MY MYSTICAL LIFE: 5 REASONS WE ALL NEED STORY MEDICINE

#throatchakraproblems making it hard to share your truths? Here’s why Story Medicine is a way for us all to feel seen …

Photo: Caitlin Mitchell

When I first started regularly attending healing circles, I would always be holding my breath until after the “sharing” part. The part where, once everyone is seated and before you get into whatever teaching is about to happen, you’re invited to share with the group what brought you to the workshop, or some other detail from your life / healing journey.

Well, here’s an impression of me waiting for my turn—*sweaty palms, heart-racing, trying-to-work-out-what-I’m-going-to-say, if-I-can-get-it-out-past-the-lump-in-my-throat.* Sometimes, I would even fid myself choking back tears as I voiced whatever my “thing” was.

I know I am not alone with my #throatchakraproblems. When the importance of speaking up is not something you’ve ever been taught, if you haven’t been listened to when you do, or if you (or you mom or Grandma, for that matter) have ever experienced a period in your life where it hasn’t felt safe to use your voice, then there could be a serious blockage.

One that must be dissolved with love, become tears, before you can speak confidently from your heart again.

Which is what was actually happening in all those awkward moments. Why else would it feel so frightening to share my stories with these lovely humans, who had also just shared their stories with me? Each time I spoke, no matter how painful, I was chipping away at a lifetime (several lifetimes, actually) of the internalized belief that my voice, my story, did not count.

But the truth is, all our stories matter. They matter to us, because without the experiences we have lived we would not even be “us.” And they matter to others, because other people’s stories are how we fill in the gaps. Are a mirror in which to witness our reactions and judgements, and to become aware of our own blind spots.

And because of what I’ve learned about myself and others, about human nature, in those uncomfortable sharing circles, they’ve become my favorite thing. To the point I now co-lead workshops with Alexandra Roxo where the sharing part IS the workshop—where the stories are the medicine.

Our next Story Medicine circle will be in NYC on March 19. You can check out the details HERE.

Read on for five more reasons why we all need story medicine …

1 // All our stories need to be seen. We live in a world where certain people’s stories are deemed more important than others. Where some voices are louder, while others go unheard. But this does not create a full picture of our experience as one human family. Sharing our stories out loud, having our perspective, our suffering, our joy, be seen and heard by others, goes some way towards redressing the balance.

2 // Stories help us become whole. But not the social media kind of stories. We’ve learned that it’s good to be “vulnerable” and “real” online-but when you don’t know who’s listening and whether they are truly holding space for our highest good, it’s actually not 100 percent safe. As Brené Brown reminds us: “Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story?'” We know this instinctively, and so we edit and hold back. At our ritualized Story Medicine circles, Alexandra and I create a conscious container for us to see and be seen in our wholeness. We banish judgment, and place the emphasis on deep, empathetic listening. This is where the medicine lives.

3 // Stories take away shame. It’s the stories we think make us “weird” that it feels least safe to share. In her work, Brené Brown teaches that this is because we’re terrified of being perceived as “other,” for fear of being cast out of our social groups. And yet when we practice Story Medicine, we begin to understand that nobody is weird, or other-because everybody is. We begin to understand that it’s our quirks and differences that make our human jigsaw puzzle so multi-faceted and beautiful.

4 // Stories help us heal ourselves. We all love the way movies paint a picture in our minds, transporting us to whole new worlds. But this isn’t just “escapism.” I recently learned from hypnotherapist Shauna Cummins that watching a movie puts our brain into the same trance state that shamans use. In this state, our “imagination” helps us access our own healing powers, in the form of messages from our subconscious. When we practice deep listening, allowing ourselves to sink deeply into the colors, textures, and emotion of other people’s stories, we go to the place in ourselves where self-healing happens.

5 // Our stories are our art. How we see the world is utterly unique to us. And like all the most moving works of art, Story Medicine allows us to see the world through the eyes of others. Broadens our perspective and helps us see into the shadows. But making art isn’t just for painters, and musicians! When we paint a picture with our words, our stories offer those listening a window in to our world, as we get to process the path we have walked and make our life into our art.

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Story Medicine is also the heart of mine and Alexandra’s teachings in Moon Club, and our Moon Ambassadors regularly host FREE Story Medicine meet-ups for members and their guests all over the world. Click HERE for more info and to join our growing tribe.

OUR MOON MAGIC RETREAT WILL HELP YOU FIND YOUR SOUL PURPOSE

Numinous founder Ruby Warrington introduces a very special Moon Magic Retreat with her and Alexandra Roxo—a weekend deep dive to get aligned with your soul purpose (for real!)

Last year, Alexandra Roxo, Elyssa Jakim and I teamed up with Maha Rose North to host our very first Numinous retreat—a weekend deep dive into our love stories, and a celebration of sacred sisterhood. This year, Alexandra and I are back July 21—23 with a very special MOON MAGIC RETREAT: A DEEP DIVE TO DISCOVER YOUR SOUL PURPOSE.

To say last year’s weekend upstate was life-changing is an understatement, as that weekend kicked off a year of the most profound growth for me. In the following months, I collaborated with Alexandra to create Moon Club; I have overcome my fear of public speaking; I published my first book (!); and I have got clearer than ever about my unique gifts and contribution to humanity.

Most recently (and most importantly, actually) I received an email from my mom telling me how she believes the work I’m doing with my life now is healing the “mother and woman” wounds for the females in my family lineage. This note came from out of the blue, and I know in my heart, soul, and bones, that it was our retreat that fully aligned me with this very personal mission. (You can read more about how and why I know this here.)

Never before have I experienced such spiritual alchemy. Sure, Alexandra, Elyssa and I were the anointed “leaders” of the experience, but the circle of love, support and growth we created with our retreat sisters affected me to my CORE. It also made me understand how any time a group comes together with the intention to truly create a shift, we are all equal participants in the process. We each have a unique and vital role to play.

And this year, Alexandra and I have set the stage for a weekend that takes this theme even DEEPER. The big important message of my book, is that the time has arrived in human history for us to become equal participants in healing the mother & woman wounds of our Mama Earth. And that this mission, should you choose to accept it, will bring you more purpose, more fulfillment, more abundance, and more ADVENTURE than in your wildest dreams!

So, are you with us?

The full itinerary for this year’s retreat is below, with pricing options and details of a special FULL MOON DISCOUNT that’s valid through midnight Friday June 16!

Accommodations at Maha Rose North

FRIDAY NIGHT—Opening Ceremony: FINDING YOUR SOUL PURPOSE.
Ritual with Alexandra and Ruby to open the container for a weekend spent deepening your relationship to your purpose and your mission with ritualized intention. Set your intention for the weekend and drill down into your Soul Purpose, with a group ritual and 1-2-1 coaching.

SATURDAY MORNING—MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: ASTRO 101 with Ruby
Learn how to open up astrology as a tool for aligning with your Soul Purpose, using your birth chart as a blueprint to tap your unique mission in this incarnation! Ruby will also share insights from her own journey of marrying of the material and mystical, and living a life of total alignment.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON—HUSTLE & FLOW WORKSHOP with Alexandra
How to do your Spiritual Hustle while keeping the Mystical Flow alive! Alexandra will share her medicine on helping you align with you Soul Purpose through partner work, writing work, and some deep investigation of your path. We’ll finish with a Shamanic Journey that takes the work offline and majorly deep. Some things we will touch on: How to Run a Spiritual Business, How to Deal with “Haters,” How to Keep it Mystical in a non-mystical workplace, and all kinds of other goodies!

SWIM BREAK!

SATURDAY EVENING—NEW MOON FEAST + FIRE RITUAL.
Ritualized plant-based feast to celebrate the Leo New Moon! We will break out into groups to do some deeper work on our Soul intentions, finishing with a Moon Fire Ritual to anchor in what energy has moved and what we need to release moving forward. After dinner we will do a potent releasing ritual with an outdoor fire.

SUNDAY MORNING—STORY MEDICINE: TIME FOR A NEW STORY.
Share your story. We want to hear from your heart. You blocks. Who you wanna be. Who you’ve been. Throughout the weekend you’ll have found the story you want to share today. Could be letting go of an old one or calling in a new one. Ritualized, intentional story-telling is both a cathartic release and an opportunity to feel connected to others by our shared human experiences. Let’s close our experience using the power of words as spells, to create the lives we want to live.

CLOSING BRUNCH.
A final festive feast to fill our cups and share about the weekend before we return home ready to shine bright like a DIAMOND.

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:: EXCHANGE :: GET 20% WITH THE CODE “MOONMAGIC20” THROUGH MIDNIGHT FRIDAY JUNE 16th! Payment plans are also available. Contact [email protected] for details.

$750 for workshops + food + lodging. ($600 WITH DISCOUNT)

$650 for workshops + food + camping. ($520 WITH DISCOUNT)

Book Retreat + Lodging Options Online

$550 for workshops + food—book own accommodation offsite. ($440 WITH DISCOUNT)

Book Retreat Only Online

See you there—we’re so excited to be sharing in this journey with you!

Hammocks among the trees at Maha Rose North

HEALING FROM ABUSE WITH TRUTH AND YOGA

“To me, yoga is about deep, honest listening and truth-telling,” says Nina Endrst…who shares her story of healing from abuse for the first time.

I’m pretty fucking scared right now. I’ve never written about what I’m about to share, let alone shared these experiences with the world. It takes courage to be vulnerable and stand where we truly are, exposed. But it’s time to tell the Truth.

And the Truth is, I’m healing. Aren’t we all?

When I was nine years old, I was sexually abused by my babysitter’s son. I felt broken. Deeply ashamed and frightened. And for a long time, like many others, I remained silent, in fear. It took months for me muster the courage to even tell my parents—who were in the middle of a messy divorce at the time. Then I saw a Nick News segment on sexual abuse. Shit! What happened was really fucking bad, I thought.

And I felt even more guilty, the lump in my throat growing. I wanted to run as far and fast as humanly possible, but I was paralyzed. After what seemed like hours, I walked to my room, locked the door, and cried until I had nothing left. I was struggling with so many questions intertwined with intense emotions. Why did he do this to me? Why do they do this to us? I realized I had to talk.

I don’t remember much after that day, but I remember his parents called me a liar. After that, I just wanted stop talking about it, to forget it and go outside and play and try to reclaim everything I felt had been taken from me. So we back-tracked. Charges were never brought against him and I was once again, silent.

It took years to realize that this was not only the root of the profound anger and anxiety I have experienced in my adult life, but also would also prove to be the root of my subsequently developing Crohn’s disease. I can see now how my body and soul went into survival mode—how all the anger, sadness, and confusion went straight to my belly and rotted there, for years.

***

But in the beginning, I was a resilient kid and simply went on living my life. I had loving parents and an incredibly special group of friends (most of whom are still in my life) but deep down I remained a little girl, suffering in silence. I presented myself as tough and a little rough around the edges, when in fact I was incredibly sensitive and lost. When I got dressed in the morning, it was as if I put on an extra layer—a suit of armor to “protect myself.”

By 13, my hormones spun this carefully constructed regime out of control. My temper was explosive, and I made it my business to give my parents hell, regularly. It had all become too much to handle. One night, I took handfuls of pills and hoped that would be that. Thank god, it wasn’t. But the truth was, my soul knew I needed help and was screaming for it.

At 19 I had my first panic attack, on a plane. Everything, I’d spent my teenage years avoiding came rushing to the surface. My heart was racing, breath stuck in my chest, my belly as hard as a rock. Anybody who struggles with anxiety will know this feeling all too well.

Only, from the outside, my life looked pretty damn great by this point. I was attending college, I had amazing friends, and managed to maintain almost straight A’s alongside a busy social life. I was fucking happy! So where the hell was this coming from?

The Truth is, I had been avoiding my pain for so long, I didn’t even recognize that I had been living a lie.

***

At 21, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s (a chronic intestinal disease). I believe this was a direct result of the emotional and physical stress compacting in my stomach over the previous decade. I had tried to survive it. I had made it my mission to ignore the pain—to suppress it, push it down, deep into my belly. But here it had seeped into my cells, my tissues, my spirit.

No one knew the Truth about what had happened to me. My dearest friends only knew bits and pieces. I’m not sure I even knew the whole story, back then. Sometimes we have to make choices, and I had chosen over and over again not to acknowledge the shadows, leaving a patchwork of half-truths.

At 29 (my Saturn return) everything changed. I had a flare-up and became very ill, ultimately meaning I had to take medical leave from my job in fashion. I found myself facing some harsh realities that I couldn’t ignore any longer.

At this point, I’d been practicing yoga on and off for years, but it was in this moment that I started to live my yoga. To begin healing my body and spirit, by fully living my Truth. I left my job, signed up for yoga teacher training and took a huge leap of faith—inviting my heart to crack wide open.

The Truth is I gave myself ample time and space to be alone during that year. To cry uncontrollably. To talk, to listen, and to forgive. This is because, to me, yoga is and always will be so much more than back-bending and headstands. It is about deep, honest listening and truth-telling.

Through my practice, I learned that the way to the healing light is found when we sit quietly in darkness.

***

 

At age 31, I wake up every single day, grateful for my mind, body and spirit. The smile on my face is not permanent but it certainly is genuine. My mental and physical health are better than ever, as are my relationships with everyone—from my loved ones, to strangers I encounter on the street.

My story is that our stories do not define us. But I do believe everything we experience on our path—bright and shiny or painful as hell—is to lead us to where we are meant to be.

The Truth may not be easy to say, or to hear, but my god is it the only way to heal.

Nina Endrst is a yoga teacher based between Tulum and NYC. She creates a safe and nurturing environment for students to explore themselves honestly. Her vinyasa sequences are thoughtfully designed to strengthen and soften the mind, body, and spirit. She lives her yoga and is inspired by traveling to places outside her comfort zone both physically and emotionally. You can discover more about Nina and her work at Ninaendrstyoga.com, and connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: STORY MEDICINE AND THE GOOP MRKT

Getting my emo on at Story Medicine, and Gwyneth being Gwyneth at the Goop MRKT….

No column last week since it was Thanksgiving and, frankly, I was drunk. And it was so good to let my hair down and switch off for a day! It’s been a HARDCORE YEAR (any other life path 8s out there feeling it??) and I’ve been pretty much tee-total in the name of getting some serious inner and outer work done. But turns out a dose of “spirits” medicine was actually just what the doctor ordered 🙂

Anyhow, I’m back, and I’m also trying a new format for this column, mapping my week Mon-Friday. Lemme know what you think!

:: MONDAY ::
I got to see an advance screening of the new J-Law movie Joy, and entrepreneurial ladies, this is a holiday season MUST. It tells the story of legendary inventor Joy Mangano, and busts the myth of the “overnight success.” So many times building the Numinous I’ve been like, “oh man, this isn’t not working, it’s never going to work.” And then something DOES work, and I just keep going. Joy’s story is a reminder that making your dreams real and running a business is hard. You will feel completely vulnerable. You will encounter setback, after asshole, after humiliation, after enormous IT bill from somebody who didn’t even do what you asked, but it’s what it takes and it’s worth. Every. Minute. (watch the trailer below)

:: TUESDAY ::
I was reunited with my sweet soul sister and Temple of Venus co-creator Elyssa Jakim, who spent the past few months over in Portland (only meeting the love of her life…on Tinder!) She introduced me to two exciting things: a documentary series called The Quest For The Cures, all about one man’s search for the best natural cancer treatments (weekend watch-list sorted), and the fact she’s doing Akashic records readings from 12-5pm tomorrow at Species by The Thousands in Williamsburg. GO. She’s amazing.

:: WEDNESDAY ::
I went to meet Gwyneth Paltrow at the opening of her Goop MRKT – which is essentially the NYC version of our Astrolounge @ Selfridges, a high-vibe holiday pop-up decked with all things mysti-cool. A lot of people don’t like GP, but we say back-off bitches. As beautiful Alexandra Derby (who invited me) put it: “She comes from privilege, so her putting $1K sweaters on Goop is just her being her authentic self.” And isn’t that what it’s all about?? Enough hating on the sisterhood. Less envy of those who “apparently” had better breaks than us. How about just be inspired and go get yours.

Me + GP @ the Goop MRKT

:: THURSDAY ::
Story Medicine! So Alexandra and I cooked up this idea for a crazy-ass event, where YOU, our guests would create the content by coming to share your stories. And in the process get heard and get healed. The amazing team at lululemon’s HUB seventeen said “yes,” and we hosted the first Story Medicine event last night. There were tears, there was laughter, there were many, many hugs, and there was a vegan feast from Daphne Cheng (see pudding below). There were even three dudes! But best of all was hearing all the stories. Raw, honest, human storytelling is the BEST entertainment you guys. We’re planning the next one for Feb 2016.

Out of this world chia pudding by Daphne Cheng

:: FRIDAY ::
In the spirt of no such things as TMI (see Story Medicine), I got my period today. Now, I’ve been researching how to work with your cycle, and the wisdom all says “on day one, retreat from society and go within” – since this is when your intuitive powers reach their peak. Thing is, that would have meant no column again today. Also canceling four really important meetings this afternoon. Truly committing to working with my flow is totally on my to-do list for 2016, but since my cycle is really irregular it’s hard for me to plan for down days when my bleed begins. So period experts reading this, any insight on this one much appreciated!

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: A DOSE OF STORY MEDICINE

The story behind our new event series – Story Medicine…

A couple of months back, Aly Derby and I hosted a Meditation for Peace at Maha Rose in Greenpoint, as part of a global synchronized meditation for the International Day of Peace. It began with Aly leading a guided meditation to tap us into the oneness energy of the event, and afterwards we both shared some stories around what had come up for us. And then so did everybody else in the group, and the conversation flowed, and the stories became more personal. We all left feeling connected and uplifted, and with the glow of having been heard.

This event was the inspiration for Story Medicine, the monthly gathering Aly and I will be hosting at Hub 17, a beautiful and expansive community space below the new lululemon flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. As Aly wrote beautifully in the blurb for the event:

“When we come together we create community; and when communities share our stories with each other we weave unity. In every experience we share, there is a valuable lesson for someone. And listening in itself is a gift – it’s when our stories are heard that we become healed. In this simple yet profound exchange we find ourselves uplifted, connected and more inspired by our own lives than ever before.”

As a “reserved” Brit, when I first started attending Moon rituals, and healing workshops and events I used to silently dread the “sharing” segment – when we’d go around the circle, and participants would be asked to talk a little about where they were at, and their intentions. Not least because I would often get so emotional! But if I’ve learned anything on my numinous journey, it’s that often when I cry is when I know it’s working. The healing that is.

So with Story Medicine we’re making the sharing the main event. Each month will have a different theme, and as with the Meditation for Peace we’ll kick off with a guided meditation from Aly. Then, each person in the circle will be invited to share a story related to our theme – which could be a story from your own life, a story you heard which has inspired you, or even just the story of what happened to you today.

Our first Story Medicine event will take place December 3, and you can get more details and sign up here. Since it’s right after Thanksgiving, we’ve chosen GRATITUDE as our theme. So, what does being thankful really mean for you?