HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU’VE FOUND YOUR SPIRITUAL TEACHER

How to know when you’ve found your Spiritual Teacher? They will help you step more fully into your own power, says Ruby Warrington. PLUS our New Year, Nu You co-presenters share how they met the Spiritual Teacher that changed their life …

Ruby Warrington shot by Caitlin Mitchell for A Wild Dove

I’ve always got a little envious when people start talking about their “teacher.” Not the one in school, who helped them find their confidence as a fifth grader, or showed them a new way to read Macbeth that finally made sense. I’m talking Spiritual Teachers.

For the majority of people I know who are either working in the mystical or healing space, or who simply identify as being “on the path” (OTP, as my friend Elyssa puts it), there has been a Yoda figure in the background, guiding them on. It could literally be the person who taught them their craft. Or the one who helped them find their way through a Dark Night of the Soul. Maybe it’s the business coach who put a structure around their brand, a speaking or writing guru, or even the yoga teacher who helped heal their body image issues.

These mentor figures often play a vital role in an individual’s personal and professional development in the spiritual world—and being told that I have even been that person for some, has been the most surprising and fulfilling outcome of launching this platform.

And yet I’ve always struggled finding a teacher of my own. I’ve worked with so many amazing practitioners and learned so much, many of whom I introduce in my book. The issue has been with finding a mentor figure to take me under their wing. For starters, I don’t take instruction that easily. But I’ve also felt “let down” by many I’ve opened to, and some mentors I’ve worked with have become “envious” of my success.

Yeah, this has some things to do with the gnarly Saturn-Chiron square in my birth chart. My self-directed Aries Sun. My absent father and Grandparents. There’s also the fact that when I was a kid, the first spiritual teacher I encountered, an Ayurvedic practitioner named Shayam Singha, was as scary as they come.

My mom had got reeeeeealy involved with Shayam and his community, and we’d spend weekends as his retreat center, Suryodaya, out in the UK countryside. A proper old-school “guru,” I was petrified of his fierce, commanding presence, and also mistrusting of the cultish atmosphere. A fear that got triggered last week, when I found myself interviewing Maestro Manuel Rufino, a recognized elder in the Taino tradition, and founder of the Golden Drum intentional community in Greenpoint.

Preparing to enter the live-in spiritual community, I was transported right back to those days at Suryodaya, a trembling eight-year-old, scared to say the wrong thing, and unsure of my role in the group. But instead, Maestro Manuel was gentle and wise, and his students as welcoming as could be. A piece of my personal history was healed that night, and it has felt like a pivotal moment in my journey to find my teacher.

Because looking back, this year they HAVE been showing up. My book editor, Libby Edelson, who became more like a therapist as we worked on the more personal chapters in Material Girl, Mystical World. My astrology mentor Rebecca Gordon, who infuses our lessons with a deep interest in my personal journey. My incredible Moon Club co-founder Alexandra Roxo, who has taught me enough about communication and collaboration to last a lifetime.

And when I look at the line-up I’ve created for our New Year, Nu You retreat at Kripalu, I realize I’ve selected the co-presenters who have personally taught ME the most, and truly been there as mentors, guides, and constant cheerleaders on my own path. How do I know them as my Spiritual Teachers? My relationship with each and every one of them has helped my grow more fully into my own power. 

Below, they share how they found their own spiritual teachers. If you’re interested in spending a week in the presence of these incredible humans, you can learn more about our Jan 1—5 2018 retreat and sign up HERE.

//ALEXANDRA ROXO//
“Over the course of my spiritual path I have had multiple life-changing teachers. My first I discovered at age 12 with my mom. His name was Bobby Drinnon, and he had long white hair and lived on a farm in Tennessee called “Rainbow Crest.” He taught me about my aura and chakras and called me an ‘open-minded extremist.’ He had a wait list two years long, but would always squeeze in a call for me, and I would see him yearly. Those meetings changed my life, and formed me in such deep ways. When he passed when I was 30 I felt like I lost a father.

I met my first female teacher, Deborah Kampmeier, when I was 18 and studying at NYU. She called me out on spiritual bypassing, introduced me to Snake medicine, Moon rituals, the work of David Deida, sacred sex practices, and taught me things that come up often. She is an artist and professor, and not a spiritual teacher by trade. But she initiated me into many of the practices I still use in my life.”

//LINDSAY MACK//
“I was struggling when I met my teacher, Michelle, working so hard to pull myself out of some really dark places, largely alone. She appeared at a literal life or death moment, recommended to me by a coach who knew I was having a hard time with my PTSD. I wasn’t looking for a teacher, and Michelle wasn’t necessarily presenting herself as one, something that I actually think is a key ingredient in meeting our soul teachers. She just showed up, open, present, and happy to support me, and everything flowed from there.

I humbly believe that we have to do our own work to the point where we can energetically call our teachers in; the deeper we work, the clearer the call. I have found that to be true on the other side now, as a teacher myself. Any truly aligned teacher is only a mirror for where the student is willing to go. I think you know when you’ve found your teacher. There is a resounding ‘yes’ in your heart, a profound knowing in your soul. It’s when you feel seen, supported, and held unconditionally, not to mention blown open by their wisdom and deeper knowing. I am still feeling that with my teacher, and it is an amazing thing.”

//BETSY LEFAE//
“Sometimes meeting a teacher can trigger you, and sometimes it can make you feel at home. The teachers I gravitate towards are warm, compassionate, humble, and nonjudgmental. I knew I had found my teacher when I felt like he was part of my long lost family. When I read his material before going to a weekend class, he was explicit that his goal was to teach others to fish, to cultivate their own skills, and that it was a good thing if his students didn’t need him anymore. This has always been my goal when working with people. Working with him, I felt comfortable to be me. And even better, I felt comfortable with him pushing me to be MORE ME.”

//SAH D’SIMONE//
“The first teacher that totally transformed my world was Venerable Joan Nicel, a Tibetan Buddhist nun from Canada. I her met in the Himalayas in India at a silent retreat. She introduced me to concepts of being inherently good, of the potential to totally transform our minds to become of benefit to all beings, and most of all she taught me the art of COMPASSION! From the moment I met her I knew she knew something that I must also know. There was a calm and radiance about her. When I had the rare opportunities for a private audience with her, I saw in way she would look at me that I too had the potential to change, that I too could become someone that added to the lives of others. I glimpsed unconditional love!”

JOIN OUR NEW YEAR, NU YOU RETREAT + HAVE THE BEST NEW YEAR’S EVER

Join Numinous founder Ruby Warrington and friends for our New Year, Nu You retreat—literally the most high-vibe way to ring in the new year, ever!

Question: what’s the most high-vibe way you can think of to ring in new year?

Here’s my answer. I want to welcome this mega cosmic refresh with my arms and heart open wide. I want to make the transition from one year to the next in communion with people I trust with all my body and soul. I want there to be ritual, and ceremony, and for my intention setting to be … intentional.

I want to get quiet, so I can hear my own heart speak. I want to draw my scattered energy close. To fully recharge. I want to learn new things that ignite my inner wisdom. And I also want for there to be big hugs and belly laughs. Delicious food. Cozy walks. I want to be close to nature; all the better for breathing in the brand new 2018 air, and feeling the energetic shift deep in my bones.

Which is what I got to create when the lovely people at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health asked me to host a Numinous takeover the first week of 2018. YES, I said, in a hot heartbeat. And lo, our first ever New Year, Nu You retreat was born! (Read on for the full story, or skip to the end of the post if it’s already a YES from you too, and you just wanna read the line-up!)

Thank you, Numiverse. Because the past few new years have not been the best for me.

I’d always had December 31 pegged as party time. Food and booze with friends. Auld Lang Syne and sloppy kisses as the clock strikes midnight. Going through the motions with all the old traditions (which never really felt like mine). A foggy start the morning after, scrawling a list of half-baked “resolutions” over eggs and a sore head.

And more recently, sober curious new years’ spent feeling like a loser for not feeling like a party. Early to bed and long walks under clear blue skies the morning after, speaking my intentions into the ether. The start of something fresh, yes. But lacking a sense of celebration. Of communion.

So, after I said YES to the Kripalu people, I called some more of my favorite humans to ask if they wanted to come try something new this new year, too. They did, and the result is New Year, Nu You—a week of transformational intention-setting for 2018!

The people I called also happen to be some of the most talented, inspiring and heart-centered teachers I have worked with on my spiritual path. Some of whom are featured in my book, others whom I have co-curated much magic with. And this coming JANUARY 1—5 you get to share in this magic too.

So, what’s on the program?

As the great Universal oneness would have it, Jan 1 2018 also happens to fall on a Cancer Full Moon. (And you know how I feel about the Moon). Cancer is the sign of deep emotional healing; of sacred self-care; of family; and of coming home to the comfort of our own selves. And so we will begin with a special Full Moon ceremony, to open our container and set our intentions for the week to come.

We’ll then go DEEP with 4 days workshops, ritual, and awakening. Including:

  • Astrology as Basic Life Skill. Unlocking the basics of birth chart interpretation and a look at how the astrology for 2018 applies specifically to YOU … hosted by me!
  • Trust Yourself: Intuition 101. A practical guide to connecting to your own intuitive voice and unleashing your psychic super-powers with Betsy LeFae.
  • Guided Intention-setting Journey. A meditative deep dive into your heart space, using shamanic journey work, visualization, symbolism, and imagery with Alexandra Roxo.
  • Tarot for The Wild Soul. An immersive journey into soul-centered Tarot reading, learning how to read Tarot for growth, healing, and personal expansion with Lindsay Mack.
  • The Happiness Method. Ancient wisdom meets modern science and holistic nutrition, as we learn real-world applications for self-transformation with Sah D’Simone.
  • Spirit Séance: Group Intuitive Circle. The chance to receive your own psychic message from the spirit world in a safe and protected environment with Betsy LeFae.
  • Heart to Heart: Connection as the Sacred Path to Love. Discover a deep practice for unlocking our most authentic self-expression, heartfelt truths, and intimate relationships with Alexandra Roxo.
  • The Sacred Wheel. A Tarot journey into 2018 to discover the Tarot medicine for the year to come with Lindsay Mack.
  • Meditation and Breathwork. A practice to begin to rewire your brain with new habits, to heal trauma, settle the mind, and become more present and emotionally intelligent with Sah D’Simone.
  • Story Medicine. We close with a ritualized, open-sharing circle, to leave us feeling seen, valued, and inspired to continue on your journey, also hosted by me.

(Get full class descriptions HERE + presenter bios HERE).

And all in the beautiful, nurturing surroundings of amazing Kripalu, one of the premier yoga and wellness centers in the US. Set in 100 acres of beautiful grounds, we’ll be fueled with three meals per day from the renowned Kripalu Kitchen. All guests will also have access to daily yoga and other movement classes, plus access to the sauna, fitness room, outdoor hiking trails, and more!

The cost of the Numinous New Year, Nu You program is $375, with accommodation starting at $460 per person (including all food and additional workshops). Plus, there’s plenty of room for you to bring all your friends! Read more and explore all the options HERE.

Can you think of a better way to begin your new year? Didn’t think so. 2018 we are COMING TO GET YOU …

BOYS TO MEN: A NEW VISION FOR EMPOWERED MASCULINITY

In the age of the Divine Feminine…what about our men? On the eve of the publication of his new book on the subject, Ruby Warrington talks to David Harshada Wagner about his vision for empowered masculinity. Images: Rainbow Gathering by Benoit Paille via Behance.net

“It’s like a guidebook for men to be more happy and free, but in a way that’s still masculine. And part of it is by owning their role as a male.”

When did you decide to make men and spirituality a focus?
I’ve been totally steeped in the Eastern spirituality thing for decades, but the men’s work was always in the background. Then I got into my 40’s, went through a divorce, got into another relationship, and all of a sudden I’m having a son. And it all just came home.

How does spiritual work look different for dudes?
It’s about practicality. For most men there really needs to be some kind of pay off, where the rubber meets the road. Most men wouldn’t be caught dead in a meditation class or a retreat, unless they knew it was going to help them with their work, their relationships with their loved-ones. They just won’t even do it.

Don’t men sometimes just feel out of place? There’s so much talk about ‘divine feminine’ this, and ‘Goddess energy’ that. I kind of feel like men must be thinking, ‘okay, so are my urges and drives redundant now?’
I don’t think it’s so much that men have that whole thought, like, ‘where do I fit into this?’ I think they just think ‘this is not for me. I’m going to sit home and drink beer and watch the game while my wife goes to the yoga retreat. Because that’s just not something that would be of interest to me at all.’

So part of it is about honoring the masculine energies as sacred too. On the Eastern spirituality scene the energy is predominantly feminine. And even anti-masculine, in the sense that it’s all mostly about peace, compassion, and softness. The average person, when they hear that I’m doing a spiritual book for men, they’re like, ‘Oh, good. You’re going to teach them to open their hearts.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to teach them to open their hearts, but the book is really about growing a backbone and balls.’

Ha! So should women be encouraging men to go on the yoga retreat with them?
I don’t think most men will necessarily get what they need from bending over in a room full of women. Of the 8% of men that will go, there’s an even a smaller percent of heterosexual men. It’s kind of like we have to go into our feminine to be able to be in that. Or at least fake it. And that’s when you get the yoga teacher who ends up in some sex scandal – because they feel like they can’t just say, ‘Hey, I think you’re really sexy, and you’re my student, but why don’t we go get a drink?’ Instead they feel they have to be like, ‘Yeah, I think you should come for a private session because I need to open your hips’ or something. You know? The heterosexual desire is made illegitimate.

So what are some spiritual exercises that you do with guys?
In my book there’s a big chapter on the ‘father wound,’ and it’s a real central thing for most men. He was my teacher on what it means to be a man, so did I learn from him? I also like to connect men to a sense of vision, because men without a vision are really lost. They need to have a mission. They need to know what they’re moving toward and be able to say, ‘Yes, I’m still moving toward it, I’m getting closer, or I’m going the wrong direction.’ So I try to help men find that. The other thing is to just get them used to being in a conversation with each other.

Without any beer. Because that’s often what it takes, right?
Exactly. And in my experience, men tend to communicate a lot better shoulder-to-shoulder than face-to-face. I had one veteran that I worked with a lot, and often times I would go sit at the bar with him, with the bartender there washing the glasses or whatever, and we’d do a session. My office, with the chairs facing each other, felt awkward – maybe too intimate.

Who are your typical clients for this kind of work?
What I get a lot is the partners of my female students, and partners of women who are already involved with spirituality. They either see my stuff as a safe way for their man to get involved in it, or sometimes they want me to fix their man. At my Kripalu weekend last year, half the men were there because their wives had given them a father’s day gift, in hopes that somehow they would get fixed.

And…what happens if the wife is part of what needs fixing?
This is actually quite typical. A man comes because his wife tells him he’s too angry, and society has told him that he has an anger issue. So he comes, thinking I’m going to teach him to breathe and not be angry. But instead I break down anger from the point of view of the Bhagavad Gita, which says anger is there when a desire is thwarted. So then I say, ‘Okay, man, you’re angry, and that’s beautiful. What are you wanting that you’re not getting? Like at a deep level.’ And I unleash them to go after what they want in their life. And sometimes that means they go home and they divorce their wives.

I know you have a theory about the difference between a boy, a guy, and a man. What’s that about?
The distinction I’m trying to make is that a man is someone who’s done some work on himself, and I think there’s definitely a sense of honor and sacrifice and strength. A man is ready to protect his world and serve his world, whereas a guy is just mostly about himself. A ‘dude’ is usually like a hipster, even more self-absorbed. Males in our society get into this really immature self-absorption thing.

How does that ‘man’ifest (ha)?
It looks like; ‘he’s not living his truths.’ He’s either living what his father wanted him to do, or he’s trying to live the opposite of that. He doesn’t really want to sit in this job and work in this job; he wants to be an entrepreneur, but he’s too scared. Or he doesn’t want to be in this marriage because he doesn’t get anything out of it, but he just doesn’t feel like he’s empowered to leave.

And so he makes excuses; ‘But I’ve got to bring home the bacon.’ Or, ‘it doesn’t matter. I’ll just watch some porn, beat off, just try to entertain myself a little bit.’ What I’m interested in is training men to be on fire with passion and vision, so they are bringing those values to their family and bringing that masculine energy to the house so that their woman can be in her feminine energy and not feel like she has to be the brains of the operation all the time.

You can be totally gluten free and only think nice thoughts, but if you’re a terrible lover or you don’t know how to make money, or you don’t know how to take care of your kids, all of that is for naught in my point of view.

What do you wish you could tell the average man in the street about spirituality, and how to tap into his spiritual power in a masculine way?
That they don’t have to do it alone. A lot of men just don’t have other quality men in their life in a quality way, and so they put all their emotional care in the hands of their women. And oftentimes they’re really isolated from other men. One of the first questions I ask any man who’s suffering, is; ‘Do you have good men in your life?’ And the answer is almost always no. Men need a network of other men that they can really talk to about their fears, but also about their strengths.

How are the men in your life getting in touch with their spirituality? Connect with us and share your stories on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Backbone: The Modern Man’s Ultimate Guide to Purpose, Passion and Power by David Harshada Wagner will be out May 5 2015. David’s next retreat at Kripalu, Wild, Deep, Masculine and Free: A Weekend for Men, will take place May 29-31 2015.