THE SOFTER IMAGE: HIGH VIBE NYC DANCE PARTY

The Softer Image is a new NYC nightlife experiment from hip healer & mystic Luke Simon. On a mission to help folks “get turnt while staying woke,” we needed to know more…

 

The Softer Image is an exploration of new ways to party. Imagine, nightlife that expands your consciousness and improves your health. Let’s get wild without getting sick. Let’s get turnt up while staying woke. Let’s get psychic not blacked out. People want to let go and feel the Spirit so they turn to spirits. Our pop up party uses healing and holistic cocktails to open the human energy field to fun on a cosmic level.

THE NUMINOUS: What was the idea behind A Softer Image? Why do we need a party like this?!
LUKE SIMON: I wanted to start hosting a high vibe party because so many people in the city now are doing healing work and are no longer drinking. Or maybe just don’t like the spooky energy at bars, but still want to go out, dress up, dance and basically celebrate life.

We have so many amazing workshops, sessions and classes now, but there was this reservoir of vibes building up in me that just wanted to be free and have fun! Spirituality doesn’t have to be about serious self-cultivation and restraint. My higher self constantly urges me to DANCE through life. But when I try to do that at a club in NYC, it doesn’t even really start ’til 1am, and then I have to take off the next day of two to recover my sleep. Not to mention if there are drink and drugs involved.

TN: What’s your vision for the night?
LS: As I’ve honed my vibrational sensitivity, I’ve been dreaming of people hanging out in a beautiful space with great music and an elixir bar. The idea of Portals fascinates me—they say Stone Henge was one, and many cultures have used physical spaces and group energy to open up to the Universe. I was also intrigued by the idea of group trance, rituals and spells in the context of a party. Because a party basically is a ritual—the intention is FUN, and everyone brings their energy to the ritual in their own way. Partying is sacred!

TN: As you know, with our Club SÖDA NYC events we’re encouraging people to get high on their own supply. But nightclubs still feel flat to me without alcohol! Is it really possible to go wild on the dancefloor totally sober? 
LS: The Softer Image comes after a lot of personal experimenting with how to feel good in a healthy way. It’s a gathering for people to explore this question for themselves: can they have fun without alcohol? And also, what are the other, softer substances that can also help us let go of our inhibitions and have fun?

Softening has been a huge theme on my personal journey: softening the mind and trusting the flow. But also, letting go of the aggressive reaching for things that make me feel tense. Yoga has taught me about “arriving” to every moment, and “abiding” in my body and in my heart. The deeper healing I have done in the past years is all about softening the edges and releasing all that still tries to leave this moment—which alcohol, ultimately, facilitates.

TN: What’s the music policy? Have you got a theme song for the night?
LS: The song “Now that we’ve found Love what are we gonna do with it?” keeps coming to mind! I am so amazed by all the spiritual energy in the air and how much people are transforming. But I feel there is still this seriousness and strictness that we can integrate with a little celebration and release. What do you do with the Love and the Freedom once you get it?! You want to celebrate, but where? The Softer Image will be popping up around cities to give people a place to be their high vibe self and have fun in a beautiful, playful, temporary zone.

TN: So what can we expect on the night?
LS: Kate Falcone is creating a beautiful pink tinted interior, and the first gathering features Shauna Cummins leading us into a group trance to manifest our desires. She calls the work “Wish Craft”! Light being and wellness coach Sah D’Simone is manifesting the high vibe bar with balancing and softly altering herbal tonics, superfood snacks and juice blends. And I will DJ, along with Bryce Hackford.

The Softer Image is happening October 20 2016 from 8pm at a private location in lower Manhattan (TBA to ticket holders). Entry is $20—but Numinous readers get $5 off with the code “NUMI” Click here to get your ticket and follow @thesofterimage on Insta for more info.

3 ALCOHOL-FREE WAYS FOR COPING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

How Victoria Cox switched from Dutch Courage to Divine Courage, and learned to say “cheers” to social anxiety… Artwork: Nahu Marín Luriaud

It’s 7pm on a Saturday night in NYC and I’m getting ready to hit the town for a charity event a friend is hosting. Keeping me company as I slather on the make-up is my obligatory glass of chilled white wine.

“Just to take the edge off,” I tell myself. Give me a quick buzz so that I arrive relaxed and confident. I don’t know many people at the party and this fact alone is revving up my anxiety levels. I’ll just be completely honest and admit that on occasion I struggle with social anxiety, especially when I’m with large groups of strangers. Likely a leftover from my childhood, when I used to be crippled with an extreme case of the shy’s.

Thankfully, I left that mortifyingly awkward stage behind me as I grew into adulthood, but on occasion, my inner shy girl pops up from the deepest recesses of my subconscious to say hello. She usually makes an appearance at large social gatherings and she’s guaranteed to show up as my plus-one at networking events. Those are her favorite.

She especially enjoys it when I walk into a party, look around and realize I’m engulfed in a sea of strangers. “Look,” she whispers conspiratorially in my ear. “You don’t know anyone here, why don’t you just leave?” When I do eventually strike up a conversation with someone she’ll pipe up incessantly; “This person is bored by you. You have nothing interesting to say. This is so awkward. Just go home.”

Sometimes she gets her way and sometimes she doesn’t. But over the years, I’ve grown sick of the bitches sneaky antics, and so I figured out a way to make sure she stays her ass home. Alcohol. That intoxicating social lubricant. She hates it – one glass and I’m already dancing out the door. Two glasses and I can approach a group of strangers. Three glasses and I’m on the dance floor with said strangers, a.k.a my new best friends. Four glasses and… let’s not go there.

I’ve been feeling pretty smug about my secret weapon for many years and it’s got me through some skin-crawlingly awkward networking events that I’ve gladly suffered the hangover for.

But in recent years, as I’ve begun to focus on getting to know myself on a deeper level, I’ve begun to question my secret weapon. Is it really a weapon – or simply a crutch? Could I cope at one of these events if I didn’t drink beforehand? What was it saying about me that I could only be my “best self” when I numbed my senses with alcohol? Why did I feel I couldn’t just be me, weird social ticks and all?

These questions reverberated around my head for many months yet I had no answers. All I knew was that I had two options. Choose to keep on applying the social lubricant or get to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

I chose the latter.

And so, I began an experiment. I decided to switch from “Dutch Courage” to “Divine Courage,” and see what I could learn about myself in the process. Here’s what’s in my tool-box…

:: BREATHWORK ::
Being a long-time yoga devotee I was already familiar with the breathwork known as “pranayama.” And, one form of this is called Alternative Nostril Breathing – where you do just that. Breathe out of one nostril for a set period of time, then switch. Sounds odd but what this actually does is soothe the nervous system and equalize the hemispheres of the brain. Fancy talk for saying, “It chills you the F out.”

This practice had always worked a charm at calming down my over-excitable brain so I added it to my toolbox. But I needed more. Breath-work alone wasn’t likely to be enough to stop me running back into the arms of a perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio.

:: VISUALIZATION ::
This is where visualization meditation came in. It’s no secret that visualization can be incredibly powerful – even professional athletes are known for using it to get “in the zone” before a game. Basically, the aim is to try to see your desired outcome before it happens. So, before heading out to a social engagement these days, I sit quietly and visualize myself at the party, acting confidently, laughing, having fun, meeting new people and generally enjoying myself.

More often than not, what I visualize, or a version thereof usually comes to pass. Even on those occasions where things didn’t quite go as planned, I found I was in a much more centered space which helped me to relax and connect with people a little easier.

:: MANTRA ::
My toolbox was coming together but I needed to add one more thing. A mantra. Whilst mantras are typically used during meditation they can also be used throughout the day as a method to turn a negative thought pattern into a positive one.

Mantras can be incredibly powerful to soothe anxiety or just to give the mind something positive to focus on, thus avoiding a leap down the rabbit hole of fear and worry. My personal mantra differed for each occasion, but phrases such as “I am relaxed and confident” or “I am enjoying meeting new people” were especially helpful when I just wanted to run away and hide in the bathroom.

***

Its been a few months since I began my experiment and already I’ve been noticing some improvements. While I will probably always experience an involuntary shudder at the word “networking” I no longer feel that I simply must have a drink beforehand to get through it.

Whilst my pre-party drink routine enabled me to come across as lively and fun, in actual fact I was only showing people what I thought they wanted to see, lending an air of superficiality to my encounters. The real me might not be the life of the party but it is authentic – and more often than not I’ve noticed people can sense the difference leading to a more genuine connection.

Although I’ll probably never eradicate my inner shy girl completely, she no longer accompanies me to every social event. At the end of the day I’m only human and she’ll probably make an appearance now and again but I no longer feel the need to chase her away with gulps of wine. As a result, she doesn’t hold the same power over me.

I’ll also admit that wine and I will likely never end our love affair completely, but I no longer need it in the same way I used to. Alcohol has transitioned into something I enjoy on occasion rather than a can’t-cope-without.

My experiment has gifted me the knowledge that my social anxiety toolkit is available at any time; which in turn has emboldened me with a burgeoning self-confidence. I feel that I’m now able to face an intense social situation without desperately seeking an exit route, and surely that’s something worth raising a glass to.

MY MYSTICAL WEEK: THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS, RAINBOW WARRIORS, AND A NIGHT AT YOHO HOUSE

This week, Numi founder Ruby Warrington witnessed the birth of two very special (Leo!) projects and learned all about the Rainbow Warriors…

I went out on the road (to happiness). I was in LA most of this week for the launch of a project I’ve been working on for Buick – the 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive. And seriously, how progressive of a major corporation like them to focus on wellbeing as one of their core values going forward, the “red thread” that will run through their communications going forward. My role was to help them create content for the campaign – namely this podcast on how happiness is a choice from Harvard happiness researcher Shawn Achor; a custom, mood-elevating in-car scent blended by Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon; a 10-minute pre or post-drive guided meditation by Jeff Kober; a pressure point massage technique to ease tension behind the wheel by Dr. Dot (one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met btw); and even an in-car yoga sequence by Maroon 5 and One Direction’s on-tour instructor, Chad Dennis.

We’re talking serious high vibes! And besides this being kind of a groundbreaking concept for the motoring industry (right?!), how amazing to get the opportunity to put these potentially life-changing tools into the hands of mainstream drivers all over America. And my feeling that this was actually some lightwork in action was confirmed 100 per cent at the launch event. Themed around colour therapy, the ACE Museum in Hollywood was transformed into a factual RAINBOW of mood elevating hues for the night (see entrance below), and if you’ve been following our Instagram account, you might have noticed how I’ve been feeling about rainbows recently. If not, read on ‘cos you’re gonna love this…

I learned more about the Rainbow Warriors. A month or so ago, I began seeing rainbows EVERYWHERE. Like everywhere. In the shower, on my yoga mat, while I was doing the dishes. On billboards, and hey, all over Facebook, as everybody rainbow’ed up their profile picture to celebrate #LOVEWINS! When I mentioned this to my friend Aly, she told me about the Rainbow Warriors, a prophecy from Native American tradition that a generation of children would one day be born whose destiny it was to bring in light and love for the healing of planet Earth.

Um, WOW. You can read more about the Rainbow Warrior prophecy here, but as I was chatting to Amanda from Moon Juice about this at the Buick event, we simultaneously broke out in goosebumps over the fact that here was a car company channelling the rainbow message loud and strong. Because you could say, OMG, cars = pollution = BAD. But let’s just get real for a second. Cars are a FACT OF MODERN LIFE, and if you ever drive, use Uber, or even hitch rides places, please climb down from your high horse. (Plus, the motoring industry is not NEARLY as big a polluter as the commercial meat production industry. Something else to think about.) As Amanda and I both agree, real progress always begins with LOVE. And in my eyes, with their happiness campaign Buick are showing some serious love for their drivers, and therefore our planet.

I party-hopped over to Yoho House. A.K.A. the brand, spanking new Wanderlust center in Hollywood. And wow, serious WOW! Housed in the site of the old Golden Bridge, we’re talking four-floors of pimped-to-perfection yogic bliss, from the 200-person studio space, shaded patio and farm-to-table restaurant on the ground floor, up to a custom pine-clad roof terrace, via cosy library hangout, intimate, candlelit workshop spaces…it’s enough to make you wanna move to LA. (Oh, wait, I’m kind of manifesting that one anyway…if you’re listening, Universe.)

The center opens to the public this weekend, and you can find out all about how to become a member at Wanderlusthollywood.com/membership

(More rainbows on the wristband to get into the party too…! #rainbowwarriors)

MORNING GLORY: I went to a rave at 7am…and I liked it

A new booze-free club morning in London is all about creating a high-vibe start to your day. Louise Androlia dons her dancing shoes with her PJs…

Was it coincidence that as my Tarot reader was suggesting I start my mornings off dancing, I received a text from my friend Nico inviting me to his new ‘pre work’ rave, Morning Glory? I don’t think so. Fast-forward a couple of weeks to a 6.30am start to go raving.

Morning Glory is the new clubbing experience from events producer Samantha Moyo and bodywork therapist Nico Thoemmes. The event is held slap bang in the middle of Shoreditch, London, at The Village Underground and currently runs once a month on a Wednesday, from 6.30 until 10.30am. The idea is that you ‘rave your way into the day’ in a positive way, so that, fuelled by a good dance and maybe a pre-work massage you can head to work energised and uplifted.

The idea of going raving is usually my worst nightmare. I rarely drink and let’s just I’m more of a kale than a ketamine kind of girl. So although I loved the premise of the event, as I walked into the Village Underground and heard music, loud loud music, I was a little nervous.

But within moments it was very obvious this would be different. The room was alive, but in totally the right way. There’s a cloakroom so you can arrive in whatever clothing you like (pyjamas encouraged) and then get ready for the office before you leave. By 7.30am I was clearly a late comer, the club was completely full. I was immediately in my people-watching element, as all around me people danced in business suits, gym clothes and nightwear, as well as plenty of festival gear – fancy dress, wigs and sequins.

No alcohol is served, this is a Wednesday morning after all, and it’s definitely not about staying up all night and ending up here. But there is a coffee cart, if you need your morning fix, as well as a detox enhancing smoothie bar and four massage therapists on hand to stretch you out before work. There’s also a space at the back of the room with yoga mats for you to practise your own morning routine. I lay down for a perfect ten-minute back massage with Gulie Ismail…and then I went and danced.

The atmosphere on the dance floor was welcoming, with no chance of anyone describing this scene as pretentious. I can’t help thinking that of course it’s going to become a dating hot spot, and it’s certainly a healthy place to meet someone. I came alone and so many people made conversation with me. Instead of a very often awkward sober social scene, people were chatting freely.

As I write this I still think…but I hate ‘clubbing’. The thing is though, it was so, well, nice.  Everyone was smiling, EVERYONE was smiling. The club was fully lit, so as I looked around I could see all the familiar sights, the wallflowers dancing in the corner, the extroverts on the stage, the couples in their own world, the socialites skipping round the venue. But there was no one crying, no fights, no one puking in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, there was even a ‘Refresh Station’ table with Tea Tree body wipes, rose water and shea butter samples. No stinky clubbing toilets at this rave.

It felt like being at a really great house party when someone puts on Dancing in the Dark and it’s the best moment of your life, except with no hangover ahead. Pretty damn high vibe.

I caught up with Nico to hear more about his idea:

I have to dive in with this, because my first thought was WOW this is so a new dating scene. Have their been any ‘Morning Glory’ romances yet?
“Possibly! Probably! MG would be the perfect place to find a mate. One sober person resonating with another. Too often people meet in clubs when they are inebriated in one form or another. At morning glory you are ‘you’, not you + booze/drugs.”

Currently this is a monthly event, what are your plans for the future?
“Well we’re going to experiment with bi monthly events in London and then over the next six months expand into Brighton and Bristol, as well as taking Morning Glory into business conferences and seminars. Next year we want to fill Trafalgar Square or Battersea Power Station. We’re thinking big!”

I really felt a positive energy at the event (I can say that as an Energy Healer right!) Tell me some of your favourite moments so far?
“Morning Glory’s success is built on the unbelievable positive energy that manifests in the room. It’s so electric and has to be experienced to be believed. Our best moment was listening to a guest who told she had jaw ache from grinning so much.”

The next Morning Glory event will be held on September 25th. Tickets cost £10 and are available here. You can find out more about the event at their website, on twitter and on Facebook.

www.louiseandrolia.com
@louniverse