HOLY F*CK: A CALL TO EMBRACE OUR HUMANITY

It’s time to stop using spirituality as an escape—and embrace our humanity, says Alexandra Roxo

In times likes these—where we have somehow managed to elect a president with terrifying beliefs and judgements, where Native people are still fighting to protect the Earth while most everyone else walks around trying to protect money—I feel like it’s so obvious. As a culture and a people we need to get out of our heads and into our feet. Into our wombs, our pussies, and THE EARTH.

We’ve become so focused on “success,” making money, how we climb and grow. All masculine principles. All in the mind. Goal oriented. We barely notice when animals become endangered. We forget to talk about climate change.

It’s not our fault, it’s what we were born into: a consumerist, capitalist culture. When I ask my clients about how much time they spend focusing on their sexual energy or creative energy or with their feet on the ground, it PALES in comparison to how much time is spent in the realm of the computer. Money. Capital. Thought. Even meditation. It’s all up, up, up, into the Cloud.

But the way I see it, we need to go down, down, down! Get back into our bodies. And it turns out spirituality, just like work or booze, can become an escape from the pains and earthy work of being human.

Speaking as somebody who can be a spirituality abuser myself, I think it’s time we stop using it as such. Let me tell you a story about why.

***

When I was 13 I had a bad year. 1: I got held down by a bunch of boys and sprayed with red super soaker guns in 30 degree weather while calling me names. I punched one of them and everyone hated me. 2: My bestie’s parents called us out for being gay after she told them we had innocently experimented sexually together and forbade us to be friends anymore. I was DEVASTATED.

So what did I do? I went to church to get SAVED. This was my first bout of checking out of human life by saying: “God I can’t take it down here! Beam me up!” I spoke in tongues, got saved like 100 times. And even wore Abercormbie. (No offense.) My New-Age-psychic-seeing-Angel-lovin-Enya-listening Mom got worried.

Eventually I went back to feeling like I could manage down here. I did theatre, volunteer work/built homes for homeless, wore 4-inch cork wedges to school, flirted with boys, and learned all the dance moves to “Bye Bye Bye.” But my spirituality abuser didn’t go away. I always found some new practice to dive into. Some psychic to look to for the answers.

By age 19 I found myself sitting on a spiritual pedestal feeling like I was “special” and that others “weren’t awake.” While doing an acting exercise in college my teacher called me out in front of the class: “You are using spirituality a mask. It’s keeping you from feeling things and being here. Go back to your seat and come back when you want to be real.” DAMN. I was crushed. But I took her words wisely and went home, cried for about three days, painted, wrote love letters, laughed with friends and gently got down off my spiritual high horse.

It happened again though. Only two years later, after a trauma abroad, I was ready to sign up to be a monastic in a commune in Italy where I had been meditating in caves, sitting on cold stone floors, and wearing communal Cosby sweaters. I renounced sex, alcohol, or anything “of the flesh!” Mom got worried again.

I found my way back to humanity again. But my spiritual extremist rears her head every so often. I see her spending more time reading horoscopes than DOING things that can help. Talking more to other realms than folks in Trader Joe’s. Diving into days of plant medicine ceremonies and shamanic journeys. And avoiding the harsh pains of reality. Any of this sounding familiar?

As wonderful as it it to wake at 6am and meditate every day, to read all the articles and check the horoscopes and pull a card from all the decks, I am trying to refrain. In the name of balance.

My aim is to cultivate as much of an EARTH practice as I have a SPIRITUAL one. Which means for every meditation or journey to the spirit realms, I better be doing something here here on Earth. CAUSE I WAS BORN A HUMAN. And the Earth needs me. Head out of phone. Feeling my toes in the dirt. Pussy alive with energy and life force. Does ALL LIFE originate in my brain? NAH, IT’S IN THE PUSS.

***

I don’t think it’s enough to just pray and send love and light to Trump, or anyone for that matter. Pray for peace, yes. For love, yes. But I think we also need to get dirt under our nails and be humble and immerse ourselves in what’s happening out on the streets.

And so I urge you, like I urge ME, to embrace your humanity!

Get in the pub and talk to old Latino men and share food and drink with them.

Instead of reading another self-help book (like me!) go to the rally. Sign up to volunteer. Watch documentaries and educate yourself. Go to open mics and comedy clubs in areas that are new to you and mingle with people who aren’t like you.

Let’s look at how much we’re spending on “spiritual” paraphernalia, and re-balance the books! How about a pole dancing class instead? Donations to planned parenthood? Community gardening?

Let’s admit that we don’t know the answers. It’s not fair to all the other folks who have been working tirelessly for years if we pretend we know how to save the world with our ascension ideas. (I mean would you say that to an 85-year-old Native woman? Nah, probs not.)

And remember. If and when we need a strict practice to get us through a hard time, it will ALWAYS be there. You won’t lose it. Because it’s in you! “Spirit” won’t get angry and turn its back on you. I promise.

But for now the world needs YOU and your humanity. Out there. Off the mountain and in the streets.

I love you.

Moon Club co-founder Alexandra Roxo is a filmmaker and intuitive coach living in LA. Read more about her work at www.alexandraroxo.com and follow her love and sex and life woes and victories on Instagram.

REMEMBERING THE WISDOM OF WILDNESS

Re-connect to the wisdom of wilderness, and perhaps our planet will save US, says Darren Austin HallArtwork: Stéphane Recoupé

“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” — Terry Tempest Williams

The worst kind of loss is one you’re not even aware of. The loss of the wild and our allied wildness is one such loss, haunting us in a multitude of inner-howlings and muffled cries; deep, psychic pains and distant, all-engulfing yearnings.

We may taste it in the devastating awe of a sublime valley of meandering meadows and lakes surrounded by towering mountains. Or else in the skin-crawling terror that some city slickers can experience in the dark woods. We get little nudges of it, too, when we boldly take risks, calling upon unknown resources. In the ecstatic place when limits are transcended and we witness how much more powerful we are than we believed.

And we also find it in the rebellious streak that smirks at authority figures, sometimes playfully, sometimes out of a sheer desire to transgress any kind of ‘taming’ of our primal being, as if it were a grave betrayal. The story of our wildness—what it is, what happened to it and what to do with it now—is old and complicated, but it’s one worth remembering, for it harkens back to the most ancient wounds that usurp us all.

Our natural world, horrendously abused, is now in a state so perilous our very survival as a species is threatened. This is an example of just how deep the wound of separating from our wildness goes. At the heart of perhaps one of the longest and most insane of wars in our story as a species, it is also one we are largely ignorant of: the war against both nature and the wilds of our own human nature.

I realized this returning to Toronto after a recent vision quest in Manitoba, and realizing what we’ve lost in choosing to pave over Her wild, ragged skin; to relegate Her rawness to sanitized city parks; to drown out the peaceful pulse of Her wilderness with the perpetual motion of the traffic and busyness that charge our cities with a certain kind of restless madness.

Moreover, how we have become cut off from something so vital and necessary; something that keeps us in constant alignment with what is true and good, on a path of virtue, and away from the suffering that modern culture wreaks upon us by way of social conditioning.

But all it takes to remember is to acknowledge the inherent wisdom that awakens within us when we’re in the wild, like a silent soul-switch.

In any moment of heartache, when you’ve felt called to take a walk in park or, better yet, hike in a forest, didn’t you experience an almost immediate peace-of-mind? And perhaps a subsequent yet even more powerful cascade of wise insights, resolve, and answers? In my one-on-one healing practice, I often send people besieged by turmoil to the park to sit beneath a tree, to ground into the earth and simply ask questions. I counsel them to enter a state of meditative receptivity and to wait to see what happens. It never fails.

One incredulous friend later admitted she thought it was some ‘hippy bullshit’—but that within minutes of sitting, she found extraordinary insights. On this note, one ancient name for Goddess Earth is Sophia, meaning ‘wisdom’—also at the root of the word philosophy: philo (love) of sophy (wisdom). Or Sophia, the Earth Goddess, whose quality is wisdom.

I believe that when we encounter any kind of wilderness, even in a city park, an extraordinary resonance takes place between it and the wilderness buried deep in us. Suddenly, stagnant emotions, thoughts and experiences find flow because what is wild is always in flow, cannot be tamed nor contained. To take a hit of this means an immediate sense of liberation.

It’s a feeling we experience as teenagers: as our hormones thrust our bodies into adulthood, and we feel the unhinged energies of our being expanding. In traditional cultures, these were times to take the boys and girls into the wild to teach them how to navigate these new energies, so that their wildness could be channeled, and not devour them in arrogant hubris and inflated egos vulnerable to narcissism.

Nowadays, kids do drugs, and partake in other risky activities to test their mettle against these dynamic evolutions. All too often, it leads to disaster—disasters we often survive (we are sturdy folk). But some are are never able to escape this deep yearning for more aliveness, chasing the sensation for the rest of their lives in whirlwinds of drug and alcohol abuse.

For the great call of the wilderness is forever present.

If we choose, we can learn to ride the stallion of our desires using the tools of our spiritual practice, while fostering a quiet reverence for the wild, knowing that there will always be a part of us that lies beyond our control. For if we don’t figure out how to live in harmony with our wildness, we’re doomed. Something we’re reckoning with as a species right now.

And so I invite you to rediscover the wild in you and to find ways to connect more deeply and even sacredly to the wilds of the world.

  • Perhaps this means a month-long discipline of mini-vision questing a la urban shamanism, going to the nearby park every morning to sit in gratitude and receptivity for potential flumes of wisdom.
  • Perhaps this means shaking for twenty minutes a day and letting the voice vent into roars, yells and spontaneous songs.
  • Perhaps it means following our instincts more, our gut-truths, and heart-wombing wisdom; giving head to our heart.

Whatever your way of connecting to the wisdom of wildness, know that you are healing the great wound between ourselves and the Earth, a wound that has pushed us to the harrowing brink. Know that these small acts are in service of a greater movement that is sweeping through our species as we begin to remember a deeply eternal love for Earth, and for the wild.

In which we might just find the way to live one of the most splendorous truths imaginable; we might find the way to let the world save us.

Discover more about Darren Austin Hall and his work at Darrenaustinhall.com

EMPOWERED ACTION IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Recent world events have stirred up many emotions. Louise Androlia shares her wisdom on how to use our feelings as a catalyst for empowered action…. Images: Katya Volpato

Recent world events have left many of us feeling traumatized, whether or not we’ve been directly affected by acts of mass violence. These are turbulent times, and having been working on my own path to trauma recovery recently, I feel called to share some thoughts on how to work on being present in reality—but at the same time not becoming immobilized by fear.

At the root of it all, whether facing our own crisis or confronted with mass crisis, the difficult art to master is that it is safe to feel our feelings and continue to connect, especially when we feel as though it would be wiser to shut down.

The strong emotions being stirred up among switched on communities now are actually a valuable call to action. Here are some ways we can use them—while avoiding losing our connection to our highest selves, or getting swept up in the hype.

THE EMOTION: Overwhelmed
THE GUIDANCE: You can’t save the whole world at once
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Focus your attention

Pick something you currently feel very passionate or perhaps frightened about, and then learn and feel your way through it. Endless browsing through social media feeds may make you feel more frustrated because you also end up reading the comments, which can lead to yet more overwhelm. Instead, choose to focus on your chosen subject and learn all you can. Yes this will be hard if you are used to endless scrolling—because as well as learning, you are re-training your mind to be present.

THE EMOTION: Fear
THE GUIDANCE: Catastrophizing only fuels the fears
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Get involved in local politics and community

Looking on Facebook lately, all I’ve seen is people screaming into the Internet abyss about the apocalypse and giving fuel to their own fear and sadness in the process. This helps no one, including you. So look at how you can actually get involved within your community, and if you don’t see anything obvious, start something. It is so easy to just say ‘Fuck the world’. But this is not the time to give up. It’s time to shout louder, IRL, and to remember your voice and your vote DOES count.

THE EMOTION: Anger
THE GUIDANCE: Do not fight fire with fire
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Feel your anger; then channel it into positive action

The elements can always teach us something—for example, anger is a fire element emotion, while compassion and feelings are water element emotions. And you don’t put out a forest fire by setting another part of the forest on fire! Action, and so activism, is a positive channel for anger, and if what’s needed now is more of the water element, become an activist for love, compassion, equality, empathy, and connection.

THE EMOTION: Grief
THE GUIDANCE: It is safe to feel your feelings
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Explore and nurture your shadow side

Man of us are experiencing a huge collective sense of grief, coming in all forms, and for anybody not used to this emotion, this level of pain can seem very frightening to the mind, body and spirit. This is not a time to numb the pain, but instead an opportunity to dive deeper in your own self-inquiry practice. Checking out of reality serves no one, including you. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel all the fears that have arisen recently and know that it is okay to do so. It can sometimes feel like our own personal crises are not ‘bad’ enough to warrant being the focus of our compassion—but ignoring your own pain will leave you unable to serve. By learning to compassionately address what is currently coming up for you, then you are actually helping to heal the collective and creating connection between yourself, your peers and those strangers you are really feeling for.

THE EMOTION: Helplessness
THE GUIDANCE: Re-connect to yourself
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Take a media break

First of all, avoid watching or reading the mainstream news on a loop. Studies show that when we keep recycling the news over and over we are re-traumatizing constantly. And the more scared we feel, the more helpless we can feel. To be able to start being of service it is essential that we learn to reconnect to our selves, as once back in the present moment we feel more stable to help others. I’ve also lost count of how many people I hear saying they wish they could use social media less, as this can have a similar way of hooking us into judgment and fear, and distancing us from our own truths. The great news is…you can!

Some easy ways to start:

  • Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode at night.
  • Create a ‘no social media after ***pm’ rule.
  • Log out of all your social media channels on your computer and phone. This means that when you go to use them you become aware that you have to login. This allows using them to become intentional.
  • Move your social icons on your phone to a folder and put it on the last page of scrolling. Again this means you CHOOSE when to look rather than it just being there.
  • Do not read the comments. I repeat DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.

These small actions may feel massively uncomfortable, and if so, good. If you feel anxious without your phone, good. The present moment will continue to feel painful until you learn to be IN it. And look how much time you now have! What would you like to do with it? I suggest reconnecting to PLAY. Connecting with your inner child is another way to ease anxiety and help you reconnect to your natural energy of love and connection. When you refresh your true north, you are more likely to be able to shift your helplessness into self-love.

THE EMOTION: Frustration
THE GUIDANCE: Express yourself in the way that works for you
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Show don’t tell

It can be really hard to express yourself in a way that you feel helps, especially when you’re angry and upset. It’s good to remember that we rarely get our point across when we try and force it upon someone and so preaching doesn’t usually feel good. You will always feel better when you can express yourself articulately and if you find it difficult to feel confidence with expressing yourself with words, remember also that you can always just BE the change. We always positively affect those around us with our behavior. So think: what small steps can you take in your day-to-day life that will provide example of the kind of world you’d like to live in?

*** 

A Final Word on Black Lives Matter. Vs All Lives Matter.

This is an argument that’s been raging, and below are a few of my favorite simple ways to explain the situation to someone who is having trouble understanding. It is part of human nature to make everything about ourselves (regardless of the topic) since in times of trauma our survival instinct kicks in. But it’s important to learn to recognize that not EVERYTHING is about us. The more that we can see ourselves connected to everyone else, the more empathy we can ignite.

  • “When we say ‘Save the Rainforests’, it doesn’t mean that all other forests suck.”
  • “Choosing to go to a rally for Breast Cancer does not mean that Liver Cancer is less important.”
  • “Saving an animal that’s about to go extinct does not mean that other animals aren’t important, it just means that right now, this one needs our help.”
  • “Yes, of course all lives are important, but currently it doesn’t feel like black lives are as important as other lives—and until the world is equal, meaning ALL people receive the same level of kindness and judicial treatment, then we need to speak up.”
  • “Choosing to support black lives does not mean your life is any less significant.”

You get the idea.

MY MYSTICAL WEEK: A REALIZATION ABOUT REINCARNATION

This week, I’ve been mainly bonding with my baby nephew Henry – prompting some way deep realizations about reincarnation…

The epiphany officially occurred six weeks ago at Erin Telford’s Cancer New Moon breathwork circle. It was one of those psychedelic experiences that’s hard to convey in words – but lemme have a go! Fittingly, with the moon in family-orientated Cancer, towards the end of the breathing section of the workshop, which is designed to bring deep seated emotions, memories and fears to the surface to be healed, I experienced a full mind-body-soul understanding that not only am I linked to my family by my DNA – I actually am them.

I just GOT, on a numinous level, the fact that since our physical being is formed of our parents’ cells (and therefore of their parents’, and their parents’, and so on), our ancestors literally LIVE ON through us. Since new strands of DNA are constantly being added to the mix, the bigger realization was that ALL HUMANITY is connected in this way! And all this accompanied by a beautiful visual of atomic rainbows of particles, swirling together to form image resembling my mother, then my brother, and his brand new baby boy. Not bad for a stone, cold sober Friday night in Greenpoint, I think you’ll agree.

It got me thinking a lot about reincarnation, obvs, especially when we fast-forward to this week which I have mainly spent bonding with my new nephew Henry in London. I decided at about age five that I didn’t want kids of my own, and as much as I’m 100% happy with my choice, my recent revelation had left me feeling like perhaps this life is the end of the line for my soul (whoa, deep). And then along comes Henry, who looks so much like me as a baby there’s just no denying that a part of me will live on in HIM.

Baby Henry, baby me

Reincarnation is the belief that the soul itself leaves the physical body at the end of biological life, to begin a new life in a new body. But my experiences lately have given me a new appreciation of the soul contracts we share with our families – karmic lessons we have for each other, which we continuously reincarnate together in this dimension in order to learn or heal. Clear this karma, the theory goes, and your soul will ascend to a new level of enlightenment when you reincarnate the next time around.

It’s a belief system I’ve chosen to subscribe to, not least because it’s meant making a commitment to nurturing and healing my family relationships NOW – which, in my experience, has been the truest way to find fulfilment, and an authentic, stable, sense of self. in other words, to find happiness – a theory that’s actually backed up by the findings of Shawn Achor, the happiness expert I worked with on my recent project for Buick.

In Shawn’s research, the breadth, depth and meaning of our relationships – beginning with our families – was the biggest predictor of long-term happiness, and can have as much impact on our overall health and longevity as smoking, high blood pressure or obesity. In my (mystical) book, this is all a wake-up call to dig deep into what the soul contracts with YOUR tribe might be – and to prioritise working them out in this life, so that we can all ascend together.

Do you believe in reincarnation? Connect with us and share your thoughts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.