MY MYSTICAL LIFE: A YOGIC IMMERSION, AND A POET WHO DIDN’T KNOW IT

An Immersion with my yoga preachers, an animal spirit out of balance, and an epic journey of self-discovery…

New pals! @welltodomag @thevoguetrip and @mind_body_bowl

:: MONDAY & TUESDAY ::
I’m dedicating some extra space today to THE most incredible weekend with my friends at lululemon. “The Immersion” was a four-day experience in Austin, TX, hosted by lulu ambassadors Gabrielle Bernstein and Baron Baptiste—creator of mega transformational practice, Baptiste Yoga. And it came at the perfect time for me, since 2016 has been the year I’ve finally found a dedicated yoga routine, but have found myself yearning for ways to tap the spiritual side of the practice. As in, use it as a way to commune with the Universal oneness, y’all!

Well of course this is Gabby’s whole jam with her Kundalini practice, which she described to us (50 of the most switched-on, diverse and interesting disrupter-entrepreneur types I’ve had the privilege of spending some dedicated hang-time with—and what an HONOR to be numbered among them!) as bringing “physicality to my spiritual practice.” A long-time meditator, “I was always like, ‘how do I get my body involved?'” And I may not be the most dedicated K-head (“K” as in Kundalini, obvs), but every time I do practice I can be guaranteed some pretty out-there downloads from the energy I call “spirit.”

Gabs getting her Kundalini on

And then there was Baron, a prime example of a breed I’ve named the “yoga preachers.” Not in the sense that he’s preaching a certain way to be or dogma to believe. If anything, his philosophy centers around the concept of “santosha”—sanskrit for something like: “satisfaction with the status quo…tinged with curiosity for where this could go.” But he’s one of those teachers with a sixth sense about precisely the right words to deliver at precisely the right moment in the practice to unlock the door to the divine. That is, to an understanding of your Self as a limitless being of pure light consciousness. Hallelujah!

Baron Baptiste: the preacher man himself

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A also brought along my new Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck, a.k.a. my favorite new toy. The card I pulled for guidance about my time at The Immersion? The Firefly—a flighty, creative energy that burns super-bright, but can easily burn out. Which sounds exactly like me—a major introvert—in full-on retreat mode. The suggestion to bring this energy into balance? “Write a poem.” Which I’ve actually never done before, but which has rapidly become my favorite thing! Kim Krans’s practical tips are one of the best things about the deck. Have you been using yours yet? I’d love to hear what you think.

:: THURSDAY ::
So Ellen Degeneres is a secret Numi. Um, going through the research for a recent interview I did with her uncovered the following evidence: she came out after a trip to spiritual development center Esalen, where, “What came up was: ‘would they still love me if I was gay?’ It made me feel ashamed that I was pretending to be something else, just to make people like me”; she’s a long-time advocate of Transcendental Meditation – “when your computer goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me”; AND in 2010 she founded a record company called eleveneleven. #materialgirlmysticalworld

…oh and she’s 99% #vegan

:: FRIDAY ::
You guys—I’m so so close to handing in the final manuscript for my book! And writing it has been the most epic journey of self-discovery, something I was reminded of today when I re-worked the intro I wrote as part of my original proposal waaaay back in early 2015. From the overall tone, to my knowledge and understanding of all things numinous, the process crystalized exactly how much I’ve grown in the past 18 months—not least as a result of me literally living what I’ve been writing about. Which bodes well for the impact the finished result could have on YOUR lives, dear potential readers! Safe to say I’m fully psyched to share my baby with y’all next year.

WISHES FULFILLED: HOW TO MAKE A PRAYER FLAG

Looking for an alternative New Moon manifestation ritual? Artist Monica Ruiz makes prayer flags for herself and her friends as a way of reppin’ her love for the life she gets to live. Main image: Larry Louie

Home made prayer flags – Numi style

When I think of prayer flags, fabric panels ranging in sizes and colors with spiritual images, hanging and swaying in a breeze in a secret garden or a cute storefront, I always see and feel peace, wishes fulfilled, Universal love and freedom.

I had given to friends and also received the mini-squares from Tibet that represent light and all the elements, thus bringing health and harmony to all. After the panels naturally fade away due to the elements, it is believed that the mindful loving intentions within the flag fade into the Universe, contributing to an ongoing cycle of the flag’s blessings.

I wanted to re-create my own using images I had already saved from magazines, old books and stamps, and even just cool paper that felt special to my heart. After I made a quick one just to see if my vision was as easy as it seemed (it is!) I kinda went prayer-flag crazy. I made them for everyone around me, including many for myself.

The two that hang in my studio today represent the surfing elements for my Pisces ocean-loving soul-surfer boyfriend, along with some “Marie Antoinette/ French masquerade” vibes pour moi!

And then I have one hanging up in my vanity room / lounge reppin’ my love of books, writing, and my job at the library that supports my life and allows me to live out my daydreams. While I’m putting on my mascara in the a.m. I can glance up and give thanks with a smile.

My flags are small pieces of art that I feel serve as sacred reminders of the simple things that make us smile and lift our spirit. While I like to hang ours on our year-round blue fairy lights in our bedroom, doorways and windows are fun too. I have also hung them up on bulletin boards on my desk at work and on a huge collage at home. There was even one point they were nicknamed “Purr Flags,” by a friend who felt all warm and fuzzy on receiving hers.

“It felt good to give away something beautiful that I loved”

Having got such a great reaction gifting them to people I know, I decided to make a special one as a birthday gift for my spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein a couple of years ago. I’ve written about my gratitude for her before, as she’s kinda been the vessel for many hardcore lessons I’ve needed to start receiving, and for learning more about forgiveness, love and how to listen to my heart and angels.

I felt compelled to make a prayer flag a la Gabby, with images that included her love of street art, the cosmos, her recent engagement in Paris, sacred Buddha statues, mystical silhouettes, powerful words, vibrant energy and of course just lots of LOVE.

Only Love is Real is Gabby’s motto, and I felt like I wanted this flag to have my love and appreciation for Gabby literally bursting through because of the gifts she has shared with me. It took all day, but it was so enjoyable and groovy to create. I was also happy and excited to put many of the images I’d save for future flags of my own on my guru’s flag, because I actually felt the transfer of love: it felt good to give away something beautiful that I loved. It was a true gift of appreciation from the heart.

Because of Hurricane Sandy that year, Gabby didn’t actually receive my flag until May 2013, while her birthday was November 1st! Regardless, my birthday/gratitude gift cosmically made it to her six months later. The morning I woke up and saw it unexpectedly on her Instagram feed, I felt like I was lucid-dreaming. She had it hanging up already and was allowing the magic and love from my home into hers. She loved my gift and I loved making it for her, and the prayer flag looks so cool in Gabby’s “zen den”.

The flags Monica made for Gabby hanging in her guru’s zen-den

Are you inspired to make one now? Let’s do this…

Here’s how to make a prayer flag for a sweet soul in five simple steps.

Supplies needed:

  • Paper images (magazines cut-outs, computer graphics, old books, saved stamps, cards, clip-art, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Double-stick tape
  • Glue stick
  • Twine (pre-cut to the length you want your flag)
  • Card stock or construction paper
  • Paper clips (optional)
  1. Think about how many panels you’d like to work with. I’d start small at first with either three or five (odd numbers work best and the traditional flags come in sets of five, but remember there are no rules!) However many you choose you will need enough images to cover both sides.
  2. You can either pre-cut your card-stock and then alter your images after or cut your card-stock around the image leaving about an inch as a border. Remember, this is not about being “perfect” or having exact straight lines – you’r e creating something from the heart to bring joy into your heart and home!
  3. Glue one image to each panel’s center, one side of the panel only.
  4. Grab your double-stick tape and twine. Lay the panels down in a row, with the image just glued on face down with a little space in between each panel. Now along the top, lay the twine across about one inch below the top edge and place a piece of double-stick tape in the center of the twine on each panel.
  5. Glue the remaining images in the center of each panel, on top of double-stick tape/twine combo.

Voila! Your flags are ready to be shared and invoke feelings of peace, spirit, strength and magic.

Sacred and simple, have fun bringing the tradition of prayer flags into your home. Tie some little loops at the end and use a couple of twisted paperclips if needed and they can be draped wherever you like. Enjoy the process of making each panel personal but keep the process simple.

Whether you make a prayer flag for yourself or for someone special, just remember to use images that make you feel good, because whatever is made with your heart is your art. And don’t forget they are reversible! Switch ’em up depending on your mood or needed inspiration. Sometimes I will do an opposite theme on each side, like maybe sweet dreams contrasted with powerful sun energy. Use your intuition and just pick art and pictures you like! Be whimsical.

When I commented on the prayer flag I made for Gabby the last time I saw it on IG, she sweetly replied; “I look at them every day and I love them!” Wishes-fulfilled and blessings received, Amen.

Island dweller Monica Ruiz is a collage artist, hardcore daydreamer, HayHouse book reviewer, bloggess, burrito lover, cat enthusiast, librarian assistant and wanderluster who is obsessed with good hip-hop beats, Lana Del Rey and Paris, France. She owns way too many black clothes, swoons over Sofia Coppola films and loves the concept of protecting your magic with an open heart.

www.lechat808.com

@LeChat808