HOLY F*CK: 5 WAYS TO JUMPSTART YOUR LOVE AND SEX LIFE IN 2017

In her final Holy F*ck column of 2016, Alexandra Roxo has 5 ways to jumpstart your love and sex life in 2017…Portrait: Alexandra Herstik

2016 has been a wild year for the planet and for America. For me it’s been a year of change and growth and reshuffling and purging and mourning and planting seeds and learning. I also hadn’t been single in 10 years, and have spent this one being VERY single. I’ve used this time to have a giant rethink of ALL my ideas, values, and beliefs about love and sex.

I’ve done some dating, sure, but I put the brakes on things in the name of some deep diving and learning and observing of myself and my clients, which is hard for a Piscean princess who loves to dive into romance. My birthday is just days from Anais Nin (if that means anything to you you’re prob my tribe!).

Last week, in search of my culminating thoughts about love and sex and spirit for the end of this year, I called my friend Gala Darling, whose latest love story is one of my faves! After a divorce, Gala met her adorable boyfriend online a little over a year ago and I’d been swooning over them via Insta for a while. I wanted to hear the dirt…Did she believe in soul mates? Manifesting the man of your dreams with spells and rituals? Making a list of important things in love and meditating on them? I had a lot of questions for her.

Gala said many things but what stuck out the most was: “Relationships are not meant to be easy. Marriage is not easy. They are not meant to be comfortable. They are meant to push you to see things about yourself that are not actualized. Having a soul mate is not a party!” This sentiment is way too overlooked in the twin flame/soul mate discourse. Where’s the footer that says “Hey BTW this shit hurts”?

Gala Darling and her boyfriend Garnett shot by Juliane Berry

She also reminded me that there is no certainty. Like ever. In marriage. In relationships. In any of it. People who are single think “Oh when will I meet that special someone?” And then people who are in partnership may be asking “Is this right? Is it supposed to hurt this much? Be this hard? Do I still love them?” There is no certainty but our devotion to ourselves, and our practice of keeping aligned with our heart’s needs.

So in order to do just that I’ve prepared some writing exercises for this column, to help you too rethink/ rewrite / jumpstart your love and sex life in 2017…

So get out your journal. Put on a kimono. Or silk PJ’s. Select some quiet tunes. Burn some incense.  Make yourself a cozy nest. I rec bed surrounded by blankets and pillows and some rose tea and a few candles.

  1. RETHINK YOUR “LIST”

We all make these grand lists of what we want in a partnership and we often forget that the human we imagine coming into our life will also be flawed. Just like us! Do you have some list you’ve been working on for years? Fantasies in your mind about how your partner should or shouldn’t be? This can change as you grow so def revisit every six months. So use this time to make a list of HARD YES’s and HARD NO’s, and to really meditate on them.

Ask yourself big questions like: “Could you be with someone who doesn’t believe in God? Or do you absolutely need to be with someone who wants kids?”

 

  1. BROADEN YOUR IDEA OF A SOUL MATE

Do you have people in your life you have let see the whole spectrum of your madness and beauty? Your most ugly side and your most beautiful? I believe all the people who can hold all of us and push us to our edges are our soul mates. If you’ve never let your darkness come out with anyone I say deepen a friendship with someone who you can do that with. Not in an abusive way, but in a way where the connection can go deep under the surface. That will get you ready for partnership, and if you’re partnered it will keep you deep diving into yourself.

My friend Rebecca and I really did NOT like each other when we met. I thought she was a dirty hippie and she thought I was a stuck up goodie two shoes. 15 years later we are best friends. During that time we’ve hated each other. Not spoken for a year. Had the most heinous of fights.  But had the most enlightening and fun and hilarious moments together too. She knows me in a way no one else can. Our love is as deep as the ocean.

Ask yourself: “Who are my soul mates now? Who has pushed me to the edges and helped me grow? What can I learn from these relationships about myself?”

 

  1. COMMIT TO A PRACTICE AND STICK WITH IT

If you haven’t dated in a while, will you commit to a dating practice? Perhaps you and a friend can buddy up, open an online account, make a ritual of creating your profile (which Gala says is “like casting a spell!”) Practice connecting with strangers in a non-attached way. Go on coffee dates with no agenda except chatting with a stranger. Maybe 1 out of 10 will be someone you’re actually attracted to, so keep it chill. No expectations. Treat it like a morning yoga practice!

If you’re in a relationship commit to a growth practice. Is it seeing a relationship coach once a month to make sure you are growing? Does your sex life need a reboot? Can you commit to an afternoon every other week of sexual exploration time to keep expanding there? If your relationship has become too dependent can you commit to developing and nurturing solo space?

Decide what practice you want to commit to in 2017 and break it down over the months and weeks.

 

  1. GET TO KNOW YOUR LOVE STYLES

How do you like to be loved? (If you need some inspo you can do the 5 Languages of Love quiz.) I know I mostly need to be loved with touch and kind words, and if I feel I can communicate that to my next partner they don’t waste their time buying me gifts or giving me rides or cooking for me. I told Loulou (one of my besties) about this, and now we know that we both highly value a solid compliment we pay each other loving compliments regularly! It just takes knowing and asking.

Make a list of ways you like to be loved, either within a partnership or solo. Do you need more touch? Schedule a weekly massage or trade with a friend. 

 

  1. LOOK IN THE MIRROR

Don’t make me quote Michael but um…he had a point! If you were a potential partner meeting yourself for the first time what would you think? What would you want more of? Less of? This is good to look at whether you’re single or attached. Would you prefer someone who is more available? Someone who is more financially stable? Someone in better shape? Someone who meditates daily? Well, this is a great way to see where you need to make changes on yourself.

For example, I was thinking I would just love a partner who can chop wood—so fuck it, I guess I’ll learn to chop wood in 2017 too! You can also be the partner you want to your friends. I mean, don’t make out with them passionately or anything (unless that’s how you roll!) but love your friends like you wanna be loved. Cook for them. Write cute notes. Romance your friends and yourself!

Set some goals for how you can become the best partner and self and friend.

***

If you want to go deeper with this work sign up for my Holy F*ck course where we will be using creative writing and storytelling to dive deep into our habits, tendencies, hopes and dreams in love and sex in a conscious way.  I also see clients one on one for six month periods of mentorship and on off coaching sessions. More info here.

Alexandra Roxo is a critically acclaimed filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur and mentor currently residing in LA. She recently co-founded Moon Club with Ruby Warrington (founder of the Numinous) and has been featured in Well + GoodNylon,  Out Magazine and more.

COMFORTABLY NUMB: JUST SAY NO TO PEOPLE-PLEASING

Used to numbing out her own needs by being hyper-helpful, Kate Atkinson has been learning how to just say “NO” to people-pleasing…

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

People have asked a couple of things of me this month. You know, the usual friend favors. It happens daily right? Do you think you could walk my dog? Can I borrow some cash until the end of the month? Hey, would you mind checking over my resume? I’ve done it myself plenty of times, and given these small acts of good will in return. Natural right? Favors and back-scratching are a part of life…except that recently, I haven’t felt so accommodating.

In fact, there have been a few requests in lately where I’ve felt like saying: “do you know what actually—no.” Except that I won’t. Instead, I will let the emails fester in my inbox until they’ve burned a hole in my psyche, turning them over and over in my head until I think I am going to explode.

That’s right, I’m a “yes” wo(man). As in, I really don’t know how to say “no.” Like a narcotic, I get high on my own hyper-helpfulness—every email a ping of serotonin: “I got this.” Except that running on a treadmill of responsiveness has become exhausting, and these days I don’t know who I’m running the race for.

My “yes” complex has also proven to be a useful numbing strategy, when I’ve got sucked so far down the vortex of helping and fixing I fail to see things as they really are—acting so quickly to keep others happy that my own, likely un-met, needs become irrelevant. There’s an old adage that resentment is like letting someone live rent free in your head. And if that’s the case, I’ve been letting out an entire Brooklyn apartment block to a bunch of freaks.

In my research about how to get better at saying “no,” here’s my number one discovery—the modern way of affirming negative goes something like this: say nothing at all. Repeat.

In this always-connected age, the pretend-I-just-didn’t-get-the-memo is what comes out trumps. Ignore it, and hopefully it will disappear. But what’s it doing to us, this radio silence? And like, why can’t we just be fucking honest with each other? What I want to know is, when was the last time you said “no” to someone, guilt free?

Try it:

“No, I am not coming to that dinner because I think the people are extremely shallow and self absorbed.”

“No, I won’t head over when your boyfriend’s out of town because you didn’t answer my call when I needed you.”

“No, I won’t work for you for free because actually—what the blimmin’ heck have you done for me lately?”

Feels great right?

This is because, as Melodie Beattie writes in The Language of Letting Go: “When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean…(and) we don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.”

Rewind to a me watching a talk by the inimitable Marina Abramovic. The outspoken Russian and her pal Laurie Anderson both had a fair bit to say about living vs dying, and both were riffing on codes to live by…how we are to get the most out of our lives in the limited time that we have on earth.

The theme that came through loud and strong was the importance of marching to the beat of one’s own drum. To cut it with the people-pleasing, and find your own voice. Because, to put it simply: YOLO.

Words that have sunk in, this past month, to a backdrop of several people in my circle suddenly dropping like flies. No morbid details, rather to say that sometimes, suddenly, you are served a brutal reminder that our days in this life are limited.

So how can we stop people-pleasing, and spend our precious hours crafting a life we want?
By getting comfortable that you’re going to miss out. By getting down with the fact that it’s okay to not show up when people “need” you sometimes. By realizing that you only get one life, and that while friends and intimacy are important, not for one second are you here to live your life for someone else. By realizing that while some people might bitch you out, your real mates are going to stick around.

N-O. Say it. Say it louder! Time to stop pepping with the yes pills. And settle into the headspace that comes from realizing that less can most definitely be more.

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

BALANCING ACT: GET TO KNOW YOUR LIBRA MOON

Libra season is also the perfect time to work on balancing the people-pleasing traits of a Libra Moon sign, says Ash Baker. Image: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

Hello Libra moons! Yours is the reflecting Moon, the mirror of the heavens. If our Sun sign is what others see in us, our Moon sign is what we feel within ourselves. As such, partnerships are big for the Libra Moon sign – you need to feel seen, heard, and appreciated. You don’t have to be glued to a mate, but having close friends, colleagues and family to bounce ideas, attitudes and emotions off is a necessity.

Represented by the symbol of the scales, this Moon feels a deep need for harmony and balance in all areas of life. You are the peacemaker of the zodiac, and sometimes to a fault, going to great lengths to keep things copacetic at home or work. You are a firm believer in fairness and can genuinely feel like you’ve failed when emotional waters get choppy – even when it’s not your fault!

The Libra Moon can be guilty of going against your authentic needs and desires to make the people around you happy. Libra Moon so dearly wants to be loved and accepted, but it’s of no use if you’re not being authentic. You want others to love you for who you really are, so there can be an internal struggle to keep the peace. Even worse, the people in your life can feel mislead if you’re always being a “yes woman/man.”

So how do you find balance? You focus on YOU. You get honest with yourself about what you want in any given situation and build from there. People who really love and care for you will accept your truth even if it’s not what they want to hear. Your soul will only feel heavy and burdened if you always end up doing, feeling and being what you think others want.

So keep the order, but not at the expense of your soul. Focus on showing others how to treat you, by how you treat yourself. Also, practice the art of saying “no.” It sounds simple but for the Libra Moon it can be torture. It’s worth the effort though. It will show you and others you can create healthy boundaries.

Ruled by Venus, planet of beauty, the Libra Moon also has an eye for the aesthetic. An artistic flair. You will probably find symmetry, composition, and the skilled use of negative space extremely appealing. So make an effort to spend time getting artsy. Painting, photography, or even creating vision boards will fulfil the emotional need for visual harmony.

Since the Moon also rules our home environment, Libra moons need a safe, nurturing space without clutter. And with such a sensitive Moon, you really need a place that’s peaceful. Hectic energy will only drain you.

:: CHILD’S POSE ::
You will know your Libra Moon is off if you find yourself plagues with indecisive thoughts. My suggestion for those moments is to go within with a simple Child’s Pose. Feeling confused and stressed about a situation is usually a signal that you’re not listening to your heart. Get grounded by connecting to the earth. Let go with your breath. Give yourself the time and space to really listen to your inner teacher. Really think about what you want, and make your decisions from that solid, still place inside.

:: GET GROUNDED ::
Libra is an air sign so this also an intellectual Moon. Your thoughts and feelings can move like the wind, and you can get quite ahead of yourself! When things get a little too breezy it’s a sign to get grounded. Create a habit that you do everyday – maybe it’s warm lemon water in the morning, or writing in your journal at night. Just pick something simple and do it without fail. Keeping a routine will help calm some of the nervous energy that comes with being an air Moon sign.

In short, take time to honor yourself and the rest will fall into place!

GET TO KNOW YOUR LEO MOON SIGN

In the first of a new monthly column, Ash Baker does a deep dive into the Leo Moon sign – with some tips for taming the lion within. Image: Prince Lauder

Firstly, if you don’t know your Moon sign, you can enter your birth details for a full, personalized birth chart here. You don’t need to know your time of birth to find out your Moon sign, just the date and year.

In our chart, the Moon represents how we react to situations, our emotional center and our emotional needs. It speaks to our intuitive desire and our soul calling. Learning about your Moon sign can help you figure out what really nurtures you and what you need to feel comfortable.

With the Sun in Leo this month, it’s actually the perfect time for all those with a Leo moon sign to acknowledge and seek a deeper understanding of this intimate and fundamental side to them. The Sun conjunct (in the same sign as) your Moon, will energize and activate this part of you, encouraging you to express the vulnerabilities you often keep hidden.

There follows an overview of the traits of a Leo Moon sign, as well as some lifestyle tips to nurture your Leo Moon.

With your Moon in Leo, you have a big generous heart and a deep seated need to be seen, adored and appreciated. The moon is our inner child, the cosmic center that is a direct link to our subconscious mind. It’s our memories and knee jerk reactions. The Sun rules the way we carry out our actions, but the Moon is the underlying reason for those actions.

The Moon rules the heart whereas the Sun rules the head, and Leo moons crave love at core level. Therefore, you are truly hurt if you give all you’ve got yet don’t get the gratitude you feel you deserve. This can lead to drama – which, for a Leo Sun sign could be expressed in vibrant outbursts, but which could make the Leo moon  behave in a very stoic, distant way. On the positive side, this Moon tends to be hugely creative, bringing a level of lunar passion to projects that’s hard to compete with. Finding an outlet for your creative gifts is a staple of this Moon’s wellbeing.

You are uncomfortable being vulnerable, so pride (ego) can be an issue for you if you use it to conceal your true feelings (a defence mechanism of the Moon). Underneath those defenses you can be quite tender though, demonstrating an innocent and pure level of trust when you’re truly in love. It can take quite a while for you to fully heal when hurt.

A natural leader, you can rally others into achieving amazing things. Just don’t get too bossy or your peeps will hit the road. Instead, channel that exuberance into healthy endeavors where you can be appreciated, without the need to stand on the more solar soapbox. Sharing your light is the highest expression of your Moon. You are very emotionally expressive and this energy is best served from a place of authentic care for others.

To help balance all that passion, fire and prideful energy, here are a few wellness tips to try the next time you feel your inner lion coming out to roar – rather than rejoice.

:: LION’S BREATH :: 
Take a deep inhale through your nose, exhale, open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Curl the tip of your tongue towards your chin. Give your tongue a good stretch and really push the air out of your throat. You will make a “Haaaa” sound as you exhale. Inhale through your nose and repeat. Go through 3-5 rounds.

:: CREATE :: 
Try your hand at anything artistic to find what lights you up on the inside. Leo energy tends towards the more dramatic arts, so something in the performance realm may feel just right. Also try painting, sculpting, or vision board crafting. Anything where you can perfect your talents and receive praise.

:: DANCE :: 
Even if it’s just a fun night at the club with friends, you need to express yourself physically. Your Moon is BFFs with the SUN. That’s pure fire, explosive energy and speaks to a tendency to become restless if not released. You could find a form of dancing that really inspires you to share that joy that oozes so naturally out of you. When you share that positivity it affects everyone around you, and in return you love to feel their vibrations being raised by your enthusiasm. It’s a win for everyone.

:: SELF-LOVE MEDITATION :: 
There will be times in your life when you don’t feel loved, appreciated or adored. You will have your heart broken in some way at some point. We all do. Your cat like Moon doesn’t deal well with this common human experiences however, so it’s key to learn to appreciate yourself.

You tend to be naturally confident, but when you have days where nobody noticed your light you can feel really down. This is when you need to spend at least five minutes quietly sitting, feeling your breath move in and out of your body and really focusing on everything that’s great about what you have to offer. Even if nobody noticed today, YOU did and that’s what really counts.

How have you learned to work with your Leo Moon sign? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!