HOLY F*CK: FINDING MY SPIRITUAL PRIDE

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra at her first Pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alexandra and Sah D’Simone

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

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

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

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

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

HOLY F*CK: CAN CASUAL SEX BE SPIRITUAL?

In the second installment of her column Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo questions if modern-day hookup culture can co-exist with a Numi gal’s desire for conscious dating and sex…

As I sat next to my two friends Malia and Loulou watching Marianne Williamson speak to a crowded LA auditorium, I slumped further and further down in my chair as she discussed that which had been keeping me busy post breakup for nearly nine months…CASUAL SEX. Her words: “When a man puts anything in any of your orifices he has unspoken claim on you”, stung me. And to add insult to injury she went on to state: “Some Buddhist teachings say after sex the energy of the other person doesn’t leave your aura for seven years.”

Shit. My aura was starting to feel real crowded.

Not to mention that on my way to see Marianne talk I had casually mentioned to my new friends how I had recently had phenomenal sex in the back of a Prius under the Hollywood sign with a TV actor in an open relationship after drinks at the Soho House. (#Cliché.) I laughed about it, but now I felt a little uneasy…

Last year when I broke up with my girlfriend of nearly two years and decided to try dating dudes again, I had a period of being “free.” Meaning I hit Tinder hard. I was still meditating. Practicing affirmations. Reading Marianne and Louise Hay. But I was also determined to learn how to have casual sex in a casual way. Remember the “Sex and the City” episode where Carrie tries to have sex like men and can’t? That was me.

But there I was on Tinder, wondering: is conscious dating and/or sex even possible through online apps? Can you explore deep sexual bliss with a stranger you drunk swiped on? In fact, can you explore sexual bliss with a stranger at all?

Obviously sex and religion is a whole big Pandora’s box I will not attempt to open, except to say that I do have massive PTSD from spending too many hours at “youth camp” where I was saved/told I was a sinner for being a sexual being. I’ve been healing from that for years as a non-religious “spiritual person,” but still many of the same judgements and questions continue to come up. Is casual sex an obstacle towards enlightenment or can it be an aid?

My friend Karley (a.k.a. Slutever) who is a sex writer and creative collaborator, turned me on to Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, who did a rad TED talk on how casual sex can be super healthy, which inspired me. In the last year I decided to fully commit myself to this quest. Oddly (or not – cause the Universe knows what it’s doing) I attracted quite a few “spiritual” dudes down for the cause. According to Dr. Zhana, healthy casual sex must be sober (at least pretty sober) and feel authentic to you. Once alcohol, drugs, and sadness enter, then it’s a whole ‘nother thing. Thing is, I couldn’t seem to get naked with a stranger without at least three drinks. (If this isn’t a sign I dunno what is!)

Then I started seeing someone. I thought maybe this was gonna be someone I would partner with for a long time. We meditated together. We have the same agents. We write and direct comedy. It seemed perfect. And it was – but only on paper. In person we didn’t get along and never laughed. So cut to the breakup, and the same night that a friend asked me to go a “very progressive” sex party. She said I could just watch and that it was going to be a great experience etc…I mean…how could I turn that down?

So in my fragile, broken state I put on a tight black dress and lipstick and got myself into an Uber, and embarrassingly sang the Weeknd’s “Hills” to the driver getting into my “empowered single woman” space, i.e. hot mess space. When I arrived at the sex party I stood on the sidelines until a man with a top knot and a jar of organic coconut oil offered me a Thai Massage. This seemed harmless enough. But then again I was drinking large amounts of Patron. And nothing under the influence of tequila is harmless.

As I was being twisted into yoga poses I heard strange gurgling sounds. When I opened my eyes I saw the woman next to me was double deep throating. I was shocked, and took another deep sip of tequila. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against deep throating – it was just that in my vulnerable state, it was all too much for me. It just didn’t feel like my truth.

I like to think that I’m “sexually progressive,” and open, and sex positive. I think I said yes to at least 2 out of 5 threesomes last year…but maybe that’s just not me anymore. Not my authentic truth now. Though, at this party I kept downing tequila hoping to “make it my truth,” and the next thing I knew I was laying in some couple’s arms, naked. I still have no idea how I made it home, though I did get a text from the wife who is a yoga teacher inviting me to class and telling me: “Congrats on no longer being vanilla!” If she only knew…

The next day I decided to stop drinking. To stop smoking weed. And to stop having casual sex. At least for now. Because none of it seemed to be serving my highest good anymore. (Did it ever?) I had put so much pressure on myself to “be free” and have fun, but the truth was I was covering up loneliness and a feeling of separation from Source.

I can see that my true freedom now lies in healing my wounds, in meditation, and safe self exploration. But my fear was…does this make me…boring?! (Um, if anybody’s watched Be Here Nowish season two I basically wrote a character that I have become! Yoga pants and celibacy!) But you know what: I don’t give a f*ck about becoming boring. I haven’t drank or done drugs in over a month, and I’ve danced, laughed, and sung a ton recently, and felt myself surrounded by beauty and magic.

I’ve also just come off a 3-day meditation retreat where I chanted and sat in a circle for three eight hour stretches with amazing humans deep in spiritual search, which is something I’ve been actively in, off and on, for the last 15 years. I realized how sometimes I veer so far from this part of myself, and thank GODDESS something always brings me back. This time in the form of a best friend who I’ve known for 14 years, Rebecca, beckoning me to Berkeley. And hours of meditation and chanting and crying and healing brought me back, yet again, to myself. The self who is held by Source, and doesn’t need to be held by random strangers.

The truth is, as much as I want to believe in the glories of casual sex, I don’t think it brings me personally closer towards Bliss, Peace, and Spirit. If it works for you then that’s beautiful and more power to ya. For me, I hope and think that having sex with someone I love deeply in a soul partner way will do that.

Until then I’ll go back to what I’ve been doing more of what I’ve loved since I was 19 years old…chanting my kundalini mantras, singing Steve Winwood’s Higher Love at the top of my lungs, making Shiva+Shakti cosmic union collages and altars, getting high off raw chocolate, and doing my girl Elyssa’s soul mate manifesting meditation.

Alexandra Roxo is an LA based filmmaker and actress who is currently developing a holistic coaching business. She has a company called Purple Milk that makes all kinds of fun stuff including the popular web series Be Here Nowish. Follow her on Insta here and read her past Numinous articles on Now Age love and sex here

HOLY F*CK! MAKING AMENDS WITH MY EXES

In the first installment of her column Holy F*ck, Alexandra Roxo decides making amends with her exes is the next step on the path of awakening…Photo Credit: Louise Androlia

In the last nine months of being “single” I have done a LOT of work trying to figure out my love life/self/astro chart/addictions/blahblah. Some of that “work” was on Tinder but no need to get into that…yet. Anyway, I decided that in order to move on and clear the slate I would make amends with all my exes. I was having a John Cusack in High Fidelity moment where he’s like, “What’s wrong with me? Why did all my relationships ‘fail’? I should probably seek out and bother everyone I’ve ever dated in order to figure out what it is about me!” Which seems pretty narcissistic, I know.

But the way I saw it, this wasn’t about narcissism or figuring out what was wrong with me. I don’t believe in relationship ‘failure’ anyway. It was about wanting to neutralize our energy, so I wasn’t carrying around a bunch of ‘eugh’ and ‘agchk’ vibes towards a bunch of people that I once loved, had sex with, and maybe even told that I wanted to have their babies…Plus the fact that in order to really move on to new love, I feel it’s important to unpack any potential baggage that is weighing us down. Justin Bieber’s words “Is it too late now to say sorry?” kept echoing through my mind.

No one taught me how to do this and I was just going off intuition, though I had heard it was a part of AA and some program called Landmark that sounded trés culty.  So I consulted my teachers. Marianne. Jesus. Marianne again. She says many things about making amends, but this stuck with me: “Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we’re mad at people, we’re angry because of something they said or did before this moment. By letting go of the past we make room for miracles to replace our grievances.”

So at first I thought, should I write everybody a letter? Hmm, it felt kind of like a wimpy way out, like I could just get something off my chest without hearing their (potentially not so charitable) side of the story. So instead I reached out to what had been my biggest primary relationships individually, and suggested we sit down for a drink.

Now yes, it is a little tricky to suggest “just a drink” with an ex – I mean what happens if two vodkas in, the romance spontaneously rekindles itself and you find yourself making out?! #RiskyBusiness. I knew this was a possibility, and yet “coffee” seemed sooooo formal. I mean these are people that have held you at your darkest hour / made you cum many times. Wine, my friends. Wine.

So I sat down with my first ex. This was someone I’d only dated for about six months after having sex on her NFL sheets where she kept saying: “You’re such a dime” while she came. After that she wooed me with a Jaws movie night complete with steamed crab legs and champagne, and we fell in love. She was the kind of person who danced with me to Motown in the kitchen, ate gluten free because I did, and gave me orgasms where I legit saw rainbows of light. (FYI this is called “synethesia.”)

So it was real RUDE of me to ghost on her. When we sat down three years later to reconnect at a mediocre spot in Williamsburg, I apologized first, went into my spiel about being grateful for all of the wonderful things she did for me, all the ways she put up with my neuroses, and how much I’d grown up…while she gulped down some rosé, looked at me and said: “You really fucked me up.”

To which I replied: “I am NOT going to own that, because whatever expectations you put on the relationship are what made you feel that way. I PERSONALLY couldn’t make you feel that way.” But then I remembered this was not about patting myself on the back or being right.

So I said “I am really sorry for my actions. For yelling at you. Being mean. And for checking out when things got tough. I am truly sorry.” We walked through the park quietly after that and haven’t spoken since. She seems happy, I like her Instagram photos on the reg, and I’ll probably text her on her birthday. CHECK.

Next I saw the guy who was my last boyfriend before I somehow gave up men and dated women for six years. With him, I was a little bit nervous. I had dumped him in cold blood for my first girlfriend and…blamed it on the fact he wasn’t spiritual enough. He was an atheist, and I knew I couldn’t date an atheist or raise children with an atheist, so why bother, ya know?

We met at a dive bar. I was nervous, and he’s still hot. Even hotter now. I fondly remembered a time we had sex in the pool at my dad’s condo and the security people taped it and bribed my dad with it. Cut to my internal dialogue: “What if I’m not strong enough? Should I wear lace panties just in case? No. Don’t even shave. Ugggh. Okay. Fine.” When I told him, “Hey, I’m sorry for how much of a crazy diva I was,” he just gave me a cute smile and said: “Don’t worry mama” in that way that had always made me melt. Then he scooted off to help another ex gf move house. THIS IS EASY RIGHT? Hmm, not so fast…

Next was the hot, fast, love affair that happened the summer I was living very gypsy-like, i.e. out of a suitcase and on an air mattress. She showed up at 3am at the place I was house sitting with a bottle of tequila, told me she was dying, cried, fucked me, and I was like “SIGN ME UP!” Then things got really bad between us. She was going through some dark stuff, I was going through a rough patch with my family. I was also living in my creative partner’s office, trying to make art, struggling with addictions, chain smoking…

I recognized that I had to get it together which I thought meant cutting her out. When I told her “No mas!” she cried and told me she vomited for days and had to go to the doctor for an IV, and I basically couldn’t deal. So I blocked her. And from then on, anytime people said her name it was like horror film music started to play…

Needless to say I was VERY nervous to meet up with this one. But I did my energy protection ritual, marched in, drank only half a glass of wine for safety and told her I was sorry and that she caught me when I was in such a dark place. She smiled a really cute smile and was like “It’s okay. We both were.” And we proceeded to talk about our mutual friends and though I lustfully admired her long sinewy fingers I emerged from the bar thinking: “Oh. My. God…we’re friends, we’re friends!” But soon she started texting me and asking me out again to which I politely declined, repeatedly. Eventually she caught on.

The upshot of making amends this way, has been that I’ve realized it’s never too late to take responsibility for your actions, and create a different ending to your story with an ex. You might think: “Oh, what’s done is done is done is done.” But what if you could make something else, something better, the last thing that happened between you? It could even be something random like sending them a box of chocolates or a bottle of champagne, with a note like: “Sorry, I was awful.” No two making amends are alike.

I didn’t need to see my most recent ex (Yogi_Vegan_Lez Orian) since we made amends in semi-real time. It felt and still feels like a MIRACLE OF GOD. Painful, but evolved. We Facetime a lot, often while I’m driving in LA and while she’s on a toilet in Brooklyn. And when I came to NY last we karaoked our song “Islands in the Stream” from Youtube like old times.

I hope from here on out I can try as much as possible to make amends in real time. Which means a) not numbing out from feelings when the going gets tough (umm hi marijuana / alcohol / sugar) and b) Stepping up and taking responsibility for my actions quickly and not stuffing anything away.

When I think back on my exes now no more waves of darkness descend upon me, and no more sob stories about how they were assholes etc run through my mind. Now when I think of them I smile and imagine them saving the planet, curing cancer, etc etc.

Next making amends I’m doing is with myself – because it’s my longest and most important relationship, and arguably the one I need to forgive the most. But for now I’ll take Obama’s apology.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON INTERVIEW: RECLAIMING THE POWER OF THE FEMININE

“Women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’…” Jo Becker‘s Marianne Williamson interview speaks to what it means to be woman and a spiritual activist.

 

Marianne Williamson is a powerhouse. The fierce voice of modern spirituality shares her love-driven ideas on how to heal America far and wide: she’s written four New York Times #1 bestsellers, chats with Oprah on the regular, and even ran for Congress in 2013. To me, she embodies the future of feminine leadership and spiritual activism.

I’m inspired by her eloquent commitment to heart-centered change. Years before I read her books, I heard her life-changing statement from A Return to Love, the quotation she is now famous for:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I caught up with her at an Institute of Noetic Sciences conference. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell founded IONS back in 1973 after experiencing samadhi during the flight back to earth. Since then, IONS has been devoted to bringing together science and spirituality. I see Marianne Williamson as similarly groundbreaking in her work: she joyfully and relentlessly marries political activism with spiritual awareness.

The Dalai Lama said, “The world does not need more successful people. The world desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Personally, I think the world needs successful peacemakers, healers, and lovers; and numinous women like Marianne Williamson are shining examples.

A lot of people think that “spiritual activism” is a contradiction. What would you say to them?
Spiritual activism is a change in thinking: from a mental filter of fear to a mental filter of love. Given that thought is the causal level of all experience, active thought and change of thought is the most powerful force in the Universe.

Earlier today, a scientist was talking about how information, as in data, is only 10% of what causes people to actually change their behavior. And we have the data. We know what climate change is doing, we know how dangerous nuclear power is. We have the data on what violence on television and video games is doing to young people’s brains, we have the data on the carcinogens that are in the air…So why is it that “knowing the data” isn’t enough to make us change?

What makes us change comes from a deeper place, and that’s what spiritual activism is. It’s when something of the spirit, of the heart, becomes active in our thinking, and our thinking gets lit up. Because the mind itself can be used for purposes of love or purposes of fear, so spiritual activism is when we seek to do whatever it is we do from a place of love and with the intention of love.

And I’m talking about the love with which the mother lion protects her cubs. The love with which the adult female [and some males] of any species that survives and thrives exhibits fierce behavior when she senses that her cubs are threatened. So the marginalization of spirituality, the minimization of love as force, is just part of the ego mind’s propaganda.

Do you resonate with what the Dalai Lama said: “the Western woman will save the world?”
Of course I resonate with it, but with all due respect to the Dalai Lama, I don’t think we need any man’s verification. I have a bit of a problem with the fact that we’re quoting a man to affirm our own power. I have the same great respect and reverence for His Holiness as anyone, but come on girls! I think what’s most important is that you say it. And I say it. Because we are affirming what we are doing: that this world is changing because we say so. Because we say so.

You’re doing a lot of work right now with balancing masculine and feminine energies in women. Why is this important to you?
It’s such a significant issue. I am a product of the 1970’s wave of feminism—obviously the women’s movement is a wonderful thing, obviously I consider myself a feminist. But there is what I think of as a flawed strain of feminism, through which we actually suppressed the feminine in the name of feminism. And we embodied in many cases the archetype of Athena. She goes out there, she goes into the world, she manifests, she makes things happen.

But we get to embody as many energies, i.e. goddesses, as we choose, and Aphrodite is important as well. She embodies romance and beauty and pleasure, and I think many women, myself included have had a lot of psychic scars from buying into the belief that cultivating the masculine side of ourselves was actually more important than cultivating the feminine side.

I also think a lot of women have come to a very confusing point in their lives, realizing ‘I made this happen’ or ‘I made that happen.’ ‘I had these professional goals—some of which I’ve manifested, some of which I haven’t.’ But when are the other areas of my life, which are just as important to me, going to occur? Old wise women don’t get pregnant.

I’ve seen a lot of young women particularly deeply saddened, even traumatized, by the fact that while they feel they’re on some track professionally, their relationships, and child-bearing and deeper issues of cultivation of the family and romance have become…it’s like women are standing there saying, ‘How did I become clueless in this area?’ And then not only ‘How did I become clueless?’ but ‘What are the clues?’ They’ve become lost.

Inviting in the Aphrodite energy of love, pleasure, beauty – what does that look like in a woman?
The integration of the Aphrodite and the Athena in my own life has been so important. I think obviously we’re all masculine, we’re all feminine, but women are here to major in feminine. It’s part of honoring our incarnation not to sideline something so fundamental to our being. And women ourselves have bought into this idea of ‘feminine’ as meaning ‘weaker’ without knowing it. Not women as weaker, but feminine attributes as weaker. I think many of us are seeking to reclaim lost pieces of ourselves, scattered pieces of ourselves.

What advice do you have for young women?
I think my biggest advice to young women would be, ‘enjoy it while you got it.’

And not try to be the ‘wise woman’ before your time?
The decades of life are like different rooms in the house. I have a daughter, early childhood, junior high, tween, high school college, now she’s a woman on her own. None of those phases is more or less magnificent than any other. And being in your 20s is fantastic, so be in your 20s when you’re in your 20s. Being in your 50s is fantastic; being in your 60s is fantastic. With every phase you lose something and you gain something. Be where you are when you’re there.

Having said that, I think something good is happening among American women. We’re starting to catch up, and we need to. We’ve not been the most mature group compared to women in other societies. And we’ve acted like we’re clueless regarding the suffering of women around the world, particularly at the hands of our own government in too many cases. We decry the policies towards women of a place like Saudi Arabia and for good reason, but when we invade countries that didn’t do anything to hurt us, a lot of the people who are dying in such invasion are women and their children.

So this is not a time for women of any age to be ditzy. This is a time to be deep. But I see many women of all ages seeking greater depth and it’s inspiring.

 

How do you think we can start to wake up to the suffering of others without dismissing it as ‘other people’s karma’?
Oh please! What a brilliant ego device that is. It might be that person’s karma to be starving, but it is my karma to give them food. Their karmic challenge might be that challenge; my karmic challenge is to help those who suffer that way. The ego is brilliant at coming up with excuses for not helping. There is no serious spiritual path, and there never has been, that gives any of us a pass at addressing the suffering of other sentient beings.

Now, get sucked in by it? Absolutely not. But there’s a difference between denial and transcendence. If you don’t even look at it, you’re not in transcendence. You’re in denial. But if you look at it and practice positive denial, which is: I deny the power of this phenomenon to continue. Why? Because I said so. Because I’m gonna do something about it. Because I know other people are gonna do something about it and we’re gonna make sure this ends. That’s positive denial.

Do you have a daily spiritual practice?
I am a student of A Course in Miracles. The course is 365 days of lessons; mine today is, ‘I will be still an instant and go home.’ Yesterday was, ‘I trust my brothers who are one with me.’ It’s a specific curriculum for dismantling a thought system based on fear, and accepting instead a thought system based on love. So spiritual exercise becomes like physical exercise. You are rebuilding your body, but with spiritual exercise you are honing your attitudinal musculature, just like in yoga. You want the correct position in your attitude, just like in your body. With physical exercise, you are developing your physical muscles so you can be strong and run. In spiritual exercise you are developing your capacity to be still. Your capacity for impulse control.

What practical applications does this have? It means there is a greatly diminished probability that you will send the frickin’ text that you will regret for six months. It diminishes the possibility you will say or do something or push the send button that will so sabotage a relationship or work situation or whatever. It diminishes the possibility that you will be so distracted by the meaningless chaos of the world that you will not be able to show up fully as a fully actualized human. We wake up in the morning and we take a shower because we want yesterday’s dirt to be cleansed off our bodies, but if you don’t meditate or pray, you might not be cleaning yesterday’s dirt from your mind. So internal purification is as important as external purification.

Marianne Williamson’s The Aphrodite Training began October 23 2015 and will continue to be available via live stream through October 25 2015. Get all the details and sign up here.

SARAH DURHAM WILSON: CONVERSATIONS WITH MY COVEN

With The Coven Conversations, Sarah Durham Wilson wants to help women heal themselves – so they can heal the world. She shares her vision for a women’s circle with serious purpose…

“Most women I know are Priestesses and healers…We are, all of us, sisters of a mysterious order.” – Marianne Williamson

Do It Girl founder and former music journalist Sarah Durham Wilson has chosen this killer quote to preface the intention of The Coven Conversations, a series of 13 live interviews with the women she calls “Coven.”

On a mission to help women heal themselves, so they in turn can help to heal the world, Sarah has hand-selected a tribe of 24 miracle-making modern mystics to take part in the series, which will take place Tuesday nights – launching 7/7.

“Sharing our stories as women is what helps us heal, and I wanted to spotlight the sisters who have held and inspired me on my path, and who have also undergone transformation – change of form – to become their true selves,” she says.

As for the title; “the word Coven means Gathering of Witches, while “witch” simply means healer, or wise woman. In fact, Covens were once banned because the power of women circling together with common intentions proved too powerful.”

Which we think you’ll agree, pretty much sets the scene for some serious bad-assery…

Available to subscribers via Sarah’s site, you can sign up and find out more about the series and the speakers at www.doitgirl.com – while below, Sarah shares how to stage a Coven conversation of your own…

What’s the ideal moon phase for a powow with your Coven?
I tend to believe Full Moons are the best times to convene in coven. They’re a time of deep celebration, honoring, illumination, and fullness. Conversely, I’ve found New Moon Ceremonies call in our shadow to be seen, which is super important of course, just not for the novice priestess. But then I’ve always learned the hard way…

How do you prep the space?
Well the Coven Conversations are virtual, but if we were in physical coven, we’d prepare the space like we would for a moon circle – which it is, women gathering with healing intention, holding space for the self, the other, and the Goddess. For me, ritual is all about intention. You can prep everything “perfectly” and by the book, but if your intention isn’t there, it won’t be imparted to your Self/the Divine. So you could actually do nothing “physical”, but set the intention of sacred space and healing, and you’d be doing it perfectly.

Still, saging yourself and the area where you’re enacting ritual is always good to clear the energy. Lighting candles, because Spirit loves light, is a beautiful invitation, while calling in the elements (North/Earth, East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water, Spirit/Self), and even casting a circle, all aid in creating space for the ritual.

We would begin by breathing, to bring us into our body, before saying an incantation to the Goddess/God, or Spirit, to bring us into our divinity and to bring Her into the space. When you’re holding a party for the most elegant guest in the Cosmos, it’s about setting a place at the table for the Goddess and simply inviting her in.

What’s on the menu?
I’ve learned not to imbibe in “spirits” before a spiritual ritual! But afterward, women like to pass wine or sparkling juice, and bless chocolate and break it together. Eating the chocolate is like taking in that blessing into the body. The Goddess also loves a celebration. Joy is her perfume and she douses herself in it generously. As the Hopi Prophecy says, “the time of the lone wolf is over, gather yourselves.” And I believe this means all rituals now should be enacted in a manner of celebration.

Any herbal enhancements?
Incense. I like Cedar these days, because it smells like my family’s cabin on Martha’s Vineyard, and currently based in Taos, New Mexico, I feel so far away.

Are men ever allowed?
While every woman and man needs to heal their feminine energy and bring it forth on the planet, presently, I am focussed on working with women. We’re healing the body of the feminine to heal the body of the earth – and when sharing stories of the feminine in sacred circles, women, at this point, tend to feel safer with a female-only audience. But stay tuned!

The most pressing topic of conversation for you and your coven today?
Mary Magdalene teaches: “My story is your story,” and that’s sort of the premise for the Coven Conversations. That beneath the character names and places and timing of events, we share similar stories of shame, exilement, self abandonment, fear, healing, and love. The purpose of sharing your story is that it not only heals you, but those who hear it. This communion, of coming into union with your sisters and recognizing yourself in their stories, brings us into wholeness, and oneness, moves us from isolation into community, and from a feeling of being alone to the understanding that we are all one.

Who’s in your Coven, and what does the word mean to you? Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and share your stories of sisterhood

SOUL FOOD #2: A NUMINOUS READING LIST FOR 2015

Feed your mind, and the rest will follow…The 16 books in this Numinous reading list are guaranteed to rock your worldview, heal your life, and feed your soul.

:: Ruby Warrington ::
“As soon as I heard about Russell Brand’s Revolution, I knew I had to read it. I’m a bit obsessed with how Russell has reinvented himself, and gone from ridiculous if charismatic addict and Hollywood wannabe, to bone fide Now Age guru – it reeks of a genuine spiritual awakening. His experience of this, told through the filter of his pop culture background, his intelligence, and with his entertaining way with words, is positioning him as one of the voices with the potential to really cause a shift in consciousness at a very mainstream level. The book is every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped, as entertaining as it is profound and agitating.”

:: Erin Telford ::
Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss was the first game changer for me. I read it in high school. I grew up in a total hippie household and we would get crystal therapy when we were sick and my parents had a guru, so this lifestyle was very comfortable to me but it wasn’t something that I had consciously chosen. It was just what I knew from my family. When I read Anatomy of the Spirit it was my first personal connection to the idea that we could heal our own bodies and that the Western medical system wasn’t the only model…was in fact a very poor and deficient model for healing. The concept of “dis-ease” blew my mind wide open because it just made so much sense. It opened me up to the vastness of what we could do as individuals to self heal.”

:: Alexandra Roxo ::
“The book Be Here Now changed my life greatly at age 19. I saw that this world was merely a TV screen, a matrix of lights, all a constructed illusion, and how everything works together. I learned about food, karma, God…and something clicked. The knowledge Ram Dass spoke touched my soul and awakened existing wisdom within my heart. It was the first major awakening I had, and I remember thinking: “YES. Finally.” In 2014 I decided to listen to all of his talks on my iPhone and was re-inspired,10 years later.”

:: Erica Jago ::
What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, my dear friend who is a therapist and shaman. He shared the poem, “The Invitation,” with me and I wept. It was the first time I acknowledged and felt my own depth, and from that point forward my own personal healing began.”

:: Madeline Giles ::
The Master’s Touch: On Being a Sacred Teacher for the New Age by Yogi Bhajan. Yogi Bhajan was not a man. He was an avatar in a human suit – I guess we all are in some sense, but Yogi Bhajan was wide awake to it and the technology he transmitted to us is guaranteed (with consistent practice) to make you happy, healthy, and holy. Need I say more?”

:: Dani Katz ::
Right Use of Will: Healing and Evolving the Emotional Body. Hands down. No question. Right Use of Will came into my life several years ago, when I was heavily into ayahuasca, and tons of shamanic endeavors. It’s a channelled book – supposedly straight from the mouth of God – that lays out right and aligned third chakra relating. I take all channelled material with a grain of salt, but this book vibes high and true, and resonates on way too many levels for me to NOT take it to heart. It’s all about power – personal power, relational power, cultural power – what constitutes a distortion, and what serves the individual and the collective together. Since reading it, I move through life with a very clear certainty about how to exercise my own personal power with others and the world at large, while also being clear as to when others are out of line in how they are wielding their power with me/the world. It has since smoothed out my every human relationship, because I am clear as to what is right relating, as regards to will, and what isn’t. Armed with this knowledge, I know immediately when others are overcompensating for an underdeveloped third chakra, and can thus engage them in ways that support their empowerment.”

:: Sarah Hay ::
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas, and When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind — Or Destroy It by Jonathan Watts – these three books changed my life in 2014, and I believe that until people have read the information contained in them they will be functioning from a place of confusion, unknowing ignorance and powerlessness. Every single world event we are seeing today, from recent events of extremism in Paris, Nigeria and Syria, to extreme weather flashes in Gaza and the Philippines and water shortages in Yemen, plus extreme energy extraction in Canada, the US and the UK are all connected. We have the power to change everything, and climate is the one issue that’s teaching me this every single day.

:: Betsy Cohen ::
The book I feel every women should read is Make Every Man Want You by Marie Forleo. Marie is a huge hearted genius. Not many people know that this book exists, and when I read it I thought: “This is everything that I’ve been channelling through readings (in my work as a professional psychic medium) for the past four years about relationships all in one place!” I always tell people I hate the title but LOVE the book.”

:: Sarah Durham Wilson ::
“Shortly after my awakening four years ago, I remember being in a bath tub on a horse farm on Martha’s Vineyard and reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book), and watching my life change in the air around me. A wonderful human handbook, for certain.”

:: Jennifer Kass ::
A Course In Miracles. I always tell my clients it’s the template for reality. After knowing the basic spiritual truth that only love is real and fear is an illusion, we can drop everything we hear, think, learn into that template and know what’s real and what’s false, what will best serve us and what will not. Discovering the truth of reality freed me from fear and activated my own ancient love and knowledge within and allowed me to step into my divine life mission and become who I really am.”

:: Victoria Keen ::
“It would have to be…The Holographic Universe: The Revolutionary Theory of Reality. I discovered it a couple years ago in my studies about Sound and the nature of reality, and it is a thorough and fascinating investigation into the gaping blind spots in modern science. It brings to light, in a very succinct and easily comprehensible way, a scientific paradigm for truly understanding our connectivity and the power our thoughts have on shaping ‘physical reality’. This books lays the ground work for all energetic medicine, and I am so grateful it exists!”

:: Raquel Griffin ::
“HANDS DOWN, Marianne Williamson’s The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles. I discovered it a little over a year ago and it totally changed my life…..it’s the definition of a GAME-CHANGER. This book completely redefined how I thought about money, work – and miracles for that matter. Marianne clearly illuminates the spiritual aspect of money (i.e. that money and spirit are linked), which is absolutely key to understanding and ultimately breaking the lack cycle. I honestly believe if every human lived by the concepts she elucidates in this book, our world would be a VERY different place.”

:: Sophie Teakle ::
“Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. I have listened to this more than once as a recording, and find new meanings every time. I’m also in the process of rereading The Kybalion which has such astounding depth and profundity I know it will be at my side for a life time, its meanings changing as I too grow and evolve.”

:: Laurie Di Biagio ::
The Alchemist. 18 months ago, this book opened my eyes to my own purpose – the fact that I too was on my own personal pilgrimage to the pyramids. That life is lived through the heart, not the head. And that what the heart tells you…you must follow. It came to be at the exact time it was meant to, as weeks later I embarked on a life of entrepreneurship.”