THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRIENDSHIPS

What if you applied the life changing magic of Marie Kondo’s tidying methods to choosing the right friendships, asks Victoria CoxArtwork: Found on Pinterest

Friendship is a constantly evolving thing. We have our inner circle of friends, our coven of trusted confidants. Then there is a secondary circle, comprising people we are friendly with but who are less likely to know our strange quirks and deepest desires; work colleagues, gym buddies or school friends.

Over time, lesser known friends move into the inner circle, whist others move out of the constellation entirely. The point being that our friendship circle is ever changing, as we mature and grow. It is not designed to be stagnant and fixed.

Some friendships gain strength year after year, reaching surprising levels of intimacy. Some fade away entirely either through neglect, distance or simply growing apart. Then there are others that come to an abrupt end, the flame of friendship extinguishing itself in a dramatic fashion.

I understand all of this. So why do I still find myself trying to maintain friendships that no longer serve me? The answer to this question can often be surmised in one word: obligation. After all, if we’ve spent years building up a friendship, investing our time and our hearts, it seems counter-intuitive to throw it all away.

But what if we could learn to accept that if things aren’t what they once were? Acknowledge that it’s time to move on, with no hard feelings?

After all, I’ve learned to do this is every other area of my life. I’ve walked away from dysfunctional relationships; shitty bosses and unfulfilling jobs without even looking back. Why not apply the same thought process to my friends?

And then I finally read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a light-bulb went on in my head.

Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert, touts the virtues of tidying by asking of everything you own: “Does this spark joy?” and if not, thanking it for its service and getting rid of it. But instead of pondering whether inanimate objects in my apartment sparked joy, what if I applied this method to choosing the right friendships?

Admittedly my first thought was to question whether or not I would qualify as a sociopath in comparing my friendships to my heavily stained shower curtain.

But really, what if we were to scroll through every friend listed in our phone contacts and ask ourselves: “Does this person spark joy in my life?” I would hazard a guess there’s probably a good thirty percent of people about whom we would either answer with a long “hmmm…”—or else blurt out a “Hell No!”

And when you really think about it, why would we choose to spend our valuable time with friends that no longer spark joy in our life? It simply doesn’t make any sense. Until you factor in that godawful G word. Guilt.

So powerful is the G-word (evil twin of the that O-word again—obligation) that I recently found myself spending hours with a friend who I didn’t want to hang out with, doing things I had no interest in doing and wishing I was somewhere else. Talk about soul-destroying.

And so turned back to Kondo’s book, seeking more pearls of wisdom to apply to my friendship circle.

She also wisely counsels that nostalgia is not your friend when it comes to your closet—and it turns out it’s not much help when it comes to friends, either.

How many times had I continued to hang out with a friend based solely on memories of what fun we used to have together? As it turns out, way too many. Our conversations always took a detour back down memory lane, peppered with “Remember when’s?” rather than “I’m so excited for…”

Sadly, the past is the past and if the only connection is over what was instead of what will be, then it might be time to reassess what purpose that particular friendship is serving. Is this person invested in your future dreams? Do they relate to the person you are today, or only the person you used to be?

Friendships are unique. Unlike relationships with our family, we choose to enter into them. And unlike a marriage, there’s no piece of paper reminding us we’re obliged to try and make it work. We choose each other because the relationship means something to us, it brings us joy, makes us laugh, brings over pizza when we’re feeling down and out.

Whilst it may be incredibly sad to bid adieu to a friendship that just isn’t working for us in the same way—because we’ve changed, they’ve changed or it simply doesn’t jive the way it used to—it’s also freeing to remember that since we chose to get into it, we can also choose to get out.

HOLY F*CK: HOLDING SPACE FOR MY SHADOW SELF

“Just like our sexual self don’t have much space to roam in this world, neither does our shadow self…” says Alexandra Roxo.

Which is a mask, which is a shadow, and which is my truth?

Last week in my Holy F*ck salon I felt a heaviness as we gathered on the call, and so I asked: “How many of us are in pain today?” To which everyone replied: “Me.” Some quietly, some more boldly. We were about to do a round of storytelling around transcendental orgasms, but instead I decided: “Fuck talking orgasms today. Let’s talk shame. Sorrow. Rage.’”

I myself was in the deep throes of having let my shadow out to speak her voice at Burning Man, having been silenced for months. I’d literally called on my WHOLE healing team to help me process the experience. Coach Perri Gorman. Intuitive wizard Luke Simon. Michael Ventura, who’s been working with me on this for three years! And a psychologist I met at Burning Man, Justin Hartery.  Plus all my besties. LIKE WHOA IT TAKES A VILLAGE, and I’m so grateful I have help when I need it.

Somewhere during Eclipse season, at the Temple on the “playa”, some old wounds had gotten a fresh surface scrape. As a result I was oozing blood onto everything in my life. And as my wounds and the wounds of all the ladies of the salon were given a voice on that call, I realized—just like our sexual selves don’t have much space to roam in this world, neither do our shadow selves. But when they come knocking we have to answer.

We put on happy faces left and right and keep our shadow tucked away. We don’t want to “be a downer” at a party. So we tuck those feelings away. They get judged, while the “positive” feelings get center stage. Sometimes these are the shadow itself behind a clever mask, and sometimes the positive feeling is holding its hand over the “negative” one, creating a carefully curated dialogue.

“Who, me? No! I’m not insanely horny today! I’m great! Been meditating and doing Bikram!”  Or….”I’m fine! I’m not grieving the fact my dad forgot my birthday for the 18th year in a row. I’m a grown up. I should be over it by now, right?”

We walk around as if “doing okay” and “keeping it together” are badges that will earn us Love and Life Merits. We live by “shoulds.” I “should” be grateful. I ‘should” be strong (p.s. I have eliminated SHOULD from my vocab and I challenge you to do the same).

One shadow that surfaced in the salon was the overwhelming shame of being single. Of showing up to weddings and dinner parties alone. Of having people ask you, “Are you seeing anyone?” before asking about your work, your passions, your friends.

Another that floated into our call was about being in your 30’s and having your parents still supporting you. Many women I love deeply are supported by their families as adults, and since society says this is wrong, it creates yet more shame. When in truth their tribe is caring for them.

On the flip-side, another of my own shadows has been wearing the “Independent Woman” costume (ahem armor) that serves me so well at times, but had become hard to pull off, creating a tough barrier to deeper connections and vulnerability’—until it got ripped off at Burning Man that is.

As we gave these feelings a voice, they were like orphaned children being held tightly for the first time in a long time. How beautiful it was to each other say: “I pretend it’s okay. But I’m in pain.” As we each cried, the rest of us just listened. And I got to thinking…

What if we did this at dinner parties? What if we could eschew some of the socialization that keeps us separate and lonely by keeping these feelings—our truths—hidden away? And what if when I said: “I just feel ugly today”—instead of you replying, “Girl, you’re beautiful!” you just honored my feeling?

What if we just held space for that feeling like two wild witches on a Full Moon in the woods, and watched her fly around the room until she disappeared out the window and into the stars to be at home with all the other parts of our souls? And then we ate spaghetti with marinara sauce until it made our lips red, and talked about where we want to travel before we die and danced to Bowie.

Dancing with my shadows at Burning Man

How about we reclaim old rituals for honoring the shadows together, and make some new ones of our own? How about I just listen as you speak every fear to me…and I don’t try to fix them. I don’t offer you a solution. I don’t tell you “Everything is going to be okay.” I just hear you and see you and witness you and hold you.

After all, we came here to be wild. We came to make “mistakes.” We came to try things and fail. We came to let our hearts be smashed to bits and to carefully sew them back together. We came for glory. And we came for failure.

They tell us to keep it neat and pretty. To “be the light.” But your shadow is your asset. When you hide her away you teeter along as a half version of yourself, dragging a corpse of old, half-acknowledged feelings around. And so next time shame or grief comes calling, answer her. Make her a temple. Throw her a party. Give her center stage for once.

Will the shadow start running the ship? Most likely not. But if this fear exists, then create a container for these feelings. If you know rage could cause chaos, then take her moshing at a concert. Or give her a punching bag at a boxing gym.

In my Holy F*ck salon that day, I made a pledge to my group and we made a pledge to ourselves:

“When you cry I promise not to comfort you. I promise not to usher away your feelings with my ideas of what’s “right” and “wrong.” When you scream, I promise not to shush you and tell you it’s going to be okay. I’ll admit I don’t know if it will be, but I’ll listen and stand tall with you, and be by your side.”

I pledge this to you now and welcome you to share this with the people you call tribe.

This column is dedicated to those Wild Women and Men who are willing to go there with me and grieve and mourn and rage and laugh and cry and dream with me. Who don’t shut me out when things get ugly, and who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty in the name of growth and change. You know who you are.

Alexandra Roxo is a Spiritual + Creative Mentor, Writer, and Filmmaker living in LA.  Find out more on alexandraroxo.com and instagram.com/alexandraroxo/

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: BURNING MAN PREP AND A COSMIC CONNECTION

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

Hosting Club SÖDA NYC with Biet Simkin and amazing Betsy LaFae

 

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

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

:: TUESDAY ::

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

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

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

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

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

Vinyasa shirt, $69

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

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