MOVE, SIT, WRITE: 10 REASONS TO WRITE AND MEDITATE EVERY DAY

As she prepares for her Move, Sit, Write tour of the US, Tatum Fjerstad explains how learning to write and meditate every day is about sparking a conversation with your higher self. Artwork: Brian Lynch

Call it an exercise in trading comfort for terrifying uncertainty (she does, in this brilliant blog post), but when something broke in Tatum Fjerstad in December last year, the only option was to pretty much quit what she’d been doing and start again. Which looks a lot like setting off across America to teach her twin (okay triplet) passions of yoga, meditation and writing – a.k.a. her Move, Sit, Write tour, which will take place in 15 studios in seven states, beginning March 3 in Portland, Oregon.

Up until this point, Tatum had been making her life / career decisions a lot like: If I do this, people will think it’s cool. If people think it’s cool, then I’m cool. If I’m cool, people will like me and then I don’t have to work so hard to like myself because everyone else will be doing it for me.” And if you too suspect, on any level, you might also be living this life: “Get out now,” she advises. “It will bring you to a very dark place where you will feel so very disconnected with your own wants and desires that you’ll start to have bleak feelings about how we’re all just atoms bumping into each other and everything is meaningless so what’s the point.” Our point, in general, precisely.

It’s been through her own move, sit, write practice that Tatum has learned to re-connect to and value her sense of self – and since it’s often our own wounds that lead us down the path to our dharma, who better to guide others to do the same. Here, she shares 10 reasons to write and meditate every day…

For more details of Tatum’s Move, Sit, Write tour check out her Go Fund Me page  or book tickets at Tatumfjerstad.com

1. Take An Inventory: When you create the space to listen to your patterns by meditating on and writing down whatever is bouncing around in your head, you (and only you) can decide what you want to keep and what you want to release. This doesn’t happen after one go at it. You have to do it every day.

2. Own Your Shit: When things are rough, this practice can help you get super clear on your hand in the matter. All of us are walking around with a LOT of baggage, no matter who you are, and we can’t unpack it by ignoring it.

3. Sleep Harder: I started meditating twice a day everyday and journaling once in the mornings almost a year ago. Since then, I have had some of the best naps, dreams, and deep sleeps. When you give yourself the time to slow down during the day, your body settles much easier when it’s time to do so.

4. Deeper Connections: When you become a better listener to yourself, you become a better listener to others. It’s a lot easier to put your phone down during a conversation and make eye contact with another person if you know how good that feels when you do it for yourself.

5. Forgive Freely: This soft quiet practice initiates the nurturing of your inner teacher, who happens to be pretty benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. You’ll start to be more lenient on yourself and that will trickle down to others because you’ll realize that we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

6. Treat Yourself: So many of the people I teach think this sort of work is too indulgent or they say they don’t have time. If you have time to scroll through your Instagram feed in bed in the morning, or wash your hair every day, you have enough time to get up a little earlier and do yourself this favor.

7. Increase creativity: When you sit and watch your thoughts and freely write them down you are sitting at the seat of creativity. You can’t force that shit. It has to come on its own with space and sweetness. What better space than writing and meditation?

9. Inspire Others: The longer you do this, the more your friends will want in. They will see your softness emerge and they will ask for your secrets. Share them.

10. Get it Out: Omg, it feels so good to write a bunch of shit about someone who is pissing you off. It feels WAY better than telling them this stuff and then immediately regretting it. I’ve solved entire friendship dramas without speaking a word to them and having the conversation with myself until I was done with it. Sometimes that takes a few days, sometimes much longer.

11. Be Your Own Best Friend: You know that feeling when it’s whatever-night-of-the-week and you don’t have any plans and everyone is doing cool shit and you feel like a big loser full of FOMO? That goes away because you’ll start to really love those cuddly moments with yourself when it’s just you, a good book and some great music.

DEAR DIARY: A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIVINE

As Neptune goes direct and the Sun moves into Sagittarius, it’s the perfect time to instigate a conversation with the divine. And your journal is the place to start, says Katie Simpson.

Almost 18 years ago, I bought my first journal. It was a small back hardbound book covered in pictures of Mickey Mouse designs. I’ve since journaled for self-care, self-expression, and so much more.

In the past year, my journal has provided a surprising new benefit: it’s become the space where I have dialogues with the Divine. This began on more intense days, such as in the build up to a New or Full Moon ritual. But now I can have these conversations during lunch breaks, late nights, or days when I am sick.

To be clear, these conversations don’t require any mind-altering substances. The most I have in my system may be a cigarette or a glass or two of wine. And my most profound conversations with the divine occur when I’m completely sober.

Journaling and talking to God both happen in my journal but look very different. When I’m journaling, I write my thoughts down as they come. With the Divine, it’s a written conversation. It sounds and looks like two different people having a discussion. I will write something, and then She responds. The best way to explain it is like the old written notes we used to pass in class. Only I am both one of the writers and the messenger.

These dialogues are a gift, but not one that’s unique to me. I believe that with a little time and effort, you can have these kinds of conversations as well. Here are a few practices that have helped me commune with the Divine through the written word.

:: The faces of God ::
As a religious studies major in college, I learned a lot about the different faces of God. For example, in Hinduism, you could see Kali, Goddess of destruction, and Sarasvati, Goddess of wisdom, as two separate entities. Or they could represent two different aspects of the same Divine Feminine.

So often in the Judaea-Christian West, we focus on God as a judge, ruler, or father figure. But for many women, it’s difficult to connect with this. Personally, I connect best with Jewish idea of the Shechina. She is the feminine, the maternal presence, that I see when I reach out to God. And as such, she is the one who communicates with me on the page.

To begin a dialogue with anybody, you need to feel a connection with them. It’s the same with the Divine. Perhaps you need God to be a fierce warrior. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of God as Sophia, or wisdom.
There’s no wrong answer. So think back to which icons, saints or experiences really made the divine manifest for you. Is there a pattern? What images and ideas do you gravitate towards now? Exploring this is a great start to feeling a connection with the Divine.

:: The inner God block ::
For me, God has never just picked up the pen on her own and started writing: she writes through me. Which means that before the Divine can show up on the page, I have to make space for her – space beyond the doubt, the criticism and the disbelief around God, that so many of us have developed.

To give her space, a free-writing practice is critical. Each morning, I sit down and write three pages, either typed on my computer, or in a hardbound journal. No editing, no second guessing, just writing. Have I perfected this practice? No, but showing up helps me be honest on the page. This way, when the Divine does decide it’s time for a chat, I don’t fight it. I just keep writing.

This practice does take time: I’ve been doing it for over two years now. A couple glasses of wine could be a faster way to muting the inner critic. However, drugs are only a quick fix. Taking the time to show up and write will prepare you to have a dialogue with God, whether it’s 8am or 8pm.

:: Just ask ::
My dialogues with the Divine don’t start off in a complicated way. In fact, they usually begin with a vulnerable honesty.

“I’m so scared of telling him, what will happen?”

“I’m feeling so tired today, I just want to rest in your arms.”

I don’t believe there’s one right way to start chatting with God. For me, it’s about being simple and direct. My dialogues began by me being honest about where I was and what I needed – while the maternal Shechinah simply listened, and held me.

It’s very rare that God reaches out to me or begins the dialogue. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had any dialogues with God if I hadn’t started the conversations. Why? I wouldn’t have even known I was hearing the Divine.

And what YOU need when chatting with God could look and sound completely different. However, it is up to you to show up. It’s up to you to say you want the conversation, and in fact it’s critical that you ASK for it. The Divine is all around us, waiting. It’s up to us to show we’re ready for a deeper connection.

:: Say Thanks ::
I’ve seen it time and again in human relationships. Want to mess something up? Take a person for granted. Believe that your employee will simply continue producing great work and never leave – and just watch that relationship ferment into a bitter and moldy fruit.

The Divine doesn’t need gratitude. However, simply assuming that you can continue to have dialogues with God won’t do, since becoming proud and assuming of this connection is a surefire way to destroy the dialogue.

Being in the presence of the Divine should always feel like a gift. As such, showing good manners and saying even a quick thank you after the fact can help. There are other ways to show your appreciation: donate money to your favorite charity; give a loved one a call and tell them you love them; pick up some trash from your park.

Divine dialogue has become a gift that helps me be the best version of myself, for others and for myself. Whether you find God on the blank page or in the woods, know that it is your birth right to have time and space directly with her. But taking time to discover what aspects of the Divine resonate with you, and then actually asking for that relationship, are fundamental to creating and sustaining this connection for the long haul.

INTENSELY FELT: GET TO KNOW YOUR SCORPIO MOON SIGN

Those born with a Scorpio Moon sign feel life more intensely than most, says Ash BakerArtwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

Calling all with a Scorpio Moon sign. Let’s dive into the deep waters where your heart centered luminary resides. The Moon reflects our deepest emotions, our reactions and instincts, and where we need and seek comfort in life – and the lunar Scorpio is intense. Not only in your needs, but how you get those needs met.

The Scorpion Moon sign comes with a super power to see past any illusion and go for a direct hit if it means getting to the truth of any situation, and people lacking the bravery to be honest won’t get far with you. The Scorpio Moon sign is drawn to intense people, situations and environments. You seek drama on some level, whether you like it or not, and all because of an innate drive to transform . A Scorpio Moon sign understands better than any that you must shake the foundation until it crumbles so you can build it better than before.

This need will play out in totally different areas of your life depending upon which house your Moon is located in your birth chart. But any which way, embracing this strong need for emotional intensity will be key to accepting yourself. Finding healthy ways to release this intense energy can help relieve it while still honoring this side of yourself.

This is also a very psychic Moon. With the laser like ability to hone in on the truth, you just know things you really should not. This level of knowingness gives you an emotional upper hand. You possess a level of confidence that will entice others to deeply confide in you, or else you’ll scares the hell out of them. And the Scorpio Moon sign is happy knowing everything about you, while you know very little about them. These are private creatures.

The shadow side of knowing everybody’s secrets is that you also know you can get hurt, badly. Human nature can sting. This can lead to the Scorpio Moon sign creating a tough veneer, seemingly making those around them, especially lovers, jump through hoops to earn your trust and affection. You like to control for fear of losing it – at least if you’re in control you always know what’s coming. Yet even when disaster hits, this Moon will thrive on opportunity for yet another rebirthing experience.

This Moon may reside on the darker side, yet when in love, you will display a level of loyalty like no other. You will fight till the death for your own, and are ultimately a great ally. While it might seem the Scorpio Moon sign can play on negatives as a catalyst to help others, when galvanized into action you are unstoppable. Let’s look at some ways to bring out the best in the Scorpio Moon sign…

See projects through to completion. The Scorpio Moon sign feels emotional unrest if you don’t finish what you start. This goes for your career, home projects, and even your relationships. You do things with your whole heart, or not at all. There may also be the tendency to expect others to hold the same standards. But other people won’t always be so black and white about life. Work on practicing loving acceptance of yourself and others.

Honor your need for privacy. Having healthy boundaries around your need to be alone to connect with your higher self is key. This is something others need to respect about you too, as you may become quite defensive without a quiet space to retreat to. Scorpio’s mascot is literally the scorpion, who likes to hide in dark places until they feel safe to come out. Your emotional Moon is quite the same. Knowing that this is normal for you is another positive step in healthy self-acceptance.

Seek the truth but leave room for the light. You don’t shy away from the darker side of life, and while admirable, this can lead a person to expect to find negativity more often than not. Spend time around people, places and get involved in experiences that show you how good life can be. It can be a cruel world out there, but it can be an amazing love-filled one too. Volunteer for a charity that speaks to you, working with others to make positive changes. Spend time with kids or animals, and witness unconditional love through the innocence of these beings. This will help your heart out next time you’re feeling cynical about the world.

Keep a journal. Write out your anger. Write out your sadness. Make a list of things you are grateful for. Use this space to get EMOTIONAL. Multiple studies have shown writing out your feelings brings a sense of control back into your life, so genuinely use this as a way to purge your intense inner stirrings. You could also see that some situations, if actively pursued, could lead to unnecessary strife. You seek intensity in life, and are strong enough to walk through the fire, but you have to pick your battles. Let it all out on the page instead, and keep your journal locked, tucked away or even under your bed. Prying eyes are death to the Scorpio Moon sign!

Your Moon is hugely valuable, as it can help others transform into better versions of themselves. Use your natural lunar abilities to light the way for others seeking their own much needed healing.

GET TO KNOW YOUR VIRGO MOON SIGN

With the Sun in Virgo it’s also the perfect time to shine a light on your Virgo moon sign, says Ash Baker. Image: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

If your Sun sign describes your vitality and speaks to the way you operate day-to-day, your Moon sign is your reactionary pulse. Her phases push and pull at us like the ocean’s tides. Your Moon represents how you vibe the most authentically in the world, without time to apply logical thought or judgement. If the Sun thinks about himself, and the Moon feels herself.

You can find out your Moon sign when you do your chart for free here. And do one for your friends’ while you’re there!

So now let’s discuss what what form the Virgo moon sign takes in its fullest expression.

Being proactive is the gold standard for this spirit. People with the Sun in Virgo tend to be very organized, but with a Virgo Moon sign, being able to control (to a reasonable degree) the external chaos is key to your health and wellbeing. If your internal desire to control a particular area of your life (that area all depends on which house your Virgo Moon sign falls in) is thwarted, you will literally feel as if your whole world is out of balance.

The Virgo Moon sign is a humble creature. She wants to be seen as skilled and gifted and has a strong, deeply rooted desire to help others. Virgo is the sign of the craftsman, so to have your Moon here means you have an emotional pull towards the kind of perfectionism that is built on day-by-day effort. I always picture the worker bee when I think of the Virgo Moon sign. With each passing day she is crafting something amazing that can be of service to the world, no matter how small that contribution may actually be. Goal-oriented repetition resulting in measurable success makes your soul sign.

Virgo is ruled by logic and analytical thought. Yet the Moon is all about feeling, so bridging the gap between the heart and mind is something the Virgo Moon sign will always be working on. They will want help the ones they love tackle their problems in a practical way. Remember, this Moon nurtures by helping others heal through logic.

Hyper aware of their own flaws, they sometimes project that critical tone onto others through a simple desire to help. This may not be the best approach, so remember that constantly critiquing yourself and the people around you isn’t exactly healthy. There is a time for discernment, and there is a time for pure acceptance.

The Virgo Moon sign feels their best around authentic people who accept their flaws, because underneath they are hugely self-critical too. Their Moon cracks the whip to keep improving daily. Not only are they a worker bee for others, but that drive gets reflected a la luna back onto themselves – the feeling that they must always be working on the best version of themselves.

This can make a Virgo Moon sign your own worst enemy. Use your natural gift of hyper-awareness to improve, but don’t let it run your life to the point of feeling stifled. Your Moon has very specific gifts to offer the world when you allow intuition to get a look in!

Some ideas to put into action to assist your Virgo Moon sign tendencies.

WRITE. Making lists is an easy way to feel like you’re in control of your life. That creeping fear you may forget something and, heaven forbid, look like you made a mistake will be put to rest. Your Moon can relax while still feeling on top of her game. Also, when feeling cranky just write it all out. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the sign of communication, and is symbolized by our hands. So when emotions are overflowing, get out your pen and paper to purge what’s assailing your heart.

CREATE. Use your hands, and take a class in something that will require lots of skill. Your Moon will be put at ease by having a detailed task to perform. Your natural perfectionist tendencies will love to learn an instrument, or create photo-real pieces of art. Having a creative outlet that gives you the opportunity for others to praise you will also make your spirit sing. Cooking could be another option, because you get to work at it till it’s just right while also bringing happiness to others. Providing a delicious meal for the people you love is a win-win.

GET PHYSICAL. Virgo sign rules physical health and wellbeing, so your Moon needs to feel healthy to be happy. Whether it’s lifting weights, seeking zen through yoga or hiking out in nature, you will be more balanced once you some regular exercise to your routine. Speaking of routines, that need to control the chaos will also balanced by exercise. The Virgo Sun likes to think, the Virgo Moon wants to feel, and movement is super helpful to address this duality. Getting out of your head and into your body gives you the opportunity to just feel.

In summary, Virgo Moons make for great listeners, loyal friends and practical partners. Just keep the critical self-talk and need for control in check and all will be copacetic.

How have you learned to work with your Virgo Moon sign? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

COUPLES THERAPY: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

Alexandra (right) and her girlfriend Orian after the cleanse

I was a bit nervous about telling my partner about the detox. We’d only been together five months, after meeting at a karaoke bar in Koreatown where I was instantly drawn to her off key rendition of “Stand By Your Man.”  Since then, we’d been falling in love over wine, croissants, late night snacks, drunken dancing…you know, the general dietary rule breaking that happens when you’re in a state of hormone induced euphoria. So deciding to put the brakes on the fun, so to speak, was a bold move. Especially seeing as we were moving in together a week later.

But I’ve always been one to take risks and do things in extremes, so I went with it. To my surprise, my girlfriend’s response was “I want to do it too.” This caught me very off guard because a) she’s more religious about her nightly cigarettes and wine and her morning coffee than her Jewish heritage, and b) I had been planning spending the week wearing mumus and listening to Enya while journaling, and never imagined doing it in front of my lover. Not to mention the idea of us both of being hungry/grumpy/gassy at the same time! Ew. I was hoping she’d be bringing me tea and holding down the emotional fort while I was the one being “transformed.”

Before the experiment

Okay, so what’s the big deal about a silly cleanse? Well THIS cleanse ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s a full on Ayurvedic experience, which includes rising with the sun, doing daily yoga, meditation and dream journaling, eating only two handful sized portions of vegan food at meal time, drinking your weight in greens, doing a three day juice fast, skin brushing, self oil massage, garlic liver flushes, kidney flushes, oil pulling, salt water colon cocktails. It’s basically its a full time job. But I did it last year and emerged glowing like a baby’s bum and happier than I’d felt in ages, so after this #$%^ing winter it was the medicine I needed. Plus with all the falling in love stuff (loads of white bread, recreational drugs…) I felt like I was in need of a full-on detox to get back on track.

What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional upheaval that occurred. Geez, not only had I stored up a few extra pounds this winter but also like, A LOT, of emotions. Four of my close friends also decided to do the cleanse and we were group texting about it all week. The word “meltdown” came up almost daily. Why were we all crying so much? Were we pms-ing? Nope. Were bad things happening? Not really, except not being able to eat. Shit just comes to the surface when you’re doing a detox, which I guess is why some people opt to take off work or go to a spa to do it. But alas, I’m not Lilo, so the closest I came was steaming up the bathroom and chilling in some epsom salts.

Couples cleansing: a balancing act

And of course, the meltdowns melted into my relationship. It began with me announcing I needed to be alone for the week and storming off in tears, and soon I was dividing the green powder and groceries in two as if I was the star in a reality show about cleansing. I also cried pretty much every day as I released fears about all the attempted relationships gone awry in the past year. And I’ve already gone to therapy and done a peyote ceremony to try and work through that shit.

But those past heartbreaks and insecurities came rushing to the surface with a vengeance with every organ flush I did. And all of a sudden my girlfriend was angry at me! I’d “taken away” her freedom and her ability to be herself (i.e. eat when she wanted to). She grew resentful of me as I asked her; “Did you read the cleanse booklet?” and reminded her “wait, you can’t drink out of the faucet!” As she was too embarrassed to admit she was having these feelings, she just got really cold and distant until I broke down and cried into my turmeric stained hands. (As an aside: she said she didn’t cry at all, but later admitted to sobbing while watching a film about low income housing in Israel. I mean…) It’s an emotional thing, this cleansing.

Very dark green juice

In the dark alone time while staring at my garlic olive oil slurpee, I found myself challenging and questioning everything about the relationship. Everything. No stone remained unturned. The cleanse had forced me to get REALLY real with myself, and now there was no turning back and nothing to hide behind. No robust red wines, no morning coffee in bed, no trips to the bakery on the corner holding hands like we were in some 1990’s rom com. No spontaneous nights getting stoned and laughing ‘til you pee your pants and pass out holding a bag of Doritos. None of that!

You’re just raw. Real. Without frill. Looking tired, feeling grumpy, stinking of garlic and coconut oil. And actually, an honest look at yourselves as individuals and as a couple is pretty much the best gift you can give your relationship. Detoxing together as a couple is hard, but worth it. You don’t have to cleanse your colons together or scrape each other’s tongues, but making a goal and seeing each other for who you are without all the other stuff is a risk that – hopefully – will only deepen your bond.

Here are some tips for doing a detox for couples and not fucking up your relationship:

  • If you’re fully addicted, the first few days without coffee are bad. You may get evil, so maybe take this time alone to yourself and try to start on a weekend when you can scream underwater or hide in a closet.
  • Do not micromanage your partner. If you know more about cleansing than them etc, it’s easy to say things like, “wait that apple’s not organic!” before snatching it out of their hand and throwing it across the room. Just don’t.
  • Be gentle on yourself. Be gentle on each other. Ride the emotional ups and downs like a pro surfer and don’t do anything rash. Just breathe and imagine yourself in that exotic spa, staring at an extremely overpriced juice while gazing at a partial ocean view.
  • Resist the urge to send a photo text asking “does your poop look this green?” Just ask Google instead, please.

Alexandra Roxo is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. She and her business partner Natalia Leite have a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff. See more here: Drinkpurplemilk.com

Their new web series Be Here Now-ish, which chronicles the spiritual pilgrimage of two girls’ from NY to LA , will be premiering April 10 on Beherenowish.com

Follow more from Alexandra and Orian @yogi_vegan_lez