7 WAYS TO TAKE A SPIRITUAL STAYCATION

Think you have to join an ashram or book a flight to Bali to get elevated this summer? Just step out your apartment door and start your spiritual staycation … Main Image: Darby Society 

How do you want to feel this summer? Kick-start your summertime spiritual journey this Memorial Day weekend with a local choose-your-own adventure that’s perfect for Gemini Season’s curious explorations …

***Want the perfect on-the-go guide to cultivating the 7 intentions below? We’ve teamed up with Jessica Caplan & Ally Bogard of SoundMind to offer Numi readers a special $11 discount on their digital meditation series with Code: numinous. 

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:: GROUND ::

Play: Find creative inspo at your local corner store.
Who says you have to journey into nature with a capital “N” to conjure earthy vibes? Meditate on the origins of all the luscious provisions in a local shop. Think about the rich dirt that the ingredients came from, the changing weather conditions the plants experienced, and the trip they took to arrive all the way here.

Taste: Host an impromptu afternoon picnic in a local park using only the shop’s ingredients or other farm-to-table delights.

Style: Earth Goddess Chic. Locally-crafted threads, flowy maxi skirts, strappy sandals, bangles, and undone locks.

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:: MANIFEST ::

Play: Let the streets become your tarot deck.
Pay attention. As you travel through your day, notice left behind objects and pieces of so-called “trash.” Let the tiny things you’ve found become tools of divination. Treat them like a tarot deck. What do they reveal about your life right now? How can you use them as intention-setting totems for what you’d like to manifest?

Taste: Bento boxes, tapas platters, buffets, fortune cookies.

Style: Modern Mystic. Body-con jumpsuits punctuated by pops of crystals, gems, and feathers.

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:: LET GO ::

Play: Travel to a neighborhood you’ve never even heard of and get totally lost.
Shut your phone off and leave the maps at home. Ride the train to the end of the line or wait at an unfamiliar bus stop and hop on the first one that arrives. Get out whenever you’re pulled towards a place name. Experiment with walking more slowly than you normally would through the streets. Smell the air. Is it different from your home turf? Get completely lost. Trust that you’ll find your way back home when it’s time.

Taste: Speak to a stranger and ask for directions to their favorite snack spot.

Style: Urban Nomad. Delirious mixes of prints and patterns, caftans, and colorful combat boots.

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:: APPRECIATE ::

Play: Do something unabashedly touristy
Suspend your ideas about “good taste” and your identity as an insider. Wait in line for a show that everyone wants to see. Snap pics at the most Insta-worthy spots. Hop on a tour bus or ferry. Get unapologetically joyous as you innocently open yourself to the experience, however corny it may seem.

Taste: Crowded, famous, family-style spots with your city’s classic dishes.

Style: Sporty Spice. High-tops, sparkly backpacks, primary palettes, and logo tees.

:: ACCEPT ::

Play: Descend into a crowded street.
Step directly into the fray and let yourself be swallowed up. Get jostled and brushed. Feel it all. Annoyance. Rage. And then … a delicious sense of your own status as a tiny speck in a dazzling whole. Notice a shade of lipstick or a colored fabric that makes someone’s eyes sparkle. Crowd surf on the crush of humanity. Let the street corner become an ocean tide as you’re lifted and carried. Accept whichever direction it takes you.

Taste: Street cart eats. Savor whatever flavors come your way without thinking twice.

Style: Beach Beauty. Raffia, halter tops, and neutral palettes perfect for drifting.

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:: FOCUS ::

Play: Look out from a vista point. 
Ascend to the top of a high-rise or trek to a viewing point, and gaze upon the kingdom. Focus in on a singular structure far down below. Think of the effort it took to build it, its history, and the people who are inside right now. And then, look beyond the structure and past the borders of your city. Imagine everything that exists beyond the edges, and your own future possibilities.

Taste: Ceremonial epicurean delights. Get fancy with foodie insider spots and a full-on feast fit for a queen.

Style: Off-duty Boss Lady. High-waisted jeans, button-down silk blouses, killer heels, and gold accents.

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:: SLEEP ::

Play: Meditate on the distant sounds of traffic.
Tuck back into your apartment at the end of the day and release completely into the white noise of the city. Bathe in the sounds of life going on without you. Let the distant shouts and rush of traffic reveal a buzzing city’s heartbeat that lives without you needing to make any effort. Let the feeling of having nothing to prove carry you to sleep.

Taste: Open the windows wide and just breathe in the crazy mashup of scents.

StylePure nakedness.

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SoundMind is the labor of love of vocalist/sound therapy practitioner Jessica Caplan and yoga/meditation teacher Ally Bogard. Both practical and ethereal, the series combines intuitive, intentional sound with breathwork, guided meditation, and visualization. 

TEMPLE OF VENUS: BEAUTY IMAGE BEAUTIFUL

In her latest Temple of Venus column, Elyssa Jakim discovers that even among spiritual circles, body image issues persist…Images: Karis Wakeling-Farren 

Beauty. Isn’t that a gorgeous word? Look at how it sits on the page: regal with all those vowels. I’ve always adored words with lots of vowels: elegant, exquisite, gorgeous, pleasing. Beauty is such an angel word.

Recently in a meditation, I heard the message: “You are more beautiful than you think you are.” This message struck me—it brought a sad little pang to my heart. When I thought more about it, I realized I’ve been experiencing one of those periods where I look in the mirror and think I look weird. Where I’m breaking out more than usual, where I don’t feel particularly connected to my sensual side, where, I don’t know, I just don’t “feel beautiful,” you know?

And I know what it’s about, really, this denial of beauty. I’ve been dancing with body image issues since I was thirteen. There was something wrong with my belly! Why did it stick out from my body like that? Why was I the only one with a strange belly like this? At 17, when other stresses kicked in, I acted on these thoughts and began dieting. I struggled from compulsive dieting for the next eight years.

I had grown up wanting to be an actress, famously a profession of body image perfectionism. When I was 19, I spent my summer as an apprentice at a theatre festival. I recall hanging out in a circle of about 10 women, and the conversation turned to food and dieting. It became clear to me that all these young women who wanted to be actresses had struggled with or were struggling with eating disorder.

All these gorgeous women who I knew as gorgeous because of their insides, their passionate outlook and fearlessness on stage, were folding themselves in one way or another in order to feel included in an exclusive industry: in order to feel included in their own dreams. It was the first time I realized how much I wasn’t alone in this “bad body image” compulsion. And, of course, it’s not just actresses who go through this. It’s all of us.

As years have passed, I feel better about me. A lot. I’m no longer dieting, and I feel I can accept whatever it is I have chosen to eat. However, I now find myself in many other women’s circles that mirror the above one. Healing circle. Meditation Circle. Brunch table. And to tell you the truth, even though these are circles of loving, empowered people, I’m often still worrying about the size of my belly.

The tendency toward self-blame is always there lingering in the background—and I’d like to posit that it is for many of us. It’s an elephant in our yoga studios and sound baths. We’ve had so much programming about how we’re supposed to look for our whole lives, that body anxiety just feels like a channel many of us have been set to. Especially if you live in a trendy city, and the street suggests fashion putting your body on show.

In groups and even just among friends, I’ve started paying attention to when my body image insecurity comes up. I get in touch with my inner knowing and I ask, “Is this mine?” Often, I hear “no.” It belongs to a peer. It belongs to a friend. Doing this has helped me understand, once again, that I am truly not alone in my insecurity. That it is SO MANY OF US who feel not right in ourselves.

Everyone, everyone has that something: “I’ve got a great body, but my skin sucks.” “I love my hips but my eyes kind of cross sometimes and I think I look messed up.” “My face is weird.” “I should look more masculine.” “I should look more feminine.” We compartmentalize ourselves and obsess over our “wrong” thing. So of course, even if the thought is usually not mine, it IS mine too. It’s all of ours. And we “empath” it back and forth to one another.

At this point, I’d like to bring up that this is the ego’s favorite myth, that: “There is something wrong with me.” Psychologist Tara Brach brilliantly describes this concept in her book Radical Acceptance:

[T]he universal sense that “something is wrong” easily solidifies into “something is wrong with me.” When I look into my own feelings of unworthiness, sometimes I can’t point to any significant way I’m actually falling short. Yet just this feeling of being a self, separate from others, brings up a fundamental assumption that I am not okay…Believing that we are separate, incomplete, and therefore at risk, is not some malfunction of nature. Rather, this perception is an intrinsic part of our human experience—indeed of all life.

Brach makes it clear: it’s our sense of alone-ness that makes us feel wrong. The great irony of course is that we’re all together in feeling separate. And there is nothing wrong with you or me or us. There may, however, be something wrong with the society we live in (“The universal sense that something is wrong…”). There may be something wrong with the messages that we ingest and unknowingly propagate.

The author today

But what is the gift of these insane societal standards? What is the gift of the insecurity?

Disagreeing with the ego’s unloving ideas strengthens the mind and soul. When you choose to say “no” to this habit of self-attack, when you choose love in favor of compulsion, you are growing. You are claiming your worth. You are getting stronger each time. Whenever we actively proclaim the Truth to the unloving self, we are paving the way for freedom.

Choose an affirmation today for your unloving habit and resolve to challenge it in order to gain freedom. Mine is: “I know that these fears about my body are untrue. I know I am so much more than this body. I surrender these fears to love.” This can, of course, be applied to any flavor of compulsion, not just body perfectionism. And of course, whenever we free ourselves, we free our sisters and brothers, too. The grip of group insecurity relaxes, we’re all getting spiritually lighter together. Which, in my humble opinion, is way more important than physical lightness. This is a spiritual workout!

These hurts also build empathy and compassion. How could I, Elyssa, help others love their bodies if I hadn’t run the whole gamut of fear and love in my own thinking? Thus our misfortunes become our miracles.

I told a friend about my meditation, the one in which I heard, “You are more beautiful than you think you are.”

“What do you mean by that?” He asked. “Physically?”

“Yes, physically.”

“Go to your heart,” he said. “Go to your heart. That’s where beauty lives. Focus on the feelings inside your heart and you will know you’re beautiful. Then your whole self responds.”

I love this. And, it is true. And when I talked to Venus, Venus told me: “You are all beautiful. You are all divine. You are all so much more radiant than you know.” Go to your heart. Find the beauty and resilience there. “Heart.” That’s got a nice vowel assortment too.

PS: This post marks my one-year anniversary of writing for the Numinous! From Spring to Spring, I am grateful for all of the gifts.

Need more Venus inspiration? Check out Elyssa’s last Temple of Venus column on the practice of receiving.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: YOGI SWEATS, AND A SHAMANIC CLOSET CLEAR OUT

Time for another shamanic closet clear out – PLUS sound baths, breathwork, and the latest in the plant-based revolution…

 

:: MONDAY ::
Skype date with beautiful yogini Shona Virtue (above) – a.k.a. one of the main reasons we are RE-LAUNCHING OUR YOGI SWEATSHIRT LINE! Shona picked up a couple of the original (v v limited edition, pretty much sold to friends-and-family only) sweats, and has been on at us to make more ever since. So we listened. And they’re going on sale reeeeeealy soon! The pic is a behind-the-scenes peak from our photo-shoot this week. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when they go on sale – and maybe win one too!

:: TUESDAY ::
I hadn’t actually planned anything special for Eclipse night, and so I figured a last minute invite to a sound bath meditation hosted by Well+Good co-founder Melisse Gelula and her friend Summer Rayne (real name) sounded just about perfect. Plus the sound bath itself was being performed by Sara Auster – whose name had literally crossed my radar three times in the past week. It was beautiful, and a precursor to further group meditations in Summer Rayne’s Brooklyn apartment. So let’s just talk about the apartment for a moment…The girl is plant CRAZY, and has created an actual. Freaking. Urban jungle in her home. Full story (on her basically teaching me how to cure my “black thumb” – since I seem to kill anything green that enters my auric field) + pics to follow in a future post…

Sound bath good to go

:: WEDNESDAY ::
Psychic closet clear-out! I first enlisted the help of a psychic to help me to an energetic blitz on my closet a couple of years ago, and having moved twice since then things had been getting kind of messy again. Enter Colleen McCann, a stylist-turned-shaman, who essentially does this FOR A LIVING. To kick our session off she read my crystals (yes this is a thing), and used my birth chart details to map my Ba Gua – kind of feng-shui-meets-human-design (I know!!) to map the power places in my apartment / wardrobe. Then we hit the rails. Not enough red (my power color), and everything needs to be reorganized by clothes for my behind-the-scenes vs. front-of-camera life (to invite more “front of camera” opportunities in). To finish, Colleen ran her hands over every piece – and anything holding any extra dense energy had to go, to create space for more high-vibe alternatives. Including a pair of McQueen stilettos, beautiful but wicked painful relics from my “old life” (and which are currently sitting in the Eleven Consignment boutique on NYC’s First Avenue, just FYI).

VERY SPECIAL CRYSTALS in Colleen’s Shamanic “mesa” (medicine bag) + neon pink nails #materialgirlmysticalworld

:: THURSDAY ::
JUST YES RAVI DEROSSI – the vegan restaurateur dedicated to bringing plant-based eating to the hipster masses. Like in his East Village tiki bar Mother Of Pearl, where vegan chef Daphne Cheng has just launched an entirely meat-free menu of bar snacks and small plates. I met Daphne there today to talk future Numinous projects (she also hosts supper clubs at her space Exhibit C – sign up for info about what we’ve got planned) and got to sample a ridiculous Edemame Spring Rolls and King Trumpet Mushroom Crudo. #plantpower #futuroffood

:: FRIDAY ::
Date-night with Erin Telford – because, Breathwork. I’ve written many times about how much I love this incredibly healing, vibe-raising, multiple-crygasm inducing pranayama workshop, but it’s not something I do on the regular. Rather, my body will just be like “GO. NOW” whenever some stuff has come up that needs to be breathed out. Like, y’know, the Friday night following a FULL ON Pisces New Moon Solar Eclipse…Click the pic below for Erin’s upcoming Breathwork schedule 

 

PIECES OF ME: WHAT IS A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?

Maggie Harrsen of Puakai Healing explains how our soul can become fragmented when we experience trauma, an what exactly happens in a Soul Retrieval ceremony. Images: Prince Lauder

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SOUL NEEDS RETRIEVING?
To first understand if a Soul Retrieval Ceremony may be beneficial for you, it is important to know the signs of Soul Loss (see below). During Soul Loss a piece of our soul, our light essence, flees the body in order to survive a traumatic or shocking experience. Examples of situations that may cause Soul Loss are: all forms of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual), death of a loved one, divorce, separation, natural disasters, accidents, surgery and any distress during rites of passage.

THAT SOUNDS PAINFUL…SO WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SOUL LOSS?

Soul Loss could manifest in any of the below:
A feeling of being lost or incomplete
Chronic depression, anxiety or grief
Feeling disconnected from all of life
Feeling “out of body”
The sense that you haven’t been “the same” after a certain event
Chronic illness and ongoing misfortune
Blocked memory
Lack of joy
An inability to make decisions
Addictive behavior patterns
Being disconnected from your intuition
A loss of energy

IF OUR SOUL FRAGMENTS WHEN WE EXPERIENCE TRAUMA, WHERE DOES IT GO TO RETREAT?
According to the Qero paq’os (healers) of the Andean mystical tradition, when a soul part flees our body it goes to the Ukhu Pacha, the place of the underworld where Pachamama, our Cosmic Mother lives. Being our Earth Mother, she is able to keep these parts of our soul safe until we’re ready to receive them back. It is my belief that in order to fulfil our soul’s particular mission on Earth, we need all of our soul parts restored and within us!

It is also interesting to note that in indigenous cultures, if a little one falls and breaks a limb or witnesses the death of an elder, the healer will perform a ceremony on their behalf right away. In Western culture, the understanding of our energetic body and the spiritual causes of illness are not so recognised or well understood, so restoring all the parts of our soul can often mean going back decades.

HOW SHOULD YOU PREPARE FOR A SOUL RETRIEVAL CEREMONY?
In the Soul Retrieval Ceremony we are working within the luminous energy field (the energy bubble that surrounds and informs the physical body) so the only preparation is in our intention, as this is what drives energy. And in a Soul Retrieval Ceremony our intention is simple – we are calling back any lost soul parts that are ready and willing to return to the individual right now.

When we create sacred space and have an openness and willingness for healing to occur, it simply happens. My role in ceremony is holding this space for individuals to heal themselves. The most important element for me is trust – to build trust with my client and create a space in which they feel safe to completely open, like a blossoming flower. It is through our own courage and will that we are able to heal ourselves and, in turn, heal the Earth.

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS IN THE CEREMONY?
The ceremony takes place either inside a space or outside in nature. The client will lay comfortably on the ground with blankets and pillows and I will sit at their side. I will begin by preparing sacred space, using the smoke of the Palo Santo wood and other various rituals, and then I will gently guide the client into a relaxed place of stillness. They will remain laying down – resting and focusing on their breath for the duration of the ceremony.

Together we will set our intention and go into an altered state of consciousness through the sound of various instruments, including a rattle, drum and bells. As the healer, I journey outside of time and space to my guiding spirits who assist me in locating and understanding why these light essences, or soul parts, originally left.

They are then brought back and restored to the individual through my breath, as I blow them into their heart center and crown of the head. We then move into the transmutation sequence of the ceremony, where the client absorbs the light of their soul into every cell of their being. During this time, I play various high vibrational instruments and music. To complete the ceremony, the client gently sits up, sipping a glass of water and I share my healing story, focusing on the gifts that were restored. The client may also share any visions, sensations or experiences they had during their ceremony.

AND HOW DO PEOPLE FEEL AFTERWARDS?
Since we are all unique as human beings, everyone feels differently after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. Some individuals may feel sleepy and some are buzzing with energy. Some feel emotional. Some feel a shift in physical sensation and perception. Some feel nothing. Many feel deep peace and relaxation, and most individuals report a sense of being grounded and “in their body”. Individuals often express they feel at home again. In the days and months after a Soul Retrieval Ceremony most individuals report significant life changes.

SUCH AS…
I have heard people report all of the following:
A sense of spiritual harmony
Greater wellbeing and vitality
Healing of physical dis-ease
Clarity/remembering of the soul path
Unconditional love for the self
Restoration of individual gifts
Depression replaced with joy
Renewed relationships
An ability to be their authentic self
Courage to follow their dreams
A deeper connection to the natural world

Find out more about Maggie Harrsen and Puakai Healing here, and check out the details of her upcoming Hamptons retreat, which takes place July 27 and 28 2015

13 WAYS TO HAVE A HIGH VIBE LONDON FASHION WEEK

Fashion Week is essentially ego central. Here are 13 ways to channel your inner Unicorn, and transcend the tantrums and the auric trauma…Words and illustrations: Erin Petson

Meditate in the toilets, while the other bloggers and writers star gaze for the nearest wifi, plug socket or mobile phone signal. A moment of solace.

Channel your inner guru when you actually should be taking notes or making scathingly hilarious remarks about the lack of celebs on the front row with some secret speed journaling.

Guzzle vast amounts of the highest vibrational green juice you can get your hands on. When it’s being given out for free at the showcases, 10 bottles in your handbag is, like, totally fine.

Take time to ground yourself with your standing only ticket. You’ve got plenty of time before the show starts to grow those roots.

Snort the must potent hormonal balancing essential oil you can find whenever possible. With oestrogen bombs exploding all around, it’s time to take cover.

Practise the art of being a lighthouse, we don’t want any shipwrecks.

Step out for a quick ‘smoke’ between shows – my preference is sage, and never at a bus stop.

Practice looking fabulously nonchalant while secretly watching Doreen Virtue on youtube (and naughtily using up that precious phone juice).

Actual tree hugging is obviously a big no-no. However, gravitating towards the nearest potted plant for a wee pet, totally fine.

Drape yourself with as many crystals as humanly and stylishly possible.

Dress witchy enough to get a good 6ft auric field clearance.

Make vast amounts of protein rich chia seed pudding and keep it in a coffee cup, as not to draw to attention to your secret attempt at at super-food stop-gap.

…And when your five days on the tundra are up, gong it all out with the mother of all sound baths.

How will you keep your aura clean and serene during London Fashion Week? Share your tips with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!