MY MYSTICAL LIFE: 3 THINGS YOUR SPIRITUAL PASSION PROJECT NEEDS

Go slow, find your community, keep doing the work. Why these are my three top tips for pursuing your spiritual passion project …

Wearing my custom mala by Namaste Neetz. Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

I met Neetz at a book reading event I did at CAP Beauty in NYC’s West Village. She’d read my book, bought it for all her friends (thank you Neetz!), and was excited that I was doing a reading just a couple of streets away from her apartment. When we chatted, we worked out that I’d actually lived opposite her building when I first moved to the city back in 2012. Yo, serendipity!

We met up again as she wanted to tell me about a sideline she’d begun working on creating custom one-of-a-kind malas, in part inspired by Material Girl, Mystical World. The chapter on dharma, in particular, had struck a chord. Pondering her own life purpose, she’d decided to listen to her intuition for once, which had been steering her towards a store selling crystal beads that she passed on her way to work.

Before long, she was creating malas for herself, her husband, her family and friends. Then people at her local yoga studio. There had been beautiful stories of hope and healing. And now she was offering to make one for me.

I’ve never had a mala before. As I’m not a Hindu or a particularly dedicated yogi, I hadn’t thought they were necessarily “for me.” But Neetz described her creations as more like personal talismans, since each and every stone was selected with intention based on a personal, 1-2-1 consultation.

For my mala, she wound up using garnets (for creativity), phrenite (spiritual growth), and smoky quartz (grounding), with a large smoky quartz to anchor it. She even added a beautiful natural ruby! My namesake stone, said to bring passion and prosperity. I’ve worn it ever since, finding it brings me confidence and a feeling of home—especially comforting any time I’m out of my comfort zone.

And while my mala and its story are lovely, and I would definitely suggest you check out Neetz and her work, it’s part of a bigger narrative that’s been unfolding for me.

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When I wrote my book, I had a couple of goals. I saw it as a way to continue my mission of breaking the stigma around all things “woowoo,” and at the same time introduce a wider audience to the tools and practices that had been transforming my life—inside and out—since I launched The Numinous back in 2013.

Writing from the perspective of my personal experiences was the only way I knew how to do this. I also figured this would be a way to demonstrate how tools like astrology and tarot, for example, could not only merge seamlessly with “modern” life—but were perhaps also the VITAL MISSING PART OF THE PUZZLE for so many people who felt disillusioned with a patriarchal, capitalist system, that valued progress over people, and the accumulation of things over the pursuit of true fulfilment.

What I didn’t expect, but which I guess was my subconscious / real reason for writing it, was that so many people would read it and be inspired to embark on similar transformational journeys of their own. But already this year, I have been inundated with people sharing exactly this. Since the book came out in May 2017, I guess it’s taken 9 months or so (funny, that) for my early readers to heed the call, feel the fear, and get on with doing their dharma anyway!

The woman who’s started a spiritual platform for teenage girls. Another who quit her job as a lawyer and is going back to design school in her mid-fifties. The NYC PR maven moving out of fashion and into building the careers of mystics and healers. The readers who’ve been inspired to make similar changes, and who’ve joined Moon Club to feel supported in their missions.

Neetz with her malas

Neetz is one of a long list of Mystical Girls beginning to make moves on the Material World as we know it. Up the matriarchy! Somebody even called it the “Ruby ripple” effect—and if it means my book is in any way helping create a shift to a more emotional, intuitive, and healing-centered economy, then I’ll take it!

By the way, this post is NOT all like, “now you gotta go buy my book.” I’m just saying that if you, too, are feeling the call to pursue your (spiritually aligned) passion project, you’re so not alone. In fact, you are part of what is beginning to feel like a movement. Take comfort in this. We’re all in it together.

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There are also a few key pieces of advice I’ve been dishing out to wannabe matri-preneurs (?!), those busy transitioning passion-led side-hustles into game-changing main-hustles. Based again on my own findings and experience, here are my top 3:

1 // Treat your business like your baby. Meaning, DO NOT make it have to pay your rent right off the bat. Think about it: would you expect your child to start paying their way before you’d nurtured them, educated them, and were confident they were gonna be able to fend for themselves?! A project that’s born of your passion and intuition is a part of you. Allow it to grow and develop in its own time—and think about ways the skills and experience from your old life can support you as you build your new one.

2 // Find your community. This may be a women’s circle, conscious entrepreneurs club, an official coach or mentor, or even just a few close friends who “get it.” But when you’re in the business of breaking old paradigms (personal and societal) you WILL find yourself suffering regular bouts of imposter syndrome / self-doubt, and you WILL need loving cheerleaders and shoulders to cry on. This is one of the reasons Alexandra Roxo and I created Moon Club—which is also a community that give US the support we need.

3 // Keep working on you. The more you align with your purpose, the more conditioning and “other people’s stories” about you and what you “should” be doing with your life, you will likely be confronted with daily. The tools in my book are essentially ALL in service of a) becoming aware this conditioning even exists (its influence can be so subtle!), and b) discovering your personal truths. Truths that are ROCKET FUEL for your passion projects. It might feel like a “luxury” to invest in readings, energy work, and other healing modalities (like getting a custom mala!), especially while you’re in a career transition. But you can always ask friends to do an exchange (see tip #2), and the clearer your channel, the faster you’ll manifest your mission!

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Discover more about Neetz and her malas HERE, get your copy of Material Girl, Mystical World HERE, and learn more about our Moon Club community HERE. Because I love you!

HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOU’VE FOUND YOUR SPIRITUAL TEACHER

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

Ruby Warrington shot by Caitlin Mitchell for A Wild Dove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: SATYA JEWELRY

Satya Jewelry is the ultimate high vibe jewelry line; it’s founder, Satya Scainetti, is the ultimate inspiration when it comes to working with your dharma…

Satya Scainetti at home in Manhattan

“The idea of stepping away from life to find all the answers…like Jesus and Buddha found enlightenment when they quit? There’s a lot to that…”

Satya Scainetti, a born-and-bred New Yorker, was gifted her spiritual name on graduating a 30-day yoga teacher training in 2000. Disillusioned with her career in social work, she found herself at a crossroads; gifted with a talent for reiki, “I was like, okay God, if this is what you want from me I’m good to go, but I’ve also got to make money…”

And so, perhaps the yoga training would lead to a bone fide practise as a healer. But on that same graduation night she also had a prophetic dream. In it, she learned that it was her dharma to create a line of spiritual jewelry also named Satya, meaning “all truth,” so she could then “donate money to children all around the world.” Within weeks, Satya Jewelry was born, and over the past decade has given over $1 million to countless children’s charities.

I first encountered Satya’s line at NYC’s Golden Bridge yoga studio (she was one of the original investors in the kunadlini institution), and was pretty much blown away by the downright numinosity of it all! Super chic pieces that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Vogue, but that also carried a deeply spiritual message.

The Mandala necklace: “a reminder of the sacred place we can always go”

“My whole intention is for people to find a piece that speaks to them – be it a symbol, or a healing stone they intuitively know they need. Which is mind-blowing, because we do know…I encourage my customers to trust that intuition, that knowingness. If you’re drawn to something, there’s a reason.”

The notion of dharma, life purpose that comes from a desire to be of service, is emerging all around as the resounding theme for 2015, and Satya’s story embodies this message.

“The awakening I had when this business took off was that that you can have everything – just make sure the intention is for the good of all. Then the Universe will open every door needed to make your dreams come true!” The key, then, is to think big. “We limit ourselves all the time. We say, ‘THIS is my goal, if I get THERE it will be enough,’ but we need to be open to what the Universe actually has in store for us.”

Satya, you are an inspiration among women! Read on for how this Material Girl totally rocks her Mystical World…

:: MA T E R I A L G I R L ::

MY LABEL
I’m a clothes fiend. I love Club Monaco, BCBG, and I’m a big Zara fan. I have a tonne of DVF’s dresses. Max Mara. I love Donna Karan. Handbags? Marc Jacobs, hands down.

Donna Karan Summer 2015

MY SHOES
You put a pair of heels on, everything changes – I love what it does to my body, and it gives me confidence! My favorites are Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. I actually met him in Paris. I was there with a friend who went to school with him, and bought my first pair in the store on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. They were orgasmically beautiful. That same night we end up bumping into him and going for tea! I was like, do we get the friends and family discount now?

Christian Louboutin python “So Kate” pumps

MY FRAGRANCE
Florabotanica by Balenciaga. We did a trunk sale at Bloomies and this woman had a bunch of samples. It’s musky but light.

Florabotanica by Balenciaga

MY JEWELRY
I’m a mala fiend because I believe in the power of the mala. I was wearing my black onyx mala around the time my kids were born, twin boys. Black onyx is the stone of endurance, and I was so drawn to it! It’s all I wore for two years. Starting the business I wore all green – which is the heart chakra – because it was all coming from there. I also buy a lot of ornate Indian jewelry, but it’s all at home in my box.

Mala by Satya Jewelry

 

MY PAMPERING
I’m a Lumiere girl, I spend more money on that cream than I want to but I’m addicted! I must have a pedicure, even in the winter, every ten days, and I get a massage every week from David at Think Pink Nails in the West Village. I call him my Sumo wrestler. He does the energy work, the stones, and he’s so strong that one hour just puts it all back into place.

MY FOOD
I’m a vegetarian…but I’m also Italian, so I love pasta! Yoga has helped me eat more mindfully, so I know when to stop – but at the same time I’ll totally binge on something like pizza when I want it. Italians are brought up that food is love, and I’m always telling my kids; ‘I put a little extra love and kisses in your dinner tonight, do you taste it?’

MY HOME
My home is beautiful. Everything is very zen, I have an amazing garden with Buddhas and a sun-room with a beautiful canopy bed. I’m into cosy homes, I’ve got one of those couches that puts people to sleep. For me, home is where I can take a breath and feel relaxed, where I can really not be ‘on’ – because I’m on a lot.

Golden Buddha snow globe from ABC Carpet & Home

:: M Y S T I C A L W O R L D ::

MY AWAKENING
Everybody sleeps in my bed right now, the dogs, the kids…it’s a king, thank god, but it’s very crowded because they’re getting big! And before we get out of bed we start the day with gratitude, and name two things we’re grateful for – it’s so important to start the day that way, because from that place everything just gets better.

Gratitude Journal from Catchingfireflies.com

MY SIGN
I’m a Capricorn – strong, and one of the most devoted friends you’ll ever have. Truly, if you have me as a friend, you are blessed. I am very good at business, but I’m also ruled by the heart. I see astrology as a guide. I don’t have a therapist, but I do have an astrologer – when you’re aware of what’s happening in your chart, you can start being directed with where you put your energy. I have a great guy called David, who helped with the launch of this company. It was plotted down to the day.

Capricorn pendent by Satya Jewelry

MY MANTRA
I have so many! But for right now? I feel like I’m at an exciting point of change, so it’s simple: ‘help me be open to what’s next.’

MY HEALER
God! He’s it. I’m a believer.

MY READING
I’m a big fan of Thich Nhat Hanh. His teachings are so user friendly for the real world, and simply show how to incorporate more happiness in your life. His book on relationships, Teachings on Love, lays out such a beautiful way to live your life, and if I could pick one book to start you on a new journey that would be it.

MY MISSION
Right now it’s to build my brand to a place where I can really make a huge difference in the world. The $1m-plus we’ve given already is a drop in the ocean of what I want to do, so the next 13 years I’ll be amping up the work I do with my foundation, keeping the focus on helping children. The next generations will be the ones to make a difference in the world, and I’m going to help them do that.

MY TRANSFORMATION
My transformation is through my practise of meditation and yoga, and using it to really tap into God. Whatever you want to call it, I mean that knowingness that’s inside all of us.

www.satyajewelry.com

@satyajewelry

ESCAPE TO EDEN: IS BURNING MAN A SPRITUAL GAME CHANGER?

Is making the pilgrimage to Burning Man a spiritual game-changer, or can that change only occur within? The conscious party scene can be a portal for sure, but there’s no fast track to enlightenment, says David H. Wagner. Homepage image: Elena Kulikova via Behance.net 

Recently, I shared an email exchange with a young seeker in our community. She was considering making it to Burning Man this summer. I have to preface this whole thing by saying I have nothing against BM. I have dear friends and colleagues that go every year, I think it’s actually pretty cool. Overall, I’m glad it exists.

This could just as easily be written about a South American Shamanic Retreat, or a hot new weekend workshop, or someone signing up for a Yoga Teacher Training. It just so happens it’s about BM. That aside, I think there are valuable points in here about the cross pollination between yoga, spiritual disciplines, partying, and consciousness expanding drug use. Here’s a snippet from the email:

“As an elder in this spiritual scene I’ve seen so much of this over the years. I’m not against partying – and the kind of partying at Burning Man is probably a lot more positive than other party scenes you’ll find. But if you choose to go – just be clear what you’re getting into. Many people will talk about it like it’s a spiritually ‘game changing’ experience – but in many ways it’s just a slightly spiritualized party.

You might experience a little anarchy, or get naked in public, or take some E or some acid, or smoke some weed, or dance all night, or have ‘deep conversations’ with people while doing any of the above. And if you were TOTALLY closed before that, or TOTALLY uptight or TOTALLY un-awakened then it’s true that any of these experiences could be profound…”

True. If I could send my conservative Kentuckian cousins to Burning Man, they might come back transformed. But the young seeker I was writing to was already very open-minded and in the process of awakening, and looking for training and a deepening of her experience. Here’s some more:

“Anyone can FEEL free taking E and dancing naked at Burning Man. But feeling free and learning to BE free are two different things.

And…too much of the former actually can hinder the experience of awakening. In all my years working on a spiritual level with people, there have been only a handful of people I really couldn’t help. Among them the ones who’ve burned their neurotransmitters out on E, or built up a whole quasi-spiritual identity based on these external experiences. In my experience, getting high prevents people from learning to be high.

These sorts of experiences are good doorways – if the doors are stuck. But the idea is to then walk through them. You don’t hang around the doorway, or deify the door, or the openers. You move forward, you find your vision for life. You live your vision.

Ram Dass has awesome teachings about all this. Once he asked his guru Neem Karoli Baba about using drugs as a spiritual means. The Maharaji said; ‘You can use it to see Christ. But you can’t use it to become Christ’.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all into experiencing new things. The thing is, when people rave about the experience (pun intended), I think that’s more about the raver than the rave. People can have deep experiences even at super hokey things. It’s the same when people have been in the presence of great masters and have been exposed to great practices and teachings, but only a handful get the deep benefits. It’s what’s going on inside that counts.

More from the email:

“A sincere seeker will get benefit from even the stupidest bullshit. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. If you haven’t already, you’ll hear about ayahuasca, and Ecstasy, and all sorts of substances that people have found to be the key to their awakening. Or you’ll have people try to enroll you into some new coaching method, or a radical health approach they found to be the ‘answer.’ And often times you’ll hear about these things from really goodhearted people. And for them, in this snippet of time, it may have been the answer.

But over the years I’ve seen that things come and go. Even if, in the moment, they are THE THING for a group of people, like all things, they then move on. What remains, hopefully, are the seekers and their sincere intention to live in wisdom and freedom. All the long-term yogis and path-walkers I know have cycled through dozens of different ‘game-changers of the moment.’ And as we have, we’ve seen countless good people get swept up and lost in these things when they lost their sense of self and perspective.”

On the spiritual path, we need to know what we’re after. And know ourselves well enough to know whether or not we’re on the right track. It also helps to have some elders around. People who have some seasoning and can offer some perspective. Even after 26 years on the path, I feel like I barely qualify – but none the less, when someone like this person has a question, I feel it’s our duty to answer, even if I sound old and lame.

As a young seeker, your beauty, your sincerity and your light are all qualities that people are going to lust after. And not just in a sexual way, I mean organizations lusting after your enthusiasm and your brightness. I mean “scenes” lusting after your awesome energy and vitality. If you’re getting into all of this at a young age, you will likely have a lot of different ponds to swim in.

It’s all good. Swim in them.

But listen to your gut before you dive in, heart first. Just know there are a lot of blind people out there leading other blind people, and some straight up jackals too. So stay alert. Stay in touch with your heart. And you’ll be good.

Read more from David and learn about his work at Davidhwagner.com