ANDRE J ON SELF-EXPRESSION AS A SELF-LOVE PRACTICE

A-gender trendsetter and spiritual mentor Andre J shares how a lifetime of fearless self-expression has been the ultimate self-love practice …

I was raised by a single parent in the Projects of Newark, New Jersey. Our building was a shambles and the hallways had a foul odor, but the interior of my apartment was always spotless. I was a late baby, my mother was in her forties when she had me, so I was truly conceived out of love. However, I’m also an incest survivor, molested repeatedly by my older male cousin for years.

Raised by my mother I had feminine tendencies, and growing up I was called a fag and a sissy. When you live in the Projects, it’s easy to become engulfed by this air of unhappiness. People are always nipping and pulling things apart, because unhappiness only breeds more unhappiness, or hopelessness. But that was not my story.

I didn’t see people the way that they saw me. I only saw them through the eyes of love, because that’s what I received at home, despite the abuse I suffered from my cousin.

It was aged around 10 that I remember catching sight of my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and the words just fell from my mouth, effortlessly: ‘Andre, I love you.’ In that moment that I understood the importance of loving myself.

It was almost like the Universe was saying to me, ‘Baby, you have a choice. Either you will be an evil man, probably a pedophile yourself, a repeat offender. Or you are going to find an inner peace within yourself, and you are going to take this journey, and you are going to live your best life.”

I always had great style, even as a kid. My first job was in corporate America, and I would wear a twill blazer that fit really well, with high-waisted pants and snakeskin shoes. An ascot around my neck. But it was working at Patricia Field, in sales and then as the PR director, that Andre J came about, with the facial hair and the women’s garments.

It’s what the Native Americans call “two spirits,” to identify beings that embody a balance of masculine and feminine. It’s only Western culture that tells us that these things are taboo, that gives us these labels and names.

There was one point in my life where there was no one, in New York City or in the world, who actually looked like me. I had created a whole new idea of beauty. The British stylist Joe McKenna saw me and put me in V magazine. Then I was cast by Bruce Weber for the cover of French Vogue.

But I wasn’t trying to get on the cover of a magazine. Dressing the way I do is truly just about me expressing myself. And what I have found, is that to stick out like a sore thumb no matter where you are, walking down the street, or taking the subway to the airport, takes courage. It takes strength, it takes tenacity, and it really takes self-love.

You don’t really notice how many people are on the street, until all eyes are on you, yelling at you from a taxi cab, coming at you from every angle. ‘The fuck?’ ‘Oh my God.’ ‘Faggot.’ ‘Sissy.’ ‘Your father must hate you.’ ‘You must have disappointed your mother.’

To still walk with dignity, peace, and courage, and kindness—instead of building thick skin, it actually really softened me, because it taught me how to love others. It was because I was so happy and so free, that BS coming from some strangers didn’t matter.

And I began to realize, not only are you not free, you’re a hater, and I feel like I really just need to give you a hug! I saw that the fear was not of me, it was of whatever was going on within themselves. As I learned in the projects, if someone is unhappy, they want you to be unhappy too.

My journey has led to me working with LGBTQ youth, who are not getting acceptance from their families. A lot of them cannot look at themselves in the mirror. When they do, often they will sob, to the point where they have no control. And if there are eight kids in the room, and that one child is crying, we rise and we console this individual, and build a community around them. Because schools are not teaching how to build community.

To see everyone console this young lady or this gentleman who is going through this emotional imbalance, not only is it teaching them how to share their pain in community, but it is also teaching them how to feel empathy for someone else. An understanding of what compassion is.

My work is to have them look in the mirror, and actually acknowledge themselves for the first time as an individual, as an adult, as a person taking responsibility for their own life. To say to them, ‘Too many times we seek love outside of ourselves, and well guess what. If your parent hasn’t told you or if you haven’t heard it from anybody else, today you are going to give love to yourself.”

Most of them are closed, and frigid. The only emotion they have is anger. Anger, anger, anger. And I want these kids to understand that the anger is not going to get you anywhere. The anger is only going to kill you. That you cannot receive anything if you are closed. I want for them to understand that they can feel love.

For me, this work is helping to transmute all the name calling, and the incest from my past. It is dissolving. I have been able to show these kids that I am as loving as I am, BECAUSE I know what it feels like to be hurt. To be ridiculed, and to be truly counted out. To be disregarded, as if you are nothing. And that when you learn how to shift it, it is possible to realize that this has never been about me. This has been about what everybody else is going through.

The message I am passing on to them, is that my job is to focus on my journey. That my job is to focus on my path, and to focus on what my purpose is. And that not only do I need to focus on it, I need to live it. And not only do I need to live it, I need exude it from every crack and crevice of who Andre J is. I choose to give this service back to those that do not know. And I sleep very well at night.

Andre J will be speaking as part of a Numinous panel discussion on “Inner vs. Outer Beauty” at Soho House NY on December 4 2017 (members only, 7pm). Discover more about Andre and his work @andrejworldwide

DEEP INSIDE: READING FOR THE SCORPIO NEW MOON 2016

The Scorpio New Moon is an invitation to journey deep inside—so that we may emerge reborn, says Sandra Sitron…Artwork: i MANIPULATE

 

On Sunday October 30th at 1:38 pm ET (17:38 UTC) we have a New Moon at 7 degrees Scorpio.

The Moon and it’s message: “Cradle your heart in your hands.”

This Scorpio New Moon asks you to get quiet, so that you can hear her persistent whisper…Slow down. Study yourself. Prepare to let go of that which is no longer serving you. Be brave. Trust yourself. Cup your hands around your heart in honor and protection. Be your best witness. Hold space for yourself. Listen to the quiet, still, emotions that have been buried beneath “busy-ness” and action.

Your job right now is to Be. Your job is not to Do.

Every New Moon marks a new beginning; a time to plant seeds of intention for the upcoming Moon cycle. To visualize the manifestations of the coming 28 days. And the Scorpio New Moon especially is here to show us what needs to be eliminated in order to make room for the new.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Scorpio New Moon arrives with the season of Autumn in its fullness. It invites us to witness the trees as their leaves fall away. The leaves are ready to die, to decay, to go back to the earth. The leaves have served their purpose. The tree trusts this. There is no effort in letting the leaves fall away. The only action is to let go—trusting that the next cycle will bring new leaves.

Scorpio tells us about cycles. As such, it rules Sex. Birth. Death. Rebirth. You may not fully understand the cycle that you are moving through. But trust that you are moving. You may not understand why letting go is so important. Yet let go you must. This watery, intuitive moon is not about logic. So let go of logic and open your heart to trust.

But also, don’t expect to be shown the easy way out.

Scorpio’s ancient ruler is Warrior Mars, while her modern ruler is Transformational Pluto. She will challenge you. She will prod you. This Scorpio New Moon may poke at your underbelly. May knowingly turn your eyes to what is decaying in your life. She wants you to see what is ready to be burned and transformed. She wants to help you eliminate the old to make room for the new.

The challenge of this Scorpio New Moon is to explore our deepest, most habitually fixed emotional reactions. The emotional grooves that are scored deep into the nooks and crannies of our psyche. Want catharsis? Recognizing these buried emotions could bring a lot to the surface. Releasing them could set a fresh new cycle in motion. So show up courageously. Look closely at your wounds. Don’t shy away from intensity.

Look at the part of your life that you are trying to control. Scorpio rules letting go AND control. Can you loosen your grip?

Ask: what are your thoughts and feeling about this area of your life? Is there some fear there? If so, is the fear triggered by a thought? What is the thought? Why do you believe the thought? What proof is there? When was the first time you thought this? What was going on in your life at that time? Is there another thought that could replace it? How would you like to feel instead?

Free up some time this weekend to just sit quietly and see what comes up. Scorpio archetypes are the Detective, the Researcher, and the Psychologist. It is the job of all these archetypes to search and uncover. To reveal a hidden truth. Do this with your emotional self. Take a steady, close look beneath the surface.

Then slow down. Trust. Witness. Let go. Cradle your heart in your hands.

Read on for the cosmic aspects at play PLUS New Moon self-inquiry by sign…

***

NEW MOON CONJUNCT MERCURY
The pitter patter of rain.

Chatty Mercury joins the Scorpio New Moon to help communicate to you what you are ready to let go of. These communications may be quick and persistent, like the pitter patter of rain. All you have to do is allow the message to come through. Mercury is bringing lots of ideas and new information. Areas of your life that you think you have all figured out may be ready for new interpretations. Get ready to start up a conversation with your highest self.

NEW MOON TRINE NEPTUNE
Finding your way through the maze.

Dreamy Neptune is in a harmonious Trine aspect with the Scorpio New Moon. This energy will help you open up to your intuition to receive a message from across the veil. The symbol promises that if you use all of your senses and follow your best hunch, you will arrive at your destination. Let your third eye help you navigate.

SUMMARY
You are ready to go inward. Explore your deep feelings. Let the unnecessary fall away. The leaves have fulfilled their purpose. Let them go, reflect, and prepare for the next cycle.

***

NEW MOON SELF-INQUIRY BY SIGN :: For a more accurate reading, see which house in your birth chart contains 7 degrees Scorpio.

Aries or 8th House
What desires are you avoiding? What is blocking you feeling into what you truly want? What do you see when you lean into the feeling you would like to have right now?

Taurus or 7th House
Are you holding on to any assumptions about relationships that you are ready to let go of? Where did these ideas originate? Can you see how they are no longer serving you?

Gemini or 6th House
Is anything preventing you from making healthy choices for your body? What is one habit you can let go of this week that feels aligned with your goals for your health?

Cancer or 5th House
What is blocking your creative self-expression? Why are you allowing this to persist? How might you bring more creativity and fun into your life?

Leo or 4th House
Take a moment to tune into yourself and have your notebook ready: If your inner child could talk to you, what would she tell you right now? Is there a pattern she is holding onto that she is ready to let go?

Virgo or 3rd House
What is coming up for you mentally right now? What are the ideas that won’t go away? How can you pay attention Do you see any assumptions that are influencing you in relation to this topic?

Libra or 2nd House
What is blocking you from realizing your self worth? What limiting beliefs are behind any instances of poverty consciousness (“I am not enough / There is never enough”?)

Scorpio or 1st House
Let yourself breathe more fully, and see if you can get more deeply in touch with yourself. What is blocking you from expressing your unique energy in the world? How can you step past this?

Sagittarius or 12th House
What is the dominant feeling surfacing for you right now? What’s it like to feel this way? Journal on this feeling and then ask yourself: What can I let go of in order to heal?

Capricorn or 11th House
Jot down some hopes and dreams for your future. Who in you might interfere with your goal? (Can you give a name to the part of you that may interfere? Can you have a conversation with that part?)

Aquarius or 10th House
Where would you like to be ten years from now in regard to your career? Can you imagine how you might get there? What must you let go of to realize your greatest ambitions for yourself?

Pisces or 9th House
What deeply held beliefs have you found yourself questioning? How could you chose to see things instead? How could this help you progress on your spiritual path?

YOGI SAYS: “IS THE ENTREPRENEUR LIFE FOR ME?”

“Is the entrepreneur life for me?” Resident Yogi and philosopher Eddie Stern responds… Artwork: Francesco Clemente

“After years of working for other people and putting all my creative energy into their dreams, I finally decided to do my own thing a couple of years back. I have worked on various projects since, some more successful than others—and while I try to always learn from the lessons of my ‘failures’ it can be hard not to focus on things that have gone wrong, and blame myself. Lately this has made me fearful about continuing on the entrepreneurial path and I’ve been fantasizing about the ‘easy life’—i.e. working for somebody else again—even though I know in my heart this would make me depressed and leave me craving my freedom again. How can I get past my mistakes and remain confident about pursuing my own dreams?”

Dear Dreamer,

Almost everyone sometimes feels trapped between two worlds; one world we know, the other we don’t really know…but we have some ideas. One world is exhilarating and free, and the other is safe, but is a prison. The world of safety, as you pointed out, can often be boring, unfulfilling, and limiting, while the world of the unknown—where our hidden, unlimited potential lies—is scary. Until we jump in, that is.

These two realities are spoken of in Hindu philosophy. There is the reality that can be measured, is logical, has size, shape and weight—and the reality that cannot: thoughts, emotions, inspiration, potential and creativity. We can measure our bodies, possessions, money, buildings, cars, cities, even the Universe, but we cannot measure that things that inhabit these spaces: knowledge, love, compassion, empathy, dreams, ambitions, hopes, desires, potential and friendship.

The reality that can be measured is called sakala, “with form,” and the reality that cannot is called nishkala, “without form.” However, they are both real—they both exist! The realm of man is the sakala realm, and the realm of the Gods—as well as our hopes, dreams, potential and feelings—is nishkala.

We get stuck in the world of quantification, of measurement, because that is what our world demands of us. How many followers do we have on IG? How much money do I have in the bank? Do I have six packs in my abs, or only one and a half? We measure, we compare, and we are miserable in doing so, because we always come up short. And we measure because we don’t know who we are.

In Yoga, this knowing who we are is the solution to all misery. It is the plug that let’s all the dirty, stinky water down the drain. For when we truly know who we are, we are immeasurable, pure consciousness. When we don’t know who we are, we are limited by the things we measure ourselves against.

When we don’t know who we are, we imitate those who project the kind of confidence and knowledge, or beauty or wit, that we wished we had. We give up the struggle of discovering who we are, by playing it safe, and taking on someone else’s self-expression. But in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, “It’s better to do your own dharma poorly, then to do the dharma of another well”, meaning, it’s better to do your own thing and fail, rather than do someone else’s thing and succeed.

Why? Because you’ll never be happy and never find fulfillment with someone else’s purpose, only with your own. And it’s only you who can discover what that is. When you do, is when freedom begins. It’s how you access the realm of nishkala, and bring it forward, actively, into your life.

In the Tarot, a card which seems to accurately represent the dilemma that you are in right now, is the Two of Wands. The image on the card is of a person standing between two upright wands; he is holding onto one of the wands with his left hand, and in his right, he is holding a globe, or, the world, as he gazes off towards the distance.

The meanings of the card can relate to decision making; you have reached a fork in the road, so to speak, and there are two directions you can go. One direction will lead you towards freedom and abundance, and the other towards safety, which is binding, and will be fraught with self-doubt. The card symbolizes independence and boldness on the one hand, and fear of failure, and dependence on others, on the other.

Being bold is an expression of personal power, which is simply another terms for your unique potential and creativity. Now may be the time for you to own that originality within you, and be bold enough to express it in the world. You may have had some failures, and you will definitely have fears to face head on, but in the end, regardless of success or failure, you will have the inner satisfaction of knowing that you were brave enough to listen.

The important thing is to keep at your work. Your creativity will continue to grow as you feed it. It will continue to grow as you use if for work that aligns with your own vision.

There are three key words I’ve seen associated with the Two of Wands: personal power (which I read as infinite potential channeled through us each as unique individuals); boldness; and originality. Your potential will become clearer the more you exercise it; your boldness will increase when you face your fears directly and don’t let them rule you; and last, connecting with your own work, and your own originality, will lead you towards personal fulfillment, which is true success.

But the Two of Wands reminds us of one other thing: we do not own our creativity, or our potential, or power. These are channeled through us, and if we are lucky, we can tap into them and express them through our actions and attitudes. We should remain humble knowing that we are not the authors of our creativity or power, that we are conduits, and that when creativity flows through us, all goes well. But when we try to control it, or think that we are special because of it, things will eventually go south. Be bold, but be humble. Be fearless, but also, be grateful.

A yogic practice you can try to balance out the two realities that we all live in is alternate nostril breathing. It’s fairly simple, is calming, and balances both hemispheres of the brain.

  1. Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair, or cross-legged on the floor.
  1. With your right hand, you make the Vishnu Mudra, which looks like this.
  1. Place your right thumb against your right nostril, inhale and exhale 3-5 times through your left nostril. Your breathing should be smooth and even, not too long, and not too short. Usually a 3-4 second inhale and exhale is a good place to start.
  1. After 3-5 breaths, close your left nostril with your right ring finger, and breath the same amount of times through the right nostril. Your breathing should be smooth and even, with the same length of breath that you used on the left side (3-4 seconds inhale, 3-4 seconds exhale).
  1. After 4 breaths through the right side, place your right hand back into your lap or on to your knee, and take 3-5 slow deep breaths.

You can do this once or twice a day—morning and evening, and before having food, are optimal times to try it. There are many variations of alternate nostril breathing, that overall have some of the same effects. This one in particular is single nostril, or unilateral, breathing, and has been show to have positive effects on both spatial awareness (knowing where you are in space, and where things are in relation to you), and improving cognitive abilities. I think the two wands in the Two of Wands card are reminiscent of the nostrils, and the subtle energy channels that are attached to them! Try it, and see if it helps.

Yours,
Eddie

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: HOW TO USE THE RETROGRADES FOR HEALING

With Pluto, Saturn and Mars all retrograde, there’s rich opportunity now to transcend deep-seated patterns and re-vamp your sense of purpose. This week showed me how to use the retrogrades for healing…

Sub Rosa’s Michael Ventura

:: MONDAY (-WEDNESDAY) ::
A healing session with Michael Ventura, who also happens to be CEO of design and branding agency Sub Rosa, which also happens to be the venue for some of NYC’s most high-vibe happenings (including our Club SÖDA NYC event in April with Biet Simkin). This is what I love about New York—everybody has a side project that’s at least as interesting as their day job. In Michael’s case, 10 years spent studying everything from Traditional Chinese Medicine to Native American shamanic healing (with Yogi Bhajan’s personal healer, no less).

“These retrogrades have stirred up all kinds of funky stuff,” I told him. “You know, like ‘who am I?’ and ‘how can my voice have real impact in the world?'” (um, anybody else feeling the existential crunch right now?) My treatment was a combination of hands-on healing and pressure-point release, with some crystals and some burning herbs, after which I practically levitated off the table, leaving with the instructions to send an update by email after two sleeps. By which time I was actually experiencing a disquieting sense of wanting to completely re-evaluate my message and my mission, in line with my personal needs.

And since I know I’m not alone in this right now, I share with you here Michael’s beautiful response:

“We all too often think of our lives across two spectrums—positive and negative. However, there is a third and powerful force—neutrality—which can serve you well in these times of reflection and integration. You don’t need to have the plan. At the same time, you don’t need to get down on yourself for not having a plan. Simply un-attaching and not identifying with an outcome will let things happen at their own pace. A flower doesn’t bloom by trying to bloom. It simply allows.”

:: WEDNESDAY NIGHT ::
So I allowed the unease (WTF am I doing with my life? How is what I’m doing actually of service in the world?) to just be there. And now enter my third sleep of the week, during which I experienced the most incredible healing dream—facilitated (in my dream) by wonderful Alexandra Derby, who appeared in my mind’s eye and told me it was time to perform a ritual.

This involved an astral visitation with my ex—a man to whom I utterly subjugated my sense of self during my late teens and early twenties. Confronted with his same old, patronizing ways, I felt his words and gross, overbearing sexual energy bounce off me, like I’d developed a cosmic force-field. “You are an insect on the sole of my shoe, and I am more powerful than you will even know,” was basically the over-riding vibe. At which point I came semi-conscious to the sound of a series of “clicks” in my brain—as if a piece of code in my internal operating system had been re-written. By morning, I awoke feeling newly and fully empowered on my path. Existential crisis averted!

So…I’ve gone into way more detail here than I usually would in this column, but my this week has been an amazing opportunity to work with the current retrogrades for healing. Pluto and Saturn, in particular, are opening up deep karmic wounds, and since everywhere I look it seems people are experiencing a similar sense of having outgrown their own skin, or are having conflicting thoughts and feelings about where they’re “at” and what they really want, it felt appropriate to share.

And so, I believe this is a perfect time to:

– Seek assistance bringing any funky energy that’s being stirred up to the surface—ideally a session with a trusted energy worker (think reiki, acupuncture, sound healing—whatever works for you).
– Allow all the weird shit you might be thinking and feeling to just be there. Don’t over-analyse it—just allow it move through you. Trust that it will find its own way out—in a dream like mine, perhaps.
– Feel it to heal it. Which means resisting the temptation to numb out from it with drink, drugs, drama, shopping (*insert your preferred method of numbing here*).
– Journal. I actually wrote a poem the morning after my healing dream, my favorite new way to purge the numinous un-namables that are screeching to be let out. Try it—I bet you like it!

:: THURSDAY ::
Mainly processing the above. While also finally finishing my book manuscript (TF!)

:: FRIDAY ::
A beautiful astanga class with Makeesha Hill of the Urban Yogis—a grass roots initiative bringing the tools of yoga and meditation to NYCs inner city communities, that we’re supporting with sales of our Designer Yogis sweatshirt collection. A fitting end to this week of self-enquiry, as one of the things that’s coming through loud and clear for me right now is that if my work (like, this platform) isn’t actively in service of helping people be happier humans, in a healthier, more harmonious society…then really, what’s the point? As the Yogis themselves would say: #peaceisalifestyle!

The Urban Yogis: a.k.a. (l-r) Raheem Lewis, Tyrell Carter, Jaytaun McMillan, Makeesha Hill, and Juquille Johnston

SIT WITH IT: A NEW WAY TO WORK WITH DEPRESSION

Depression can be a signal of deep discontent from your soul. As tough as it is, try diving into those feelings through meditation and self-reflection to clear your psyche, says Erin Telford

 

“Winter is a great time for depression,” I joked at a Breathwork group last month. I was met with some very nervous giggles. As with most things, it’s only funny because it’s uncomfortably true.

All humor aside, I got really depressed last winter.

It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. The first time I remember feeling depressed was when I was about 14 years old. It felt like being trapped in a glass, banging on the walls with no one listening, fatigue and a vague sense of loss and hazy unmet needs.

When I started to sink down and enter that deep gray landscape, I just felt tired and defeated. You again? After all this work?

I was involved in a group-coaching program at the time. I was honest with everyone about the despair I was feeling. They came full force with the positivity. You got this! You just need a spa day! Self-care! Find your gratitude!

“Seriously?” I thought. I was surprised by how fiercely irritated I was with their advice. And it hit me. I did not want to be cheerled out of this. I wanted to go down into the dungeon of my psyche and find some f*cking answers.

My response to feeling depressed in the past was to wait until it was over. Back pedal out of the icky feelings. Utilize the usual anesthetics. Self-medication. Self-isolation. Online shopping. Staying busy. Hitting the crack pipe rabbit hole of social media.

This time needed to be different. I’m not a confused teenage girl anymore. I’ve been waking up for a long time and I have an arsenal of tools in my bag, perfect for this emotional renovation. So I made a commitment to going down and in – and not coming back out until I found what I was looking for.

So what did that look like in real life? I turned my phone off. I sat in my favorite spot in my apartment, this little nook with a bunch of plants, great light, and a big window, and I checked in. I sat with myself. I did some writing. I asked many times and in as many ways as I could, “what is underneath all of this pain?”

I was really gentle with myself. This line of inquiry did not involve self-criticism, curse words, belittling myself or my process or any feeling of needing to hurry up and get back to “normal” life. I did not take time off but I did give myself all of the time that I had and needed.

What I found was a deep well of sweetness for myself.

The supposed truth that had taken me down to these depths was uncovered as just another clever way that I had fooled myself into believing that I was separate, that I was unloved, that I was unsupported. I discovered that I had the power inside to be able to break a life long pattern by looking at my wounds with tender curiosity rather than frustration or disdain.

***

Depression is often framed as something that just happens to us like getting a cold or a bummer draw of a genetic card. While environment, brain chemistry, and family lineage can be part of long-standing major depression; many of us experience it simply as a response to what’s going on in our lives.

We sell ourselves short by saying, “I’m just depressed.” As if it has nothing to do with the emotional pain that we’ve endured, the unattended wounds, the countless hours spent confused and alone or in groups of people who fail to see or help our hurt. The real life existential crisis that is: “I was told this would make me happy and I’m not. That must mean something is wrong with me. “

Very few of us have been taught any kind of practical way to channel and work with emotional pain. Most likely the instruction we covertly receive is to tuck away the unlovable, messy parts of ourselves. Shove them way, way, way into the back of the closet so we never have to look at the shame or hurt or confusion we feel. Or, let anyone else see it!

There is a single seed of discontent within you that is begging to be acknowledged.

It could be linked to:

Wrong job
Wrong friends
Wrong city
Wrong relationship
Wrong environment
Wrong…paradigm

Only you know, and facing it down is what I call Constructive Depression. It will require your participation. It will require fierce internal responsibility. And it is your job and your job alone, since no-one else can connect to your deepest parts but you.

The longer you’ve been feeling this way, the more wildly uncomfortable you may be with the truth that is banging on the door of your heart, begging for bread and water. How honest are you willing to be with yourself when your wellbeing is on the line?

So how to you do this?

You can think of Constructive Depression as a soul expedition. So what do you need for an internal journey? Nutritious snacks, great music, paints, journals, talismans, crystals, instruments, quiet, something to burn away the energy. Gather all of your supportive resources.

This is not an intellectual exercise. This is a reckoning. You with you.

This is a slow immersive dip into your soul. A psychic cleansing. Mental decongestion. Moving toward rather than away. Your resistance to this idea is equal to your commitment that all of this is due to the outside rather than inside forces. You ARE up to the task.

We experience the full range of human emotions for a reason. We feel sad because something is breaking our heart. We feel angry because something isn’t right and it needs to change. We feel fear because we are threatened or being asked to expand.

Depression is an opportunity for internal exploration. You are not depressed because you are a bad person or you skipped too many days of yoga or gratitude journaling.

You are depressed because something is not working for you. There is a yearning. An emotional chasm. Something that is crying out to be witnessed and seen like it’s never been seen before. Our wounds are rarely greeted with the exact kind of care and response that we are craving. When we accumulate a lifetime of hurts that have gone unnoticed or unattended to by others, the responsibility falls back to us to determine what we need.

So meet yourself with all of the tenderness, all of the sweetness, the hugs, the love, and the acceptance that you hold within you. Go inside, find your golden nugget of truth, and only come back out when you are ready – holding your treasure high.

*Mental health can be very tenuous. If you feel like this is something you can safely undertake, please do. If it feels like too much, please seek professional support for this internal exploration.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: ELLA GRACE DENTON

Uber-blogger Ella Grace Denton uploaded her first YouTube video in 2011; five years later, she has become a compassionate Vegan with a mission to inspire us all to LIVE MORE. We got an invite into her mystical world…

THE NUMINOUS: What inspired the name for your blog – why do “we need to live more”? 
ELLA GRACE DENTON: We Need to Live More originally started as a kind of statement to our generation. The online world can be very overwhelming, face-paced and all consuming, and I believe it’s stopped us connecting to the natural world around us and each other in deep ways!

So much of the online world, Instagram and Twitter, for example, allows young people to get lost in the seemingly incredible lives of others and disconnect from their own passion, purpose and life. And so my blog truly started as an online space to inspire others to live more meaningfully, to follow their passions and dreams and to live for themselves, rather than to aimlessly follow and get lost in the material world.

TN: Your site is dedicated to womankind – which women are you most inspired by and why?
EGD:
Yes, in the last year my focus has shifted slightly and I’ve really found an interest in exploring womankind, the constraints and pressures we feel, why we compete with one another, and our power when we come together and learn to love ourselves again! I love nothing more than being with strong, free, natural, women.

Some women who inspire me:

Tavi Gevinson:  total babe, actress, and founder of Rookie Mag, an amazing online space for females to share and create collectively. Just an incredible advocate for womankind.

Elizabeth Gilbert: writer of the recently published Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. For me, she represents womankind in such a strong way. She actively creates ideas and pursues her dreams whilst empowering other women to do the same. 2000% living in her truth, and that’s inspiring.

Elle Luna: artist, designer and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion –another must read. ALSO listen to her Do Lecture called ‘The Importance of Doing What You Love’, it made me cry!

TN: We know you love astrolgy, how do you work with the cosmos in your everyday life?
EGD: I’ve just come into astrology! I’m religiously watching and learning from Kay Pacha and his YouTube videos. I’ve also become fascinated by the different stages of our moon cycles as females and what that means for our bodies and energy.

TN: Which crystals are you working with currently and why?
This week I’ve been working with a beautiful white agate, a new amethyst and a golden spirit healer quartz:

– White Agate: for purifying and calming
– Amethyst: for grounding
– Golden Spirit Healer Quartz: for aligning and bringing me back to the sun energy in my solar plexus

TN: What does a truly well-lived life look like to you?
EGD: Being surrounded by a community of people who care about me, pursuing my dreams and ideas passionately and openly, and making positive change in the world.

Now a look into the mystical world of this material girl…

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label
Anything second-hand

Vintage Chanel Jacket, Nasty Gal

My shoes
A pair of boots made of silver satin I found in Oxfam…

My fragrance
A mix of seabuckthorn, jojoba, rose otto, geranium, immortelle, neroli, lavender, palmarosa oils.

Lavender Essential Oil, Do Terra

My jewels
My YCL Jewels hand crafted crystal choker, a crystal necklace I was given for my 21st by my mum, an ‘E’ necklace from my dad and my great great grandmother’s ring

My pampering
A hot bath, with candles, incense, and essential oils

My home
The island of Ibiza

Es Vedra, Ibiza

My food
Mango!

Ella’s Beetroot and Mango Salad

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening
My awakening was always rumbling in my soul, it started in 2012 but came into full swing when I watched the documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ exactly a year ago (trailer below!)

My sign
Scorpio

Scorpio Necklace, Laura Lee Jewellery

My mantra
“I am exactly where I need to be”

My healer
Nature

My reading
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

My transformation
Going vegan – which means living compassionately, by killing and eating no other beings

My mission
To empower others to live openly from their hearts

To read more from Ella Grace Denton visit Weneedtolivemore.com 

COMFORTABLY NUMB: WHY ARE WE ALL AFRAID TO FEEL?

Dry January opened my eyes to how I’ve been comfortably numb, so this year I’m committing to feeling it and healing it, says Kate Atkinson.

‘Hello, is there anybody in there? Just nod if you can hear me.” Ringing an opiate bell in your psyche? If you’re a borderline millennial like me, you’re shamefully more likely to recall the Scissor Sisters version before the much more pleasant, sedate and, well, numbing, Pink Floyd original of the track “Comfortably Numb.”

But this song bears a special significance in my world right now. Having completed my first ever dry January I, like I suspect many Instagramming, Malbec-drinking, Bumble-ing, Happn-ing global citizens, have realized to what extent I’ve been moving through my life in a similarly cozy but numbed-out state.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “numb” as depriving us of the power of sensation. So to do so in any capacity means more or less living and feeling at a fraction of our capabilities. Or in Numi speak: “vibing at a lower frequency.” By CHOICE. How depressing is that?

And it’s not just the booze. NYC might be a cultural smorgasbord, but it also offers ready access to all the compulsions that can take you down a rabbit hole of distraction and, eventually, longing.

Rather than dealing with our shit, we drink. Opposed to being alone, we over engage on social media (no wonder “Digital Addiction” has become an actual “thing”). Others get high on the rush of success and pepped on promotion. There’s addiction to substances, of course – legal medications, essential oils, cocaine. Addiction to online dating.  Addiction to people. Addiction to pizza. Addiction to tattoos. Addiction to solitude. Addiction to sex.

The list is endless, and the more you get to thinking about it, the more it feels like anything can become an obsession when you’d rather numb-out than feel…and deal. Then there’s the replacement of one addiction with another. Partying for yoga. Work for a relationship…and so it goes.

Without booze to cloud this revelation, I’ve only become more aware of back-to-back evenings of time wasting on Facebook; the getting obliterated after a bad day at work; the 18 nights a month I eat pizza. And many more obsessions I don’t care to list in a public forum.

And I’ve decided this is no way to live. Along with this newfound awareness, I’ve realized how sick I am of the “terrifying Tuesdays,” the hours spent staring at my phone, of saying I’ll do things I never do, and spending my precious hours on mind numbing, opposed to mind-expanding activities.

So what’s the alternative? Bottom line is it’s tough to to feel the full spectrum of your emotions. It is hard to stay at home and sit with your loneliness, when grappling with an overwhelming desire to put it all behind you, just for one night.

Personally, that social itch and need to be surrounded by others is a compulsive distraction, and when I obey it and ignore my calmer (and undoubtedly more vulnerable) intuition, generally the more disasters head my way. The thing with numbing is it becomes a cycle. Drink too much. Make bad dating decisions. Attack your liver again with Advil. Waste $40 on breakfast. And so it goes.

With this in mind, I’m accepting you have to “feel it to heal it” – which means, for now at least, I am committing to a time of being UN-NUMB. And what this will entail exactly I don’t know, since I’ve been living comfortably numb for well over a decade.

Nonetheless, I want to commit to it this year. I have no idea what I’m doing – and already I’m finding myself interested in activities I would have laughed at this time last year. So welcome to my blank canvas of withdrawal…which right now seems to be manifesting into this column.

Signing off until next time, with one of my favorite quotes from Anais Ninn:

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book…or you take a trip…and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.

The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death.

Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

OUR DEEPEST TRUTH: READING FOR THE NEW MOON IN CAPRICORN

The New Moon in Capricorn means business! Channel the energy of the goat to get what you desire in 2016, says Hannah Ariel

New year, New Moon! The one coming up in the constellation of Capricorn is SOLID, and rock steady ready for your absolute resolution on January 10th. In fact, you may have noticed that the cosmos has already begun to test your accountability in the days leading up to this Moon. Beginning the third day of 2016, an astrological extravaganza of energy has been extracting deep, potentially life-changing realizations out of us, all to remind us to operate from a place serious integrity this year.

Venus in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces: Illusions are fading fast, we are becoming more attuned to attract what we really need rather than what we delude ourselves into believing.

Venus in Sagittarius meets up with Saturn, also in Sag: What we need and who we are being attracted to becomes so clear there’s no escaping the truth of what our creativity is urging us to work with and define.

Mars enters Scorpio: The actions we are taking are becoming more strategic, the way we go about getting what we want intensifies, we are driven by deep, nearly insatiable desires, and we are ready to test certain limits.

Mercury enters Aquarius and squares Mars in Scorpio: Moving into the future requires us to dig in to some inner work on ourselves first, redefining what we want.

Mercury goes retrograde in Aquarius and re-enters Capricorn: Before we move into the future we may pick up a few more pieces, and uncover a few more facts to keep in mind.

Sun conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn, square Uranus in Aries: We are triggered to re-identify with the breakdown/breakthrough story that began transforming us in 2008; we have experienced our annual renewal of personal power.

Jupiter stations retrograde right on top of the North Node in Virgo: What has expanded and evolved since August 2015 is up for review; time unravels the details of whatever big picture has unfolded; the destined meaning behind certain opportunities can be seen and integrated.

Now, take a deep breath, as all of this astrology has given us some seriously important information. It’s no exaggeration to say this very first New Moon of 2016 can truly be life-changing if we really get involved. It’s as if the Universe is asking us to be guided by the truth – our deepest truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help us god/goddess – a New Moon in Capricorn means business!

In fact, Capricorn doesn’t want to embark on anything it cannot successfully complete. A strong and empowered Capricorn takes all the information it can get and uses it to the utmost advantage to ensure a measure of reward. Capricorn learns exactly which mountain it is meant to climb, and then forges ahead without once looking back!

It’s a good thing we already ran through the whole gamut of our emotions by the end of 2015, when the Moon was full in Cancer. Because to the contrary, cardinal earth sign Capricorn doesn’t take into account how something feels; it simply puts in the work, and does what it must to get to where it needs to be. Now this may sound ruthless, but the truth is that without this earthy empowerment we’d hardly fulfill our destined potential.

Think of this New Moon in Capricorn as the captain that is poised to reign all this cosmic energy in, and steer your ship straight. The work will be in identifying not just where you are going, but why you are choosing a particular destination, owning that decision, and then continuing to decide how you’re going to get there. Again, all without looking back!

We are arriving at a powerful turning point where the more energy we use to turn around and look back, the more we will potentially be misguided, have some wind knocked out of our sails, and lose our cardinal determination. Even though Mercury is retrograde, it is traveling through an earth sign; whatever steps we take, even if they appear to be taking us backward, are nonetheless grounded in the process of moving forward.

The retrograde began in Aquarius; we’ve seen the future; we know what comes next. Now comes the time for some careful footwork. Contrary to how you might be feeling about it, think of this Mercury retrograde as being your saving grace. It will help things go oh so slow enough to make sure you don’t miss A THING. Another saving grace is that this New Moon in Capricorn makes a beautiful trine to Jupiter, implying that there is indeed potential for smooth sailing ahead. So long as we do the work, we will get there! With a beam from Jupiter, the cosmos is routing for us.

Also, among the multitude of transits mentioned, give extra attention to your understanding of the Venus/Saturn conjunction happening just the day before the New Moon in Capricorn. The fusion of these two is significant – although it happens in the constellation of Sagittarius, Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn. And if Saturn is up to something, we really need to get crystal clear about it!

Keywords: authority, architecture, responsibility, time. It is what must be. It doesn’t matter if it’s a petty situation. It doesn’t matter if it has to break apart a pre-existing structure. With Saturn, we see: IT MUST BE, and I will do what it takes. With Venus in this mix, this transit begs the question: How much does your life NEED this to happen?

It’s about knowing what situations will create more harmony for you in the long run. If you want to build that beautiful new relationship, job, creative project, business, family, home – you have to WANT it so much you are willing to sacrifice what is not helping the process, turn around, and go the other way.

Considering this is first time Venus has conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius in almost 27 years, what your life desires may very well be something you are experiencing for the first time in a long time (if ever) – something entirely new, wildly exciting, passionately daring; something totally ready for your adventurous creativity. What do you really want to begin? OWN IT, because right now you really can – if only you do indeed, begin.

Note: Even if you aren’t sure of where all of these aspects and transits happened in your personal birth chart, you are ahead in merely beginning to contemplate what the cosmos may have been trying to tell you these first ten days of January.

2016 is here. Be the determined mountain goat that is Capricorn, and let the force of this Saturn-ruled moon be with you. You will do it. You will get there. You’ve got this. For it must be.

Book a personal reading with Hannah Ariel at: neptuned.in@gmail.com

#NOFILTER: HOW TO HARVEST YOUR OWN SPRING WATER

Want to feel truly ALIVE? Then it’s time to harvest your own spring water, says Alexandra Derby.

We are literally made up of water, around 60% of our entire body, just like that of Planet Earth. After breathing, oxygen, the second most fundamental element to our existence is water. And so the water we drink is one of the biggest contributors to our state of overall health, happiness and wellbeing.

The juiciness of our cells, our bodies ability to flush out unwanted toxins, the vibrancy and elasticity of our skin: all reasons why it is so important to drink the best water possible. But living in big cities we are given very little access to natural, unadulterated water. So if you are serious about pursuring the most vibrant life possible, then it’s up to you to take matters into your own hands!

I’ve been on a quest to drink the best water possible since the birth of my daughter three years ago. As a geeky Virgo, my search led me to the study of structured water – what Gerald Pollack describes as the ‘fourth state of water’ – as found in natural spring water.

We know from our science lessons at school that water can be solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (steam). In its forth state, the molecules of Pollack’s structured water form a crystalline lattice aligned in a Flower of Life pattern.

 

And spring water is naturally structured into a coherent crystal lattice by Mother Earth, who, left to her own devices, structures EVERYTHING into a coherent crystal lattice (including us humans!) so that all living things can vibrate together in harmony.

But what does this mean for our bodies? Well, in a word, coherence. The blood and cells in your body resonate perfectly with this state of crystalline unity. In effect, this means you can program your body with unity consciousness by simply drinking water!

Some things I have tried in my quest to quench my thirst for structured water:

Drinking spring water from bottles. Glass is best as plastic leaches into the water and adds to the plastic waste pile that will only end up polluting our oceans.
Filtering tap water. I’ve tried Brita filters (downside is the jug is plastic and you have to replace disposable plastic filters); an elegant glass water filter with Japanese charcoal (sadly discontinued from Design Within Reach); and Berkey filters (excellent, but made of metal – glass is always best container for water).
Charging my water. Combined with a filtration system, this really makes a difference to how the water feels in your body. I have tried tesla plates (a tuned anodized aluminum plate that works to bring bioenergetic fields back into balance and harmony); placing crystals in my water to structure it in resonance to their crystalline field; and giving Reiki to my water by cupping my hands around it before I drink it.
Blessing my water by saying: “Thank you. I love you.” As Masaru Emoto demonstrated with his hauntingly beautiful images showing how water crystals resopond to intentions, music and specific words, the most powerful coherence and greatest beauty was shown when the water was acknowledged with Love and Gratitude – “Thank you. I love you.”

BUT the day I convinced by husband and kid to drive upstate and harvest our own spring water, naturally structured water, was the day I fully understood what the saying ‘you can taste the difference’ really meant!

I knew I really had to do something more about the water I was drinking when I kept dreaming of how I needed to drink spring water. So, following my intuitive voice I found a website with just the information I was looking for.

Findaspring.com is an amazing resource mapping all of the natural springs accessible in your area, along with detailed directions. The huge and passionate natural spring water community keeps the comments updated for each spring with information about the quality of the water, accessibility, and whether the spring is dry or not.

Typing the address of our local spring into google maps, we headed off one Saturday morning with a couple of three-gallon glass bottles and a sense of adventure. As we drove further from the City, I began fretting we would never find the spot – but we kept going, and right on cue saw a car pulled over to the side of the road with a man lifting water bottles out.

There was a small gathering at the spring. An extended Polish family were filling up about 15 five-gallon bottles that would last them for months, they said. There are no legal limits on the amount of spring water you are allowed to harvest but it is recommended to harvest five gallons at a time.

Getting my first taste of the beautiful crisp water that was gushing out of the pipe from the ground can only be described as pure magic. I knew for sure then that water is Sacred. This water was so sparkling that mini rainbows were reflecting off the droplets on my cupped hand. My body tingled with delight, I literally feel ALIVE. This water had come straight from Mother Earth, unfiltered, untouched by any processes, straight from the Source.

The first week of drinking the water we harvested, some surprising things happened. We decided to focus on using the water for drinking, as we had not harvested enough to bathe in. And so we used it in all our smoothies, nut milks and any recipe that needed unheated water.

The first thing I noticed was that heaviness that I used to feel from water sitting in my stomach was gone, as if the spring water was being taken straight into my cells. I felt light! I felt vibrant! And then… all sorts of old emotional patterns starting rising to the surface.

I realised that in drinking such pure water, all the toxins I was carrying, not just physically but DEEP emotional toxins, were being pulled to the surface to be purged. It felt like I was being guided through a process of letting go of anything that no longer served me. I felt I was being ‘cleared out’, so as to be a vessel for greater light, and greater balance. Wow. What a reminder that water is Life.

How do you make sure you’re drinking the purest water possible? Connect with us and share your tips on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

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.