MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE ROAD

From Austin, TX, to the West Coast…it’s been a week of life lessons from the road.

:: MONDAY—WEDNESDAY::
Anybody who follows my Instagram feed will know the Pisces and I have been on a road-trip the past two weeks. Schedule: Austin—Marfa—Santa Fe—Sedona—Grand Canyon—Vegas—Palm Springs—Joshua Tree—LA. And it has been a TRIP—meaning the daily checking off of bucket list items, AND the deep and thorough examination of the contents of my head / current situation.

As I’m back in NY for a few days this week (yep there’s more to come!), I wanted to take the opportunity to record a few spiritual lessons from the road. Here goes:

Even your soul project / true calling / dharma work can become a ball and chain if you let it. In fact, there’s perhaps an even stronger likelihood of it taking over your entire life than a “regular” job where you clock in and out every day, since it’s what you were “born to do.” Like breathing. And so it feels natural to do it ALL THE TIME. Getting away from my desk and onto the open road gave me some invaluable perspective on how, with so many projects bubbling (book, sweatshirt line, live events, Club SÖDA NYC, etc!) I have allowed The Numinous to become my everything this year, to the point that there was no space in my life for…ME. Let alone for it to still feel like fun. This realization hit has I found myself trying to get a WiFi signal hiking somewhere in the Sedona red rocks, and suffering extreme bouts of anxiety at the number of unread emails that were building up while I “wasted time” checking out the Grand Canyon. I mean WT actual F?

A road trip is the perfect crucible from some honest self-reflection. Since your driving buddy essentially acts as a giant mirror for all your shit—kind of like your higher self observes your ego mind running rings around itself in meditation. In my case, the Pisces was the voice of my higher self—my fretting over where to do the conference call I had scheduled in TWO DAYS TIME, my fearful monkey mind trying to stay in “control” as my external environment shifted on an hourly basis. “You don’t have to do any of it if you don’t want to,” he reminded me. “You chose all this.” And what a fucking privilege too! The key insight being, that if I chose this work, then it is absolutely in my power to un-choose any bits that are no longer working for me. Like responding to every email I get within the hour. And same goes for all of us, in ANY situation, actually. YOU get to chose where your energy goes.

I do not need any more crystals, animal totems, oracle decks, or bunches of sage. A.k.a. all the trappings of “spiritual materialism”—a term that’s come up a few times lately, and so obviously was asking to be pondered. Not to mention my go-to on every stop of our trip being to seek out the best esoteric book store in town—which began to feel a bit like bypassing the art and going straight to the museum shop. As you can imagine, my house is FULL of spiritual paraphernalia—a Ganesh here, a clutch of crystals there. And it’s all very pretty. But I can’t honestly say I feel a true connection to most of it. And what become so clear on my trip was that all that “stuff,” for me, is simply a collection of talismans for the real spiritual work (the “art,” if you like) that’s happening on the inside. What I would define as the honest self-inquiry into WHO I AM and WHAT I NEED be the most fully me—as in, the truest expression of my spiritual self. Example: a healer I worked with recently told me a could use some Malachite in my life. But as I found myself returning lump after lump of the pretty green rock to its shelf in various esoteric stores along our route, I was also coming to the realization that what I truly need to develop spiritually is less time responding to emails, and more discernment on where I’m placing my energy (see points no. 1 & 2).

My email / work addiction is way worse than my alcohol addiction. As I explained when I wrote out my sober curious story a couple of weeks ago, my path to a more sober life over the past few years has meant a lot of sober firsts. And besides a few beers at the Austin City Limits festival on the first night of our trip, this has been my first ever (well, since the age of 15 or so I guess) sober vacation. “Holiday drinking” had always been my sobriety hall-pass (“I’ll only drink on holiday”), and so stepping outside of this has allowed for plenty of opportunity to witness my alcohol cravings and where they come from. And—ta-da!—the majority of the time I find myself fantasizing about a cocktail, it’s to flick the switch from work to play mode. Or rather, numb out the constant desire to…numb out with work and email! Being off my laptop has meant being fully present with my (not always exactly carefree, vacay-ready) self—showing me the extent to which I use work / being productive and busy, as a way to NOT just be with me. Which is what vacations are all about…which is why I now see I always held booze (believing it to be the most effective off-switch from work) as a vacay staple.

Hugging trees is the best. The hippies knew it, and every time I remember to do it I’m reminded how good and grounding, how calm, regenerative, and holy it feels to put your arms around a tree and really squeeze. Cut to Joshua Tree, where I found myself doing some filming with my boo Alexandra Roxo for a VERY EXCITING PROJECT (yes, another one!!) we’re launching on your asses next month. At one point, Roxo whips off her shirt and grabs the nearest trunk—the naked part not so natural for me, but my own tree-hug just as heartfelt. Our mutual friend Madeline has got into it lately too, “and she says it’s like doing a drug deal,” Alexandra joked. “In the city, you have to look in all directions and then go for it while you’re sure no-body’s watching.” Well, I say screw that! Who cares if they see? Tree-hugger and proud. A part of me I’ve been happy to re-connect with on the road.

Scenes from The Softer Image. Behind me, there was wild dancing and kava shots…

:: THURSDAY ::
I have to make some space here for beautiful Luke Simon’s nightlife experiment The Softer Image, a substance-free “high-vibe lounge” that debuted in NYC tonight. So happy I was back in town for this!! Said vibey “highs” were supplied by the equally divine Sah D’Simone‘s alchemical elixirs and tonics, a group trance to kick the evening off by talented hypnotherapist Shauna Cummins, and THE BEST old school housey soundtrack from DJ Bryce Hackford. There were hugs, wild dancing, impromptu reiki sessions, and my clock read 11.11pm before I knew it. Held in a Chinatown loft, maybe it was the kava shots, but the feel I kept getting was 4am-loved-up-after-party—only it all ended by midnight and everybody was completely sober. Thank you, Universe (and Luke), for hearing my pleas—and delivering a new way to switch off from work and have FUN. No alcohol required!

:: FRIDAY ::
I hate the rain. But today I love the rain. Since I’m my own boss, I shall be choosing to mainly work from underneath my duvet. Which will mostly mean reading the early proofs of Guru Jagat’s new book Invincible Living, ahead of my live Q&A with her at tomorrow’s Numinous Presents event in Brooklyn. I bet she has a thing or two to say about email addiction…since Kundalini yoga was developed by Yogi Bhajan as an antidote to what he saw (way back in the sixties) as the onset of “technology sickness.” Intrigued? There a still a few spots left—click here to discover more and sign up. 

 

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: THE SCIENCE BEHIND MOON MAGIC

More evidence of real Moon magic, the argument for “oracle abuse,” and why there is no 13th zodiac sign…

 

:: MONDAY ::
Fittingly for Moon day (yes, Monday is named after the moon—which, in my opinion, is why/because Mondays are often so moody…nothing to do with the post-weekend blues) I found myself reading an article on new scientific research that showed how the phases of the Moon are linked to major earthquakes and tsunamis. This after Japanese scientists analyzed more than 10,000 earthquakes, and found they were more likely to occur during Full or New Moons.

It’s all linked to the tides, which are controlled by the Moon, since even the teeniest extra water pressure on the earth’s tectonic plates can be enough to trigger a major quake-causing shift. Which I read as yet another example of the scientific and the mystical coming (back) into alignment! Think about it. In astrology, the Moon is said to govern our emotions—which, in turn, are represented by the element of water. And if fluctuations in the ocean’s tides (as dictated by the Moon) are behind tectonic shifts in the natural world—then it is swings in our emotional states that often lead to the big evolutionary shifts in our lives.

Which is why I’m soooooo into Moon sign astrology. For me, our Moon sign is the one to pay attention to when it comes to connecting to our most deeply-rooted (like core-of-the-earth deep) human needs. Plus, if we want to surf the waves—opposed to being dragged down and under by emotions that can feel like a tsunami sometimes—here’s yet more (scientific!) evidence that it pays to pay attention to the phases of the Moon.

:: TUESDAY ::
Book launch for Gabrielle Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back, where Gabby shared how while writing it she had actually been feeling utterly disconnected from spirit. Her answer—spoken like a true #spiritjunkie—was to go deeper into her spiritual practice. Which got me thinking, since earlier today I also heard the term “oracle abuse” for the first time—meaning an over-reliance on messages from “the other side,” versus trusting our own voice and intuition.

It’s a subject Numi contributor Victoria Cox covered brilliantly in this article, and for me, there’s a fine line between tapping IN, and using spiritual tools to “escape” from what’s going on in the here and now of our human existence. And…you can read more from Gabby on the subject of tuning in vs. numbing out in an interview I’m running with her this Sunday—which also happens to be her 11-year sober anniversary…

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Since the whole world is freaking out about NASA and the 13th zodiac sign, I commissioned this excellent piece which explains the whole sitch perfectly. PLUS will make you lol HARD over just how accurate regular ol’ astrology really is!

:: THURSDAY ::
First ever vitamin drip at the Ash Center in Manhattan—an upscale functional wellness clinic that is emerging with a new-found optimism following the tragic passing of founder Dr. Richard Ash. What struck me as I sat with the IV feeding me a mega-dose of vitamins B and C, new MD-in-Chief Anthony Lyon’s little dog Champagne on my lap and sipping from a cup of green tea, was the family vibe of the place. It’s a huge testament to how loved Dr. Ash was that his former colleagues have banded together to continue in his name. And honestly, the atmosphere up here is a panacea in itself. As for the drip? I walked out SO. BUZZED. Favorite new healthy treat.

:: FRIDAY ::
Prepping for a ROAD TRIP!!! The Pisces (husband Simon) has wound up with a whole month off in between jobs, and so we’re heading South to tick a few Numinous must-see travel boxes. Here’s where we’re headed—please comment below with any sights, studios, esoteric stores, and mystics we should try to visit! And follow along on IG for adventures from on the road…

AUSTIN
MARFA
ROSWELL (for the aliens, lol)
SANTA FE
SEDONA
GRAND CANYON
JOSHUA TREE
LA
BIG SUR
SAN FRAN

YOGI VEGAN LEZ: RELATIONSHIPS AND THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Meet Yogi Vegan Lez, a.k.a. Alexandra Roxo and her girlfriend Orian Barki. In the first chapter of a new series on the challenges of conscious modern coupling, is a road trip actually the best kind of couples therapy?

“Totally worth four breakups in an eight-hour drive”

Just like doing a cleanse together as a couple sounded like a great idea, so did taking a road trip. However, deciding what juice to buy and dribbling pulled oil down your t-shirt in front of your brand new girlfriend is nothing in comparison to being lost in the mountains of Colorado and encountering two large creepy bikers who “reallllllly want to take a photo with you” because “someone” didn’t listen to Siri.

Road trips are the real deal. Sure we live together in Brooklyn, but that’s different. Yoga down the street. $11 green juice by delivery. And our own little love den to nest in. But eight months in and our relationship could survive Mexican food from roadside vendors and lumpy beds, right?

The conversation came up when Orian and I found ourselves in New Mexico, working on a movie called Bare that my company Purple Milk is producing. Orian arrived from New York at the end of the most stressful week in my life, in which both of the lead actors pulled out and we had to recast it , all the while maintaining fake smiles to make all the other crew members not bail off.

I needed a time out, so the next day and we set off in a tiny rental with some Spiderman sleeping bags from the associate producer’s kids, blankets “borrowed” from our Air B ‘n B, and a bag of organic groceries – raw chocolate, kale chips, and Biodynamic red wine a-plenty. And then we headed in the direction of the nearest hot springs… okay spa. Come on, you gotta start a road trip to get back to nature somewhere!

When we arrived, our room was basically in the kitchen with a view of the dumpster. Fuck. I marched right back to reception with my fists in fighting position. But turns out they were booked solid with couples in their 50’s, most of whom were currently asleep in the “romantic” rooms that I had planned on having sex in that night. Orian decided to take over before I snapped and let my “lower self” take over.

By now I was openly sobbing in a leather armchair in a reception painted with “native art” – aka bows and arrows – surrounded by two children playing Angry Birds on an iPad and an elderly German couple sitting silently in flip flops and robes waiting for a shiatsu or something. They casually observed my tears as if I was the lobby fountain, and turned back to their spa menus.

The sweet manager finally offered us an equally impressive room with a bed practically in the center of the restaurant, but with an hour in a private hot spring, a bottle of wine and a whopping discount thrown in. Orian wanted to leave and go look for another place to stay, but I was set on a day of relaxation in the hot spring. I rested my weary my head on her shoulder and told her we had to make the best of it. She agreed. And instead of being grossed out by the overpriced airplane food in the restaurant and the hairy men ogling us in the hot tubs, we drank our wine under the stars and made the best of the bed.

“Apparently we have sensitive skin”

We drove away from the spa the next day with our faces red and splotchy from the free flowing sulphuric smelling mud we’d smeared all over ourselves before baking in the sun. I looked like a burn victim. It was only then I remembered I’d been using Retinol cream because I’m terrified of wrinkles and my Brazilian family swears by it (they also swear by plastic surgery, but whatever) and wasn’t supposed to go in the sun. I began to imagine my face peeling off a la Goldie Hawn in “Death Becomes Her,” pulled my oversized hat over my face and hid.

As we drove through southern Colorado, total silence descended on the car and paranoia began to set in. For some reason, we weren’t connecting. Our only conversation in hours had been a heated debate about google maps. Spiritually I look at things as effort vs. struggle – and so far, this was feeling like a lot of struggle. What happened to us having a blast doing everything together, from buying toothpaste to cleaning the toilet? Were those magic times over already?

Since we’d spent the past month apart, I chalked it up to the fact we needed some time for our energy to “sync” as a couple and tried to breathe despite the by now overwhelming anxiety and dry mouth. Tents, stars, and the enforced isolation camping allows would haaaave to bond us back together.

Now, I’m not new to camping. As a kid we couldn’t afford vacations and went camping one week every summer – my mom sometimes even brought the TV. As a teen I camped under a tarp in the Oregon woods for a week and foraged for berries at witch camp. And as a post-college “seeker,” I shit in a trough at a Rainbow Gathering next to rows of hippies with dreads and slept surrounded by people screaming from too many drugs in the wilds of West Virginia.

You get the picture – I’m no newbie to roughing it. But it was only as we neared Monument Valley where we planned to pitch up the next night that I realized I’d brought three pairs of platforms for the entire trip in lieu of any sensible footwear (I blame my overcrowded stress den of a mind when I was packing). So though Orian was dying to get camping already, we made a (emotionally fraught) decision: a well-choreographed stop-off at enemy no.1, Wal Mart.

As she’s from Israel and has only lived in the US for a year, spending most of her time in Brooklyn buying overpriced Ann Taylor linen from Polish vintage stores, Orian has never been to Wal Mart. And so I tried to warn her. “Look we go in. I get the imitation Keds. You grab the cooler. Out in 20, okay?” “Copy!” she relied, like the Israeli soldier she narrowly escaped becoming.

One and a half hours and $112.00 later we left, defeated, with six bags of crap. I sat in the car with my head in my hands, contemplating what had just happened as Orian insisted; “But we neeeeeeded the pink pepper spray, two glow in the dark t-shirts, an American flag bikini, six jugs of water just in case, and a copy of US weekly. We really did.” I got extremely annoyed in this moment and felt my skin begin to crawl, but told myself to calm the fuck down. And on we marched.

“Everything looks better in the photos”

We arrived to Monument Valley as the sun was beginning to set and decided on our camping spot, naturally choosing the one furthest from the trail so we could walk around in our underwear in peace. Our quest for solitude meant by the time we’d hiked our groceries, tent, firewood, camping chairs, tent, cooler, and our Wal Mart haul, the sun was nearly down. I decided to get our tent up as fast as I could, in which I am well practiced.

And maybe it was the drive, the trauma with the mud, or perhaps the lack of greens in my current diet? But I just couldn’t work it out. Which is when Orian stepped up to the plate and nailed it like an angel in a one-piece white American Apparel swimsuit. It was beautiful to watch. And as we drank our wine and watched the sun go down, it felt like things were finally beginning to gel.

I realized that this whole trip, being forced to make decisions about things like which non-organic snacks to buy had left Orian and I feeling like strangers. And our differing road trip priorities were distracting us from the point – the love we feel for each other. It’s rare for any couple to have time away from our obligations and responsibilities, and we needed to remember to just enjoy each other, regardless of the circumstances.

And as much as a week in Cabo or Tulum would have been more like the Valium my soul really needed, absorbing the epic beauty of Monument Valley I realized there’s a reason couples go on these quests together. Who wants a quick fix when it’s the road less travelled that brings growth? Trying three times to put a tent up together can be bonding. Really. Same for being forced to eat tacos made with GM corn from roadside vendors until the flatulence is just white noise.

“Even arguing about google maps can be bonding when it comes from the heart”

People go to couples therapy to confront their differences (like why the hell do you leave your shoes right outside the tent where I trip on them every day?) So here’s a tip for saving a shit-tonne of money. TAKE A ROAD TRIP. Get annoyed when your partner goes 60 mph or when they aren’t paying attention to google maps and miss the turn-off right when there’s no other turn off for like 100 miles. GO THERE. Don’t be afraid to let your girlfriend see you cry in public in at least three places in an attempt to get your way. Talk about a lesson in acceptance.

NEXT UP ON Yogi Vegan Lez: Navigating times of celibacy for ceremony….

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