8 WAYS TO BE A SPIRITUAL ACTIVIST IN 2017

Want to make a difference in 2017? Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington shares 8 ways to be a spiritual activist…

“Are you going on the Women’s March?” It’s the question doing the rounds as we come around from the collective anesthesia of the holidays and it all comes flooding back. The Trump regime. This is happening. Time to get back to work. Considering a lot of what I talk about on this platform involves the words “spiritual activism,” it may come as a surprise to learn that the answer from me is “no.” At the time of writing this I do not have plans to join the 200,000 + protestors who will march on Washington Jan 21, the day after the inauguration.

And it’s not because I don’t think that it’s necessary to vocalize our anger with the incoming administration. It’s not because I believe that humans mobilizing en masse doesn’t have any impact—just look at Standing Rock. But just as each individual birth chart maps a unique life path—a unique dharma—it seems to me that vocal protest is but one of many, many, many small and different ways that each and every one of us is being called to be of service in 2017.

When I launched our #TuneInPeaceOut event in September last year, it was because I had identified my big message for the world as being: PLEASE CAN EVERYBODY JUST STOP FIGHTING! WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, FFS! “I guess I’m a massive pacifist,” I told the life coach who helped me boil it down. So it makes sense that when I think about my personal contribution going forward, it’s less about fighting against the system, and more about putting all my energy and ingenuity into creating a new way of seeing and doing things. A way that works for everybody.

Read on for 8 ways to practice spiritual activism in 2017…

1. DON’T HATE, CREATE. I equate creativity with spirituality, and so for me the term “spiritual activism” speaks to action that is an expression of our desire to create—create new conversations, create conscious businesses, create works of art that shake up the status quo, create babies who will grow to be future spiritual activists!

2. COMPASSION INTO ACTION. It also means taking action from a place of compassion and empathy—knowing that we are all connected. Like I said, we’re all on the same team—meaning, as humans, we all have the exact same needs (love, material security, freedom, to be heard and understood), and the exact same fears (pain, hunger, abandonment). Yes—even the President elect. Knowing this, the more our actions are about giving each other what we need, the better.

3. TEAMWORK. So, we’re all connected. Which means that working with others who share our goals is way more impactful that going it alone—as this creates a cosmic domino effect. Marches and protests are one amazing example of this! But also look at the impact of the online group Pantsuit Nation. Who’s doing stuff you see making a positive difference? Ask how can get involved.

4. CONSCIOUS COMPUTING. The Age of Aquarius has given us this amazing tool called the internet, which means we are literally all connected. Sadly it didn’t come with any instructions for how to use it to get everybody to stop fighting. It really is on us to a) figure out ways to use this tool to create good stuff, to get educated, to learn compassion, and to give each other more of what we need, and b) not get sucked into the shadow side of online life (misinformation, fear-mongering, and comparison/separation).

5. CONSUME BETTER AND LESS. In relation to spiritual activism, the message of conscious consumption is two-fold. Firstly, yes, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you believe in. Don’t believe in the objectification of women? Don’t buy fashion brands who objectify women in their ad campaigns! Obvious right? But we do it all the time without even thinking. Second, a lot of the times when we buy more stuff and eat and drink more stuff it’s a way to distract us from the stuff our soul came here to do. Consume less + feel more = get inspired to act (as uncomfortable as this can feel). Oh and all that money you spend on “stuff”? Could also be donated to causes and charities where it’s really needed.

6. SEE A SPIRIT FIRST. This is about seeing past what a person says and does, past what they believe, past what job they do, past what country or body they were born in, and looking for the human spirit underneath. And going from there. Also, making it your business to interact with people who are not “like you” on the outside, as a way to practice seeing the spirit on the inside.

7. RESPOND DON’T REACT. If the Donald has taught us anything, it’s how ridiculous and childish it is to go with your knee-jerk reaction to anything which could be perceived as a “threat” to you and / or your beliefs. Yoga and meditation are a physical way to build the spiritual resilience it takes to listen and digest first—making it possible to choose the right next course of action. The “right” action being the one that works for you, and for everybody else.

8. LISTEN. Everybody’s got an opinion. Everybody wants their opinion to be heard. And everybody says what they think will get the biggest reaction because everybody also wants their opinion to get liked on social media. But it can be the people with the quietest voices who need to be heard the most. Not to mention the least “likable” truths. So just be quiet and listen for a minute. Maybe ask a question, something along the lines of: what do you really need? This way, your next action can truly be of value to a fellow human spirit.

Read more about spiritual activism from our Moon Club founding members! We have curated a line-up of humans who are committed to creating good stuff for humanity, and who will be on hand to offer additional support and guidance to our members. Meet them here and read more about Moon Club and sign up here.

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.

SOBER CURIOUS: GET HIGH ON YOUR OWN SUPPLY

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– You want to cultivate a healthier relationship with booze

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

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

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

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

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

COMFORTABLY NUMB: AN AMNESTY ON COOL

Enough with the hiding your real self behind your artfully composed selfies. It’s time to call an amnesty on cool, says Comfortably Numb columnist Kate Atkinson.

 

I want to declare an amnesty on modern cool – realizing this is one of the most uncool statements I could write, and more than aware that several people will probably be cringing reading this. If you are, call me anti-millennial and grind away. But if you’d have hoped we’d left it behind in high school, it seems like “cool” is an extremely contagious epidemic no thanks to the digital revolution.

What exactly is cool anyway? It’s an intangible phenomena that you can’t really touch, a state of being that defines the way you walk and talk, what you wear, the music you listen to, where you’re eating, and whether something is on trend – that is, worthy of likes on Instagram. It’s visceral. You can just feel it. And when it comes to true self-expression, I have to say, the modern version is a straight-jacket.

I also want to preface this story with the fact that while, yes, I do have tattoos, by no means am I an expert on cool. I was on the debating team at school – enough said. But I have got up close and personal enough with this insidious contagion to know how it works, and the more I examine its motives, it’s beginning to feel like cool is the root of an identity crisis that’s plaguing our generation.

A girlfriend put it perfectly when I asked what it means to be cool: “it’s the desire to be accepted, the need for validation, the urge to seem radical, despite longing to fit in.” And so it goes. Oh, the dichotomy of being human. Our narcissistic tendencies AND our insecurities are fuelled by cool, especially at a time when platforms for inclusion and exclusion are at an all time high.

Are you aspiring to be an “influencer?” This breed is all about being seen and accepted, “liked” on the interweb. For them, Instagram is basically a digi-friendly version of the high school cheerleading team. Things are sold to us now by “seeding” them with cool people. Brands, celebrities, and destinations are made by their manufactured “cool factor.” What I want to know is, what happened to under-the-radar cool of yesteryear?

In his 2013 book “The Cool School”Glenn O’Brien talks about the new tastemakers. But his cool  “squad” were, put simply, incredibly creative weirdos. Homeless Jazz beatniks, bohos and roaming beat poets. Anyone who made people uncomfortable basically. Something tells me that they wouldn’t be invited to Kim and Kanye’s dinner party.

We live in an age of such style over substance that it’s incredibly hard to rage against the machine and do your own thing. In fact, a study commissioned by smartphone maker HTC late last year revealed that 52% of the approximately 1000 Brits surveyed admitted to posting images of possessions and items with an intention of making their “friends” jealous. What the hey?

Wasn’t this cool thing supposed to be people going against the grain? Rather than just sticking up photo-shopped images captioned: “I ate, I pooped, I wore Celine!” Now pardon my French, but WTF? If this isn’t numbing what’s going on in our down and dirty daily human reality, I don’t know what is.

Because cool these days is about hiding the “sad” half of your life and projecting the best bits. Ambivalence is also key – pretending not to care, even (especially) if you do. Which is basically saying to your soul that your true hopes and aspirations count for nothing unless they fit with whatever’s trending this month. And yet, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character puts it in cult classic Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

A moment please to consider this: when the cool castles in the sky come crashing down around you and you’re left with the reality of your life, who out of your carefully curated online “tribe” will actually be there to help cushion the fall? Because what you’re really doing when you shield the real you with a glossy veneer of cool, is construct a bulletproof force field that deflects true intimacy.

So beside a total social media detox and cancelling our memberships to Soho House, how can we wake up from this aspirational bullshit existence that we’re creating for ourselves? By taking the time to get conscious to how we while away our days, and creating meaning in every interaction. By walking our talk, with our roots firmly entrenched in reality.

It sounds so obvious, but social media is the great distractor when it comes to following your own expressive intuition….and it’s there for seeking approval when you do actually create something. The old greats weren’t preoccupied with showcasing their creativity, they just did it.

It’s a mythic delusion and a safety net to communicate and earn accolades in this way – as well as a way to mask what’s actually going on. Surely giving away change on the subway is also worth a few “likes” – so why aren’t we posting on Instagram about that? “Saw a nice guy dish out change today on the subway – what a dude!” Shouldn’t he be the real “influencer?”

These stories DO come up on social media – and when they do it’s meaningful, the positive slant on modern technology. But too often, they’re engulfed in a stream of exclusivity: “I ate this, my bae wears that” – with resulting countless digital high fives and @s to follow.

I know my feed rarely delves beyond the aesthetics. And yes, fashion week happens, and friends stay in epic mansions. There are days at the beach with the clearest water ever. Again, I am not counting myself out of ANY of this malarchy, I am as partial to a well-posed selfie as the rest of us. But the lack of reality is what’s wrong with this whole picture, and it’s beginning to be all I can see.

Can’t somebody invent “Unstagram” for the days you’re feeling a bit off? For when you get dumped, you spent the last two days in tracksuit from Target, or you have an embarrassing medical problem?

Because you know what’s really cool? Being real. Not some projection of me me, me, me, I’m so fabulous, watch me eat, watch me sleep! Watch me break my arm! Look at me tagging historical references to show how tapped in and culturally aware I am.

Are we really this dumb? Is there no end to our ridiculous need for validation? This is the worst kind of cool that there is, and what’s more, this culture of exclusion is not social by any means. It’s actually scientifically proven to be making people chronically depressed.

So in a recent discussion with a friend on a rather significant life choice that involved making a potentially un-cool move, when she advised me to: “Fuck cool” – I decided I whole-heartedly concur.

NOT by Ernest Hemmingway

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the color of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided that you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.

MOVE, SIT, WRITE: 10 REASONS TO WRITE AND MEDITATE EVERY DAY

As she prepares for her Move, Sit, Write tour of the US, Tatum Fjerstad explains how learning to write and meditate every day is about sparking a conversation with your higher self. Artwork: Brian Lynch

Call it an exercise in trading comfort for terrifying uncertainty (she does, in this brilliant blog post), but when something broke in Tatum Fjerstad in December last year, the only option was to pretty much quit what she’d been doing and start again. Which looks a lot like setting off across America to teach her twin (okay triplet) passions of yoga, meditation and writing – a.k.a. her Move, Sit, Write tour, which will take place in 15 studios in seven states, beginning March 3 in Portland, Oregon.

Up until this point, Tatum had been making her life / career decisions a lot like: If I do this, people will think it’s cool. If people think it’s cool, then I’m cool. If I’m cool, people will like me and then I don’t have to work so hard to like myself because everyone else will be doing it for me.” And if you too suspect, on any level, you might also be living this life: “Get out now,” she advises. “It will bring you to a very dark place where you will feel so very disconnected with your own wants and desires that you’ll start to have bleak feelings about how we’re all just atoms bumping into each other and everything is meaningless so what’s the point.” Our point, in general, precisely.

It’s been through her own move, sit, write practice that Tatum has learned to re-connect to and value her sense of self – and since it’s often our own wounds that lead us down the path to our dharma, who better to guide others to do the same. Here, she shares 10 reasons to write and meditate every day…

For more details of Tatum’s Move, Sit, Write tour check out her Go Fund Me page  or book tickets at Tatumfjerstad.com

1. Take An Inventory: When you create the space to listen to your patterns by meditating on and writing down whatever is bouncing around in your head, you (and only you) can decide what you want to keep and what you want to release. This doesn’t happen after one go at it. You have to do it every day.

2. Own Your Shit: When things are rough, this practice can help you get super clear on your hand in the matter. All of us are walking around with a LOT of baggage, no matter who you are, and we can’t unpack it by ignoring it.

3. Sleep Harder: I started meditating twice a day everyday and journaling once in the mornings almost a year ago. Since then, I have had some of the best naps, dreams, and deep sleeps. When you give yourself the time to slow down during the day, your body settles much easier when it’s time to do so.

4. Deeper Connections: When you become a better listener to yourself, you become a better listener to others. It’s a lot easier to put your phone down during a conversation and make eye contact with another person if you know how good that feels when you do it for yourself.

5. Forgive Freely: This soft quiet practice initiates the nurturing of your inner teacher, who happens to be pretty benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. You’ll start to be more lenient on yourself and that will trickle down to others because you’ll realize that we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

6. Treat Yourself: So many of the people I teach think this sort of work is too indulgent or they say they don’t have time. If you have time to scroll through your Instagram feed in bed in the morning, or wash your hair every day, you have enough time to get up a little earlier and do yourself this favor.

7. Increase creativity: When you sit and watch your thoughts and freely write them down you are sitting at the seat of creativity. You can’t force that shit. It has to come on its own with space and sweetness. What better space than writing and meditation?

9. Inspire Others: The longer you do this, the more your friends will want in. They will see your softness emerge and they will ask for your secrets. Share them.

10. Get it Out: Omg, it feels so good to write a bunch of shit about someone who is pissing you off. It feels WAY better than telling them this stuff and then immediately regretting it. I’ve solved entire friendship dramas without speaking a word to them and having the conversation with myself until I was done with it. Sometimes that takes a few days, sometimes much longer.

11. Be Your Own Best Friend: You know that feeling when it’s whatever-night-of-the-week and you don’t have any plans and everyone is doing cool shit and you feel like a big loser full of FOMO? That goes away because you’ll start to really love those cuddly moments with yourself when it’s just you, a good book and some great music.

AN HONEST RELATIONSHIP: HOW TO LOVE AND BE LOVED

Step fully into your light for an honest relationship that shows you how to love and be loved, says Hannah BierArtwork: “Lovers” by Marina Gonzalez via Behance.net

They told me that true love was sweet and sticky. They told me that if I manage to stay obedient and pure, a Prince will come and save me. He will wear tight-ass leggings and put me in a castle, where we will have mediocre sex until the end of time.

Well, my dating life used to be land mine after land mine and I know all too well about the brain fuck of modern societies’ views on romantic love. And it’s time to stop shitting ourselves and get real about what truly enlightening love looks like.

Here’s what you need to know if you want a mindful relationship where you’re free to love fiercely and be loved rapturously:

1. LOVE THEM SO MUCH THAT YOU PISS THEM OFF
Relationships that are either dysfunctional or incredibly boring share one common trait: the lovers dance around one another trying not to piss each other off. The truth is, the best thing you can do is to be your wildest, most obnoxious self, especially around the people you want to keep in your life.

We’ve been through tremendous amounts of family programming, plus the societal conditioning that piles a ton of limiting beliefs on top of the unhealed trauma we’ve amassed over the years. As a result of our lived experiences, we develop vices and behavioral patterns for dancing around our true fears and desires. It becomes easier to surround ourselves with people who join in this dance with us, and to never even try to get off auto-pilot.

Being your awakened and audaciously high-maintenance self means dancing in the way of your lover, and interrupting their pattern. It means being the one who loves them enough to not enable them to keep re-living their past. So do not restrict your own beautiful range of expression to accommodate their sleep-walking.

Just being you, you are going to piss people off who’d rather not wake up—especially those closest to you. But it is an act of fierce love to make them deal with their shit instead of trying to make it easy for them.

It is your business to love, not to look the other way. But too often this is misunderstood, and people make it their business to keep the people they love comfortably numb. If you want to support the spiritual evolution of a person you’ve come to care deeply for, let yourself be difficult and speak your truth.

2. TELL THE TRUTH
The #1 reason relationships end is because the lovers prioritize their own sense of comfort over the relationship. The glue for any mindful relationship is emotional intimacy, for no intimacy means no connection, and therefore no point to the partnership.

In order to keep the juices flowing, you need to continuously gather the courage to say the things you almost daren’t. You have to have the courage to be vulnerable and to make yourself look like an idiot. You have to value the relationship more than the desires of your own ego.

You can either be comfortable or be loved. Because if you don’t step up and show yourself in all your messy glory, it is simply hard to love you. We need to see you, to be able to love you. Don’t blame your shallow conflicts about who bought the wrong toilet paper for the deterioration of your relationship.

Every conflict is an opportunity to stand up and tell the real truth. To throw your lover on the bed and to show them how deeply you want to be with them. Fuck them until they know how much you love them. Or to keep screaming and making up stories, so that you can stay comfortable and lonely. It is completely up to you to show up and give it your all.

3. HOLD THEM THE WAY YOU WANT THEM TO HOLD YOU
It is your job to see people for who they truly are. We all have a tendency to downplay our brilliance, to dim our lights, so that we can keep living within what feel like safe boundaries of being. If we never reveal our true nature, we will never make ourselves vulnerable, and we won’t be subject to any criticism.

But you know this won’t work.

By covering up what we really want and settling for something less, we are directing our creative force against ourselves. Playing small is lethal, because every heartfelt dream contains the energy to make it happen. If we pull back instead of going full blast, the energy intended to help you take massive action ends up being trapped in your body where it will slowly kill you.

Don’t let the people you love hurt themselves like that. See them for the genius they truly are. Remind them of how you see them and make a vow to only speak to their higher selves.

How do you want the people you love to show up for life? Don’t you want them to be empowered as creators, infinitely brilliant artists, and deeply loving souls? Hold them the way you want them to show up. Humans are forgetful, make it a habit to remind people of what they really need to understand about themselves.

This, is fierce love.

YUMI SAKUGAWA: HOW TO BECOME ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE

Yumi Sakugawa’s cute illustrated books bring life’s big questions down to earth. But mastering them herself will always be a work in progress, she tells Gabriela Herstik.

If there’s one thing Yumi Sakugawa thinks you should every day, it’s meditate. And with her sweetly illustrated books, the Los Angeles based comic book artist and illustrator is on a mission – to teach the world that there’s no right way to meditate, and you should do it anyway. In fact, Yumi is leading a shift in how we approach our relationship to our consciousness – and her childlike curiosity on her everlasting search of ways to connect to the cosmos is creating some truly spectacular magic.

The Numinous: There’s an almost childlike innocence in the way you present very important spiritual and Universal truths. How do you think this helps get your message across?
Yumi Sakugawa: I want to believe that core spiritual and universal truths can be distilled to simple and profound messages that can be easily understood by everybody regardless of religious background, spiritual training or level of education / life experience. Also, I don’t think illustrated books should be limited to just children.

TN: One of the points you emphasize is that we ARE one – with each other and the Universe. How do you think living in this truth can change your life, and how has it impacted your own?
YS: This is a principle I illustrate a lot, but one I have the hardest time practicing for myself. I want to believe that in embodying this truth, we collectively awaken to the idea that other people’s suffering is our own suffering, to help remind us of our innate nature to take care of our communities and the planet as a whole.

I do feel ready, more than I’ve ever been, to really ask myself what cosmic interconnectedness means and how I can embody this more in my life and my work. Self-care and self-love must come first before extending that love to the community at large. Meditating on this truth gives me a greater sense of responsibility and purpose in the art I create and share with the world.

TN: How and why did you decide to tackle such a heavy (and worthy!) concept like oneness? 
YS: Again, I think I am drawn to this principle of oneness because I have the hardest time fully practicing it – even though I know on some primal, deep level that this is something the survival of our humanity and goodness depends upon. I spend a lot of time alone working on my artwork, which makes it easy for me to have an isolated and self-centered worldview. I am in awe of friends and colleagues who are really out there in the world interacting with more people from all walks of life every single day in very difficult, challenging situations – whether they are teachers, doctors, community activists, or work in the non-profit sector.

But at the same time I feel very lucky that my artwork has found an audience out there, and it’s so humbling to know that the work I create to ease my own mental health issues and insecurities can also help complete strangers from all walks of life, in all parts of the world. That, to me, brings a beautiful and profound sense of interconnectedness, that so many people may be experiencing the same shades of suffering, but can also experience the same spiritual relief by unshackling their minds from their own self-inflicted and self-limiting beliefs. I am reminded often that my artwork cannot exist in a vacuum and it must be seen by other people in order for the process of creation to be complete.

TN: What’s on the horizon for you in the upcoming Year of the Monkey?
YS:
I do hope to further extend my involvement with the world in 2016, though I am not sure yet what that would look like. In addition to continuing to create more artwork and comics relating to mindfulness, perhaps I will be doing more workshops and guided meditations IRL? To be continued! (Ed. Let’s talk Yumi, we’d love to create a Numinous Presents event with you!)

TN: What’s your process like for creating your art? Is there a special space that you tune into?
YS: Especially with my books about meditation and mindfulness, it’s important for me to be in an intuitive flow state where I am feeling clearheaded and not overthinking things. This is why it is so important for me to meditate first thing in the morning. Having meditated for seven years now, I cannot imagine doing my creative work without a daily meditation practice, which creates the best mental space for me to pay attention to my inner guide – the voice that tells me when something is authentic or not. It is in this space where the best creative decisions are made, and the artwork that needs to be created unfolds with the ease of a flower opening its petals to the sun.

TN: What is the one message you hope to get across to all humans who read your books?
YS: Pay attention, listen and celebrate.

Discover more about Yumi Sakugawa and her work at Yumisakugawa.com

DEAR DIARY: A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIVINE

As Neptune goes direct and the Sun moves into Sagittarius, it’s the perfect time to instigate a conversation with the divine. And your journal is the place to start, says Katie Simpson.

Almost 18 years ago, I bought my first journal. It was a small back hardbound book covered in pictures of Mickey Mouse designs. I’ve since journaled for self-care, self-expression, and so much more.

In the past year, my journal has provided a surprising new benefit: it’s become the space where I have dialogues with the Divine. This began on more intense days, such as in the build up to a New or Full Moon ritual. But now I can have these conversations during lunch breaks, late nights, or days when I am sick.

To be clear, these conversations don’t require any mind-altering substances. The most I have in my system may be a cigarette or a glass or two of wine. And my most profound conversations with the divine occur when I’m completely sober.

Journaling and talking to God both happen in my journal but look very different. When I’m journaling, I write my thoughts down as they come. With the Divine, it’s a written conversation. It sounds and looks like two different people having a discussion. I will write something, and then She responds. The best way to explain it is like the old written notes we used to pass in class. Only I am both one of the writers and the messenger.

These dialogues are a gift, but not one that’s unique to me. I believe that with a little time and effort, you can have these kinds of conversations as well. Here are a few practices that have helped me commune with the Divine through the written word.

:: The faces of God ::
As a religious studies major in college, I learned a lot about the different faces of God. For example, in Hinduism, you could see Kali, Goddess of destruction, and Sarasvati, Goddess of wisdom, as two separate entities. Or they could represent two different aspects of the same Divine Feminine.

So often in the Judaea-Christian West, we focus on God as a judge, ruler, or father figure. But for many women, it’s difficult to connect with this. Personally, I connect best with Jewish idea of the Shechina. She is the feminine, the maternal presence, that I see when I reach out to God. And as such, she is the one who communicates with me on the page.

To begin a dialogue with anybody, you need to feel a connection with them. It’s the same with the Divine. Perhaps you need God to be a fierce warrior. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of God as Sophia, or wisdom.
There’s no wrong answer. So think back to which icons, saints or experiences really made the divine manifest for you. Is there a pattern? What images and ideas do you gravitate towards now? Exploring this is a great start to feeling a connection with the Divine.

:: The inner God block ::
For me, God has never just picked up the pen on her own and started writing: she writes through me. Which means that before the Divine can show up on the page, I have to make space for her – space beyond the doubt, the criticism and the disbelief around God, that so many of us have developed.

To give her space, a free-writing practice is critical. Each morning, I sit down and write three pages, either typed on my computer, or in a hardbound journal. No editing, no second guessing, just writing. Have I perfected this practice? No, but showing up helps me be honest on the page. This way, when the Divine does decide it’s time for a chat, I don’t fight it. I just keep writing.

This practice does take time: I’ve been doing it for over two years now. A couple glasses of wine could be a faster way to muting the inner critic. However, drugs are only a quick fix. Taking the time to show up and write will prepare you to have a dialogue with God, whether it’s 8am or 8pm.

:: Just ask ::
My dialogues with the Divine don’t start off in a complicated way. In fact, they usually begin with a vulnerable honesty.

“I’m so scared of telling him, what will happen?”

“I’m feeling so tired today, I just want to rest in your arms.”

I don’t believe there’s one right way to start chatting with God. For me, it’s about being simple and direct. My dialogues began by me being honest about where I was and what I needed – while the maternal Shechinah simply listened, and held me.

It’s very rare that God reaches out to me or begins the dialogue. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had any dialogues with God if I hadn’t started the conversations. Why? I wouldn’t have even known I was hearing the Divine.

And what YOU need when chatting with God could look and sound completely different. However, it is up to you to show up. It’s up to you to say you want the conversation, and in fact it’s critical that you ASK for it. The Divine is all around us, waiting. It’s up to us to show we’re ready for a deeper connection.

:: Say Thanks ::
I’ve seen it time and again in human relationships. Want to mess something up? Take a person for granted. Believe that your employee will simply continue producing great work and never leave – and just watch that relationship ferment into a bitter and moldy fruit.

The Divine doesn’t need gratitude. However, simply assuming that you can continue to have dialogues with God won’t do, since becoming proud and assuming of this connection is a surefire way to destroy the dialogue.

Being in the presence of the Divine should always feel like a gift. As such, showing good manners and saying even a quick thank you after the fact can help. There are other ways to show your appreciation: donate money to your favorite charity; give a loved one a call and tell them you love them; pick up some trash from your park.

Divine dialogue has become a gift that helps me be the best version of myself, for others and for myself. Whether you find God on the blank page or in the woods, know that it is your birth right to have time and space directly with her. But taking time to discover what aspects of the Divine resonate with you, and then actually asking for that relationship, are fundamental to creating and sustaining this connection for the long haul.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: THE SPIRITUAL PATH OF BEING A DAD

Be moved, be inspired…fall in love with MEN all over again. Aussie videographer Johnny Abegg shares an intimate personal film on what being a dad means to him

A LESSON IN LOVE: THE PEYOTE DIARIES

“If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, Peyote is to heal the heart.” One woman shares her Peyote journey, and tells how the mystical cactus helped her find her family. Images: Daniel R. Moore (homepage) and Abbey Watkins (post), both via Behance.net  

“I first heard about Peyote about four years ago when a friend told me about his experience in Arizona at the Church of Peyote, where he went to one ceremony after another for three months straight. I was captivated, and let him talk for three hours. His story was magical and he told it with so much love I could feel it. Also having known him for a while, I could see how his experiences had changed him as a person.

He continued to tell me whenever his “Roadman” (what the Church of Peyote call their Shaman) was doing a ceremony, and I always thought about doing it but the time was never right. Until my ex-boyfriend, also a mutual friend, texted me out of the blue three days after his first ceremony saying; “hey, I think I found OUR medicine.”

He and I share a very intimate knowledge of each other’s problems, and having taken Peyote he said he thought it could help me in the same way it helped him.
And so six months later, when I found out that he was organizing a meeting in Europe in two weeks time, it felt like a no-brainer. I had $200 in my pocket, but I was like, ‘fuck it, I have to make it work.’

He’s a pretty social guy and word had got around, so there were about 40 people in attendance. It was taking place in quite a remote place, and I travelled 24 hours to get there and missed the first round of medicine, so I was asking everybody how it was. They told me; “if it’s for you, life will just make sense.”

But I already knew it was for me.

Each tribe has their own way of running their ceremony, but I’ve done four ceremonies with the same guys now and it starts with burning tobacco, which opens up a channel to the spiritual world. The Roadman runs the ceremony, and then there’s a Fire Chief, whose job it is to make sure the fire, the “Grandfather,” stays bright and beautiful all night.

The person arranging the ceremony is in the “sponsored seat,” and they set the intention for the night. The Doorman’s job is to make sure people are sitting in the right spot and to keep things clean when people “get well” (throw up). The Drummer drums for everybody individually, and we all sing. And if the men run the ceremony, one female is also chosen to bring food – corn, meat and fruit – and water in the morning.

After the tobacco the Sponsor sets the intention for the night, then the medicine starts rolling, which comes in completely different forms depending on the Roadman. My first time, it came in four forms – a paste, a fresh form, a tea and a cold juice, and we were invited to take a portion of each. It’s a very acquired taste and all you can smell for two days afterwards is Peyote…I can’t describe it, because there’s nothing else like it and you know it right away; the mescaline.

As for how it makes me feel? The first time it made me really, really tired. So tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So the challenge was to sit and pay attention for nine hours straight.

It also really amplifies feelings. If Ayahuasca is the head medicine, then Peyote is the heart medicine. With Aya you take it and you go somewhere else, but with Peyote you’re completely grounded. I could talk to you like I am now, no problem, it’s just everything is amplified. In your head you’re able to connect the dots, like when you’re smoking weed, but in your heart it’s like taking MDMA – when you feel connected to everything, and you’re able to understand what everybody else is feeling.

Some people get trippy visuals but I never have. That first time I did feel raindrops on my shoulder which obviously weren’t there, and which turned into a feeling of joy that spread over my whole body. For me it feels like love is in that tepee, I don’t know how else to explain it. And afterwards, I always feel supercharged.

After my first time, I did two more ceremonies in the space of two weeks. I only took a small amount the first time and didn’t get well, but the second time I decided I wanted to dedicate my experience to different people in my life and wrote down ten names – so I took a spoonful of medicine for each of them…and got super well!

I saw it like there was obviously something that needed healing in each of those relationships, because when I took a spoonful for each of the same ten people the next time, I was flying high – a high that lasted six months. You go to places in your head where you get so emotional, and I often cry all the way through which is an amazing release in itself.

Now I feel like I’d do it once a month to keep me on track, like you might see a therapist. It can become a way of life, but for some people once a year is enough. Personally, I’d like to learn more, to understand the culture more and all the details about how to run a ceremony. They’d never let a woman put the tepee up, but I’m fascinated by the way they tie the knots in a certain way to honour the elements and stuff…and to learn about it, I just need to spend more time with them.

Also, the Roadman I follow is hilarious – he’s covered in tats, like a Mexican gangster, and he’s a funny motherfucker! For me he bridges the gap between my world and the ancient spiritual world, which makes it all so much more relatable to me. I told my friend I think I’m in love with him; he was like, ‘get in line!’

More recently, visiting Phoenix Arizona for a ceremony to celebrate the 13th wedding anniversary of my Roadman and his wife was one of the most beautiful things I’ve every experienced. I felt so blessed to go to the place where they’ve been doing these ceremonies for thousands of years. It was like visiting the holy land. But I’ve also done one with a different tribe in the Bronx in New York City, which was run by my Roadman’s ‘brother.’

People in the Peyote families know each other as relatives, and they believe that if you bring a partner into the circle and sit next to each other, that means you’re partners for life. It comes down to the fact that if you know this medicine works for you, then you feel a connection to other people in the same circles. It’s like there’s something in your makeup that’s the same, or you understand that maybe you experience the same kind of problems in life.

For me, the most beautiful part of my whole experience has been learning what real family connection feels like. Seeing how much the families respect each other, it’s ridiculous – and it’s why I keep going back.

Growing up, I never understood what family values were – my parents were there, but not emotionally. We’re very distant as a family. My friends are the people I would take a bullet for – but through the ceremonies, I’m learning how to forge a connection with my blood relatives too. The most important lesson has been to understand their value in my life, and to respect that. I appreciate them more for who they are now – and understand why maybe I should text my mom just to tell her I love her from time to time.

Elsewhere, it’s brought me so much clarity. Meeting new people, I can tell what kind of relationship we’re going to have, and if I used to have a tendency to give too much, now I’m aware of when that’s happening so I can stop. It’s like I’ve been granted an outside perspective. I’ve also learned to listen more and absorb stuff without feeling like I need to react right away. To just sit, and pay attention. I feel like I approach everything in a more peaceful, patient and positive way. And my close friends have all been able to see it.”

Image: Daniel R Moore via Behance.net

BEACH TAROT: AN ELEMENTAL SHIFT

Artist and island dweller Monica Ruiz shares why she finds a deeper connection to her Tarot practise at the beach, where the elements conspire to create soul connection, serenity and focus. Will you follow her lead this summer?

“…treat them kindly. Build a relationship with them that is respectful. Spend time with them, especially at first. Look through the imagery and handle the cards daily…Be sensitive to how you feel when you handle the cards…Allow the ritual of using them to be positive, exploratory, & even fun…” ~ Kim Krans

I’m in love with my practise of Beach Tarot: besides breathing and meditating with my cats (of course), it’s one of my favorite ways to center my energy and bring much needed clarity to my dream endeavors, my emotions and the daily happenings in my life.

At first I was hesitant about bringing my deck to the beach with me, thinking the sand, spray or a random raindrop may “ruin” them. But when I thought about it, I remembered how much I love the elements of the beach with all of my heart: the sand (earth, grounding); the ocean (water, flow); the clouds and mists (air, breath); and of course the SUN (fire, heart).

Breathing, reading, thinking and writing, as well as watching the love of my life surf in the swirl of these elements, as represented in the Tarot, brings me pure joy – so why wouldn’t my beloved cards benefit from the same energies and vibrations that I treasure so much?

 

When I use my cards it’s about listening to my heart, inspired by intuitive visual imagery that vibes with me and my mind’s eye, which is why I gifted myself with The Wild Unknown Tarot deck by Kim Krans at the beginning of this year. From the first time I came across Kim’s magical illustrations, I felt like my spirit became entwined with the secrets of the Universe and the soul of Mother Nature when I gazed at them. That’s the thing with art: when it makes your heart tick, you FEEL it.

I pull a card at least every other day at home, when I’m setting intentions, looking for some guidance or just in need of a friendly reminder to listen to my gut. I LOVE to cover my art projects in my Tarot cards as well, to infuse them with the same beautiful and natural gifts I get from the sun at the beach. Gifts of light and energy.

But I breathe deeper and slower at the beach, and because of the love and respect I have for this environment I believe it creates a stronger more authentic connection with my deck, and so the guidance the cards provide feels more loving and natural. The beach allows me to tap into a “Be Here Now” experience, where pretty much all nonsense dissipates. When I gaze at the horizon, I immediately start to feel calmer and am able to rationalize my thoughts and keep my intentions solid without the innocent distractions I may find at home. The voice in my head sounds loving and knowing, while the elements contribute to an overall feeling of serenity, and I can focus.

 

 

Mother Nature provides the best environment to heal, meditate, ponder and celebrate your existence – wherever that may be. Forests, the mountains, a meadow, park, your backyard or even a favorite garden, are all amazing places for sole/soul attunement. Even just sitting with your houseplants helps. I take advantage of this as a form of self-love, so it makes sense that my Beach Tarot practice brings me a sense of true connection to my core being.

 

Once settled on the sand, I shuffle my cards for a few minutes and just focus on the ocean and my breath, to help center my mind on what is truest in my heart at that moment. When I draw my card, (or, as actually happens quite often at the beach, the wind chooses a card for me during my shuffle) I sit with it for a couple of minutes. During this pause I absorb and contemplate the image, along with my thoughts, paying attention to my heartbeat, before looking up its meaning.

 

After reading about the card and meditating for a moment, I set my card in the sand and allow it to “re-charge” while I stretch and usually do some writing. I will journal about my connection to my card, about its meaning and usually write out a set of affirmations that pour out of me, inspired by the card. If it feels like an extra potent card, like the message couldn’t be more perfect, I’ll usually carry it with me for a few days afterwards, in my journal or whatever book I’m reading.

In this way, bringing my cards to the beach with me has become a fun, sacred practice, combining heartfelt intuition and magical imagery with energetic pulse of the majestic sea. This is my Beach Tarot.

Island dweller Monica Ruiz is a collage artist, hardcore daydreamer, HayHouse book reviewer, bloggess, burrito lover, cat enthusiast, librarian assistant and wanderluster who is obsessed with good hip-hop beats, Lana Del Rey and Paris, France. She owns way too many black clothes, swoons over Sofia Coppola films and loves the concept of protecting your magic with an open heart.

www.lechat808.com

@LeChat808