USE THE NUMEROLOGY OF 2/2 TO SPREAD LOVE

The numerology of 2/2 is a launchpad for love—but it also asks that we be patient, and put what “we” need first, says Felicia BenderArtwork: Marietta Varga

Be careful what you wish for because the power resides in connection and there is no better time than now—the first few weeks of the Trump Presidency—to take advantage of the energy that 2/2 is throwing down for all of us.

The numerology of 2/2 can serve as an energetic launching pad for all things LOVE. On the microcosmic realm this includes friendships, partnerships, family love, and intimate partnerships. And on the macrocosmic realm this encompasses our relationship to each other on a Universal and soul level—through our connected consciousness and core desire to “love and be loved in return.”

As a repeating number, this holds particular resonance. On this day, if you choose (and often even if you don’t consciously choose!) to be open and receptive, the energy here supports the revealing, or establishment, of soul connections and/or “contracts” that are initiating and being played out.

This is also a message that we are supported by more than we can see or comprehend while here on terra firma. The numerology of 2/2 offers an opportunity to open the heart, discipline the emotions, and opt for diplomacy over a win-lose scenario.

Overall, the message for us on February 2 (in 2017 and every year) is a reassurance that even though it may look at though we’re all going to Hell in a handcart, the chaos is necessary for whatever restructuring is taking place. It is hard. It is uncomfortable. Some might say it’s devastating and appalling. Yet the energy here is all about patience and right timing. Be patient and the timing will reveal itself.

3 Ways To Keep Use The Numerology of 2/2 To Be A Compassionate Rebel

  • Remember there’s power in numbers. (And I don’t mean just Numerology!) If this election has taught us anything—no matter how you voted—it has put us on the fast track to understanding that we can’t exist as “an island.” We need each other. We are imminently more powerful when we work together for a common cause, no matter what that cause might be. This isn’t the time for the “lone wolf.” When two or more people meet for a common goal, the influence and power rises exponentially.
  • LOVE is love is love is love. Lin-Manuel Miranda sets the tone and the theme for 2/2 and beyond.
  • Patience, like it or not, is a virtue. The energy of the number 2 is all about right timing. It’s emotionally         attuned. It’s far more concerned with what’s right for “us” versus “me.” Its energy supports mediation, diplomacy, and loving kindness. It allows and nurtures process. And while there is a certain “fire” burning politically throughout the world right now, the numerology of 2/2 reminds us there is much going on “behind the scenes,” so to speak.

The power resides in coming together and standing strong and peacefully in solidarity. The key is in taking concerted action in tandem with a diplomatic approach to formulating real solutions to the myriad issues at hand—with the clear understanding that these solutions and their implementation will take time, thought, diligence, and cooperation.

TEMPLE OF VENUS: LEARNING TO BE LESS HARD ON MYSELF

In her latest Temple of Venus column, recovering over-achiever Elyssa Jakim asks: “How can I learn to be less hard on myself?”

Impish Elyssa aged five

Flashback: The blizzard of 1996. Greater New York metropolitan area. I am eight years old. I’ve spent several days frolicking in the snow with friends. When school resumes session, a fight breaks out on the school bus because I kept a girl’s rainbow shoelace that I’d borrowed for snow stomping. She tells me she knows I stole it. I yell and scream and insult her in self-defense (even though I’d had no intention of returning the lace—it was so beautiful!)

Later, I will feel terrible about this. Forever.

Skip to fifth grade. Every day of fifth grade. I replay all the things I have done wrong socially. The rainbow laces incident. That time I said the wrong thing to the boy I had a crush on. Or said the right thing to the boy my friend had a crush on. And I berate myself.

Repeating and repeating my wrongs in my mind. Every day.

To make amends, I grow up into a perfectionist. An intellectual, and a serious student. Someone who also takes up self-improvement projects a little too readily. Who always has a to do list that includes things like “have fun” or “breathe.”

But today I am a recovering over-achiever.

In fact, I am currently living in a college town…looking after babies for a living. Yes, I feel insecure about this as well; perhaps I have lost my intellect and let my critical thinking skills go. But here’s the thing: as fate would have it, I have stumbled upon the perfect teachers when it comes to the question I seem to have spent my whole life asking: How can I be less hard on myself?

Because in the room where I work, I am swaddled in literal softness of all kinds; soft rugs and pillows, soft baby hair and cheeks; warm hugs; the honey sweetness of baby laughter; the miracle of a sleeping baby in my arms.

And here’s what the babies have reminded me so far…

1. Trust your own innocence
I have noticed, unsurprisingly, that I am always pre-disposed to give the babies the benefit of the doubt. To see “the light of the child” as Maria Montessori puts it. Even when a fourteen-month old deliberately does something “wrong” or “bad,” I can see her full innocence and sweetness—the “wrong-doing” does not make her unworthy of love to me. And knowing myself as an essentially good person, why should I be unworthy of my own self-love when I make a mistake?

2. Be your own parent.
The biggest shift you can make in the direction of self-kindness, in my opinion, is one of self-talk. What if every time you notice yourself feeling anxious, hurt, or self-doubting, you take a big breath and imagine you are the nurturing parent of your self? What would you say to you? It would probably sound like: “It’s okay my darling. I love you and I see you. You’re doing so well. You’re working so hard. I think you’re wonderful.” In moments of self-criticism, a move toward self-compassion and self-softness is what the anxious heart truly needs. If you can remember to be gentle, sweet, and nurturing to yourself whenever you’re tempted to punish yourself, your whole inner landscape will shift.

3. Don’t take things personally.
Because most of the time, the mean things people say or “accuse” you of, aren’t really about you—they’re about them. Strive to shrug off criticism, and don’t hold yourself accountable for the feelings of others. When a baby is upset, I know that it’s not about me. It’s about that child expressing a need for something like hunger or nap or connection. It isn’t healthy for me to take up a baby’s emotions or sense of urgency if I’m helping him, it’s best if I remain calm. When facing tough interpersonal interactions, try to remain calm. I like to zoom out in this moment and remember that we’re all spiritual beings having a human experience. Tapped into this Universal truth, who really cares if someone didn’t like my skirt, or the way I handled a particular situation?

4. You’re exactly where you need to be.
Numinous tarot mistress Lindsay Mack often reminds me of this: “You are exactly where you need to be.” And these words are always a deep reminder straight to my heart space, which in turn relaxes my whole body. Nothing has gone wrong. There is no-one (especially not your self) to blame. In fact, here is an opportunity to accept. To find grace. Your situation isn’t your fault, it’s your opportunity. Your perfect situation for growth. It’s to show you what you’re supposed to be learning right now. Babies are always exactly where they are, in the present moment of being. We are born into raw presence, living one moment at a time. Isn’t that miraculous?

5. Laugh a lot more.
Laughter releases stress in the body. Period. If we can take the seriousness out of life, it frees up the part of us that takes things too seriously. It can also be empowering to laugh at life’s trials and tribulations, to see the humor in any situation. Yogananda tells us to find the company of those who make us laugh to release our worries. You can also watch or listen to things that are funny, or find a laughter yoga class (which NYC friends, Maha Rose Healing Center holds from time to time). Needless to say, baby giggles, cuddle puddles, and facial expressions always have me laughing.

***

So, how does all this baby talk connect to the goddess Venus? In the mythology of Venus, we are always asked to consider her birth—that moment she arrives on the shore, born of the sea, resplendent. It’s funny to me that Venus was not born as a baby, but as a total babe. She was born and exists as the fullest expression of her being. She exudes self-confidence, which comes from true self-kindness. She is not a goddess who typically represents nurturing or mothering such as Mother Mary or Quan Yin.

But, in her luminosity, she is a wonderful teacher of self-compassion. She helps us to find the wild and free and sensual within ourselves. Being with babies and with Venus teaches us that we can always begin again. We can always infuse our lives with freshness, sweetness, and softness. We can always rebirth ourselves to be more loving. See the sweet little babe in you, and know that you are always worthy of love and even rainbow shoelaces. Protect her and hold her like you would a treasured gem. Come back to the Venus in you, and know you are glorious. That should make it easier to be less hard on yourself.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s last Temple of Venus column on healing our money issues.

TEMPLE OF VENUS: BEAUTY IMAGE BEAUTIFUL

In her latest Temple of Venus column, Elyssa Jakim discovers that even among spiritual circles, body image issues persist…Images: Karis Wakeling-Farren 

Beauty. Isn’t that a gorgeous word? Look at how it sits on the page: regal with all those vowels. I’ve always adored words with lots of vowels: elegant, exquisite, gorgeous, pleasing. Beauty is such an angel word.

Recently in a meditation, I heard the message: “You are more beautiful than you think you are.” This message struck me—it brought a sad little pang to my heart. When I thought more about it, I realized I’ve been experiencing one of those periods where I look in the mirror and think I look weird. Where I’m breaking out more than usual, where I don’t feel particularly connected to my sensual side, where, I don’t know, I just don’t “feel beautiful,” you know?

And I know what it’s about, really, this denial of beauty. I’ve been dancing with body image issues since I was thirteen. There was something wrong with my belly! Why did it stick out from my body like that? Why was I the only one with a strange belly like this? At 17, when other stresses kicked in, I acted on these thoughts and began dieting. I struggled from compulsive dieting for the next eight years.

I had grown up wanting to be an actress, famously a profession of body image perfectionism. When I was 19, I spent my summer as an apprentice at a theatre festival. I recall hanging out in a circle of about 10 women, and the conversation turned to food and dieting. It became clear to me that all these young women who wanted to be actresses had struggled with or were struggling with eating disorder.

All these gorgeous women who I knew as gorgeous because of their insides, their passionate outlook and fearlessness on stage, were folding themselves in one way or another in order to feel included in an exclusive industry: in order to feel included in their own dreams. It was the first time I realized how much I wasn’t alone in this “bad body image” compulsion. And, of course, it’s not just actresses who go through this. It’s all of us.

As years have passed, I feel better about me. A lot. I’m no longer dieting, and I feel I can accept whatever it is I have chosen to eat. However, I now find myself in many other women’s circles that mirror the above one. Healing circle. Meditation Circle. Brunch table. And to tell you the truth, even though these are circles of loving, empowered people, I’m often still worrying about the size of my belly.

The tendency toward self-blame is always there lingering in the background—and I’d like to posit that it is for many of us. It’s an elephant in our yoga studios and sound baths. We’ve had so much programming about how we’re supposed to look for our whole lives, that body anxiety just feels like a channel many of us have been set to. Especially if you live in a trendy city, and the street suggests fashion putting your body on show.

In groups and even just among friends, I’ve started paying attention to when my body image insecurity comes up. I get in touch with my inner knowing and I ask, “Is this mine?” Often, I hear “no.” It belongs to a peer. It belongs to a friend. Doing this has helped me understand, once again, that I am truly not alone in my insecurity. That it is SO MANY OF US who feel not right in ourselves.

Everyone, everyone has that something: “I’ve got a great body, but my skin sucks.” “I love my hips but my eyes kind of cross sometimes and I think I look messed up.” “My face is weird.” “I should look more masculine.” “I should look more feminine.” We compartmentalize ourselves and obsess over our “wrong” thing. So of course, even if the thought is usually not mine, it IS mine too. It’s all of ours. And we “empath” it back and forth to one another.

At this point, I’d like to bring up that this is the ego’s favorite myth, that: “There is something wrong with me.” Psychologist Tara Brach brilliantly describes this concept in her book Radical Acceptance:

[T]he universal sense that “something is wrong” easily solidifies into “something is wrong with me.” When I look into my own feelings of unworthiness, sometimes I can’t point to any significant way I’m actually falling short. Yet just this feeling of being a self, separate from others, brings up a fundamental assumption that I am not okay…Believing that we are separate, incomplete, and therefore at risk, is not some malfunction of nature. Rather, this perception is an intrinsic part of our human experience—indeed of all life.

Brach makes it clear: it’s our sense of alone-ness that makes us feel wrong. The great irony of course is that we’re all together in feeling separate. And there is nothing wrong with you or me or us. There may, however, be something wrong with the society we live in (“The universal sense that something is wrong…”). There may be something wrong with the messages that we ingest and unknowingly propagate.

The author today

But what is the gift of these insane societal standards? What is the gift of the insecurity?

Disagreeing with the ego’s unloving ideas strengthens the mind and soul. When you choose to say “no” to this habit of self-attack, when you choose love in favor of compulsion, you are growing. You are claiming your worth. You are getting stronger each time. Whenever we actively proclaim the Truth to the unloving self, we are paving the way for freedom.

Choose an affirmation today for your unloving habit and resolve to challenge it in order to gain freedom. Mine is: “I know that these fears about my body are untrue. I know I am so much more than this body. I surrender these fears to love.” This can, of course, be applied to any flavor of compulsion, not just body perfectionism. And of course, whenever we free ourselves, we free our sisters and brothers, too. The grip of group insecurity relaxes, we’re all getting spiritually lighter together. Which, in my humble opinion, is way more important than physical lightness. This is a spiritual workout!

These hurts also build empathy and compassion. How could I, Elyssa, help others love their bodies if I hadn’t run the whole gamut of fear and love in my own thinking? Thus our misfortunes become our miracles.

I told a friend about my meditation, the one in which I heard, “You are more beautiful than you think you are.”

“What do you mean by that?” He asked. “Physically?”

“Yes, physically.”

“Go to your heart,” he said. “Go to your heart. That’s where beauty lives. Focus on the feelings inside your heart and you will know you’re beautiful. Then your whole self responds.”

I love this. And, it is true. And when I talked to Venus, Venus told me: “You are all beautiful. You are all divine. You are all so much more radiant than you know.” Go to your heart. Find the beauty and resilience there. “Heart.” That’s got a nice vowel assortment too.

PS: This post marks my one-year anniversary of writing for the Numinous! From Spring to Spring, I am grateful for all of the gifts.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s last Temple of Venus column on the practice of receiving.

HEART WARRIORS: WORK WITH YOUR ARIES MOON SIGN

Understand your Aries Moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

“Yell if you need to. Need if you need to. Just don’t be scared. Just don’t not live while you are here.” – Cleo Wade

Warriors of the heart come close and listen with open ears. Having your natal moon sign in Aries gives you the torch to be the leader of your own path. The Moon represents our own emotional landscape within the birth chart. It highlights how we nurture, how we express our feelings, and what we need to feel safe in this life. And it’s important to learn how to properly feed this part of ourselves.

An Aries Moon sign goes after what it wants without immediately thinking about the needs of others, because this sign expects everyone to do just the same. Go for what you want, take as much as you need. It’s the thrill of that chase that Aries loves. It’s not that this sign doesn’t care for others, though. Quite the contrary. They will fight for those they love, rally behind a belief and inspire the masses. The Aries Moon sign is filled with passion for all it desires, and wants badly to strike when the iron is hot.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

This is an outspoken moon. A real straight-no-chaser. You want to be seen and heard for who you really are without the looming fear of being judged. You are confident enough to keep going even if others don’t like what you are saying or doing, though. Alas, you can get a bit cranky if you feel someone else is constantly getting their feelings hurt over your vivacious candor. People in your circles need to know that you are sugar in the raw.

You don’t sweeten the pot but you do tell it like it is. You support others by being real with them. You are strong and independent and people gravitate to that energy. You feel supported when people bring that passionate energy to the table as well. You want honest emotional dialogue that may even be a bit edgy.

Because you are naturally so strong you have the ability to help others get stronger. You are brave and courageous and inspire those you care for or just engage with on a regular basis to find that strength within themselves. You act as the safe island in the center of the storm. Teaching others to be self-approved is very empowering and quite a gift to share. The world needs to learn to be okay in its skin, and your Aries moon sign means you were born with this ability. Not that you don’t have weak moments, but all that fire allows you to shake it off quicker and get back to business.

Below are some ways to bring forth the beauty that is your Aries moon sign, so you can feel more in tune with yourself while helping others benefit as well.

:: HEALTHY COMPETITION ::
Aries is ruled by Mars, the god of war. You thrive on competing with others and if you don’t find a way to release that fire you burn up emotionally. This can make you react aggressively and start fights unnecessarily. It will soothe your heart to find a healthy outlet to express any excess competitive energy.

This could be through a favorite sport or a hobby where practice makes perfect. Keep in mind the Aries moon sign gets bored easily if they lose interest in something. The fire goes out quick if the interest wanes, and so you must choose something that will perpetually challenge you.

:: GET VULNERABLE :: 
Because you are so fiery, you may stay away from situations that require tenderness or vulnerability. Putting yourself in situations where you must embrace your softer side could be really beneficial. Try something that actually scares you. Not in a dangerous way of course, but in a way that deep down you think you might fail at.

If you find yourself struggling at something, ask for help. Actually, give yourself the time and space to be upset over something. If you are disappointed because you didn’t achieve what you wanted, let yourself feel it, process it and then move on. If you fall you can get back up and start again (one of your specialties) but the “pause and feel,” is where your work is. Allowing yourself this, you will begin again even stronger than before.

:: VOLUNTEER ::
Inspire others through service. You have the bravest heart, and we need your heart to guide us into a stronger collective space. You have the power to lead by example and if you know it’s unhealthy to not let out all of that inherent dynamic energy why not share it for the good of all?

You’ve been blessed with an innate resilience that takes others most of their lives to accumulate. You can show your tribe how to battle the right way. For love instead of hate. You are the lunar symbol of initiation and can see the spark of a good idea. You can gather others to embrace the start of something amazing. You can connect with something bigger than yourself and then everyone has the opportunity to succeed.

:: PATIENCE::
Because you are quick to go where your heart points you have the tendency to be impatient. It would serve you well to slow down and process the things that propel you in life. I would suggest Hatha yoga or Tai Chi. You need balance poses and slower movements synced with your breath. The challenge, which is a must for you, is in how well you can move like honey while being graceful and strong.

What we experience with our bodies has a huge impact on our minds and hearts. For example, focusing on taking a difficult shape/posture while maintaining composure can help us be a little more humble in our daily lives. Being such a quick-trigger can sometimes get you into trouble. Therefore, having an art in your life that teaches you to pause will help transform your emotional impulses.

Dear Aries moon sign, you are the pioneer of the emotional heavens. Let that light shine bright enough for us all to keep our heads held high.

COMFORTABLY NUMB: AN AMNESTY ON COOL

Enough with the hiding your real self behind your artfully composed selfies. It’s time to call an amnesty on cool, says Comfortably Numb columnist Kate Atkinson.

 

I want to declare an amnesty on modern cool – realizing this is one of the most uncool statements I could write, and more than aware that several people will probably be cringing reading this. If you are, call me anti-millennial and grind away. But if you’d have hoped we’d left it behind in high school, it seems like “cool” is an extremely contagious epidemic no thanks to the digital revolution.

What exactly is cool anyway? It’s an intangible phenomena that you can’t really touch, a state of being that defines the way you walk and talk, what you wear, the music you listen to, where you’re eating, and whether something is on trend – that is, worthy of likes on Instagram. It’s visceral. You can just feel it. And when it comes to true self-expression, I have to say, the modern version is a straight-jacket.

I also want to preface this story with the fact that while, yes, I do have tattoos, by no means am I an expert on cool. I was on the debating team at school – enough said. But I have got up close and personal enough with this insidious contagion to know how it works, and the more I examine its motives, it’s beginning to feel like cool is the root of an identity crisis that’s plaguing our generation.

A girlfriend put it perfectly when I asked what it means to be cool: “it’s the desire to be accepted, the need for validation, the urge to seem radical, despite longing to fit in.” And so it goes. Oh, the dichotomy of being human. Our narcissistic tendencies AND our insecurities are fuelled by cool, especially at a time when platforms for inclusion and exclusion are at an all time high.

Are you aspiring to be an “influencer?” This breed is all about being seen and accepted, “liked” on the interweb. For them, Instagram is basically a digi-friendly version of the high school cheerleading team. Things are sold to us now by “seeding” them with cool people. Brands, celebrities, and destinations are made by their manufactured “cool factor.” What I want to know is, what happened to under-the-radar cool of yesteryear?

In his 2013 book “The Cool School”Glenn O’Brien talks about the new tastemakers. But his cool  “squad” were, put simply, incredibly creative weirdos. Homeless Jazz beatniks, bohos and roaming beat poets. Anyone who made people uncomfortable basically. Something tells me that they wouldn’t be invited to Kim and Kanye’s dinner party.

We live in an age of such style over substance that it’s incredibly hard to rage against the machine and do your own thing. In fact, a study commissioned by smartphone maker HTC late last year revealed that 52% of the approximately 1000 Brits surveyed admitted to posting images of possessions and items with an intention of making their “friends” jealous. What the hey?

Wasn’t this cool thing supposed to be people going against the grain? Rather than just sticking up photo-shopped images captioned: “I ate, I pooped, I wore Celine!” Now pardon my French, but WTF? If this isn’t numbing what’s going on in our down and dirty daily human reality, I don’t know what is.

Because cool these days is about hiding the “sad” half of your life and projecting the best bits. Ambivalence is also key – pretending not to care, even (especially) if you do. Which is basically saying to your soul that your true hopes and aspirations count for nothing unless they fit with whatever’s trending this month. And yet, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character puts it in cult classic Almost Famous: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.”

A moment please to consider this: when the cool castles in the sky come crashing down around you and you’re left with the reality of your life, who out of your carefully curated online “tribe” will actually be there to help cushion the fall? Because what you’re really doing when you shield the real you with a glossy veneer of cool, is construct a bulletproof force field that deflects true intimacy.

So beside a total social media detox and cancelling our memberships to Soho House, how can we wake up from this aspirational bullshit existence that we’re creating for ourselves? By taking the time to get conscious to how we while away our days, and creating meaning in every interaction. By walking our talk, with our roots firmly entrenched in reality.

It sounds so obvious, but social media is the great distractor when it comes to following your own expressive intuition….and it’s there for seeking approval when you do actually create something. The old greats weren’t preoccupied with showcasing their creativity, they just did it.

It’s a mythic delusion and a safety net to communicate and earn accolades in this way – as well as a way to mask what’s actually going on. Surely giving away change on the subway is also worth a few “likes” – so why aren’t we posting on Instagram about that? “Saw a nice guy dish out change today on the subway – what a dude!” Shouldn’t he be the real “influencer?”

These stories DO come up on social media – and when they do it’s meaningful, the positive slant on modern technology. But too often, they’re engulfed in a stream of exclusivity: “I ate this, my bae wears that” – with resulting countless digital high fives and @s to follow.

I know my feed rarely delves beyond the aesthetics. And yes, fashion week happens, and friends stay in epic mansions. There are days at the beach with the clearest water ever. Again, I am not counting myself out of ANY of this malarchy, I am as partial to a well-posed selfie as the rest of us. But the lack of reality is what’s wrong with this whole picture, and it’s beginning to be all I can see.

Can’t somebody invent “Unstagram” for the days you’re feeling a bit off? For when you get dumped, you spent the last two days in tracksuit from Target, or you have an embarrassing medical problem?

Because you know what’s really cool? Being real. Not some projection of me me, me, me, I’m so fabulous, watch me eat, watch me sleep! Watch me break my arm! Look at me tagging historical references to show how tapped in and culturally aware I am.

Are we really this dumb? Is there no end to our ridiculous need for validation? This is the worst kind of cool that there is, and what’s more, this culture of exclusion is not social by any means. It’s actually scientifically proven to be making people chronically depressed.

So in a recent discussion with a friend on a rather significant life choice that involved making a potentially un-cool move, when she advised me to: “Fuck cool” – I decided I whole-heartedly concur.

NOT by Ernest Hemmingway

You are not your age,

Nor the size of clothes you wear,

You are not a weight,

Or the color of your hair.

You are not your name,

Or the dimples in your cheeks,

You are all the books you read,

And all the words you speak,

You are your croaky morning voice,

And the smiles you try to hide,

You’re the sweetness in your laughter,

And every tear you’ve cried,

You’re the songs you sing so loudly,

When you know you’re all alone,

You’re the places that you’ve been to,

And the one that you call home,

You’re the things that you believe in,

And the people that you love,

You’re the photos in your bedroom,

And the future you dream of,

You’re made of so much beauty,

But it seems that you forgot,

When you decided that you were defined,

By all the things you’re not.