HOW ALANIS MORISSETTE TAUGHT ME TO FEEL MY FEELINGS

The wisdom and wise words of Alanis Morissette taught me to finally feel my feelings…says Red Magazine’s Pip McCormac

“And are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” – You Oughta Know

That’s not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. That line, spat out from the depths of her era-defining 1990s album Jagged Little Pill was, for me, only a glimpse of empowerment. I’d bark the lyric like a helpless dog chained tightly to a tree: hollowly, with no real intent. It felt good to howl, but meant nothing. Aged 15, living in suburban Britain, quietly hating myself for being gay, I had no bite. I was meek, and this line was fun to sing, an eye on the door in case grown-ups overheard. But it had nothing to do with how I really felt.

In fact, as Alanis was emboldening a whole generation, I was learning to squash my feelings. Far better, I learned, to train myself not to be self-aware, not to study my shame at being gay. Far fewer outbursts, less look-at-me-meltdowns, if I just carried on, smiled through each day, forgot what I actually felt. Listened to Jagged Little Pill and pretended Alanis’s feelings were mine, instead.

“Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment.” – Thank You

The next album was also not when Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. I rotated that record a lot, on my cassette Walkman, on coaches out of Bangkok, on Red Bull hangovers, on pillows made from my arm against bus windows.

Conversations about life, as a concept, took importance over what was actually my life. One step removed, I removed myself. “I’m an existentialist,” I’d declare, because of course that’s what all 19-year-olds were in 1999. I took a star-shaped stud out of my ear and left it on Sartre’s grave, sure that, if this were a movie, I’d meet my true love in the cemetery.

I played my life like a movie. I was just a role, my personality a plot point, changeable in line with the needs of each scene. Each relationship. If a boy called for me to be the ditzy ingénue, I could do it. The matriarchal carer? Done in one take. The sufferer in silence? My specialty.

My boyfriends didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I was.


“Lean in to your own personal growth. This will unlock your creativity, courage and self.” – Conversations with Alanis

Finally, two months ago, THIS was how Alanis taught me to feel my feelings. Self-learning my way through her podcast Conversations with Alanis, through her weekly Guardian newspaper advice columns, the 1990s rage in her voice has been replaced by a light, encouraging rasp.

Alanis, you see, likes to workshop her feelings. “Restore yourself to sanity,” she said in one episode. “The good friend in you that you can be to others? Be it to yourself.”

Sat in my self-care socks (alpaca wool, looking after my feet, my body, my mind), cat snoozing on my lap, my journey of self-discovery had begun. I’d had a breakup, but for once not a breakdown, was starting to wonder what I was really all about. Alanis gave me the confidence to find out.

For she doesn’t talk in inverted commas. There is no embarrassment at admitting she began an eight-week Imago course to help her be the person who could find a husband (it worked). No hint of the irony she was once so fond of when she speaks of “diving into self-knowledge,” or says “I thought I could just write songs [about my pain] but I found that having self-knowledge through deep intimacy and commitment was where I could find a deep healing.”

Self-knowledge, she made me realize, is key, and unlocking my feelings would not open a trap door.

When the anger at the break up finally dissipated, healthily, and was replaced by the sadness it had been masking, I knew what was happening, and why. Because I have the courage to be aware of my feelings, as they happen. To notice them, and understand them. To notice and understand myself.

Since learning to feel my feelings, I’ve been a better friend, to others and myself. More honest, less concealed. I’ve spoken up at work, begun two new passion projects, finally aware of what makes me feel lit-up. I’ve not got off with any boys because it’s the end of the date and it seems like the right thing to do, even if I don’t really fancy them. Because I know how I feel already, I don’t need a miserable kiss to tell me.

And I’m happy. I know when I’m happy. I acknowledge it, and it shines through and I feel it.

I feel empowered. And the reason I know I do? Because Alanis.

:: SOME FAVORITE ALANIS WISDOM ::
People who are in co-dependent relationships believe themselves unworthy of love and so put up with a lot, and compromise too much. Those in securely dependent relationships believe they are worthy of love and believe those around them believe they are worthy of love. YES!!!!

Mindsight –
How the mind can influence relationships, with others and with our own selves. Makes keeping the mind healthy a priority.

Autonomous healing is not the only way – 
The old adage that if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else love you isn’t always true. The best healing can happen in relationships (romantic or otherwise) where you strengthen each other and learn and grow together. Makes sense.

On conflict resolution within a relationship – 
Talk it out. Both say your piece until you feel like you’ve been heard, and then, instead of compromise, talk it out more until you get to a place where you both win. Enlightened.

GO WITHIN: READING FOR THE NEW MOON IN SCORPIO

The 11/11 New Moon in Scorpio brings an opportunity for regeneration at soul level, says Hannah Ariel

Premonitions abound this time of year, as the Sun moves through the enigmatic waters of Scorpio. Perception is heightened. What we experience is essential. On 11/11 we’re in psychic New Moon territory where you can be sure to be guided by the far reaching depth of your desires.

Scorpio has a very sophisticated understanding of what it wants and why. There is an undeniable power to the way this sign manifests, through a mystical blend of intuition and intention – so imagine what a beautifully supernatural omen it is when we have a New Moon here!

With Scorpio, each new beginning speaks to the regeneration of an entire aspect of your life. An intention has the potential to be more than a goal for the foreseeable future, but a deeper commitment, an internal alliance with a truth you know in your gut to be the highest path for yourself.

New Moon seedlings planted in Scorpio will be transformative – and the deeper you go inside yourself to plant, the deeper the root can take hold. And the fiercer the intention will be, able to penetrate right through anything non-essential during the coming weeks. This is the power of Scorpionic manifestation.

Just before la Luna will fully renew herself though, she will make a connection with Mercury, also in Scorpio at 15 degrees. While all 29 degrees of each constellation have significance, the 15th degree is influential in that it represents the halfway point – a reflection point – a moment to go deep before going forward.

From when Mercury entered the first degree of Scorpio, we have been asked to consider the way our inner and outer worlds acknowledge one another through the medium of thought, for better or worse. Just before this New Moon, we have an opportunity to check in and observe if our Mercurial nature has been empowering or dysfunctional, in terms of helping us get what we really and truly want.

Mercury rules the way we perceive connections, and the winged messenger has been moving through Scorpio since November 2nd, directing our thoughts to the shadow side of things and exposing deep underlying truths like nobody’s business. Do not underestimate the power of privacy right now, and use it to pay close attention to what lies in your thoughts.

Look inward. Get as close as you can to the way your thoughts bring you to certain conclusions: what revelations can you gather about the way you maneuver when going after what you want? How have you encouraged or discouraged your intuition this past week? Something is looking to be validated, and there is a vital clue to be unearthed with this New Moon in Scorpio.

Look for the inklings that authenticate what is real for you. Seek out thoughts that focus you on moving in a positive direction, towards what is possible, what you know can hold true for you. The 15th degree is a place to transcend the valleys your thoughts have traversed. Find yourself a new starting point. You will be stronger for it, and the self-knowing behind your intention strengthened.

Chiron in Pisces will also trine Mercury and the New Moon – so whatever you uncover will be part of a healing process. Journal. Sing. Converse. Get the words out! To heal we have to hear ourselves. Verbalize our feelings. Chiron will make it easy for us to cut through negative threads of thought, and enable us to untangle whatever shadow fears and doubts we’ve got tangled up in.

Chiron in Pisces wants the waters to clear. Engaging with healing revelations can make the ritual of setting an intention a deep purification process. Again, what we experience at this time is essential. The more we can know and heal within ourselves, the more metamorphic this lunar cycle will prove itself to be.

Other astrological aspects include a sextile (creative energy that enhances and intensifies) with Jupiter in Virgo, and an in-conjunct (a call to reconciliation) with Uranus in Aries. Here is where this New Moon in Scorpio has the potential to be downright shamanic. Jupiter in Virgo is giving us room for something healing to take place in our physical reality; the landscape expands.

Uranus in Aries is simultaneously asking for us to innovate the context. Just as the shaman must experience multiple dimensions of time and space before seeing and understanding what is present, we have to look to the area where Aries is in our chart to see where else we are being asked to transform our perceptions with this New Moon in Scorpio.

Beyond looking to the house ruled by Scorpio in your natal chart, operate from where Aries is. Think back to the Full Moon Eclipse of September. The area of your life that was awakened then is calling you now, asking to be incorporated into your Scorpio New Moon intentions; adjust accordingly.

This New Moon wants you to manifest from the deepest well of understanding you can muster. It wants you to see results come from a place you don’t normally think to ask. It wants the whispers of your psyche to become evident every which way. The energies of Scorpio want to work with the parts you may often shy away from, for fear of their power.

To connect further with this energy, try simply lying down on the Earth and taking some deep breaths that come from the core. Also, Scorpio rules the colon; the way we eliminate what has been digested. Working with exercises to help unblock this process in the physical body will in turn help unlock your ability to connect more intimately with your power, to feel what’s intuitively going to work for you.

A simple but effective Kundalini yoga exercise: Sit in easy pose with your hands on your knees. Begin rotating the abdominal area in deep, slow, circular motions toward the right, and continue for three minutes. With so much being processed internally with Mercury in Scorpio, it is a time for letting go of all that is non-essential.

SIMPLY ME: REDEFINING SUCCESS THROUGH SELF-KNOWLEDGE

What does “successful” look like to you? Redefining success on your own terms can only be done by going within, says Ruby Warrington.

The SUCCESS bracelet by Melissa Curry

What does “success” mean for me? It’s a question that’s been circling my very being since last summer when I interviewed Arianna Huffington about The Third Metric – her campaign to encourage us all to consider “success” beyond the relentless pursuit of money, accolades and power. And this week, I met a woman who has helped put into words the journey I’ve found myself on.

Melissa Curry is an Irish jewellery designer whose SUCCESS collection features a motivational amulet, designed to be gifted to the woman in your life you want to encourage to be the best she can be. A delicate rose-gold bracelet or necklace features an 18 carat gold bar inscribed with the word “Success.” And if, “the bar represents our inner strength, success can mean…everything,” she told me.

For Curry, whose personal journey has taken her from glittering career in Paris to destitute, single-mother of one, meaning some radical shifts in her own perception of success over the past decade; “it’s not about external power, and, for a woman, it’s certainly not about competing with men. It’s about being you, knowing what makes you tick, what makes your heart work, what makes your mind work, and embodying that.”

YES. Success for me is simply about being true to being me. At work, in my relationships and in my physical body. And this is when I realized that so much of what we cover on The Numinous is about tapping into exactly that.

From learning how to read and work with what the Astro Twins call your “factory settings” in your own astrological chart, to developing your intuition or “psychic powers” or embarking on a transcendental juice fast, isn’t so much of modern new age (what I like to call “now age”) thinking, about seeking to develop a more intimate and comfortable understanding of who we really are on the inside – and, therefore, what we really want?

For me, stepping off the media merry-go-round and leaving a high-profile magazine job to launch my own Internet project last year was the beginning of this journey. Creating something from my heart, working in my own environment, to my own hours and with the people of my own choosing has made me feel successful in ways that far eclipse the glamour, status and influence of my old life.

Of course, the fact that I can also structure my day to include a guided meditation to meet my spirit power animal is by no means going to tick the success box for everybody – but that’s the whole point. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of success.

And the fact I get emails every week thanking me for creating The Numinous is the icing on the cake. It’s also an illustration of how stepping into a definition of success that means something to me personally, I find myself giving something back and having a positive impact on the world around me almost by default.

My friend Jennifer Kass, a happiness coach and self-described “love pioneer” put a brilliant post up on Facebook the other day. In it, she described “The 3 Stages of Human Evolution (from my perspective, of course),” with step one, “Sleeping,” defined as; “Being stuck in a job and/or relationship that is toxic, causing physical mental and emotional ailments, denial, addiction, living in fear, anxiety, suffering, doubt, lack and limitation.”

Step two, “Waking up,” involves using all the Numinous tools – “meditation, self-love, healing, a return to wholeness, freedom, self-knowledge, joy” – to engender step three – “Action.” And here’s where the rubber really meets the road; “We take full responsibility for choices that will change our lives, and we let go of what is no longer serving us by taking courageous action.”

Further, she argues, “Now that we know who we are and what we’re here for, we go out into the world, sharing the gifts and passions we came here to, which in turn perfectly align with ending suffering on the planet in various forms.” A lofty ambition, maybe, but why not? Human suffering – and what alleviates it – comes in many forms too.

I’m not a big one for a motivational quote (quality over quantity, people), but I saw this, from Howard Thurman, at a Lululemon event recently; “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” And knowing your SELF – that is, being in direct conversation with the spirit being piloting your human form on a daily basis – is the only way to answer that question too.

Each piece in Melissa Curry’s collection comes with a little card, where you can write your definition of success. So what does it mean to you?

Melissacurry.com