moon Eclipse… Club SÖDA NYC images: Katrin Albert

Hosting Club SÖDA NYC with Biet Simkin and amazing Betsy LaFae

 

:: MONDAY ::
A reiki session with Jessica Brodkin—an energy healer I met recently who used to work for the CIA, and does stand-up comedy on the side. My kinda Material / Mystical gal! And as well laying like a TON of crystals on me (including a perfectly clear quartz Ganesh on my second chakra), what I loved about the way Jessica works is that she also provided a running commentary about what was going on. I really love the concept of reiki—a mystical healing energy that we can all learn how to channel? Yes please!—but since the effects are so subtle I can often leave a session wondering, did anything just happen?!

But as Jessica got my chakras spinning (fave takeaway: “I’m not sure how to describe this except to say your sacral chakra is now looking on fleek”), she also spoke highly intuitively about issues I’m currently facing, gave a cool book recommendation, suggested some crystals for me to work with, and helped me say a forgiveness prayer. Overall, I left feeling like I’d had a total energetic tune-up. Find out more about Jessica and book a session at Loveandlightservices.com

:: TUESDAY ::

Club SÖDA NYC! Biet Simkin and I had an amazing turn-out for our second big Soda event, which (of course) we had timed specifically to coincide with the Sun’s move into Virgo—sign of health, wellbeing, and service. This is the month to really connect to the concept of how a healthy body and mind allows us to most efficiently show up and do our dharma. And, as we head towards next Thursday’s Virgo New Moon, now is the perfect time to let any and all unhealthy habits (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual!) just fall way.

The 9/1 New Moon is also a solar eclipse AND Mercury will have just gone retrograde. Add in a formidable T-square (the Moon, Sun, Mercury and North Node in Virgo will square Mars and Saturn in Sag, and oppose Neptune in Pisces) we are talking some intensely karmic and unpredictable REBIRTH energy out there. I for one intend to be clean and clear and fully on my A-game!

More Club SÖDA NYC vibes: a.k.a. how it feels to get high on your own supply

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Some of my most mystical moments are found in the experience of deep, soul connection with my fellow humans. Doesn’t it feel like MAGIC when that chemistry happens? In love, at work, and in our most precious friendships. I took two hours out for lunch today with a friend who makes me feel that way—and time stopped, the cosmos aligned, and it fed me more than a thousand hours of reiki. Heaven on earth.

:: THURSDAY ::
OMG. Got news that Cara Delevigne and her sister Poppy have ordered two of our Vinyasa sweatshirts to take to Burning Man. That is all.

Vinyasa shirt, $69

:: FRIDAY ::
In fact, for all you Burners out there, may I point you in the direction of some Numinous reading for your journey to the Playa. See you there next year!

How To Survive Your First Time At Burning Man

Is Burning Man A Spiritual Game Changer?

26 Life Lessons My Burning Man Experience Taught Me

HOW I BECAME MY OWN REBOUND RELATIONSHIP

Rather than indulging in a post-break-up rebound with another person, engage in a fling with yourself says Emma Whitehair…  Artwork: Maja Planinac

The first thing that “rebound relationship” googles up is: “an attempt to fill a hole in your life… to avoid the pain of a breakup.” And there’s few of us unfamiliar with that visceral craving to have something, or someone, fill the void left by the ending of an intimate human connection.

Even though my last breakup didn’t involve a breakdown, letting go of a lover often leaves me feeling bereft. That special closeness lost, gone forever, with them having known me so intimately.

So I grieved a little, before my gut suggested—actually shouted pretty loudly—that I needed to treat this hole as space for growth. This was my time to face my fear of being single, pack up my emotional baggage and elope. With myself.

Unlike the quick fix of a fling, or a replacement insta-relationship, rebounding with yourself is about so much more than simply avoiding heartache. No one else can offer the same level of security, unconditional love or acceptance, as a divine relationship with yourself.

As I have discovered, this kind of self-generated love allows your life to flow with joy, and for things to start magically falling into place. In the words of Oscar Wilde: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”. So, how about a three-way with mind, body and soul; be part of the self-love revolution!

There are many routes to saying a passionate yes to yourself, and while each person’s path is as individual as them, here are a few things that helped ignite a romance with the soul mate under my very nose. Literally.

:: TUNE IN TO YOUR INNER WISDOM ::

A.k.a. your intuition, as only it knows what your true needs are, and how to go about getting them met.

‘Focusing’ was a technique I learned on a course at the West London Buddhist Centre. A reflective practice that involves taking a curious awareness into your body and listening for messages, simply close your eyes in a quiet place, as you would to meditate, but instead, sense what needs your attention.

Describe out loud what you are experiencing. Is your chest tight? Stomach heavy? As I described my constricted throat the words resonated deeply, and the words that followed flowed, like a stream of consciousness. with my body, not my head, leading. “There is so much sadness I need to release…talk about….to heal…”

Then the visuals came. I saw an anxious, pining Wolfhound—frantically scratching at a locked door and whining to be let out. It took a few days to process this but eventually it dawned on me: this was a clear message to step away from the door to the outside world, and deepen my meditation practice.

:: UP YOUR MEDITATION GAME ::

As Einstein said: “I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me.”

Although I previously had a vague meditation practice, I wanted to try a new technique in order to get a better connection to my inner self, and Transcendental Meditation was the gateway.

From the first session, I noticed how effortless it was to meditate using a mantra as a stepping stone. And a few weeks in, I had my first experience of transcending, which will stay with me forever—I was hardly using the mantra at all, my breathing became shallow and I felt a melting sensation, like I was disappearing into unboundedness. My head become weightless, like a helium balloon before I felt an an ecstatic rush. It was the feeling of falling in love, with myself. Grinning from ear to ear, I was hooked.

The more I meditate, when negative thoughts and emotions inevitably creep up, I have the tools to observe them with curiosity and acceptance. So regardless of what’s happening in my life experience, I can get to some serenity. Not quite cosmic consciousness yet, but slowly and surely getting a little closer.

:: DEAL WITH THE JUNK IN YOUR TRUNK ::

And I don’t mean sorting out your loft, although that of course can help too (just speak to Marie Kondo). Most of us have issues holding us back in one way or another, and a breakup is the perfect time to find the right professional to help with some emotional sat nav.

For me that person was Fiona Arrigo. With a background of 30 years in psychotherapy, Fiona runs haute holistic healing retreats in rural Somerset, where she carefully assembles a crack team for bespoke programs. Orchestrated treatment by treatment, the therapists all compare notes to ensure the next session works with the discoveries from the one before.

Checking in with me each day of the retreat, with just a little guidance during our chats, Fiona helped me untangle my past, understand some of my triggers and shift a lot of the sadness I have been carrying around since the ‘dark ages’.

Note: aside from Fiona’s healing retreats, she also has clients from all over the world she ‘sees’ for skype therapy sessions.

:: EXPERIMENT WITH HOLISTIC HEALING ::

Be open to finding multi-discipline healing techniques to help you feel more integrated. The investment in yourself is worth it.

My The Arrigo Programme retreat gave me the opportunity to try everything from Acupuncture, Kinesiology and EFT to Soul Fragment Retrieval. Astrological Counselling being the biggest eye-opener—helping me understand recurring obstacles, life lessons and talents.

On this retreat I also hit a sweet spot with Tibetan Pulsing—an energy work using a diagnosis from the iris of the eye, which gives a feeling of such deep peace. Transformational Breathwork was another game changer, and Matrix Re-aligning allowed me to have a conversation with my deceased mother’s spirit, releasing some of the grief I’d been holding on to for years.

:: HAVE A SING-ALONG ::

From Kirtan Kriya to church choir or karaoke, the benefits of singing are scientifically proven. Encouraging deep breathing, it uplifts your spirit and gives a sense of well-being

Personally, I prefer warbling along into a hairbrush at the top of my voice, in the privacy of my own home. Get it all out by wallowing with Adele or having a rage-along with Alanis. Then move on by creating a feel good playlist of songs such as State of Independence, Ch-Chng and Love Me. Or take the anthems of co-dependence, and change the object of the lyrics adoration to Self. Let It Go may or may not also be on repeat. Sorry neighbors.

:: TALK TO YOURSELF ::

Not like a crazy lady, but like you would talk to your lover—using words of self-appreciation not depreciation. Develop an affectionate conversation with yourself and respond to any negative thoughts with compassion, acknowledging them but not letting them linger.

Be reverent, congratulatory and give compliments regularly. Look, really look at yourself in the mirror, hush the critical voice and observe with the eyes of love. Thank your body. Be your own cheerleader.

Deepen your self-love practice at out next Club SÖDA NYC event, Sex, Lies & Alcohol, August 23 in NYC. Details and ticket info here.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HELLO MOJO AND AN EVENING WITH THE CACAO GODDESS

Enter the 8/8 Lion’s Gate…and an encounter with the cacao goddess, a return to my mojo, and a meeting of minds with Amanda “Moon Juice” Bacon.

Just hangin’ in my hammock loving the 8/8 vibes of the Lion’s Gate

:: MONDAY ::
Happy New Year! According to the Mayans, that is, for whom 8/8 marked the planetary new year. Also the opening of the mystical “Lions gate” portal (8/8 through 8/12—a.k.a. this week), marked by the star Sirius moving closer to earth and aligning in Orion’s belt, which perfectly syncs up with the Pyramids in Giza. Linked to the numerology of 8/8, the astrological sign of Leo, and the Strength tarot card (which traditionally shows a woman holding the jaws of a Lion) the message is basically “MAJOR POWER PORTAL”! So let’s see what went down for me…

Sarah’s altar to the cacao goddess…

:: TUESDAY ::
My first cacao ceremony! Thanks to a particularly switched-on editor in the UK commissioning me to write about cacao for The Times newspaper. #progress. And as the cosmos would have it, The Alchemist’s Kitchen was hosting a ceremony tonight with Numinous contributor Sarah Eve Cardell. Sarah’s been working with the cacao goddess for about 10 years, and the first thing she advised the 60-odd people in attendance was that: “it doesn’t taste pretty.” Not your average cocoa treat, in other words.

But I actually did like the bitter chocolate taste of the thick, gloopy glassful I was instructed to drink down as fast as possible—even if made throat a little raw and my mouth go slightly numb. Since we’d already been around the circle to share our intentions for the ceremony (mine, to invite the energies of collaboration and mutual support in my current projects) now it was time to journey.

As we all found a place to lay down and zone out (or rather in, to the visions of our heart center—since cacao is known as heart medicine), I felt a little nauseous, the cacao sitting kind of queasy in my stomach. But soon I was transported to a lulling trance state on the sounds of a gong bath by Jarrod Mayer. I actually think I drifted in and out of sleep, and while I didn’t have particularly strong “visions” (like I have in, say, breathwork sessions with Erin Telford, or Deborah Hanekamp’s medicine readings), towards the end of the experience I received a kind of “pat on the back” from what felt like a loving maternal presence for the work I’m currently doing—particular my Club SÖDA NYC initiative.

“The world needs what you’ve got…so keep giving it?” was the message I shared with the group afterwards, Sarah having reminded us that whatever came through for us was also a message for everybody in the circle. And since you, dear readers, are part of my circle too, let’s take this as the message the cacao goddess also has for YOU.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Maybe it’s the Lion’s Gate, maybe it’s the cacao, and maybe it’s because Mars finally moved into Sagittarius last week (likely a combo of all three)…but today I found myself thinking: “whoa, I’ve got my mojo back!!” Like the speed at which I can feel myself processing stuff, and the energy welling in my veins again this week, has made me realize I’ve been operating on half speed or something for most of this year. And well, what can I say but bring. It. On! (And where can I get my hands on some medicinal grade cacao please?)

:: THURSDAY ::
More talk of magical medicinals, as I got to interview my friend Amanda Bacon, founder of Moon Juice, for the UK’s Red magazine today. Also more #progress, since Amanda was slammed by many in the mainstream media when a food diary she once shared with Elle re-surfaced earlier this year.

Her response to that whole situation? “Taking the harsh words away, I was interested in getting to the essence of: what are people really saying here? They’re saying that they don’t understand it. They’re saying that they’re skeptical. They may not believe in it. They’re afraid that they’re not invited or included, and it’s not for them,” she told me.

As such, it actually became an opportunity for this savvy businesswoman to find ways to refine her message—that we can all use food to heal and feel amazing—for the masses. Next up? Two new stores in LA, and her first cookbook, The Moon Juice Cookbook (above), out in November this year. 10 years ago, even green juice felt far out; 10 years from now, it’ll be Sex Dust for breakfast.

:: FRIDAY ::
Planning my own mini ritual to close the Lion’s Gate tonight. And to thank you, cosmos, for another magically mystical week.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: WEEDS AMONG THE GRASS ROOTS, AND MEETING MY MINI ME

Big up to the grass roots entrepreneurs, an infrared detox, meeting my Mini Me…and the lies we buy about booze.

Witchy vibes in the streets of Sibenik with Alexandra Roxo and Jayne Goldheart

:: MONDAY ::
Massive shout out to the organizers of Obanjan, the Croatian music and wellness fest I returned early from today. Early because a gnarly confluence of eco-operational-political factors meant they had to postpone the opening…the night before the opening, having already flown artists and contributors in from all over the world! And with close to 300 guests and press arriving for the big reveal to boot. A.k.a. every entrepreneurs worst. Freaking. Nightmare.

And here’s the thing. It’s fear of monumental s*it like this hitting the fan that keeps most of us from stepping up, pursuing our dreams and truly doing our dharma. From putting our heart, soul, balls (ovaries?) and life savings on the line to create something we truly believe in. Anybody who’s built a business or launched a project or product will have experienced similar setbacks—falling somewhere on the sliding scale of devastation. I know I have. And it feels HORRIBLE. And I keep putting my heart, and soul, and ovaries and life savings into my projects anyway.

We all say we want less corporate, less branded, more DIY experiences, right? Well down in the grass roots, there are also gonna be some weeds.

Sure, it was an inconvenience to fly half way across the world for nothing. (Although it wasn’t for nothing really, since I got to brainstorm with my boo Alexandra Roxo, hang out with Shauna and Morgan from Unlimited, FINALLY bond with brilliant Jayne Goldheart, and meet the magical Gail Schock). And yeah, if the holiday I’d booked got cancelled/delayed at the last minute, I’d be pretty pissed off too. But really? Fairly minimal annoyances compared to what the organizers were going through.

All I kept thinking as I witnessed the fallout, was: Good for you. Good for you for feeling the fear, and doing it f*cking anyway.

AND latest update is, Obonjan opens for business Friday Aug 5 (yes, that’s today!!) Keep following their Twitter and Instagram accounts for more updates.

:: TUESDAY ::
Shout out to another badass entrepreneur, Henry Holland, who I watched set up his label House of Holland from scratch out of the fashion cupboard of the magazine we were working on together 10 years ago. Wow, a whole decade! And with PLENTY a “character building” road-bump along the way. Anyhow, this rather special sweatshirt (below) from his latest collaboration with Lee arrived in the mail today. #COSMIC!

Sweatshirt, £102, House of Holland for Lee

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Infrared saunas, anybody? It’s a big YES PLEASE from me after my first visit to HigherDOSE today, a new spa offering private infrared sessions in Manhattan. I kind of never got the sauna thing, but secluded in my little wooden hut, my own music on the speakers, sweating tennis balls of toxic travel stress (see: Monday), I found myself thinking: well this feels like it’s REALLY good for me. Kind of like Bikram, without the pain part. Maybe it’s cuz I was also reading their info pack—”decreases cortisol, increases serotonin; detoxifies heavy metals, radiation, and environmental toxins; stimulates collagen, reduces wrinkles; burns 600 calories a session (!)”—and maybe it’s cuz Kate Bosworth was in the booth next door. But I’ll be back. Discover more: Higherdose.com

:: THURSDAY ::
Got the actual date my book will be published next year…which meant I could finally do her birth chart!! (Yes, she’s a she). AND, it turns out we have the same Rising (public image), Moon (emotional center), Mercury (communication style) and Midheaven (professional path). How freaking rad is that?! Talk about Mini Me. She also has her North Node (karmic destiny point) at 0 degrees Virgo—which says she’s destined to be of service in the world, but colored with some unbridled Leo North Node self-expression. I want to be her friend already 🙂

:: FRIDAY ::
Will be mainly spent spreading the word about my next Club SÖDA NYC event with Biet Simkin and special guest Betsy LeFae, Sex, Lies & Alcohol. Turns out summer (not to mention toxic travel stress: see Monday) is a major drinking trigger for me (anyone?)—the “lie” my inner booze demon spins, that day-drinking in the sunshine is what August is made for. My personal truth being that nothing feels as blissfully free (my core desired feelings from day drinking) as…never being hung-over! It’s been getting super down with my intuition—simply, what feels right and what feels wrong for me—that’s helped me truly connect to this, which is why I’m so happy intuition coach Betsy is joining us for this event. Read more and get your ticket here.