HOLY F*CK: FINDING MY SPIRITUAL PRIDE

Spiritual and queer? It’s on us to create places to practice that reflect every shade of spiritual pride, says Alexandra RoxoPLUS 3 ways to create more inclusive healing spaces.

Some of my favorite summer memories were in my first Pride month in New York City in 2009. I was falling in love and my girlfriend was ecstatic to be bringing me into her community. It almost felt cliche to fall in love during Pride! Finally coming out as bisexual/queer, after years of closeted same sex encounters not deemed appropriate in Marietta, GA where I grew up, I finally was able to be the whole me.

During this time though I veered away from some of my spiritual growth. Not because I actively thought I couldn’t be in a lesbian relationship and also be spiritual, but on a subconscious level I had internalized this belief. Why? Because none of the spiritual traditions I’d studied said anything positive about same sex partnerships or sexuality. When I asked some of my yogic teachers about this, they frowned and avoided the question.

There also weren’t any spiritual leaders I looked towards who were openly queer. So in a sense, during those years I shunned my own spiritual devotion in order to express my true sexuality.

It is difficult to stay committed to a spiritual practice when your leaders and teachers don’t reflect your experience. Deepak wasn’t queer. Yogananda wasn’t. Marianne wasn’t. The tantra books I was reading all featured hetero couples so I stopped reading them. In spiritual circles or in yoga communities and retreats I felt out of place. So I nixed them for a while and made plant medicines and gay nightclubs my church.

Alexandra at her first Pride

As I matured however, I realized that just because Krishna and Radha aren’t gay, or Jesus and Mary Magdalene, that being queer doesn’t make me less devoted. I turned my attention inwards and began to focus again on my practice. Even though the retreats and spiritual communities I was in remained mainly straight and white, I stopped giving a fuck and showed up anyway without looking for a validation of my experience there.

When teachers assumed hetero preference as we discussed sacred spiritual sex practices, I would get hot and nervous and want to speak up. It always took me a moment to raise my hand and say I was bisexual/queer identified, but it was always worth it. And not only for me, but also so the teacher could consider including diverse experiences in the class.

On my path, I’ve also been deeply inspired by every other person who shows up to retreats, yoga classes, and ceremonies despite not seeing their experience reflected in the people there. Who raises their hand and stands up for their experience, too. Not to prove a point. But to feel seen. To begin to shift an outdated paradigm and create change. It takes a brave soul to willingly highlight your difference, but it is worth it—for each of us personally, and also as a collective.

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The below queer leaders and teachers are going one step further by shifting the face of wellness to open the gates for way more inclusion and love in the spiritual scene. Here they are offering some words of wisdom, spiritual teachings and personal experiences for you this Pride month …

BUNNY MICHAEL. @bunnymichael. They / them.
“When I think about it now, coming out queer at age 15 in Texas was probably one of my first spiritual experiences. It was the first time I had to trust what my heart was telling me, not what I was conditioned to believe in. It was the first time I had defined for myself what Love was. It was the first time I was truly afraid. Afraid to lose the people who were most close to me. It was the first time I questioned my worth. Being queer gave me an early insight that the spiritual path isn’t always easy … and it’s not supposed to be. It shows you your limits and how to break free of them. It challenges your foundations and builds a bridge to step into a peace within yourself. It shows you that in every space you walk into it is your responsibility to stand up for Love.”
Bunny is a healer, writer, musician, activist and artist.

SAH D’SIMONE. @sahdsimone. He/ his.
“A little residue of the collective prejudice [on being queer] still creeps up in my mind once in a while, and in the past it would leave me with a knot in my throat, followed by thoughts of guilt and shame around being myself. Now after 6 years of spiritual work I can see that unconscious reaction taking place and I can pause the downward spiral — breathe it out, and wish myself and everyone that could be getting hooked in this collective trauma to heal and be okay with being themselves so fully! Truth I stand by is that when we are truly ourselves without the baggage of shame that was passed on to us, we are actually inviting other people to be themselves fully too. And wow that’s a powerful spiritual gift you’re sharing with everyone around you.”
Sah is a gay identified meditation teacher and transformational coach.

DANNY BRAVE. @hellodannybrave. He/his.
“Spiritual practice allows me to get into alignment with my soul, and sexuality is my favored way of embodying that soul with the fullest pleasure and power. Being queer, as it turns out, means just being me. It means I don’t follow the ‘rules’ with gender, with relationships, with clothing, or with essentially anything. It means I am just me.”
Danny is a trans identified healer, writer and activist.

LISA LUXX. @luxxy_luxx. She/her.
“My sexuality IS my spiritual position: I’m daughter of our elemental earth, all my relationships are seasonal, and I desire women who view all levels of intimacy as a conscious practice where we can exercise our subconscious and unconscious paradigms, ultimately making every connection a space to grow in …”
Lisa is a queer writer and activist and poet living in the UK.

AARON ROSE. @aaronxrose. He/him.
“My gender & sexuality have been evolving my whole life. The more I heal, the more I develop my spirituality, the more me I become. These days I identify as a gay trans man. When I was 7 years old I was obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio and I always wondered: do I want to be him or date him? Turns out the answer is both!I feel deeply that there is a very specific reason that I am a man who experienced socialization & abuse as a child who the world saw as a girl. Those experiences have allowed me to grow up into a healed and whole man, with a deep capacity for nurturance and emotional presence. I am called to celebrate both the divine feminine and masculine within myself and lead from that place of integration.”
Aaron is a gay trans identified coach and leader who works on diversity and inclusion strategies for businesses and individuals.

Alexandra and Sah D’Simone

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Ultimately, it’s up to us to revolutionize the modern spirituality scene to become more inclusive, diverse, and celebratory of healthy sexual and creative expression, dialogue, and freedom. Regardless of your own sexual, political, or romantic preferences, here are a few things we can all do to make spiritual spaces more inclusive:

– No assumptions! You can’t assume someone is male or female or gay or straight. Ask! If they wanna answer then great, if not all good. Respect the boundaries.

– Take out gender referential language. You can still honor masculine and feminine of course. But saying directly “hi ladies!!” Or “hey guys!” Or “hey goddess!” Can hurt hearts if this does not speak to the experience of someone in the group. Claim what works for you.

– Update for the Now Age. If you’re leading or teaching from ancient texts consider modifying language for 2018 to be more inclusive.

Thank you to everyone out there stepping up, stepping out, shining bright, risking, shouting, asking questions, listening, and shifting the old paradigm of spirituality and wellness into more inclusivity and diversity to reflect the world we live in.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM MIKI AGRAWAL

We are so psyched to have Thinx Founder Miki Agrawal for our first Moon Club live Q&A! Here she shares her post-election thoughts for how to change hearts and minds…

So he won.

As we pick up the pieces in the coming months, either we can continue to create a greater divide and point fingers at the racists, bigots, misogynists, homophobes, and the women who all voted for him (because let’s be honest, I can go on for days about that too), or we can finally start to ask ourselves why is half our country so upset?

This is not about Trump or Hillary, this is about the people who voted.

Maybe we do live in a comfortable bubble and can’t imagine why anyone would vote for a narcissus like Trump. But maybe there are reasons that are simply so far removed from our minds that it’s not even on our radar…Might we be missing something?

I will of course never tolerate racism, bigotry, sexism etc. But we have to look closer at what’s going on—and, more importantly what we can do to bridge the divide.

The day after the election, we held an all-hands team meeting at THINX HQ and we discussed what we can each do as individuals and as a company and we came up with the following:

1. We will not unfriend those that voted for Trump on Facebook but rather choose to have open discourse with them (without the bitch face)(i.e. with true open mindedness)

2. We will go to the red states and host THINX pop-ups there and get to know the people that we may not encounter often and talk taboos. Maybe we can open up their hearts and minds in those convos.

3. We will genuinely listen. Even when it’s infuriating and confusing. I am going to open up my ears and heart to my dad who voted for Trump. We haven’t spoken in a while because of it and I plan to build a bridge over Thanksgiving to really try and understand his side.

At THINX, we are faced with changing hearts and minds every day, talking about the oldest taboo in the world—our period—and sharing a new “period underwear” concept that might be hard to grasp at first (because it’s totally different to what people have known for so long). But we change hearts and minds through education, inspiration and inclusion, and by facing and answering tough questions earnestly asked (yes they really work and yes you feel dry and no they don’t smell and yes, periods are cool because it creates human life and no you shouldn’t be ashamed to discuss it etc).

By just speaking to those who already “get” the blessings of periods (and period underwear), it defeats the whole purpose. We want to change the hearts and minds of those who may NOT get it.

I am not trying to compare periods to what’s going on in our country, but there is an inextricable link to the shame and frustration that we feel all around.

The only way we can create true unity is if we ALL get off our high horses (me included!) and humble ourselves on both sides and listen to each other. And let’s not wait for them to do it first. It always starts with us. Yes we have a right to be angry and scared (I am too, and even more so after seeing who’s on his short list for cabinet members etc), but the best thing we can do is build more good businesses and programs that improve the world, educate people by doing it in a caring, non-condescending way, and participate in the discourse around us positively.

We have a choice. As corny as it sounds, I know deep in my bones that we all want to choose love. It always trumps hate in the end.

In blood we trust.

Discover more about Moon Club, a new monthly mentorship program for spiritual activists, at Moonclub.co. Co-founders Ruby Warrington and Alexandra Roxo will be hosting a LIVE Q&A with Miki Agrawal for Moon Club members on December 9 2016.