In the thick of Cancer season’s deepest feels, spoken word artist and Moon Club founding member Lisa Luxx’s exclusive new poem, “How To Be A Tide,” reminds us that our most tempestuous emotions are our beautiful birthright …
How To Be A Tide is a poem about the movement and motion of being woman. It’s a dialogue about finding our most supreme beauty in that familiar expansion and contraction. About how much can be gained from seeing ourselves as individual waves in the ocean of sisterhood.
One great purpose of poetry is to turn familiar aches into unfamiliar blessings; to subvert moaning into marvelling. The instability of a hormonal body could drive a person mad if they’re pressurising themselves to maintain a static constant. So for me, as an incredibly tempestuous person, I traversed this tidal metaphor as a bid for freedom.
I’ve been philosophically exploring the nature of beauty for the past year or so – what it is, what it does and why that might be – writing out my revelations and dreams. This piece is about taking ownership of one’s own beauty. When you no longer have the resources to flow outwards, that means your beauty – enriched now – is coming back home to you. – Lisa Luxx
How To Be A Tide will be published in Luxx’s upcoming collection Breastmilk Martini, which is out later this year with New River Press.
As we emerge from our wintry cocoon and head toward the Spring Equinox, how do we keep worldly ambitions aligned with our intuition? Greta Solomon shows us exactly how to support our soul goals by balancing hustle and flow …
There’s never been a better time to be a self-driven woman with big dreams, and a big heart. In the past, we were taught to err on the side of caution when it came to career. When I left my full-time gig to go freelance in 2002, I was warned not to leave gaps in my resumé.
Now, taking a year out is seen as decidedly grown-up. It’s all about the side hustles, taking big leaps, and embracing the highs and lows of being your own boss.
But to truly succeed on your own path, is about more than simply “making it happen.” It also means being in the creative flow. Without mastering this, it’s easy to feel stifled and frustrated, as you try to muscle through inevitable blocks.
In the corporate world, we’re taught to operate in fight or flight mode. Success often means “putting out fires” and dealing with crises. Many of us have absorbed this mentality. That work is all about pushing, striving and achieving linear goals. That it requires stress and strain.
But to get your own business off the ground—and see it thrive—we need to exist in an Alpha brain state. The state of being alert yet relaxed, this is where you can access your intuition, and write, think and speak most freely.
Read on for my tips for dipping into your Alpha, and using your flow to fuel a successful business …
1// Schedule flow time in your diary Meaning blocks of time where you deliberately do activities that create flow—ESPECIALLY when you have deadlines and tons on your “to-do” list. You could have a head-clearing walk, do a workout, or chop some veggies to make a big salad. Cooking, driving, running and showering help you get out of your mind and into your body. Listening to music at 60 beats per minute can also get you in an Alpha state, priming you to do your best work. Find what works for you.
2// Make important decisions when you’re in your flow Five years ago, most of my writing skills training clients were sales teams in the corporate world. So, a coach advised me to call myself a “sales expert” and totally ignore the fact that I taught writing. This was VERY, VERY wrong advice, that led me away from my true path. At the time, I was juggling a new baby and a newly-published book. I was frazzled and couldn’t think straight. I recommend using your flow time to carefully consider your big career choices.
3// Know your personality type, so you can do things YOUR way Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type (you can take a free version HERE)? Having this info means you’re less likely to second guess yourself when it comes to the BIG decisions. For example, I’m an “INFP” type, which means I’m introverted, sensitive and rely on intuition to make choices. I’m unconventional and enjoy working alone, but my empathic nature means I also connect very well with people. Knowing my type has helped me to feel confident about building a business based on writing, speaking and coaching.
4// Plan and plan some more—because creativity also needs a container But don’t just sit at a computer and make spreadsheets. Go on quarterly or yearly planning retreats, where you switch off from everything and map out your vision in both pictures and words. Creativity is truly your secret weapon when it comes to business success. After all, there are no new ideas, products or services—it’s all about your unique spin on things.
5// Sometimes you just need to hustle hard It’s fine to hustle when you need to—when the deadlines are stacked up, opportunities are popping, and there are bills to pay. But do it consciously and mindfully. Keep your time in the Beta energy zone to a minimum. Then schedule plenty of time to rest and recover afterwards—as well as some space to just go with the flow!
Ultimately, there is no short cut to building your own business. But knowing exactly where you’re putting your energy and why, will help to prevent burnout. It’s about learning to protect your sacred creative time, so you can hustle with heart, and create a business that lasts.
Greta Solomon is an author, creative writing coach, business writing trainer and former journalist for British newspapers and magazines. She is the author of “Just Write It! How to Develop Top-Class University Writing Skills” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and the forthcoming book “Heart, Soul & Sass: Write Your Way to a Fully-Expressed Life” (pre-order it HERE from April 15th for fab bonuses). She lives in South West London with her husband and daughter, runs creative writing workshops for bloggers and the business world, and coaches people to bring their own books to life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In which I get prescribed a 30-day “self-pleasure diet”…
Confession. There has been a sad lack of the above (laughter) in my life lately, and this is a shout out, please, for some inspiration when it comes to the pleasure principle. Don’t get me wrong, life is pretty freaking amazing right now. I have somehow made manifest a career that reflects all the things I care about, and allows me total creative expression on a daily basis. I’m writing a book. I just launched the most incredible project with an iconic London department store, and moved into a super-cool new apartment in NYC. I’m in a loving relationship, I have a beautiful new nephew (okay thank you for indulging me in a much-needed gratitude list).
But still, and it’s written into very the DNA of entrepreneurship, life has been feeling very much all-work-and-no-play lately (I haven’t, actually, taken a day off this year I don’t think). And as was discussed with my friend Lucy in London last week, co-creator of spirituality un-conference Higher Selfie, what’s the point of dedicating yourself to your passion and your purpose, if your passion and your purpose then turns around and tries to make you its bitch?
The subject came up when I went to see Sandra Lanshin Chiu for acupuncture last night. She said she could tell from the way my tissue was “clinging” to my bones how hard I’ve been working, and how little room for pleasure, laughter, and FUN, this had left. “You’re all in your masculine energy, and that’s great for getting stuff done. But you’re a woman and you have a yin body, you need to create some space for flow,” she explained (kind of nailing it). Okay so her prescription? “A 30-day self-pleasure diet.”
As in, exactly what you think! Whether or not I decide to take up the challenge and schedule a 20-minute masturbation break into my daily routine isn’t something I’m gonna discuss here, but I will say this is by no means the first time the conversation has come up lately. According to Sandra, “self-pleasure is one of the jewels in a woman’s self-care toolbox.” Another friend in London is writing a book on the topic, while a self-administered orgasm had been suggested to somebody else I spoke to recently as a “grounding” practice.
But yeah, any other suggestions for bringing the joy balance back into my life would also be very welcome. In the meantime, you will mainly find me trying to carve out some good old fashion vacay days and keeping busy with my gratitude practice.
Or maybe the answer is meditation? This week I’m also giving a shout out to Numinous contributor Ellie Burrows, who opened her dedicated meditation studio, MNDFL, in Manhattan last night. Okay, wow, we first chatted about this project in the spring (I remember cos it was the first day she’d worn open-toe shoes this year), and six short months later, enter a beautiful, chic and cosy space in the Village offering a “space to breathe” seven days a week. (Although how much space to breathe this project will allow Ellie while it gets up and running remains to be seen – see above! And enter my acupuncturist’s other suggestion – “a slow-entrepreneurship movement.”)
Most classes are 30-45 minutes, with a few juicy two-hour workshops thrown in (like the one on Love & Justice next Thursday) – and are categorized along the themes in the image below. Read the MNDFL manifesto and check out the full class schedule here. Ellie Burrows, we love you!
We are all pretty down with the memo on self care and coming into a place of self-love. This is what all spiritual traditions come down to at their core, the fact that only once we can fully love ourselves can we fully LOVE – one-another, the planet, and all life. But as women, we have some murky territories to traverse on the journey of self-love and ultimate self-acceptance.
A pretty big one is our complicated relationship to our body, and especially the fact it bleeds once a month. Yup, our period is something associated with negativity in our current culture. Something to ‘hide’, ‘clean up’ and generally try and pretend we are not ashamed of.
We have been trained to ignore it, and at best be grateful for the modern pharmaceutical options to ‘deal with’ our individual and unique cycles. Just think of the language that has been used to describe it; ‘the curse’. It’s also been decided it’s a time women become ‘irrational’, and that we should disregard what they (we!) are trying to articulate as ‘just them being emotional’.
But what if there was a different story that got lost over time? What if our period was actually a powerful and potentially life changing event – one that we get to experience every single month of our menstruating years?
We bleed and yet we do not die – just think about the symbolism of that. We are capable of allowing our life blood to flow out of ourselves without any harm to us. And we do this month after month after month. It is literally a physical embodiment of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
In the past, men were likely intimidated and threatened by this female creatrix energy, and declared it ‘unclean’. But there was a time when women would all bleed together, at the time of the New Moon, and meet to honor their menstrual cycles in what is called a Red Tent.
A Red Tent (or Moon Lodge in the Native American tradition) is a place where women come together to honor their bodies as sacred, and celebrate the Blood Mysteries – what DeAnna L’am (recognized world expert on menstrual empowerment, and author of Becoming Peers: Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood) says is the ‘missing piece of the puzzle’ when it comes to women connecting to their sacred wholeness.
My life has been transformed by training with DeAnna.
My period used to be a time of pain and frustration that felt like an internal war with my body, coupled with a fear of ‘leaking’ as people would then know – shock! – that I was having my period. I did not want to get this messy (both physically and emotionally). Today my Moon time is actually my most powerful time – a time to retreat and listen to my body, literally, and do what it wants, not what my to-do list wants.
The reward? I get beautiful, spine tingling downloads from my intuition. Ideas come through, and my days are peppered with “aha” moments. I get clarity on exactly what is in alignment for me. And every single woman has this capacity too. We each carry our own Oracle, and each month we are asked to take the time to sit down and listen to what she has to say.
Because the voice that comes through while you are bleeding is the voice of the GODDESS, and if something is out of whack she is gonna let you know! Hence not being prepared to ‘put up and shut up’, like we often usually do. Your job is to listen to that wise voice and take heed, because the part of you that creates IS the Goddess. And she knows what’s best for you, your family and your tribe.
Now I hold Red Tent Activations myself – daylong events, where you get to completely and radically alter your perception of your own menstrual cycle, your creative potential and your body, and re-establish your divine birthright as being connected to all women on the planet in sacred sisterhood. Connected by blood to all women who have gone before you, and all women who will come after you.
A Red Tent Activation is a powerful and life-changing ceremony around telling the story of your first blood, and of letting go the judgments and prejudices you took into your precious early teenage self that have kept you from fully accessing your power and creative potential as a goddess Creatrix today! And, finally, of enacting the ceremony we never receive in modern society – that of a girl being welcomed into womanhood.
It is a deeply moving to take your place in your lineage of ancestors and as a woman on the planet with the capacity to birth LIFE – be that children, ideas, creative masterpieces, businesses, or a even a new Earth. Yes, it is that big! And we have been hiding from this part of ourselves month, by month, by month.
But just imagine each and every woman in NYC connected to their own inner guidance system. Tapped directly to the Source through their own body, listening to the Goddess within. What choices would women make in their relationships? Their work? Their family life?
Now imagine a whole WORLD of women operating from the true Source within, not longer carrying the baggage of negative self image, not swayed or influenced or manipulated by the external world, but living in complete alignment with their true values, their true desires. That is the world we can create. This is my vision for our new Earth.
Join Alexandra Derby for the next Red Tent Activation in Brooklyn, NY, on September 13 2015. Further information and tickets available at the link.
Have you re-claimed your monthly bleed as a sacred time for intuitive connection? Connect with the Numinous community and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
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.
Who says you have to go meditate in a cave for days to find your true life purpose? Not Numi fave Gabrielle Bernstein, who’s new book Miracles Now offers 108 almost instantaneous tools for bringing less stress and more flow into your life. But do they really work, asks Ruby Warrington? Images: Chloe Crespi.
Gabby B isn’t exactly the kind of girl to sit around waiting for s*** to happen. A New Yorker through-and-through, when it comes to crossing off her to-do list yesterday is never soon enough. Same goes for attaining enlightenment – and her die hard fans are of the same mindset.
“I was finding a lot of people in my workshops would say, ‘but what can I do right NOW, I want to fix this today’. I think that the next generation of spiritual seekers want immediate change right now,” she says, over a lunch of salmon and cauliflower rice in her light-filled East Village apartment. And so she set about compiling a volume of all the tools she uses herself to bring peace, stability and a sense of inner knowing to her own fast-paced, inner city existence.
“A lot of it came through just living,” she explains. “Something would come up for me and I’d be like; ‘I have to put that in the book’. It’s all self-prescribed. Like I’ve had to practise saying “no” a lot lately – which was the inspiration for an exercise called #Sometimes NO is The Most Loving Response.”
A certified Kundalini yoga teacher, getting deep into this spiritual “technology” no doubt opened her eyes to the speed with which breath work in particular can create a shift in our internal (and therefore external) environment. She nods; “I included a lot of what I learned during kundalini teacher training – a lot of pretty ‘do-them-now’ meditations, but which all address pretty specific things we’re all faced with. Like the #Meditation to Prevent Freaking Out!”
But isn’t it kind of “spirituality lite”? How can repeating a two-minute mantra, or whatever, take the place of the deeper work that we’re often called to do to elevate our lives beyond the confines of our current situation? Her eyes widen; “Oh I am by no means suggesting bypassing the steps to look at deeper issues – I wrote three other books on that. But what I love about Kundalini in particular is that the small things that come up always have their root in bigger issues. It’s an invitation to go deeper.”
Which sounds like my invitation to put the theory to the test. Here’s how a week’s worth of Miracles Now played out for me.
Day one: #Value Yourself and the World Will Value You
I’m en route to London, on a work trip that represents a new challenge for me. Am I up to the job? This exercise, borrowed from spiritual money guru Kate Northrup, suggests writing down three things I value about myself so that the world can reflect that back to me. Mid-way across the Atlantic I fire up my iPhone notes app. “I have strong willpower which I use to keep healthy and direct my life the way I want.” “I have the ability to remain calm and positive in a stressful situation.” “My friendships are real and deeply felt.” YES – I can do this!
Day two: #Energize When You’re Short on Sleep
Ugh, jetlag. Gabby suggests doing a 15-minute shoulder stand – “which (Kundalini guru) Yogi Bhajan taught can equal two hours sleep because it relaxes you so deeply.” Unfortunately I didn’t bring my yoga mat, and getting into position on the hard wood floor of the apartment I’m staying in equals a major ouch. I stay up there for 60 seconds max – fail. (NB. should have noted option two, “simply lean your legs against the wall.”)
Day three: #Honor Your Commitments
This is a random one – Gabby suggests letting the book just fall open some days and seeing what “comes up for you,” and, fittingly, I get this on a day where I’m tempted to back out of a team bonding workout session with my London crew. I don’t have time to do the actual exercise – “make a list of the ways you may flake…the write a list of how this behavior affects others” – but I get the message loud and clear. I go workout, we bond, I feel great.
Day four: #Rest, Relax, Restore
Back in NYC, I’m feeling too amped from my trip (it was a success!) to sleep but I need to be on my A-game tomorrow. In this exercise Gabby introduces the “Yoga Nidra”, a deep relaxation technique that involves lying on your back and focusing on relaxing each body part individually, and then your body as a whole. “Do your best to stay awake,” she advises. But I’m asleep before I’ve even got as far as my left earlobe.
Day five: #A Meditation for Healing Addiction
I like to party, oh yes I do, and with some of my more cocktail-loving friends coming over for dinner I am bracing myself for a hard drinking evening – but with a full work schedule for the weekend, I have zero space in my diary for a hangover. Can this meditation help keep the white wine monster at bay? I am instructed to press my thumbs into my temples and repeat the mantra “Saa-Taa-Naa-Maa” for five minutes, while clenching my molars rhythmically together. Two beers into the evening, I open the Sauvingon Blanc (white wine monster: “screw the hangover, this is fun!”). But what’s this? No-body else is drinking that much. Could it be the meditation worked on them instead of me? I go to bed relatively sober, so success…sort of?
Day six: #Be More Childlike
Another random, and oh-so-fitting with that weekend workload staring me down. “It may seem counterintuitive, but one key to feeling more productive and satisfied is to step away from your responsibilities from time to time,” Gabby writes. Being more curious, more present and allowing yourself to daydream are ways she suggests to bring a more creative, childlike quality to the task in hand. I find myself adding “dance break” on my to-do list. Er, yay.
Miracles Now is out now on Hay House, and Gabby is giving away a free half-day workshop to anyone who the book via her website: Gabbyb.tv
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