MOON CLUB: MOONERS AND SHAKERS JAN 2017

What does spiritual activism look like? We’re so inspired by our change-making Moon Club members and their passion projects! Our Mooners and Shakers this month are Danielle Russell and Rachel Hanberry

DANIELLE RUSSELL 

“Basically…we leaped. We saw an opportunity to use our passions and skills to serve a cause we valued.”

The Project
The Women’s March on Washington Archives Project began with a group of archivists inspired by the massive political and social importance of the January 21st Women’s Marches. Taking into account both the marches’ historical context, and the new wave of grassroots activism that fueled it, we’ve dedicated ourselves to ensuring the preservation of women’s voices in this intensely controversial contemporary political climate. Our end goal is to create a digital aggregate that documents this diverse, women-centric, political resistance with the eventual hope that these materials will become publicly available.”

The Breakthrough
“After volunteering my skills to state-level organizers, I reached out to a group of professional archivists to explore both what they had done for similar protests in the past and how they were currently responding to this event. I was pointed towards Documenting Ferguson and the Baltimore Uprising Archive, but there hadn’t been any efforts yet for the Women’s March. My co-administrator created a Facebook group, and we just started planning from the ground up. I sent out cold-call emails and she collaborated with her mentors to collect oral histories on a national (and now global!) scale. We started laying the groundwork for photographs and physical materials to have homes, and we reached out to state and city-level organizers to lend legitimacy to our team’s efforts.”

The Wider Mission
“I firmly believe that archivists actively shape documentary heritage to reflect the broad spectrum of human experience, and that marginalized voices and experiences have been overlooked in the archival record. We have to pay attention to ‘hot spots,’ where people object to or suggest variations from the official narrative of state or societal structures. Ideally, the culmination of these documentation efforts is a comprehensive image of society that includes public hopes and dreams, frustrations and failures, and activities and movements, all preserved in their original voices.”

The Inner Work
“As archivists, we are not impartial caretakers, but socially conditioned, subjective humans who are trying to be very transparent in our work. While my co-administrator and I are both women who deeply feel the importance of this next wave of feminist activism, obviously we can’t, and the WMW organizers do not, speak for all feminists or the entire Feminist movement. While this next wave of feminism aims to be truly intersectional, we also recognize the controversy that surrounded the Women’s March on Washington having been conceived by white women, and we are beginning to hear more from voices that complicate and enrich the narrative. Acknowledging this personally, and within the scope of the Project, is so important to the growth of the movement, but also to my own growth as a scholar, a feminist, and an activist.”

Moon Club Inspiration
“This project was conceived because of my participation in Moon Club, and is directly born out of my quarterly journaling exercises. After we worked in Moon Club on the idea of developing a service practice, I started looking into archival activism. I wanted to figure out how my skills could be used in the causes and movements I supported. In addition, the open and varied discussions with diverse women (and some men!) have expanded my practice of deep listening. Listening to their voices talking about their lives needs to be a fundamental part of my activism.”

Follow Danielle Russell on Instagram and Twitter, and check out the WMW Archives Project on Facebook and Twitter.

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RACHEL HANBERRY

“Is being sober and sane the new sexy?”

The Project
The Sobriety Club is a subscription club that supports and provides connection for people who have consciously decided to quit any kind of addiction. In this Age of Awakening, negative addictions make us less conscious. When we are free from addiction, the fog dissipates and we can clearly see the light-filled path towards our true selves. The Sobriety Club’s mission is to support individuals on that path. I know all too well that this can be challenging, and understand that connection to others on the same path can ease the pressure to conform to social norms of negative addictions.”

The Breakthrough
“Before finding my true calling, I lived the London party lifestyle—consuming copious amounts of alcohol and participating in occasional drug use. At first it was fun, but it quickly became a coping strategy and a way for me to survive my own life. I was drowning in despair, self-loathing and hatred. I knew that alcohol didn’t serve me or my purpose in life, but found it hard to separate fun from the substances. I was so conditioned to consume and often felt boring if I didn’t drink.

Yoga transformed me, and I discovered I was born to be a yoga teacher and coach. Through teaching and coaching, it became clear to me that others were suffering from the same issues. Yet even after many years away from my former London lifestyle, I would have periods of drinking, and gradually lose my own light the more my alcohol consumption increased. The Sobriety Club was born to help me keep my word to myself and to support others who want to be clean, light-filled, and focused but find themselves trapped in this cycle.”

Rachel teaching free yoga on the beach

The Wider Mission  
“My wider mission in the world is to help others to evolve their own lives. Through yoga classes, meditation, coaching programs, workshops, retreats, and teacher training courses at Yoga Beach House I give people the tools to learn to live in the present, fully and abundantly without the constraints of the past or future. I enable other people to be their best selves.”

Moon Club Inspiration
“During the last Moon Salon, I was really inspired to reach out to Ruby after hearing her talk about alcohol. As we come together to share ideas, resources, and ourselves, it’s been so inspiring to witness Moon Club members encourage each other’s enlightenment and growth of consciousness!”

Discover more about The Sobriety Club, Rachel’s Organic Products, and Yoga Beach House, and make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Want to join the cosmic crusade? Sign-up for Moon Club, our monthly membership and coaching program where astrology, community, and activism combine to help you create a life of passion, purpose, and pleasure! 

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PERSONAL FREEDOM

Beautifully simple and immediately accessible, Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements offers a practical guide to personal freedom. Kelsey J. Patel explores this tiny volume’s startling powers and invites us to use the tome’s teachings to make a pact with ourselves in 2017. Artwork: Charlotte Rawlings

In an endless sea of spiritual self-help guides, Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is consistently at the top of must-read lists. Yet, for some strange reason, I resisted its call for many years. But like all necessary teachings, the tome finally found me when I was ready to be found. About a year and a half ago, I finally saw it on my bookshelf staring down at me, and I knew it was the moment to open myself to its wisdom. It was brilliant. I felt myself shifting with every turn of the page. The slender volume’s simplicity was startling and empowering, and I quickly made it a magically mandatory reading for my private practice clients. I delighted in watching their own shifts and aha moments that were so similar to mine.

In 2017, I invite you to practice these luminously simple tenets for a fully-engaged life.

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The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word

TRANSLATION: Words carry a powerful vibration that creates your reality, and when used in alignment with the higher good they are magical, forceful builders of your most amazing life. Equally, they can erode your life or the lives of others when not used in alignment with this higher vibration. When you practice an aligned way of speaking, both internally and externally, you take full responsibility for your actions, and release any judgment or blame by speaking from this place of kindness and truth.

MY AHA MOMENT: This became a big deal for me when I noticed how I would always say things like, “Oh, you know me, I love to sleep in. I’m not good at waking up early,” or “I’m not very good at relaxing.” Suddenly I realized I was creating my reality with those words and phrases, and as I kept telling myself and others these stories, I came to believe them. Being impeccable with my word has taught me to distinguish between the things I’ve “always said” and the things that are actually true.

YOUR PACT: Listen closely to your words and the words of those around you. Write a list of the most common words and phrases you say about yourself that are somewhat judgmental or unkind. Then, write a list of the words and phrases you want to create, feel, and activate in your life this year. Start saying those words and phrases out loud and silently, and watch how things begin to unfold differently.

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

TRANSLATION: We each come to the table with distinctive life experiences, fears, insecurities, and understandings of the world. Our role is not to take on anyone else’s personal experiences and energies, but rather to give ourselves permission to separate what is mine from what is yours. We can extend great love and compassion to others, but ultimately we must bear sole responsibility for our own lives.

MY AHA MOMENT: When teachers and students of mine would enter our shared practice space, I noticed that I would always unconsciously shift my energy to match theirs or feel myself shut down if they were being cold or short-tempered. This agreement allowed me to start compassionately showing up with other humans who were having a rough time while not letting this energy overtake my own. Whatever I’m bringing up for another person by being myself is not really any of my business. My business is to receive the words and energies of others and use them as a gateway to connect with myself and my own center.

YOUR PACT: Write out a list of the people you currently feel upset with for whatever reason. Start to envision the energy of their hurtful words or actions traveling back to their particular life experience. Understand that what they’re upset with is likely something bigger and deeper that goes way beyond you. Return to the names on your list and write a letter to each person that shares everything you feel. Reread your letters and explore how both their words, and your response to them, stems from each of your distinctive life histories. If you can lovingly send words and feelings back to the ones who have hurt you and not take their pain personally, you can claim your own feelings from your center.

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Any Assumptions

TRANSLATION: So often, our minds run off with absolutes, beliefs, and assumptions before we actually know anything, and so much of our pain and suffering stems from this process. If each of us gave ourselves permission to curiously look at life without believing we already know the outcome, we would give ourselves the chance to experience our lives and each other in all of our surprising complexity.

MY AHA MOMENT: From assuming the pushy woman on the train is a rude person to assuming the annoying chatty guy on the bus is completely unaware of other people’s space, I’ve had many moments of superficial judgment that deny others their fullest complexity. One of the most difficult assumptions I made in my life was thinking that I could transform my mother’s severe depression and create her happiness. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to realize that this assumption was causing so much of my own suffering in life. She is now happy and healthy, but all of her own doing.

YOUR PACT: Write out a list of the daily assumptions you make; from the way you assume things about people you don’t know to assumptions you make about your own life in its past, present, and future incarnations. Sit for a 10-15 minute meditation and look at each assumption one by one. Close your eyes, and see your assumption dissolving. Spend a minute or two on each item until you complete your list. How does it feel to let go of these absolutes and open up to the experience of living as it reveals itself to you?

 

The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best

TRANSLATION: This agreement serves as a pillar for the first three because it reminds us that we do not need to be perfect, not even when implementing the agreements. Instead, we can always do our best to meet ourselves exactly where we are. Some days your best will feel amazing and other days your best will feel drained. That’s ok. It’s about allowing yourself to do your best from whatever space you’re in without demanding anything more or less than what you are in that moment.

MY AHA MOMENT: As a business owner, I’ve been very hard on myself over the years. This agreement has given me so much permission to keep showing up, even when the business is not succeeding. I’ve used this agreement many times as I prepared to teach some of my very first classes and workshops, when I was nervous and frightened about how my teachings would be received. In those moments, I would take a deep breath and see this agreement scrolling across my mind and suddenly I could relax and just do what I came to do. Now, I have so much compassion for myself and have learned to let go of my desire to control any situation. I simply show up and do my best, and allow that to be enough.

YOUR PACT: Write this agreement on your mirror or post it on the fridge. Take this agreement with you, every day this year. Especially when you’re nervous or unclear or you feel fear coming up inside. Notice when you start to create demands or use phrases like “I should,” or “I’m supposed to,” and say to yourself, “I give myself permission to simply do my best in this moment.”

Kelsey J. Patel is the owner of Pure Barre Beverly Hills, a yoga instructor, leading meditation teacher, reiki master, intuitive healer, EFT specialist, and spiritual empowerment coach.