HOW TO TURN YOUR WORKOUT INTO A FORGIVENESS PRACTICE

Feeling bloated from pie and difficult holiday season emotions? Resident fitness witch Russ Marshalek shows you how to burn calories AND bad feelings by making your workout a forgiveness practice …

For most of us living in post-Woke America, the “saveable” facet of the holiday season is the food—and idea of togetherness at any cost, through gritted teeth, regardless of how racist Grandpa is.

And what you “indulged in,” this can also be a time to practice the art of forgiveness.

“Why should I let that asshole off the hook by forgiving and forgetting?” you might ask (especially if you’re a witch with a penchant for revenge).

Well, true forgiveness isn’t the same thing as forgetting or shitty faux-happiness. Instead, it’s the act of acknowledging what’s happened, and actively choosing to allow past grievances to be fuel for your personal power. 


You’ll be surprised at how damn good it feels—so good, you may even be able to deal with good ol’ racist Grandpa without biting your own hand off.

Turning bullshit into power: that’s magic.

But it also takes practice and rock solid awareness. Try these 5 fitness practices to summon the core strength and mental fortitude you need …

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1// Walk it Off
When you can’t stomach any more negativity and are ready let go and let Goddess, take a walk and hug a tree. Seriously.

As witches, the healing power of nature is a truth we hold to be self-evident, but I feel like it bears repeating til the cows come home.

Feel your negative energy leaving you and imagine the tree breathing a deep green or white energy into you in its place. If you want to add more to this—a run, sprint, etc, or incorporate this into an existing outdoor workout—feel free. But the important and non-negotiable part is to hug a tree. Definitely do a quick but sincere offering to the local spirits as a thank you after.

Music: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Store”

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2// Sit with Forgiveness, aka “Let’s take a time out”
Ok, so Grandpa/Uncle/whathaveyou was offensive, admitted to voting for Trump, and basically stands in total opposition to you, your beliefs, and your existence.

The best way to let that shit go? The incredibly challenging practice known as active meditation. This guided meditation from The Mindfulness Movement is an excellent starting point until you’re able to guide yourself.

Music: Motion Sickness of Time Travel’s “Totality” 

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3// Breathe Into Self-Forgiveness
“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck,” you say to yourself, “I can not fucking believe I did that.” Whatever THAT is, I can assure you that you are dwelling on it way more than anyone else. And even if that’s not the case: so what?

Use this planking exercise to embody the sensation of “letting go,” get over it/yourself, and be grateful for the experiences that have brought you here, even the sucky ones.

While holding a plank, suck your stomach all the way in and tighten your stomach muscles. Breathe normally, ideally through your nose. Hold this position for one minute, and then relax your stomach slowly as your lower down to the ground from plank position. Try raising the length of the exercise by 30 seconds every week to keep pushing yourself.

Music: Black Heart’s “The Day The Whole World Went Away” 

russ marshalek new jack witch fitness witch workout forgiveness practice the numinous ruby warrington material girl mystical world

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4// Knock This One Out
Feeling overwhelmed by all of the internalized crap you’ve been bottling up?

Try this drill for starters. Imagine the air in front of you filled with the charged emotions that have made you feel bad, kept you from moving forward, and locked your heart in a dark place. Then punch it out, imagining the air in front of you purifying into a bright white light.

Music: Portishead’s “Machine Gun” 

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5// Reps for Retribution
Ok, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t include a post-Thanksgiving “Bye, Pie” type workout in here, so this is that one. Sure, you can meditate on the meaning of self-love or whatever, but mainly this is here to make you sweat.

Throw that yoga mat down on the ground and do 25 burpees, 25 pushups, 25 plank pushups, 25 shoulder touch planks. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat. Repeat for 3 rounds.

Music: Knifesex’s “Sex and Death” 

A Self Love Prescription For V Day

Here’s to falling in love … with YOU! Tea alchemist and serial optimist Alicia Henry delivers a self love prescription for your V Day. Illustration: Soleil Ignacio

 

Valentine’s Day …  Whether you’re single or in a partnership, this commercial “holiday” can bring on a wave of negative feelings. Some of us become plagued with thoughts of loneliness, heartache, and even begin to question our self-worth. But there is hope for turning this day (and everyday) into a positive, love-filled experience. And you don’t have to search any further than yourself.

Loving yourself is the most vital action you can take towards your overall well-being and vitality in this life. Not only will you come to the realization that you are a divine being, but you’ll begin to draw others into your life who are also aligned with nourishing their souls and evolving into the best version of themselves. A beautiful ripple effect of LOVE. 

Like any new skill, self-love takes practice, determination, flexibility, and patience. It’s a practice we have to cultivate. This V Day is the perfect time to renew (or begin) your own self-love affair and I’ve concocted a self-love prescription to get you started. Here’s to falling in love with YOU!

alicia henry naked sage tea self love potions danny lane the numinous ruby warrington
Photo: Danny Lane

1. Morning Gratitude + Affirmation Ritual: Our mornings can make or break the rest of our day, so upon waking, take a moment to acknowledge 10 things that you are grateful for. This could mean being thankful for your soft pillow that you lay your head upon, or your two healthy feet that work tirelessly to get you around all day long! This is the first step to simply becoming grateful for who you are.

*Pro Tip: I love to cleanse my space before beginning my morning ritual. My favorite way of doing this is to light Palo Santo—the aroma is sweet and soothing, and it opens my space for newness.

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2. Solo Date: When we’re feeling lonely, the first thing we tend to do is run away from the loneliness and fill the void with social engagements. Friends are definitely a major component to our happiness, but if we can’t be happy solo then our social circles become a mere distraction from ourselves. Try turning inwards. You may actually love what you find!

*Pro Tip: A solo date could just mean reading an empowering book, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ classic Women Who Run With The Wolves.

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3. Write Yourself a Love Letter: Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. Write yourself a love letter that you can open up any day you need it.  The letter can include recognizing your greatest strengths, honoring what you believe makes you unique, and forgiveness for any negative feelings about yourself.

*Pro Tip: Create a romantic letter writing experience by lighting candles, burning incense, and using beautiful stationery. To get your creative juices flowing, check out this beautiful poem by the Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Wordsworth describes his beloved as “a creature not too bright or good.” Who’s perfect anyway

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4. Meditate: Our minds are constantly buzzing, and meditation is an invaluable and truly intimate practice that brings us closer to ourselves, our intuition, our truth, and what really matters in life (to us). Even if it’s 10 minutes per day, give this peaceful, quiet gift to yourself.  

*Pro Tip: If you’re new to meditation, there are some awesome apps that will help guide you!

Rhodochrosite self love the numinous ruby warrington

5. Practice Forgiveness: It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mistakes we’ve made, things we wish were different, our so-called imperfections, and other stories that we’ve created and hold against ourselves. But if it weren’t for our mishaps and wrong-turns, we would never evolve. Be tender and forgive yourself for anything that you’re holding onto that doesn’t serve your happiness.

*Pro Tip: The raspberry rose colored Rhodochrosite crystal (above) is known to activate the heart chakra, and promote self-worth and forgiveness. 

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6. Dance: Want a ticket to instant joy? Dancing is a way to connect to our essential life force. Don’t worry about what you look like—just let loose and feel the music. Whether you’re dancing with friends, or using your hairbrush as a microphone in your bedroom, never stop dancing!

*Pro Tip: Start the solo party with my three favorite tunes for dancing by myself—Pat Benatar’s  Love is a Battlefield, Banarama’s Cruel Summer and of course, Whitney’s How Will I Know.

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7. Take a Sexy Selfie: And see yourself through the eyes of lust. Sexy selfies don’t need to be sent to a lover, they can also be sent to your friends! A girlfriend of mine recently started a thread with her friends’ sexiest selfie submissions—it’s been such a beautiful, safe, body-positive experience.

*Pro Tip: The piece of lingerie I’m loving most at the moment is this black bodysuit by True&Co.

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8. Self-Care Spa: Taking the time to pamper your skin, hair, and nails is a rejuvenating self-care ritual that’ll give you that little extra pep in your step. 

*Pro Tip: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s an easy recipe for a truly decadent body scrub: In a mason jar mix 1 cup coffee grounds (just scoop ‘em off the bottom of your french press—no waste, yay!) with ½ cup coconut oil and ¼ cup raw cane sugar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you’re good to scrub! I find that vanilla and/or essential rose oil are great accompaniments to the awakening coffee aroma. Keep your scrub in the refrigerator when you aren’t using it. Enjoy, beauty!

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9. Rest Sweetly: Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When we skimp on sleep, it directly affects our mental well-being. We wake up feeling groggy, our digestive and immune systems are thrown off, and we’re easily spun into negative thinking. Create a peaceful sleeping experience for yourself with kind bedding, a dark room, and a no-electronics policy.

*Pro Tip: Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I add some lavender infused essential oil to my third eye and lower palms. I cup my palms over my face and breathe in slowly. When you focus on your breath and begin to slow your breathing, you’ll simultaneously slow your heart rate and bring yourself to a restful place.

alicia henry self love potions naked sage tea i care deeply the numinous ruby warrington
Naked Sage Tea’s “I Care Deeply” Blend

Alicia Henry is an Herbal Alchemist  and Founder of Naked Sage Tea, an organic tea company based in Venice, CA. A serial optimist, she is aptly part of the team that achieved The International Day of Happiness, which became a resolution of the United Nations. Follow Alicia and Naked Sage Tea on Instagram for more romance, adventure, and sweet self-love. 

A COSMIC PORTAL: THE NUMEROLOGY OF 999

The numerology of 999 is a powerful invitation to let go and move forward in our journey, says Felicia Bender. Artwork: Victor Moatti 

NUMEROLOGY OF 999 The Numinous artwork victor moatti

999

Ah, sweet surrender.

September 9, 2016 breaks down to 9-9-9 (since “2016” = 2+0+1+6 = 9, making this a Universal 9 Year). The code is a message and also an energetic reality.

This day opens us to surrender on the highest realm. It is the end of a concerted struggle and a transition into wisdom or even a sense of rebirth.

Think about what has constituted your biggest or most consistent struggle—either in the past year, or even throughout your life. This is the time to put this issue (or issues) to center stage and into the spotlight. Now is the time to make some deep changes.

In Numerology, the number 9 is sacred and offers all of the lessons related to all the numbers 1-8. It challenges us to take the lead and embrace independence (1), to love and serve the needs of everyone (2), to express emotions in a healthy way and to be creative (3), to work hard and create stability (4), to use freedom constructively and have fun (5), to nurture and create a home (6), to live with a spiritual base and also ask questions (7), and to empower ourselves and to manifest in the material world (8).

The numerology of 999, day where there is a TRIPLE serving of 9 energy, it opens us—whether we “like” it or not—to our truth, in ways that we have been both searching for and avoiding. While we can say we want enlightenment, we often romanticize it, when the actuality is that enlightenment a painful process. It is a constant stripping away and revealing of Truth and also shines a light on how we must participate in creating what we want in the world.

There is true beauty in the transition opening on this special day. And given we also have two eclipses in September—which themselves are known to accelerate change in a big way—the numerology of 999 in this particular year presents an opportune time to unveil your deepest desires and visualize what it would look and feel like to step into your new reality.

So how to maximize the numerology of 999?

TAKE THE LEAP. Have you been hovering around a decision for so long you can’t remember a time when it hasn’t been eating at you? For example, I know people who have been thinking about getting a divorce for years and just continue to hover in the relationship. A friend of mine said it so well: If you’re constantly thinking about whether or not you should be in your marriage, you shouldn’t be in your marriage! If you’re meant to be there, thinking about whether or not you should stay or go is simply not on the radar.

BE REAL about your actions and participation—while forgiving yourself fully and completely. Do you keep beating yourself up about something you did or didn’t do in the past? Do you replay it over and over again? I think it’s Byron Katie who observes that often we have one traumatic experience and yet our mind relives it so often, it is if we experience the trauma every time we replay it. This is the time to find a way to truly forgive yourself and move on. It’s up to you to find your way to do it—Therapy? Energy work? Hypnosis? A “Release” ritual? Whatever speaks to you, try it it.

EXPAND YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS. Oh, sure. Sounds so cliché. Yet the energy of the 9 is optimized when we can truly live the Buddhist tenant of being Present—when we can live in the moment, let go of the past without resentment, and be open and curious about the future. If there’s ever a time to clear our slate of negativity, this is it. And this is made more challenging by the current conditions we’re experiencing in the world. There is so much tumultuous change, it can be disconcerting. Yet if we can be the eye in the center of the hurricane—even in the most intense times—the rest of it will become so simple.

CHECK YO (SHADOW) SELF

Acknowledge your shadow self…unless you want it to act out in unhelpful ways, says The Namaste Guru. Artwork: Erykah Zeledón Salazar

shadow self by The Namaste Guru girl with demons artwork by Erykah Zeledón Salazar on The Numinous

Would you host a tea party for you and all your demons? I stumbled across an Instagram post suggesting just that. I was initially perplexed by the concept. If you’re entertaining your negative attributes, doesn’t that mean you’ll continue to engage in negative actions?

Upon researching the concept of the shadow self however, I came to understand the post was not about encouraging your inner dark side—but acknowledging it even exists, for the purpose of keeping it under control.

According to Jungian psychology, the shadow self is the unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. To help us maneuver our shadow, psychologist Carl Jung taught the Archetypes Model—developed from the idea that our subconscious mind is divided into different ‘selves’ to help us decipher the varying experiences we encounter.

The “persona” archetype is the positive perception we have of our self and how we desire to be seen by the world. In comparison, the “shadow” archetype is formed by our repressed impulses, fears, desires, and weaknesses.

My introduction to my shadow self unfortunately involved…the devil. As a teenager in a catholic high school I was a late bloomer to alcohol consumption. But after reading an article about LSD-induced spiritual awakenings, I vowed to drop acid one day.

Six years later in college, while on a “drinking, drugging, and fucking” binge in good old NYC, I was offered some acid late into a night of partying. I accepted it as you would accept another drink, solely for the purpose of continuing the fun.

I was so inebriated I’d forgotten my “LSD spiritual awakening” vow…not to mention the fact it might not be ideal to drop acid right after taking a four month course on Dante’s Inferno, while sharing a house with a pit bull.

So naturally, an hour into the trip I found myself in hell on the brink of purgatory, dancing with the devil to John Mayer’s, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” Although initially, the devil didn’t look like the devil, he looked like my bartender friend I met a couple nights ago.

“Do you know me?” he asked as the song began and we started to sway. I laughed at the silly question. “Yes! You’re Anthony!” I chuckled. But then he leaned in and asked, “Do you? Know me?” This is when I began to contemplate if I really knew Anthony, since I’d just met him. Which is when Anthony’s face morphed into that of the devil.

We were wrapped in each other’s arms, on a double helix spiral staircase descending through the earth’s torus vortex and down into Axis Mundi. Waiting at the bottom of the steps were flames, lava, and a bunch of pit bulls waiting to eat me alive.

John Mayer’s voice casually cued, “We’re going down, and you can see it too. We’re going down, and you know that we’re doomed. My dear we’re slow dancing in a burning room.”

“HOLD UP, HOLD UP, HOLD UP!”

I thought.

“There’s no way, I, deserve this.”

And so I tried to reason with the non-compromising devil, failed, and instead forced a thousand happy thoughts of my mom and best friend into my mind which thankfully manifested my transportation from inferno to purgatory. En route, I was introduced to my shadow self by means of a meander through of my life, which occurs for people who have near death experiences.

Instead of watching all the shitty things I’d done to others, I returned to scenes where people had done shitty things to me—and I was able to feel why they did it and relate to them in ways I’d similarly hurt others. I was able to forgive both them and myself.

I also realized that as a result of my catholic school brainwashing, which included “you’re evil if you have sex, masturbate, drink or do drugs,” I spent most of my life perceiving myself as an angel, even in times when I wasn’t.

For example, I view cheating on a lover as the most despicable act. Then a recent ex who said he wanted to marry me later revealed that he also wanted to become a rock star, fuck women all over the world, and couldn’t see himself being monogamous for the rest of his life. I was unfortunately manipulated into adjusting to his desired lifestyle, and as a result we had many issues over other women.

Eventually, I disregarded my own moral code and cheated on him, my thinking being, “well if he can do it, then it’s okay if I do it.” Boy did this get me into trouble. I was labeled a hypocrite and finally learned that if someone hurts you, it doesn’t make it okay to hurt them in return. I could’ve just dumped him once he revealed who he really was to me.

The overall lesson of my dance with the devil? If you ignore your shadow self and act like there isn’t a side of you that manipulates, lies, cheats, steals or whatever, it will pop out when you’re angry or sad and wreak havoc on your life. And so, in short, I say: “Check yo-(shadow)self before you wreck yo-self!”

Here are 6 ways to acknowledge and keep your shadow self in check:

1) Create protocol lists for when you’re angry, depressed or anxious and refer to them before addressing the people or situations triggering those emotions. My ‘Anger Protocol List’ includes taking time to cool down before talking to the person who made me angry, as well as writing out ways to respond and resolve the issue in a way that is positive and healthy for all involved.

2) Stay on top of your diet. Eating GMO filled snacks and consuming depressants like alcohol when you’re already in a negative place will only feed the shadow! Try eating natural anti-depressants like cashews (thanks to its composition of niacin and tryptophan). Lavender lemonade also reduces stress, anxiety and headaches.

3) Seek out healthy activities. Watch comedies and laugh with your friends, dance, listen to your favorite music, eat delicious meals, and spend time in nature. Surrounding yourself with positivity will help you keep a healthy balance between your persona and shadow archetypes.

4) Create a healing environment and nurture your body and home. Take oil and salt infused baths. Buy flowers for yourself and light candles. Release your thoughts and emotions in a journal to prevent harnessing energy from past experiences. This will help you to live in the present.

5) Exercise, meditate, and do yoga. Keep your endorphins flowing and your energy fluid. Conflict and traumatizing experiences can development blocks within your body’s chakra points. Physical activity, chakra balancing meditation, and Reiki will assist in removing these blocks.

6) Remind yourself of the previous times when your shadow was acting out in your life, and how you responded. Ask yourself what you can do better this time and actually DO THAT. Remember that things did in fact get better. Forgive yourself. Look in the mirror and smile. You’re doing great!

HOLY F*CK! MAKING AMENDS WITH MY EXES

In the first installment of her column Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo decides making amends with her exes is the next step on the path of awakening…Photo Credit: Louise Androlia

Alexandra Roxo Holy F*ck making amends on The Numionus

In the last nine months of being “single” I have done a LOT of work trying to figure out my love life/self/astro chart/addictions/blahblah. Some of that “work” was on Tinder but no need to get into that…yet. Anyway, I decided that in order to move on and clear the slate I would make amends with all my exes. I was having a John Cusack in High Fidelity moment where he’s like, “What’s wrong with me? Why did all my relationships ‘fail’? I should probably seek out and bother everyone I’ve ever dated in order to figure out what it is about me!” Which seems pretty narcissistic, I know.

But the way I saw it, this wasn’t about narcissism or figuring out what was wrong with me. I don’t believe in relationship ‘failure’ anyway. It was about wanting to neutralize our energy, so I wasn’t carrying around a bunch of ‘eugh’ and ‘agchk’ vibes towards a bunch of people that I once loved, had sex with, and maybe even told that I wanted to have their babies…Plus the fact that in order to really move on to new love, I feel it’s important to unpack any potential baggage that is weighing us down. Justin Bieber’s words “Is it too late now to say sorry?” kept echoing through my mind.

No one taught me how to do this and I was just going off intuition, though I had heard it was a part of AA and some program called Landmark that sounded trés culty.  So I consulted my teachers. Marianne. Jesus. Marianne again. She says many things about making amends, but this stuck with me: “Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we’re mad at people, we’re angry because of something they said or did before this moment. By letting go of the past we make room for miracles to replace our grievances.”

So at first I thought, should I write everybody a letter? Hmm, it felt kind of like a wimpy way out, like I could just get something off my chest without hearing their (potentially not so charitable) side of the story. So instead I reached out to what had been my biggest primary relationships individually, and suggested we sit down for a drink.

Now yes, it is a little tricky to suggest “just a drink” with an ex – I mean what happens if two vodkas in, the romance spontaneously rekindles itself and you find yourself making out?! #RiskyBusiness. I knew this was a possibility, and yet “coffee” seemed sooooo formal. I mean these are people that have held you at your darkest hour / made you cum many times. Wine, my friends. Wine.

Alexandra Roxo Holy F*ck making amends on The Numionus

So I sat down with my first ex. This was someone I’d only dated for about six months after having sex on her NFL sheets where she kept saying: “You’re such a dime” while she came. After that she wooed me with a Jaws movie night complete with steamed crab legs and champagne, and we fell in love. She was the kind of person who danced with me to Motown in the kitchen, ate gluten free because I did, and gave me orgasms where I legit saw rainbows of light. (FYI this is called “synethesia.”)

So it was real RUDE of me to ghost on her. When we sat down three years later to reconnect at a mediocre spot in Williamsburg, I apologized first, went into my spiel about being grateful for all of the wonderful things she did for me, all the ways she put up with my neuroses, and how much I’d grown up…while she gulped down some rosé, looked at me and said: “You really fucked me up.”

To which I replied: “I am NOT going to own that, because whatever expectations you put on the relationship are what made you feel that way. I PERSONALLY couldn’t make you feel that way.” But then I remembered this was not about patting myself on the back or being right.

So I said “I am really sorry for my actions. For yelling at you. Being mean. And for checking out when things got tough. I am truly sorry.” We walked through the park quietly after that and haven’t spoken since. She seems happy, I like her Instagram photos on the reg, and I’ll probably text her on her birthday. CHECK.

Next I saw the guy who was my last boyfriend before I somehow gave up men and dated women for six years. With him, I was a little bit nervous. I had dumped him in cold blood for my first girlfriend and…blamed it on the fact he wasn’t spiritual enough. He was an atheist, and I knew I couldn’t date an atheist or raise children with an atheist, so why bother, ya know?

We met at a dive bar. I was nervous, and he’s still hot. Even hotter now. I fondly remembered a time we had sex in the pool at my dad’s condo and the security people taped it and bribed my dad with it. Cut to my internal dialogue: “What if I’m not strong enough? Should I wear lace panties just in case? No. Don’t even shave. Ugggh. Okay. Fine.” When I told him, “Hey, I’m sorry for how much of a crazy diva I was,” he just gave me a cute smile and said: “Don’t worry mama” in that way that had always made me melt. Then he scooted off to help another ex gf move house. THIS IS EASY RIGHT? Hmm, not so fast…

Alexandra Roxo Holy F*ck making amends on The Numionus

Next was the hot, fast, love affair that happened the summer I was living very gypsy-like, i.e. out of a suitcase and on an air mattress. She showed up at 3am at the place I was house sitting with a bottle of tequila, told me she was dying, cried, fucked me, and I was like “SIGN ME UP!” Then things got really bad between us. She was going through some dark stuff, I was going through a rough patch with my family. I was also living in my creative partner’s office, trying to make art, struggling with addictions, chain smoking…

I recognized that I had to get it together which I thought meant cutting her out. When I told her “No mas!” she cried and told me she vomited for days and had to go to the doctor for an IV, and I basically couldn’t deal. So I blocked her. And from then on, anytime people said her name it was like horror film music started to play…

Needless to say I was VERY nervous to meet up with this one. But I did my energy protection ritual, marched in, drank only half a glass of wine for safety and told her I was sorry and that she caught me when I was in such a dark place. She smiled a really cute smile and was like “It’s okay. We both were.” And we proceeded to talk about our mutual friends and though I lustfully admired her long sinewy fingers I emerged from the bar thinking: “Oh. My. God…we’re friends, we’re friends!” But soon she started texting me and asking me out again to which I politely declined, repeatedly. Eventually she caught on.

The upshot of making amends this way, has been that I’ve realized it’s never too late to take responsibility for your actions, and create a different ending to your story with an ex. You might think: “Oh, what’s done is done is done is done.” But what if you could make something else, something better, the last thing that happened between you? It could even be something random like sending them a box of chocolates or a bottle of champagne, with a note like: “Sorry, I was awful.” No two making amends are alike.

I didn’t need to see my most recent ex (Yogi_Vegan_Lez Orian) since we made amends in semi-real time. It felt and still feels like a MIRACLE OF GOD. Painful, but evolved. We Facetime a lot, often while I’m driving in LA and while she’s on a toilet in Brooklyn. And when I came to NY last we karaoked our song “Islands in the Stream” from Youtube like old times.

I hope from here on out I can try as much as possible to make amends in real time. Which means a) not numbing out from feelings when the going gets tough (umm hi marijuana / alcohol / sugar) and b) Stepping up and taking responsibility for my actions quickly and not stuffing anything away.

When I think back on my exes now no more waves of darkness descend upon me, and no more sob stories about how they were assholes etc run through my mind. Now when I think of them I smile and imagine them saving the planet, curing cancer, etc etc.

Next making amends I’m doing is with myself – because it’s my longest and most important relationship, and arguably the one I need to forgive the most. But for now I’ll take Obama’s apology.

MODERN FAMILY: A HIGH-VIBE HOLIDAY SURVIVAL GUIDE

In her holiday survival guide, Erin Telford has some tips for staying zen when you’re home with the fam… Images: Ofir Abe via Behance.net

how to survive the holidays last supper illustration by Ofir Abe on The Numinous

 

“If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family.” – Ram Dass

Nothing is truer than this statement, since THIS is the real spiritual work. Take it off the mat, take it out of the personal development book, take it off the cushion – family time means time to walk the talk.

If you are mentally steeling yourself for holiday family time this year, know that you are not alone. We always revert to children when we go home, no matter our actual age. And this inner child will always re-experience the same unmet needs for attention, affection, allowing, acceptance or appreciation.

This inner child may even be coming into a family gathering with an expectation of feeling old hurt. This child may unconsciously be watching and waiting for familiar signs that he or she is inadequate, unwanted, or less than.

And if these wounds haven’t been addressed and healed, even if there isn’t an overtly toxic situation to navigate there will always be people present that push these buttons.

The trigger might be a casual remark about your job or relationship status, your parenting style or appearance. The deeper the wound, the more power these off hand comments can have to throw you off your game, creating a spiral of anger and insecurity. Happy holidays!

And we’re talking deep, subconscious stuff, the kind of stuff it’s hard to see coming. One minute you’re “fine,” the next, an insecure little girl who wants to lash out teenage rebel style – or else go hide in her room.

With this in mine, here are a few tips to keep in your back pocket while you navigate…

how to survive the holidays last supper illustration by Ofir Abe on The Numinous

:: EVERYONE IS FEELING IT ::
And truly doing his or her best (even if it doesn’t look anything like it from where you’re standing).

What if everybody was overtired, over sugared, feeling small, feeling ugly, feeling overweight, feeling anxious, feeling insecure, nursing old wounds, hurt by something that was just said to THEM, grieving, feeling lonely, feeling sick, trying to stay sober.

There are any number of reasons that people don’t act the way we wish they would, especially when our usual routines and coping mechanisms are taken away. They are trying with everything they have just as you are.

:: FORGIVE YOURSELF FIRST ::
If you lose it, if you feel petty, if your buttons get pushed, if you respond exactly the way you didn’t want to, if you fall into old unhealthy patterns of relating, if you get sucked in…you are ALSO doing your best. Here is my prayer for you: A Prayer to Release Your Burdens

I forgive myself.

I will no longer be held hostage in my own mind.

I will no longer replay events and wonder if I could have/should have/would have done more/been more.

I did all I could do.

I gave it everything I had.

I acted with all of the tools that I have and to the best of my abilities.

My intent was always love.

I forgive myself.

Say this in the bathroom when you sneak off to get away. Say it into your pillow at night.

how to survive the holidays last supper illustration by Ofir Abe on The Numinous

:: WE CAN’T CONTROL HOW WE FEEL BUT WE CAN CHOOSE HOW WE DEAL ::
You are not a victim. You are an adult who has created a cozy little corner of self-love, proud achievements, acceptance for your authentic self, and emotional stability back home. HOLD ONTO THIS VISION.

If we walk into a situation feeling insecure and anxious, we are already poised to get knocked off our center. No wonder, then, that first obnoxious or critical comment already feels like the famous Last Straw.

It’s important to remember that what’s been said is magnified by the open wound we’re already re-experiencing. It’s like the salt jar accidentally fell in. So we can pick up the gauntlet and do battle, we can withdraw, or we can decide to eat/drink our feelings, depending on our personalities.

Or we can pause, we can breathe, we can excuse ourselves, and we can physically shake it off with a jog around the block or a brisk walk. Our call.

:: FOCUS ON GOOD SLEEP, EXERCISE, WHOLE FOODS, MEDITATION, PRAYER :: 
…but since it may not feel that easy to maintain your usual high-vibe routine, you can also ground and own the holiday space with this simple visualization. It will help shift the energy wherever you are to support you and help you feel comfortable:

Imagine a column of golden light in the center of the space you will be in. This column extends from the center of the Earth to the heavens.

Place a golden rose at the top of the column with three words that signal your intention for your experience. These can be words like Stable, Peaceful, Relaxed, Strong, Joyful, Happy.

Imagine writing your name on all of the walls in the space or hanging pictures of you smiling and having fun.

This exercise helps you to set the energy of the space to a vibration that supports your highest good. And I wish you the absolute loveliest holiday season and strength for any challenges that come your way!

8 THEMES TO WORK WITH IN THE YEAR OF THE SHEEP

Enter the year of the Sheep, gentlest beast of the Chinese zodiac and harbinger of creativity, peace, and healing. Here’s how to make the most of this Cosmic gear-change in the months to come…

8 themes to work with in the 2015 year of the sheep fashion shoot featured on Thenuminous.net

What’s weird is that in China people traditionally avoid having babies in Sheep years, as these passive personality traits are perceived as a weakness. But actually, isn’t more empathy for others, more nurturing, and more open-heartedness exactly what the world needs right now?

If last year’s Horse energy was all about putting ourselves out there in the name of progress, then the Sheep ushers in a time of quiet reflection, and careful consideration about the impact our actions have had on the wider world. Our best work will be done behind the scenes, and in the moments we feel safe to settle into our creative flow.

Relating to the Western astrological sign of Cancer, home and family are where the heart is in 2015. But as the Sheep is the 8th sign of the Chinese zodiac, correlating with this being an Eight Year numerologically, there is also the opportunity to cash in on the bold initiatives we began under the entrepreneurial influence of the Horse.

Here are eight key Sheepy themes to work with in the months to come:

FORGIVENESS
The Sheep bears no grudges. Virtually every spiritual tradition teaches that forgiveness, of ourselves and others, is pretty much essential on the path to enlightenment, and here comes your opportunity to let bygones be bygones. Even if the bygone in question involves a cheating rat, or a backstabbing biatch. Remember; their actions could only be born of suffering (as, you know, the Buddha might put it).

HEALING
The licking of wounds, both physical and emotional, is actively encouraged this year. No more suffering in silence or simply soldiering on, Sheeple! It’s time to embrace the idea that only once you are fully whole will you truly be free to thrive. Where to start? Your intuition knows where your deepest issues lie. From there, you might want to check out our Nu Review to find a Numi-approved practitioner near you.

GENEROSITY
When was the last time you truly sacrificed of your self for the benefit of others? And no, sharing your HBO Go password with everybody in your apartment block doesn’t count. The Sheep is the humanitarian of the Chinese Zodiac, and since the dawning of the Sheep year coincided with the philanthropic Aquarius New Moon, the stage is set for us to rethink how “I” can benefit this year, to include the Universal “we”.

SELF-NURTURING
This goes hand-in-hand with healing, and prioritising your self-care schedule this year is about tapping into a unique opportunity for regeneration. 2015 is the year of the Wood Sheep (each year also has a corresponding element), and since the Wood element is associated with all living things, there’s a Spring-like theme of renewal in the air. Time to scrub yourself clean, inside and out, and detox step forth all shiny and new.

DIPLOMACY
Let’s all play nice this year, yeah? And that goes for you too, politicians. The Sheep invites us all to strive for peaceful negotiations in 2015, to temper our own agendas and embrace the concept of compromise. This isn’t about keeping your opinions to yourself, more an invitation to see each situation from all sides.

INTIMACY
Let your secret softie show! It’s amazing how people warm to you when you show your vulnerabilities, and the Sheep year encourages wearing your heart like medallion of honor. Bye-bye bravado, hello real heart-to-heart connections. The kind new best friendships, authentic life partnerships, and life-altering family breakthroughs are made of.

CREATIVITY
An open heart also creates an aperture for you to connect to your inner muse. As the Wood Sheep heightens our sensitivity to the world and the people around us, artistic expression becomes catharsis, a way to channel our subconscious in service of making our world a more beautiful place. The soul speaks in mysterious ways; and our creativity is what gives it a voice in the material world.

ACCEPTANCE
Don’t fight it. Make “I surrender” your mantra this year, and then just watch how much more fluidly life unfolds. This is not, we repeat NOT, about adopting a pushover stance and allowing yourself to be taken for a ride. Rather, it’s a time for tapping into the Universal oneness energy, and trusting, simply, that whatever you’re being asked to accept today is in the ultimate service of your highest good.

How will you be working with the Sheep energy this year? Connect with us and share your journey on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Wood Sheep illustration by Dani Katz featured on thenuminous.net
Illustration: Dani Katz