HOW I AM COMMITTING TO RAISING A CONSCIOUS MAN

In a climate of deeply wounded masculinity, Nina Endrst was dismayed to discover she was having a boy. But she soon realized this was a calling to declare her credo for raising a conscious man …

Photo by Dru Nadler

I consider myself pretty intuitive. It’s been my work, especially in recent years, to release doubt and follow my heart in whatever direction I’m led.

Shortly after I became pregnant, I felt I “knew” I was going to have a little girl. I felt it in my bones. Saw visions of her during deep meditation and healing sessions. We were going to raise a little feminist.

Wrong. Well, sort of. My 22-week ultrasound revealed that I was in fact having a boy. A BOY?! Of course my only hope is and was to have a healthy baby—but I’ll admit I was knocked off my intuitive pedestal in that moment.

When we got in the car, I looked at my husband and said, “UGH! He is going to watch porn?!” I was totally freaked out for a good few minutes, going over all the things he definitely couldn’t do or be.

How the hell am I going to raise a man? Despite having strong relationships with good men, something about being responsible for ensuring that mine wouldn’t grow up to be a chauvinist asshole was daunting. It is impossible for me not to be enraged daily by the toxic masculinity that exists in our society, and around the world.

As I pondered what it would meant to raise a conscious man, I asked myself, where do I begin?

Then, I remembered a dream I’d had about an old boss (privileged, white, good looking by most people’s standards, probably rarely hears or understands the word “no”). This dream triggered a real memory of the sexual harassment I experienced while I was an employee and had “forgotten” about.

Because I, like most women, experience sexual harassment ALL the time. Many of us have also been victims of assault (I was age 9, and wrote about it here). The recent #Metoo shed some light on the epidemic, but this is not and cannot be perceived as “normal.”

So how do we heal such a deep and devastating wound? The conversation feels bigger than I can possibly wrap my head and heart around. And it raises serious doubts about how I will raise a conscious, sensitive, compassionate, FEMINIST man today.

Below is my individual process to tending to this wound daily—for myself, my son, and the whole. It’s where I am beginning my commitment to raise a conscious man …

Photo by Matthew Johnson

1// I commit to regularly sharing with the men in my life how I am and have been mistreated as a woman.
Practice: I will not assume that everyone is awake, watching, and listening. This does not mean I will excuse sexist behavior or abuse—this means I will educate men around me through my personal experience. I will share how it made me feel when I was cat-called earlier that day, when I do feel safe, and discuss the long-lasting emotional and energetic damage that I and most women have to continually work to undo.

2// I commit to teaching my son that women are not things to be “had.” We are human beings to be respected.
Practice: I will surround him with strong females, both in real life as well as through literature and media. From the time he is born, I will introduce him to men that speak to and about women with love and respect, and will continue to work with my husband to show him what a healthy and equal partnership looks like.

3// I commit to helping my son understand that silence is unacceptable.
Practice: I will speak up in his presence and explain to him that with privilege comes responsibility. That we are put on this earth to protect each other and it is not OK to sit quietly on the sidelines if and when we witness injustice or abuse.

4// I commit to speaking honestly to my son about dangerous and unhealthy body standards placed on women.
Practice: I’ll raise him to look for intelligence, kindness, and humor in women, and people in general, before beauty. I will show him that beauty exists in many forms and do my best to limit his exposure to messaging that is damaging to women.

5// I commit to teaching my son how to show emotion—that sensitivity and compassion are part of what make him “a man.”
Practice: I will ask him how he feels and listen to him with an open heart. I will allow him to express himself and his emotions fully and praise him for it.

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My son will be born in a few weeks. I feel mostly at peace and a little clueless and naive. I do not know how our lives will unfold from here, and am very aware that much of it is out of my control. But I do know that I will try every day to be the strongest, softest, version of myself, both for my son, and for our collective healing of the wounded masculine as it unfolds.

Nina lives her yoga and is inspired by traveling to places outside her comfort zone, both physically and emotionally. Currently based in Hudson, NY, she leads retreats around the world and welcomes students of all levels. Connect with her at ninaendrstyoga.com and on Instagram.

THE NUMINOUS GUIDE TO FERTILITY

In our Numinous Guide to Fertility, we explore the colorful history of witchy manifestation practices, and team up with DAO Labs to find out why Traditional Chinese Medicine is the ancient fertility frontrunner fit for the Now Age …

Photo: Felix Russell-Saw

Whether you’re birthing an actual human or your latest creative project, the word “manifestation” makes the Numiverse go round. And with over half of millennial women considering freezing their eggs according to a 2017 Healthline report, and more and more cosmic babes aligning their cycles with ancient Moon magic, it’s a back-to-the-future moment for mining mystical fertility traditions …

Want to up your juicy fruits according to the Kabbalah? Snack on actual Ruby gemstones for that inner sparkle and glow. While you’re at it, invite your vagina to brunch; inserting egg whites was once believed to help errant sperm find their way back home.

Looking for a sexy new spot for baby-making magic? Follow Pagan farming tradition and go for an actual roll in the hay by bedding down in a freshly ploughed field. And don’t forget to toss your panties onto the roof during the Waning Moon (to be retrieved during the next New Moon). According to The Congo’s Yansi people, your temporarily discarded thongs can lead to hormonally aligned magic.

Amidst all these wondrously witchy practices, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been the fertility frontrunner for over 2500 years. Centered around Daoist practices and the notion of “internal imbalance,” Chinese medicine’s approach offers us the opportunity to control our flow through diet, behavior, and traditional herbal therapies, rather than merely treating symptoms that leave us at the mercy of our cycles.

“When you think of many of the western medicines that we use, often times, they only have one life cycle of testing before launch,” comments Dr. Eric Karchmer, co-founder of TCM innovator DAO Labs, who offer a full line of sustainable herbal formulas that update this ancient wisdom for on-the-go Now Age babes. Health issues arise when our bodies are out of balance, and “Chinese medicine restores the balance, so you can feel everything working together in harmony,” says Karchmer.

Whether you’re regulating your menstruation, trying to get pregnant, or dealing with postpartum depression, the mind/body/soul connection is integral to feeling the fullness of feminine health.

Want to supercharge your approach to fertility? Here are 6 more Numinous paths towards fierce feminine alignment … 

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1// Feng Shui Your Living Space To clear the entryway for fertility, make sure nothing blocks your front door on the inside or out, and never clean under your bed (except for the giant dust bunnies). Add open pomegranates and statues of trunk-down elephants as accents.

2// Keep Your Spice Cabinet Stocked: With high levels of vitamins A and D, Fenugreek boosts metabolism and sex drive.

3// Practice Crystal Conception: Pack Moonstone, Smoky Quartz, and Rose Quartz during a Full Moon to power up your womb, or get down and dirty with a Jade Egg Sex.

4// Throw a Pina Colada PartyEat an entire pineapple—the enzymes are reputed to help with implantation.

5// Take Your Vagina to the Sauna: Bring heat to your womb with a DIY vaginal steam bath. All you need is a crock pot, some herbs, and the willingness to sweat it out.

6// Superfood Your Smoothie: Mix in Maca, Spirulina, and Royal Jelly for some tastily potent new life production.

The proprietary Emotional Balance formula from DAO Labs features Chinese Angelica Root (aka The Female Ginseng) for nourishing and invigorating the blood, and their Women’s Formula contains White Peony Root, for tonifying and moving Qi. Perfect for cultivating emotional balance, stress management, strength, and regularity, you can get them both in DAO’s Women’s Monthly Kit —PLUS get 20% off using code: MOON20.

WITCHY MAMA: 6 WAYS TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR UNBORN CHILD

You’d like to get to know the little spirit you’re bringing into the world before you meet them, right? Cate Emond shares some simple ways to communicate with your unborn child. Images: Aurélie Raidron via Behance.net

There have always been the obvious ways of connecting with our unborn children; see women talking, singing, or reading stories out loud to our baby bumps. And whatever stage of pregnancy you Numi mamas are in, there are so many things you can do to feel bonded and connected to the little soul you’ve created a home for.

When I found out I was pregnant I was excited, but despite this I also felt very disconnected from my body, and from the little life steadily growing inside me. I realized I was going to have to go deeper into myself and my spiritual practise if I wanted to start creating a bond. Below are a few of my favorite ways to create that connection, and communicate with your unborn child:

:: Prenatal Meditation ::
Prenatal meditation is really no different from regular meditation, the only difference being that a) you, or your partner, are pregnant and b) you are specifically using this time to connect with a little spirit. It can be just as simple as taking 15-20 minutes of your day to sit quietly on your own in a relaxed setting with no distractions, to tune into the energy inside. But I prefer guided meditations because they help me to visualize the baby – especially this one, which that also incorporates some kundalini yoga, as well as this prenatal belly dance and meditation, whiCh has helped me feel more connected with my body.

:: Creative Journaling ::
I’ve kept a journal since I was a child, and more recently I’ve realized it’s not just a place to record the events of your day or how you feel. You could use yours to write letters to your little girl or boy, write songs or poetry, or create collages and vision boards about your future life together – the possibilities are endless.

:: Intentional Dreaming ::
Dreams are a great way to send and receive messages from spirit. Before going to sleep, either think of the message you want to send or receive from your baby or write it down and place the piece of paper under your pillow. Keep paper and a pen by your bedside and record whatever dreams or messages came back to you as soon as you wake up. If the messages or images seem unclear, meditate on them for a few days, focusing on the feelings they arouse in you. You can also try this handy dream interpretation method I learned years ago:

  1. Write down the events of the dream in short simple sentences.
  2. Next, go back and underline one word in each sentence that jumps out at you immediately.
  3. On a new sheet of paper, using the underlined words retell the dream as a brand new story in the way that best makes sense to you (but don’t think too hard about it).

People are so unique, and though many symbols have common universal meanings, they can still represent different things to different people. The point of this exercise is to get an interpretation that’s specific to you.

Early in my pregnancy I had a few minor complications and I was worried about losing the baby, so one night I asked for a message before going to sleep. The dream I had was about killer bees taking over my city, and I saw images of myself hovering over a little baby boy, protecting him. The next image I had was of a mailbox securely posted to a tree. I like to think that was a clever way of my baby letting me know he was safely waiting to be delivered, and that I was capable of providing a safe and protective environment. Much of my anxiety faded away after that dream.

:: Connecting with a Birth Intuitive ::
Because I was feeling so disconnected from myself, and my pregnancy, I decided to book a session with a woman who specifically helps expectant mamas and couples communicate directly with what she calls their ‘spirit babies.’ This might be a great place to start with if you need a little bit of an outside boost to help get you in the spirit of connecting with your little spirit.

While preparing for my session with Colette, I had fun dreaming up questions such as “are you okay in there” (is my anxiety that obvious?), “how can I love you best?” and “what aspirations do you have for this life?” No question is off limits, though she was quick to point out that it wasn’t about prediction, simply connecting. It was an interesting experience, and I would recommend it for the reasons mentioned above, as well as just for the fun of it.

:: Angel Cards ::
You can use any type of oracle card, but personally I love the Messages From Your Angels Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue. The messages are comforting, clear and simple to understand. I tend to do single card draws because I like the focus of a single message, but there’s no right or wrong way to do it. If I have one I ask a specific question, but if not I just ask for a general message and then I shuffle and wait for the right card to pop out.

:: Self Care ::
Okay, maybe not technically a way to bond with your baby, but it is one of the most important things to remember during pregnancy. We spend so much time worrying about how we’re going to care for this brand new life, that it can be easy to forget to care for ourselves, and if you’re neglecting your own needs you’re most likely going to feel miserable. Not the most conducive environment for feeling bonded to the little human inside of you.

One of my favorite takeaways from my session with Colette was the idea of “grand-mothering” ourselves. She asked me to: “remember how grandma loved you…how grandma paid attention to you and gave you advice and support [when you were young]. This is the kind of self-love that is recommended for pregnant women.”

So bake yourself some chocolate chip cookies, snuggle up with a blanket and a cup of tea, and journal, or meditate, or do whatever feels right to you in the moment. There’s no right or wrong ways to communicate with your baby, but he or she is most definitely listening.

How do you communicate with your unborn child? Pregnant or not! Share your stories with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

You can read more from Cate Edmond on her blog, and connect with her on Twitter.