THE 2018 LIBRA WANING MOON WANTS YOU TO OWN IT

As we close out the year, the 2018 Libra Waning Moon asks us to face up, stand up, and get real and right with our souls, says Jennifer Racioppi

Photo: Mitch Walker

Waning Quarter Moon // December 29 2018 //  4:34 am ET // 7 degrees Libra 

The last Waning Quarter Moon of 2018 highlights the dichotomy between drive, determination, and the quest for power (Capricorn), and the desire for balance, harmony, and justice (Libra).

As the Moon travels through Libra, the Venus-ruled sign of the scales, forming a 90-degree square with the Sun and Saturn, both in Capricorn, she’ll provoke you to stand up for yourself: your values, your desire for pleasure, and your truth. The 2018 Waning Libra Moon leaves little room for nonsense.

Embrace this lunar opportunity as a chance to get real, and right, with your soul … 

// The Cycle //
As we close out 2018, we end more than just another year; we also wrap up an over 2-year-long lunar gestation cycle. This Libra Waning Moon highlights the consequences of actions taken on the September 30, 2016, Libra New Moon.

On October 7, 2016, the Washington Post published an article about Donald Trump and Billy Bush having “an extremely lewd conversation about women.” Now here we are, in the midst of Trump’s presidency, as the USA undergoes a governmental shutdown, General Mattis’ resignation/expedited termination, and, all of this happens as the country awaits the results of Bob Mueller’s investigation into President Trump’s potential collusion in the 2016 election.

It’s clear that we may be arriving at a critical turning point in the Trump presidency. You are likely at a critical turning point in your life too. Claim your truth and move forward accordingly.

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// The Transits //
2019 begins with a whopping solar eclipse Jan 5 at 15 degrees of Capricorn, happening right between Saturn, the lord of karma, and Pluto, the planet of transformation. This planetary formation commands that truth be revealed, and abuses of power healed. The current, pre-eclipse, Libra Waning Moon squares a Saturn-Sun combination. As hard truths reveal themselves, embrace them.

More provocatively, Venus, the planet of love (and ruler of the Moon in Libra), makes a harmonious angle to Pluto, the planet of power. This angle between Venus in Scorpio and Pluto in Capricorn amplifies lusty desires and the urge to experience sexual pleasure. Cosmic sexual healing, anyone? Sacred sex can bring deep healing, and the release of oxytocin through orgasm can detoxify the body of what it no longer needs.

At the same time, Mars, the ruler of personal will, conjoining Chiron, aka the “wounded healer,” might stimulate feelings of shame. Thoughts like, “Is it ok to want what I want?” or “Am I too pushy, too needy, or too much?” could potentially stand in the way of you enjoying yourself.

Allow yourself to hear and understand what your voice of shame sounds like. Get to know her. But don’t let the voice of shame win. Bow down to the voice of truth instead.

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// The Square //
The Sun and Saturn sit very close to one another in the sky, amplifying the impact of the great planetary task-master. The Libra Moon, which has a fierce need for justice, squares Saturn, commanding both literal and figurative sobriety.

Get quiet and listen to the voice of truth emerging within. Purify yourself, mind, body, and spirit, so you can hear where your inner voice most concretely wishes to lead you.

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// The Opportunity // 
Remember that you have two options when it comes to reconciling difficult feelings and emotions, especially shame: you can talk out your feelings and thoughts, or you can act them out. Choosing to talk things out now, helps you make better decisions later. It also opens you up to acknowledging what you no longer need, want, or desire, and makes room for you to enjoy Venus’ luscious connection with Pluto, and its potential for healing through pleasure.

Libra, a justice-oriented sign that craves beauty, love, and relationship, isn’t shy when it comes to standing up for what it believes. Consider what’s coming full circle in your life right now. Perhaps it’s year-end related. Maybe it correlates with actions taken years ago, around the time of the 2016 Libra New Moon.

Shed the lies and limiting beliefs that have kept you playing it small. Whether it’s the old pair of socks or the relationship that pulls you into toxic dynamics, again and again, let this Libra Waning Moon act as a cosmic vacuum cleaner sucking up the dirt. With the new year just a few days away, choose to embrace the openness and sobriety of truth. With the world at a critical political moment, staying in a healthy place, mentally and emotionally, supports you on your individual path.

The upcoming Capricorn New Moon Solar Eclipse in Jan 5 invites you to conjure and create a life that reflects the most real sense of who you are. Start preparing for it now.

Discover more about astrologer and success coach Jennifer Racioppi and her work HERE and follow her on Instagram.

CHOOSING COMPASSION IN A CALLOUT CULTURE

A former social media “comment crusader,” diversity and inclusion specialist Aaron Rose is committed to moving beyond the “us vs. them” callout culture. PLUS Aaron shares 7 ways to upgrade your spiritual activism by choosing connection and compassion over fear …

Photo: Alberto Vasari

With 15 years working as a facilitator, educator, and consultant in the field of “Diversity & Inclusion,” my overarching mission is to heal our world’s generational patterns of separation so that we can all thrive as our authentic selves. Though always important, this work has of course taken on even more urgency in the escalating polarization following the 2016 election.

But in the last few years I have had to rethink some of how I was originally trained to approach this work. Namely, that relying on a callout culture of shame and dehumanization—however subtle or justified—as motivating tools of change, will never resolve the isolation and exclusion we ultimately seek to address.

Historically, my work focused on explaining the history of institutionalized oppression and practicing “dos and don’ts” for interacting with different groups. The premise—albeit often unspoken—was that we were there to help the privileged people understand how to treat the marginalized people better. Many people did indeed leave feeling more informed and better prepared to work with people different from themselves. However, when others would express feeling upset, confused, or silenced, I knew something was missing.

Many of my colleagues wrote this off as collateral damage—some people would just never get it, they said. And if a white man left feeling upset, maybe that was a good thing, because lots of people have been upset for a long time. I understood the logic, but this theory of social change felt incomplete to me. It’s a dynamic that has become all too familiar in social media interactions in which people are called out for offensive or exclusionary behavior and summarily “canceled” or rejected without any space for recourse or repair.

Back then, my life mirrored my work. I genuinely saw light and potential in everyone—and wanted to help us all understand each other better. But, truthfully, I usually meant, you (a person with historically more access and power than most) needed to understand me (a trans and queer person with experiences of violence and marginalization).

My approach was that of a pretty typical East Coast liberal. I would passionately launch into Facebook comment monologues, determined to get people to understand how they were hurting others, while distancing myself from people based on their presumably more privileged identities. My tone was condescending at best, and vitriolic at worst. I wanted people to understand the harm they were doing, and I wanted it to stop. Now.

Deep down, I, like so many others, felt scared and misunderstood. In most of the jobs I’d had as a young adult, I’d experienced harassment and discrimination—from prying questions about my transgender identity, to constant misgendering, to sexual harassment and violence—and the pain of my own marginalization kept me in a defensive stance.

I was quick to judge people’s politics, and even quicker to let them know about it—when separated by a screen and a keyboard. In most cases, there was little hope for redemption once someone had acted in a way I deemed oppressive, racist, heterosexist, transphobic, or more. But for all my accusations of division and dehumanization, I too was compartmentalizing people, saying things like “I could never be real friends with a straight guy … he just wouldn’t get me.” It hadn’t occurred to me yet that maybe I didn’t really get him either. I had never thought to ask.

While doing the work of humanizing historically excluded minorities, I had been unwittingly dehumanizing others. It seemed natural to view my work as an us vs. them quest to change some people’s minds on behalf of others. But I’ve come to understand that this approach will only continue to amplify the feeling of uneasy disconnection that characterizes so much of modern life, particularly online: the fear of being judged, the fear of being harmed, the fear that saying the wrong thing will result in excommunication.

The work that many pioneering LGBTQ people, people of color, women, and other historically marginalized people have done to legitimize the acknowledgement of our individual pain and institutionalized discrimination is important and invaluable. That kind of self-expression and community accountability is indispensable. But if simply being able to recite our personal and collective histories of oppression back and forth to one another with flawless terminology was going to create true progress, we would not be in our current accelerating state of political polarization and identity-based isolation. If we truly want a more just and connected world, we all have to go a step further.

Today, I no longer take to social media with fear and contempt to catalogue the ways in which others are letting me down. I’ve shifted my focus from what we’re tearing down to an approach that does not calcify divisions but instead catalyzes connection. This does not mean releasing people from accountability or never speaking up against injustice. It simply means setting the intention to treat no human being as if they are disposable, even if they are failing to honor our humanity. It means creating the conditions in which we can, as adrienne maree brown writes, “default to trust on a community level.”

Below, I share 7 ways we can be stewards of this paradigm shift:

Photo: Gwendolyn Rodriguez

1// Heal yourself to heal the world. Your work starts with you – owning your story, and releasing the blocks that stand between you and truly recognizing yourself in another. Regardless of your identities, our conditioned social autopilot reinforces the idea that connecting with people from different backgrounds puts us at risk in some way. For those of us (read: all of us!) who have felt minimized or unsafe because of who we are, leaning into even more discomfort can feel scary. But the more we connect with our own sense of humanity, the more we can extend that to others.

**Action Step: Take some time to meditate on welcoming feelings of safety. The more you cultivate a feeling of security within yourself, the more you will be able to welcome others into your world. You are safe, you are resilient, you are here to thrive and make space for others do the same. This meditation is one of my favorites. You can also check out my meditation series here.

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2// Redefine how you love. We are all called to love each other now as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often about agape love as the driving force behind all his work. He said, “And this is what Jesus means … when he says, ‘Love your enemy.’ And it’s significant that he does not say, ‘Like your enemy’ … There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people … But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them.”

**Action Step: Practice silently blessing every person you encounter and wishing them peace and happiness. Your world will begin to transform before your eyes, from the inside out.

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3// Meditate for real. Meditation creates space between external stimuli and our responses, allowing us to act as we choose, versus on autopilot. In the same way that  we cannot change our world unless we face the truth of it, we cannot embody a new energy of love unless we retrain our nervous systems. Meditation is the path to this change.

**Action Step: Practice the Buddhist metta, or loving kindness, meditation. A common mantra is: May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you live a life of peace. Extend this blessing first to yourself, then to those you love, then to the world around you, and finally to the people who you find it hardest to love. This practice is a gift you can give yourself anywhere, anytime.

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4// Know our history, know yourself. We make it a lot easier for others to trust us and give us room to grow when we show up fully. In the context of identity and social change, this means understanding our world’s historical patterns of exclusion and violence. Acknowledge your part and make amends, for yourself as well as your ancestors. Understand both your access and power, as well as your history of pain and struggle. Recognize that we all have inherent biases, and be prepared to acknowledge them as they surface. Learn bystander intervention protocol and be ready for action.

**Action Step: What are your identities? Where do you fall toward the margins and where do you have more access? Explore Kimberle Crenshaw’s work on intersectionality to develop a deeper understanding of how our combination of identities shape our experience of the world.

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5// Release perfection, embrace integrity. We will all make mistakes along the way. Doing this work is about integrity: staying in alignment with your values and maintaining your sense of wholeness in the process. No one comes from the same perspective, and many of us do not have an academic foundation in theories of oppression and liberation. Despite our commitment to love, none of us will have the perfect word every time.

**Action Step: How will you respond when you or someone else messes up? What are your go-to phrases for communicating when a boundary has been crossed? How will you apologize and repair? Practicing ahead of time allows our brains to find the right words when our bodies are in fight or flight.

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6// Reframe callouts as opportunities for connection. When someone tells you your words were offensive, it’s easy to get defensive and push back. And to build a culture where everyone can thrive, we need to reframe how we perceive negative feedback. Humans don’t often take the time to let somebody know they feel hurt unless some part of us cares about being understood by the person who hurt us. Framed this way, each callout is a gift in service of our collective healing and evolution. Show the same investment in the connection by showing up to learn and repair together.

**Action Step: Practice responding to call-outs with grace and integrity. Pick your go-to phrases. Some options: “Thank you for letting me know how my words impacted you. I’m committed to building a community where everyone feels welcome.” “I hear what you’re saying and I will shift my words in the future. I’m sorry I used that hurtful language.” P.S. You really have to mean it, so align your energy with your words before pressing “share.”

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7// Redefine the personal vs. political binary. Who actually benefits from the idea that there is a difference between the personal and political? Certainly not you and me. Taking responsibility for caring for all life on Earth is the most profound investment we can make in our own self-care.

Action Step: How can you realign what is best for you as being what is best for all sentient beings? For example, is your meditation or intention-setting practice exclusively about your individual life? Set intentions not only for personal wealth and happiness, but for white people’s capacity to release our dependency on white supremacy, for example. For the renewing of our healthy relationship with planet Earth. For men’s commitment to repairing the wounds of the patriarchy. And for ongoing guidance about your role within the larger process. The support is there. You need only to tap in and ask.

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Aaron Rose is a writer, speaker, and diversity & inclusion coach. In his spare time you can find him waxing poetic about quantum physics, boy bands, and healing intergenerational trauma. Follow Aaron online at @aaronxrose and learn more about his work, including his upcoming healthy masculinity intensive for conscious men, at www.theaaronrose.com

STYLIST ANNA TREVELYAN THINKS TRUMP CAN BRING US TOGETHER

Ruby Warrington talks to stylist Anna Trevelyan about alien abduction, Trump as a catalyst for change, and being vegan in the fashion industry …

I first encountered stylist of the moment Anna Trevelyan at our mutual friend Sah D’Simone’s Happiness Equation workshop. She was the girl with the green hair and the quick, curious mind (a Gemini, of course), dressed in a kind of Manga-meets-Atlantis mash-up that would be more at home in the streets of Tokyo than Brooklyn’s Maha Rose Center for The Healing Arts.

But then as she puts it in her IG profile, Anna is: “A bit fashion. A bit cosmic.”

Having come up through the fashion ranks assisting Gaga’s former creative director Nicola Formichetti, Anna followed her childhood love of fantasy into the industry. In her own words, “I’m just not into reality stuff. I have a crazy and borderline confusing imagination!” Growing up in the heart in England, this meant: “I always died my hair and made my own clothes. But I had no concept that something like fashion even existed.”

Fast-forward to 2017, and fashion totally knows Anna exists, and her work is all over the top mags and ad campaigns. Like this one for Cara Delevingne’s Do You collection for Puma.

But what I love most about Anna (as well as the mermaid hair), is that she’s one of few voices in the mainstream fashion arena to be super vocal about being vegan, and the environmental impact of animal agriculture. She’s also majorly pro-diversity, casting models of every color, shape, size and gender in her long-standing catwalk collaborations with Brit designer Ashish.

Then there’s her lifelong fascination with alien abduction, and the crystals she keeps like pets in her Brooklyn apartment. Curiouser, and curiouser …

Ruby Warrington: So Anna, how long have you been into the more spiritual, numinous side of life?
Anna Trevelyan: Since birth, I guess. When I was little, I was into aliens, UFO sightings, crop circles. I was such a nerd. I had all these UFO sighting maps on my wall and stuff. I was kind of obsessed with alien abduction, the history of the Earth and evolution. Like, what else is out there and where do we come from?

RW: All the deep questions! But then you pursued a career in fashion, which can be very superficial. What are your practices to bridge the gap or how do you find meaning within the fashion industry?
AT: Well firstly, a lot of people in fashion genuinely have a love for art and creativity and inclusion. It’s not all about consumerism. Personally, I don’t want to do anything that doesn’t have meaning to me—especially this last year, with so much crazy stuff going on. So I always try to spread a message of positivity and what I believe in. For example, I work with this designer called Ashish and this season we did all these slogans like, Love Sees No Colour, and Be More Tender.

But then there is the consumerist part of the industry and the environmental part, that I personally have a really difficult time with. And the issues about racial inclusion on catwalks an in ad campaigns. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

RW: You’re also very vocal on your social media about veganism. Why is that so important to you?
AT: I’ve been vegetarian for 20 years, and vegan on and off—unfortunately I love cheese! But this is super important to me, as the beef industry is one of the most damaging things to the environment at the moment. It also really hurts me to see people eating meat. You’re essentially killing, and then eating that trauma. I just don’t understand why you would do that. And before, I never really expressed my feelings about it, but now I’m just like, “You know what? Fuck it … “ I don’t want animals to be traumatized just so they can be slaughtered. And I don’t want people to be consuming trauma.

RW: The fashion industry also loves fur. Do you feel as passionately about that?
AT: I never wear fur, and I never shoot fur anymore. I have done it in the past and I felt horrible about it. But I love shoes, I collect shoes like crazy, and so I do still wear leather. That’s something I need to look into, you know? I think of fur as this evil thing, so why do I think leather is okay? So I need to check myself and do a bit more research on that for sure. I would love to make a vegan shoe line, something super sexy!

Ashish FW17

RW: I think it’s amazing that you’re actually putting yourself out there and saying these things, because so many people are like, “These are my beliefs … until the next big money job comes in.” But having that integrity, I think, is part of leading a spiritual life. Like if your actions are aligning with your beliefs, you’re living your spiritual truth.
AT: Exactly. One massive publication asked me to do a fur shoot for them. It would have been great for my career, but I couldn’t do it. I was like, “let me do a faux fur story instead?” They didn’t reply. But then faux fur is actually the 8th worst fabric for the environment. So I need to start thinking about all these things.

RW: Don’t you think that eventually, if public opinions start to change significantly, then brands are going to have to follow suit? In the same way it’s happening with with organic food …
AT: Yes. It has to start somewhere. It’s the same with mass produced clothing—like yeah, it’s great that you can get a bunch of stuff for cheap, but what conditions are people working in? I don’t even really know how to begin with that.

RW: How about taking more direct action?
AT: Well after Trump’s immigration ban, I did this meditation, and I was imagining all of the souls of the world together, happy and warm, and just free to move wherever they want to move and experience what they want to experience. It was such an intense meditation and afterwards I saw light coming out my hands. Crazy! So I got all my influential girlfriends together and hosted a Girl’s Fight Club to raise money for the UNHCR, which is the UN refugee support.

It was also a statement about how I hate females being convinced we have to compete, when we are so much stronger together. That amazing goddess energy! That raised, not loads, but like 500, 600 dollars. I have a sort of theory that Trump is this kind of higher power, doing all this crazy shit to bring us all together. Either that or he’s reptilian.

RW: I swing between the two myself! So you meditate, how about any other spiritual practices? Your work means you have this crazy travel schedule and you’re very out there. How do you take care of your inner world?
AT: Last year I started doing yoga, which I never did before because I’m not like a super athletic person or anything. And you know those people that do yoga, and all they talk about is doing yoga? Now all I talk about is yoga! That has really helped me to settle down and focus and be strong and feel good. I love Bikram yoga, Kundalini yoga, Vinyasa. They’re all great.

My house is also full of crystals and plants, and the energy I get from them is amazing. I feel more grounded just looking at them, and I even kiss them and speak to them. I take my crystals around with me too. Like I choose a few and just take them when I travel and stuff. I also use them in my yoga and meditation.

RW: Spoken like a true Material Girl, balancing it out in the Mystical World. Finally, what’s the most otherworldly experience you’ve encountered in your life?
AT: The first time I did past life regression, when I was like 15 or 16. In it, I walked down a tunnel and there was a doorway, which was the door to the past life. I was shaking, physically shaking, and I as walked through the door it shut behind me. I immediately felt so calm. And then in my past life I experienced my own death, and it was amazing. I died, and my soul felt so light, as if being human, having this body, was the heaviest burden. From then on, I’ve had no fear of death. I’m actually excited for it, now that I know how it feels.

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:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My label: My favorite brands at the moment are Ashish (always a glitter protest), Hyein Seo (‘Final Boss’ collection for bad girls), and Gucci (of course).

Ashish S17

My shoes: Pretty much always sky high stilettos and platforms—Marc Jacobs is killing me at the moment—and then Nike’s for when it’s sadly necessary to be practical.

Sneakers, $169, Nike

My fragrance: I wear something different all the time! At the moment I have Marc Jacobs’ Daisy. I like young summery perfume …

Daisy Eau de Toilette, $100, Marc Jacobs

My jewels: $1 big silver hoops, every day.

Hoops, $3.90, Forever 21

My pampering: My hair, nails and eyelashes are super regular and necessary upkeep takes a lot of time tbh.

My food: Vegan deliciousness—I wish they had Cafe Gratitude everywhere!

My home: Lots of windows and sunshine, plants, and I collect robots.

Robot inspo

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My awakening: Say thank you each day to the Universe and be grateful.

My sign: Gemini through and through. But I have Cancer rising and my Moon in Taurus. I think the Cancer brings me back and the Taurus grounds me and helps me feel more balanced.

My mantra: I don’t have a mantra.

My healer: I have practiced with several energy healers, and I have one psychic in London and one in California. And they’re both good at different things. But the greatest healer is your self, and self realization.

My mission: Bring light, be genuine, be kind, speak from the heart, be unafraid, show love, make people aware of the importance of vegetarianism for themselves and for the world, work for humanity and Mother Earth, take no shit.

 

At the Women’s March on Washington

10 WAYS THE WOMEN’S MARCH INSPIRED ME

Written on the bus back from DC, Kate Atkinson shares 10 ways the women’s march inspired her…

Kate on the bus to DC

It’s been a hell of winter. As revered actress and feminist Meryl Streep so accurately said, opening the floodgates for women world wide: “In the last few months, at times, I’ve felt as if I “lost my mind.”

Melodramatic much? Not for me. I’m a news media professional. I thrive on absorbing information and understanding people, brands, and causes. And since 11/9, I’ve spent late nights burrowing into internet rabbit warrens. I have spent anxious hours trawling the web and raging with friends via text, levels of research I never conducted when I was at University studying for my BA in journalism.

“Why do this to yourself?” I have repeatedly asked myself. But for some reason, the outcome of a Trump victory stirred me up deeply. It awoke a furious sleeping anger I never even knew burned in me. I have psychoanalyzed it and self-helped it to death. Answers have been hard to come by. And as if my own mental struggle wasn’t intense enough, friends have come forward and told me they aren’t okay either. Some told of to sexual assaults they’d buried for years. Men who’d groped them as teens and made them feel insignificant—which they’d shrugged off as just another teenage learning curve.

The day after the inauguration, a friend and I got up at 4am and got on a bus to Washington DC to march in solidarity for not only women, but for all whose freedom and human rights feel at risk under the incoming administration. We were joined by 3 million marching globally, all of us saying: “ENOUGH.” And actually, “fuck you” to the patriarchy.

In the lead up, I read a media stories talking about this being a “flawed” protest, questioning why it was just for women, asking what purpose it would serve. I’d partaken in aggressive social media discussions and been reminded over and over (at times on a personal level) about the futility of protesting.

Well, this weekend was the most inspiring of my life. Read on for 10 reasons why:

Kate and her bus mates

1. HUMANITY = POWER
The reason the current state of affairs is so alarming, is that the bad guy appears to to be winning. Sexual assault and quite frankly, basic human values, are second to power.Or are they? The marches reminded me that WE are the power. Throughout history, we have been reminded of this by figures such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou. Collectively, we can move mountains. The only thing holding us back is self belief.

2. CREATIVITY AS CATHARSIS
I saw a woman brandishing a giant crocheted reproductive system. I saw giant moveable sculptures. Puppets, a tribe of Donald Trump horses. Paintings that could have been at MoMA. I made a new artist friend who GAVE me a sign, because she’d painted several to deal with her inner turmoil. I saw people on stilts, rappers, instrumentalists, singers. All using their talents to support the same cause. As well as the funnier signs—”WE SHALL OVERCOMB” being a fave—some really pulled my heart. A two-year-old with a sign saying “I love naps but I stay woke.” Creativity helps us heal. I will be painting, paper mache’ing, croche’ing and dancing more in the future.

3. OPEN CONVERSATIONS
So forgive me if I’m oversharing in my post-protest bliss, but I’ve had two pre-cancer operations on my cervix. And yes it was scary as shit. A while back I would have been ashamed to share this, now, absolutely ZERO fucks given. Why? Because why is that shameful? I’ve been lucky enough to milk my healthcare system at home in Australia. Other women in this country would have turned to planned parenthood. It’s a lottery of luck I wasn’t born in a red state. Just today, the NY Times reported that the death rate from cervical cancer in the US is considerably higher than previously estimated and the disparity in death rates between black women and white women is significantly wider.

This whole shit show has opened a dialogue for issues that matter. Who cares if you’re depressed? We do. Who wants to hear about your time feeling ashamed for that? We do.

4. REALITY IS UNDERRATED
Ever found yourself writing rants at a computer screen, diving deeply into the lives of people you don’t know? A few days before Obama left office, he said: “tired of having arguments on the internet? Try speaking to them in real life.” We CAN connect in person. In groups. We are not our computers and our phones. Make a friend. Have coffee. Share. Talk. I am overwhelmed by the blowing up of my phone by women in the last few weeks. Launching fashion brands, needing help in connecting people to do so, media professionals trying to create their own movements and how to all not normalize any of what is going on.

5. NEW FRIENDS
I went to a group pre-march meeting – sober – and I met new people I’m now emailing about doing more “good stuff.” Including Elizabeth Azen, one of the nastiest women around with new kickass brand The Dynasty @thisisdynasty. I also made two new artist friends on the bus and spent all day with them, cracking jokes with one common cause – equality . Repeat: we are not designed to be digital humans. One side effect of standing up for what you believe in is the rad new people you will meet.

6. YES WE CAN
It’s so easy to be a hater. It’s so much easier to say: “this is pointless, we are outnumbered, we can’t make a difference.” As the march showed me—we damn well can, and it starts with you! Show up. Read up. Stay woke. Get nastier.

7. FEMINISM ISN’T JUST ABOUT NEUROTIC BRA-BURNING BULLSHIT
Some men still struggle with feminism. Well—newsflash—I’m not really into some of the things those people “hate” about feminism either. I’ve accepted that being a woman means I’m expected to smile and flirt through life. I use this to my advantage and love it when it means I can get something for free. It’s like Madonna said, “I’m a bad feminist.” But equally, I’ve been shamed many times, personally and professionally, for being too outspoken. For not being “refined” enough. And feminism in 2017 is about an end to that BS. In our lives, in our careers. It’s fine to sexualize women. Women are damn sexy. But don’t patronize us. Like Carrie Fisher said: “Some women play hard to get, I play difficult to understand.”

8. SOBER STREET PARTIES ROCK
I’ve been to my fair share of bars and clubs. I’ve been a drinker many years. And you know what? This was the best dance party of my life. What could have felt like a wake, a day for tears, was the best “straight” high of my life. Need substances to lose your mind? Try raging down the street to the beat of a gazillion strangers from all over the country singing in time: “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” or: “This is What Democracy Looks like!” with glitter, and signs, and animals, and carnival performers, and megaphones, and parked cars with their own dance parties. Try screaming from a place you never knew you had, a guttural cathartic place you used to roll your eyes if people even told you existed.

9. REMEMBER TO RAGE
The systems are broken. They are not working. People will tell you to cooperate. But it’s time to rage against the machine. The mantra: “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.” The media aren’t cooperating—neither should we.

10. IT BEGINS WITH ME
I’ve been on my own journey with self-care this last while. Not always easy. I’m not just talking about eating right and SoulCycle. I’m talking about that breaking that feminine perfectionist tendency for blaming myself, and giving myself a goddamn break. Move towards this, I am finding, and the whole world becomes more accepting of me. I haven’t mastered it. But none of us can participate fully, until we believe in what we are here to give.

So please keep marching girls who just wanna have fun(damental rights). I’m with you every step. Get nasty. Be nastier. Read, write, CREATE, and stay woke. And like the most badass feminist ever, the Wicked Witch of the West, once said: “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.”

8 WAYS TO BE A SPIRITUAL ACTIVIST IN 2017

Want to make a difference in 2017? Numinous Founder Ruby Warrington shares 8 ways to be a spiritual activist…

“Are you going on the Women’s March?” It’s the question doing the rounds as we come around from the collective anesthesia of the holidays and it all comes flooding back. The Trump regime. This is happening. Time to get back to work. Considering a lot of what I talk about on this platform involves the words “spiritual activism,” it may come as a surprise to learn that the answer from me is “no.” At the time of writing this I do not have plans to join the 200,000 + protestors who will march on Washington Jan 21, the day after the inauguration.

And it’s not because I don’t think that it’s necessary to vocalize our anger with the incoming administration. It’s not because I believe that humans mobilizing en masse doesn’t have any impact—just look at Standing Rock. But just as each individual birth chart maps a unique life path—a unique dharma—it seems to me that vocal protest is but one of many, many, many small and different ways that each and every one of us is being called to be of service in 2017.

When I launched our #TuneInPeaceOut event in September last year, it was because I had identified my big message for the world as being: PLEASE CAN EVERYBODY JUST STOP FIGHTING! WE’RE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, FFS! “I guess I’m a massive pacifist,” I told the life coach who helped me boil it down. So it makes sense that when I think about my personal contribution going forward, it’s less about fighting against the system, and more about putting all my energy and ingenuity into creating a new way of seeing and doing things. A way that works for everybody.

Read on for 8 ways to practice spiritual activism in 2017…

1. DON’T HATE, CREATE. I equate creativity with spirituality, and so for me the term “spiritual activism” speaks to action that is an expression of our desire to create—create new conversations, create conscious businesses, create works of art that shake up the status quo, create babies who will grow to be future spiritual activists!

2. COMPASSION INTO ACTION. It also means taking action from a place of compassion and empathy—knowing that we are all connected. Like I said, we’re all on the same team—meaning, as humans, we all have the exact same needs (love, material security, freedom, to be heard and understood), and the exact same fears (pain, hunger, abandonment). Yes—even the President elect. Knowing this, the more our actions are about giving each other what we need, the better.

3. TEAMWORK. So, we’re all connected. Which means that working with others who share our goals is way more impactful that going it alone—as this creates a cosmic domino effect. Marches and protests are one amazing example of this! But also look at the impact of the online group Pantsuit Nation. Who’s doing stuff you see making a positive difference? Ask how can get involved.

4. CONSCIOUS COMPUTING. The Age of Aquarius has given us this amazing tool called the internet, which means we are literally all connected. Sadly it didn’t come with any instructions for how to use it to get everybody to stop fighting. It really is on us to a) figure out ways to use this tool to create good stuff, to get educated, to learn compassion, and to give each other more of what we need, and b) not get sucked into the shadow side of online life (misinformation, fear-mongering, and comparison/separation).

5. CONSUME BETTER AND LESS. In relation to spiritual activism, the message of conscious consumption is two-fold. Firstly, yes, every dollar you spend is a vote for the kind of world you believe in. Don’t believe in the objectification of women? Don’t buy fashion brands who objectify women in their ad campaigns! Obvious right? But we do it all the time without even thinking. Second, a lot of the times when we buy more stuff and eat and drink more stuff it’s a way to distract us from the stuff our soul came here to do. Consume less + feel more = get inspired to act (as uncomfortable as this can feel). Oh and all that money you spend on “stuff”? Could also be donated to causes and charities where it’s really needed.

6. SEE A SPIRIT FIRST. This is about seeing past what a person says and does, past what they believe, past what job they do, past what country or body they were born in, and looking for the human spirit underneath. And going from there. Also, making it your business to interact with people who are not “like you” on the outside, as a way to practice seeing the spirit on the inside.

7. RESPOND DON’T REACT. If the Donald has taught us anything, it’s how ridiculous and childish it is to go with your knee-jerk reaction to anything which could be perceived as a “threat” to you and / or your beliefs. Yoga and meditation are a physical way to build the spiritual resilience it takes to listen and digest first—making it possible to choose the right next course of action. The “right” action being the one that works for you, and for everybody else.

8. LISTEN. Everybody’s got an opinion. Everybody wants their opinion to be heard. And everybody says what they think will get the biggest reaction because everybody also wants their opinion to get liked on social media. But it can be the people with the quietest voices who need to be heard the most. Not to mention the least “likable” truths. So just be quiet and listen for a minute. Maybe ask a question, something along the lines of: what do you really need? This way, your next action can truly be of value to a fellow human spirit.

Read more about spiritual activism from our Moon Club founding members! We have curated a line-up of humans who are committed to creating good stuff for humanity, and who will be on hand to offer additional support and guidance to our members. Meet them here and read more about Moon Club and sign up here.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM MIKI AGRAWAL

We are so psyched to have Thinx Founder Miki Agrawal for our first Moon Club live Q&A! Here she shares her post-election thoughts for how to change hearts and minds…

So he won.

As we pick up the pieces in the coming months, either we can continue to create a greater divide and point fingers at the racists, bigots, misogynists, homophobes, and the women who all voted for him (because let’s be honest, I can go on for days about that too), or we can finally start to ask ourselves why is half our country so upset?

This is not about Trump or Hillary, this is about the people who voted.

Maybe we do live in a comfortable bubble and can’t imagine why anyone would vote for a narcissus like Trump. But maybe there are reasons that are simply so far removed from our minds that it’s not even on our radar…Might we be missing something?

I will of course never tolerate racism, bigotry, sexism etc. But we have to look closer at what’s going on—and, more importantly what we can do to bridge the divide.

The day after the election, we held an all-hands team meeting at THINX HQ and we discussed what we can each do as individuals and as a company and we came up with the following:

1. We will not unfriend those that voted for Trump on Facebook but rather choose to have open discourse with them (without the bitch face)(i.e. with true open mindedness)

2. We will go to the red states and host THINX pop-ups there and get to know the people that we may not encounter often and talk taboos. Maybe we can open up their hearts and minds in those convos.

3. We will genuinely listen. Even when it’s infuriating and confusing. I am going to open up my ears and heart to my dad who voted for Trump. We haven’t spoken in a while because of it and I plan to build a bridge over Thanksgiving to really try and understand his side.

At THINX, we are faced with changing hearts and minds every day, talking about the oldest taboo in the world—our period—and sharing a new “period underwear” concept that might be hard to grasp at first (because it’s totally different to what people have known for so long). But we change hearts and minds through education, inspiration and inclusion, and by facing and answering tough questions earnestly asked (yes they really work and yes you feel dry and no they don’t smell and yes, periods are cool because it creates human life and no you shouldn’t be ashamed to discuss it etc).

By just speaking to those who already “get” the blessings of periods (and period underwear), it defeats the whole purpose. We want to change the hearts and minds of those who may NOT get it.

I am not trying to compare periods to what’s going on in our country, but there is an inextricable link to the shame and frustration that we feel all around.

The only way we can create true unity is if we ALL get off our high horses (me included!) and humble ourselves on both sides and listen to each other. And let’s not wait for them to do it first. It always starts with us. Yes we have a right to be angry and scared (I am too, and even more so after seeing who’s on his short list for cabinet members etc), but the best thing we can do is build more good businesses and programs that improve the world, educate people by doing it in a caring, non-condescending way, and participate in the discourse around us positively.

We have a choice. As corny as it sounds, I know deep in my bones that we all want to choose love. It always trumps hate in the end.

In blood we trust.

Discover more about Moon Club, a new monthly mentorship program for spiritual activists, at Moonclub.co. Co-founders Ruby Warrington and Alexandra Roxo will be hosting a LIVE Q&A with Miki Agrawal for Moon Club members on December 9 2016.

HOLY F*CK: A CALL TO EMBRACE OUR HUMANITY

It’s time to stop using spirituality as an escape—and embrace our humanity, says Alexandra Roxo

In times likes these—where we have somehow managed to elect a president with terrifying beliefs and judgements, where Native people are still fighting to protect the Earth while most everyone else walks around trying to protect money—I feel like it’s so obvious. As a culture and a people we need to get out of our heads and into our feet. Into our wombs, our pussies, and THE EARTH.

We’ve become so focused on “success,” making money, how we climb and grow. All masculine principles. All in the mind. Goal oriented. We barely notice when animals become endangered. We forget to talk about climate change.

It’s not our fault, it’s what we were born into: a consumerist, capitalist culture. When I ask my clients about how much time they spend focusing on their sexual energy or creative energy or with their feet on the ground, it PALES in comparison to how much time is spent in the realm of the computer. Money. Capital. Thought. Even meditation. It’s all up, up, up, into the Cloud.

But the way I see it, we need to go down, down, down! Get back into our bodies. And it turns out spirituality, just like work or booze, can become an escape from the pains and earthy work of being human.

Speaking as somebody who can be a spirituality abuser myself, I think it’s time we stop using it as such. Let me tell you a story about why.

***

When I was 13 I had a bad year. 1: I got held down by a bunch of boys and sprayed with red super soaker guns in 30 degree weather while calling me names. I punched one of them and everyone hated me. 2: My bestie’s parents called us out for being gay after she told them we had innocently experimented sexually together and forbade us to be friends anymore. I was DEVASTATED.

So what did I do? I went to church to get SAVED. This was my first bout of checking out of human life by saying: “God I can’t take it down here! Beam me up!” I spoke in tongues, got saved like 100 times. And even wore Abercormbie. (No offense.) My New-Age-psychic-seeing-Angel-lovin-Enya-listening Mom got worried.

Eventually I went back to feeling like I could manage down here. I did theatre, volunteer work/built homes for homeless, wore 4-inch cork wedges to school, flirted with boys, and learned all the dance moves to “Bye Bye Bye.” But my spirituality abuser didn’t go away. I always found some new practice to dive into. Some psychic to look to for the answers.

By age 19 I found myself sitting on a spiritual pedestal feeling like I was “special” and that others “weren’t awake.” While doing an acting exercise in college my teacher called me out in front of the class: “You are using spirituality a mask. It’s keeping you from feeling things and being here. Go back to your seat and come back when you want to be real.” DAMN. I was crushed. But I took her words wisely and went home, cried for about three days, painted, wrote love letters, laughed with friends and gently got down off my spiritual high horse.

It happened again though. Only two years later, after a trauma abroad, I was ready to sign up to be a monastic in a commune in Italy where I had been meditating in caves, sitting on cold stone floors, and wearing communal Cosby sweaters. I renounced sex, alcohol, or anything “of the flesh!” Mom got worried again.

I found my way back to humanity again. But my spiritual extremist rears her head every so often. I see her spending more time reading horoscopes than DOING things that can help. Talking more to other realms than folks in Trader Joe’s. Diving into days of plant medicine ceremonies and shamanic journeys. And avoiding the harsh pains of reality. Any of this sounding familiar?

As wonderful as it it to wake at 6am and meditate every day, to read all the articles and check the horoscopes and pull a card from all the decks, I am trying to refrain. In the name of balance.

My aim is to cultivate as much of an EARTH practice as I have a SPIRITUAL one. Which means for every meditation or journey to the spirit realms, I better be doing something here here on Earth. CAUSE I WAS BORN A HUMAN. And the Earth needs me. Head out of phone. Feeling my toes in the dirt. Pussy alive with energy and life force. Does ALL LIFE originate in my brain? NAH, IT’S IN THE PUSS.

***

I don’t think it’s enough to just pray and send love and light to Trump, or anyone for that matter. Pray for peace, yes. For love, yes. But I think we also need to get dirt under our nails and be humble and immerse ourselves in what’s happening out on the streets.

And so I urge you, like I urge ME, to embrace your humanity!

Get in the pub and talk to old Latino men and share food and drink with them.

Instead of reading another self-help book (like me!) go to the rally. Sign up to volunteer. Watch documentaries and educate yourself. Go to open mics and comedy clubs in areas that are new to you and mingle with people who aren’t like you.

Let’s look at how much we’re spending on “spiritual” paraphernalia, and re-balance the books! How about a pole dancing class instead? Donations to planned parenthood? Community gardening?

Let’s admit that we don’t know the answers. It’s not fair to all the other folks who have been working tirelessly for years if we pretend we know how to save the world with our ascension ideas. (I mean would you say that to an 85-year-old Native woman? Nah, probs not.)

And remember. If and when we need a strict practice to get us through a hard time, it will ALWAYS be there. You won’t lose it. Because it’s in you! “Spirit” won’t get angry and turn its back on you. I promise.

But for now the world needs YOU and your humanity. Out there. Off the mountain and in the streets.

I love you.

Moon Club co-founder Alexandra Roxo is a filmmaker and intuitive coach living in LA. Read more about her work at www.alexandraroxo.com and follow her love and sex and life woes and victories on Instagram.

KNOW YOUR STRENGTH: READING FOR THE TAURUS FULL MOON 2016

The Taurus Full Moon is here to bring stamina and keep us focussed on the long game, says Sandra Sitron

Click here to register for our FREE virtual Taurus Full Moon ritual

TAURUS FULL MOON :: Monday 11/14/16 :: 8.51am EST :: 22 Degrees Taurus

After an election in America that feels to many like a massive step backwards, we seek direction. Amid the chaos, there are many reactions. When considering the election result, many People of Color who have experienced the lifelong effects of racism are not surprised. Many Liberal white people who don’t have to walk this walk on the daily are in shock.

Women, People of Color, the LGBT community, immigrants, Muslims, and the disabled are in need of safe spaces, and are more aware than ever of their vulnerability. The media is back-pedaling and finger-pointing. Pollsters are re-evaluating. Trumpers are thrilled. Republicans who don’t like Trump but voted for him anyway are hopeful and silent.

As a reader of astrology and out-there, old soul, witchy sh*t, I am assuming that you are among the forlorn and aching choir. That, like me, you are seeking understanding, collective and personal healing, and a plan of action. Let’s see if Astrology can help with at least some of these points.

The Taurus Full Moon in Taurus is the first lunation in the wake of the election. As such it is shedding its light on a path forward. During a Full Moon the energies of two opposites meet to bring us awareness of the whole. The meeting of two opposites can feel like a head-on collision, or it can feel like an epiphany. This Taurus Full Moon is illuminated by the full light of the Sun in the opposite sign of Scorpio.

***

The Taurus Full Moon and it’s Message
Peeling an orange.
We are working to get to the sweet fruit that is inside. There is a bitter rind. We must keep peeling. Keep working. Keep taking off the layers to get closer to the truth. Keep sustaining ourselves with sweetness. Keep nurturing. Keep taking care of our bodies, and keep diving deep into our emotions.

TAURUS is your strength; your body, your resources, your self-worth. SCORPIO is union; your strength melded with another person’s strength. Emotional, spiritual and physical. Both signs are Fixed. They show us the value of persistence. They remind that we must keep digging in to achieve progress.

The Taurus Full Moon is helping us know our strength, to unite, and to keep our eyes on the long game.

A deeper look at the signs at play.

TAURUS is the sign that rules our material world. It is our body, house and resources. It is our natural talents. Taurus teaches us how to stay alive AND that we deserve to be alive (because our talents are of value). This sign yearns to impart the wisdom of abundance. When Taurus is afflicted, it can cause us to fear scarcity until we remember our inherent worth. Taurus done right is as steady and stable as bedrock. The strength of Taurus comes from it’s championing of value; value of body and value of self.

SCOPRIO is yours and mine together. Scorpio is merging. Union. Scorpio reaches out to understand the emotions of the other person. Because of this inter-personal sharing of emotions. Scorpio rules both control and letting go. It can be hard to surrender control for the purpose of emotional, physical, and spiritual union. But the wisdom of Scorpio teaches that we must. You must let go so that you are light enough to move into the next stage of your evolution. One of Scorpio’s symbols is the Phoenix rising out of the ashes. Scorpio reminds us that there must be destruction before we can break open to progress.

When the Taurus understanding of self-worth and abundance is intact, Scorpio is secure enough to easily let go of competitive control and merge. This is the gestalt of the two signs.

The Taurus Full Moon reminds us that if we want to evolve, we must do both Taurus and Scorpio well.

We can do the Taurus things. We can believe in our own personal strength. We can own our part in this, by taking responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions. We must use our resources to create positive change. We must use our bodies to resist. We must build safe-houses for people who need physical, emotional or psychological shelter. We must defend everyone’s right to material security and abundance.

And we can do the Scorpio things…We can reach out to understand another person’s emotional and psychological perspective. We can look into the eyes of the murderer and see the humanity within. We can gaze boldly into our shadow. We can let go of control and feel our feelings. We can notice if fear is encouraging us to be controlling. We can forgive when we are ready.

We can be the Phoenix rising out of the ashes.

***

Taurus Full Moon Semi-Sextile Uranus
Stepping stones leading across a flooding river.
There is quick movement, changes are happening within all of us on microscopic levels. We must be very aware of change. We must remember that there is a flow of progress. Sometimes this flow comes so erratically that it feels as if we are drowning. It can be hard to see further down the river. The Moon in Taurus wants us to stay the course and Uranus in Aries asks us to jump ship in search of a better way. Find your leadership within yourself. Find your true course. It is the course of your heart. Follow that river loyally, even if the destination is unknown and the waters are choppy.

Taurus Full Moon Sextile Chiron
Pulling up buckets of well water.
A healing is welling up from deep within. As the puss of our wounded nation pools around us, so does the healing salve become available. We could never move forward without seeing clearly the ills of our society. The wounds of our history have festered. We must now make a thorough examination, and through this practice, heal ourselves. The only folly comes from refusing to look. In a safe and quiet space, ask yourself what you are refusing to see. Make this query into a prayer.

***

Below are suggested areas of self-inquiry for each sign. If you know what house in your birth chart 22 degrees Taurus is in, also read for that house.

Aries or 2nd House
What is the one thing on which you know you want to take a stand? How can you use your natural talents to do so?

Taurus or 1st House
What have you struggled with that you’ve learned how to master? This is something that makes you unique. Can you see yourself guiding others to master this same struggle?

Gemini or 12th House
What have you been refusing to see when it comes to your relationships? Your wellbeing at soul level? The world around you?

Cancer or 11th House
What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Can you add more detail to the picture? Who can you reach out to?

Leo or 10th House
Do you feel empowered to have the career of your dreams? If not, what belief stands in your way? How is this belief keeping you playing small?

Virgo or 9th House
Research a philosophical perspective that can guide you and soothe you. Write down what speaks to you and keep this piece of paper in a place where you’ll see it often.

Libra or 8th House
Are there any feelings that you have been stubbornly holding onto? Is there room for movement now around this issue?

Scorpio or 7th House
Finish the sentence “A relationship is…” fifteen times. Write it down in list form.
A relationship is _______________
A relationship is _______________
A relationship is _______________ (etc.)
Notice what different words and ideas come to mind when you contemplate what relationship means to you.

Sagittarius or 6th House
Can you pinpoint the potential cause of overwhelm in your life? Write a list of simple things you can do to address this, and commit to tackling one per day.

Capricorn or 5th House
Experiment with different mediums for self-expression. Write a blog post or record an Instagram story about what’s in your heart.

Aquarius or 4th House
What would you say to your inner child? Write some ideas down. If any feel like positive affirmations, read them out loud to yourself before you go to sleep.

Pisces or 3rd House
Collect facts that can help you ease your mind. As you consume media and news, ask if what you are taking in is improving your mindset.

Want more wisdom? Book a reading with Sandra here or follow her on Instagram.

EMBODY YOUR POWER: A MESSAGE FOR AMERICA

Welcome to a collective wake-up call for us to embody true power. As the dust begins to settle on the 2016 presidential election, Molly Burkett has a message for America…Portrait: Najva Sol 

 

Election night I’ll admit, I checked the coverage with feigned interest. As the daughter of a Marxist and a Neo-Pagan, I’ve grown up removed from any type of rousing faith in our political system. Beyond what Bernie represented. When he spoke in Washington Square Park in New York, I cried. (And I’ve never been moved to tears by a man in a suit, with the exception of Don Draper).

Nonetheless, of course I assumed Hilary would win, and that would be that. I went to sleep.

I was shocked, along with the rest of you, to wake up and see how things had unfolded. The following essay immediately began coming through. So I started typing, and I share it with you here to offer comfort in this time of grief, confusion, and fear, and to offer my perspective to the question we’re all asking: “Is this a joke?”

:: A MESSAGE FOR AMERICA ::

The process of spiritual awakening, often referred to as “healing,” is actually a great clearing—as all that is NOT love is released from the body. This is cathartic yet painful, like venom being drawn from a snake bite. All your fear and selfishness is often revealed to you in dramatic ways. Emotional trauma held in cellular memory begins to come up to be dissolved. Painful personal histories flash before your eyes like it happened yesterday. Anxiety, panic, anger, inflammation and PTSD-like symptoms are common as part of this process.

Sensitivity grows both psychically and physically. You are more attuned to the needs, feelings and wants of others, because you are coming to the realization that you are not separate, that serving them serves you. You also become less numb to the effects of toxins in food, drink, conversations, movies and TV, and are forced to update your lifestyle accordingly. The catalyst for awakening as individuals is often a great tragedy or sudden injury that humbles us and forces us to reevaluate our lives and commit to making changes. No wonder we call it a “wake-up call.” I believe Trump is a collective wake-up call for us to change our ways as a nation.

Deepak Chopra says Donald Trump is an example of someone who holds so much trauma within him it has kept him infantilized, forever remaining in the lower chakras: reactive, survival-based, and deeply, deeply afraid. He rests in narcissism, never evolving to the higher consciousness where compassion is awakened and our interdependence is felt, known, and acted upon. It is from this injured place of fear and illusion that all violence stems. All violence towards others is ultimately a form of self-hatred and self-destruction, an attempt to mend a hurt in a way that regrettably, only causes more pain for ourselves.

So where do we go from here? I see a pathway.

Trump is a wounded child with a loaded gun. He will mirror to us in America our own wounds: our fears, our hatreds, our prejudices. His presence will draw out the darkest elements of the American collective being, and force us to bear witness to the ways we too have justified violent behavior, violent speech or violent thoughts in our lives.

Micro-violence in the form of gossip, complaining, judging, assuming, insulting and demeaning each other are among the seeds of large-scale violence in the form of systemic racism, misogyny and sexual assault, and abuse of natural resources. There will be a proliferation of this violence and it will be painful. There will be more terrible, vitriolic hate speech. There will be lives sacrificed. But there will also be redemption. There will be resistance, and activism. For women, for minorities, for immigrants, for the LGBTQ community, for the rights of all people to live a healthy and happy life. For nature, to heal and to be honored and ultimately be recognized as the source of all life and healing.

I believe in the power and potential of the American people, starting with you. I suggest you use this as an opportunity to embody the character traits that you wish you were seeing in the American president. What is your image of power that is also power for the people, and power for Mother Nature? What is your image of a divine protector or a sacred warrior who will protect our food, our water, our children, and lead us all to greater cooperation and peace?

Practice all the qualities of a great leader today in your own life. Envision good triumphing over evil. Do not embrace defeat. Love does not necessarily prevail in the space and time and the form that you expect, want or understand, but it does indeed prevail. Love is the first and the last word. This is the trajectory we are on, our shared destiny, and it cannot be un-written.

Witness the horror and shock of this moment from a place of deep knowing within yourself. Keep yourself attuned to the fundamental truth that beyond the dramas of the past and projections of the future, all is well now. The sun rose today and it will set this evening. The air gives us oxygen, and with every exhale we encourage the flowers to bloom.

EMPOWERED ACTION IN THE FACE OF TRAUMA

Recent world events have stirred up many emotions. Louise Androlia shares her wisdom on how to use our feelings as a catalyst for empowered action…. Images: Katya Volpato

Recent world events have left many of us feeling traumatized, whether or not we’ve been directly affected by acts of mass violence. These are turbulent times, and having been working on my own path to trauma recovery recently, I feel called to share some thoughts on how to work on being present in reality—but at the same time not becoming immobilized by fear.

At the root of it all, whether facing our own crisis or confronted with mass crisis, the difficult art to master is that it is safe to feel our feelings and continue to connect, especially when we feel as though it would be wiser to shut down.

The strong emotions being stirred up among switched on communities now are actually a valuable call to action. Here are some ways we can use them—while avoiding losing our connection to our highest selves, or getting swept up in the hype.

THE EMOTION: Overwhelmed
THE GUIDANCE: You can’t save the whole world at once
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Focus your attention

Pick something you currently feel very passionate or perhaps frightened about, and then learn and feel your way through it. Endless browsing through social media feeds may make you feel more frustrated because you also end up reading the comments, which can lead to yet more overwhelm. Instead, choose to focus on your chosen subject and learn all you can. Yes this will be hard if you are used to endless scrolling—because as well as learning, you are re-training your mind to be present.

THE EMOTION: Fear
THE GUIDANCE: Catastrophizing only fuels the fears
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Get involved in local politics and community

Looking on Facebook lately, all I’ve seen is people screaming into the Internet abyss about the apocalypse and giving fuel to their own fear and sadness in the process. This helps no one, including you. So look at how you can actually get involved within your community, and if you don’t see anything obvious, start something. It is so easy to just say ‘Fuck the world’. But this is not the time to give up. It’s time to shout louder, IRL, and to remember your voice and your vote DOES count.

THE EMOTION: Anger
THE GUIDANCE: Do not fight fire with fire
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Feel your anger; then channel it into positive action

The elements can always teach us something—for example, anger is a fire element emotion, while compassion and feelings are water element emotions. And you don’t put out a forest fire by setting another part of the forest on fire! Action, and so activism, is a positive channel for anger, and if what’s needed now is more of the water element, become an activist for love, compassion, equality, empathy, and connection.

THE EMOTION: Grief
THE GUIDANCE: It is safe to feel your feelings
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Explore and nurture your shadow side

Man of us are experiencing a huge collective sense of grief, coming in all forms, and for anybody not used to this emotion, this level of pain can seem very frightening to the mind, body and spirit. This is not a time to numb the pain, but instead an opportunity to dive deeper in your own self-inquiry practice. Checking out of reality serves no one, including you. Allow yourself to acknowledge and feel all the fears that have arisen recently and know that it is okay to do so. It can sometimes feel like our own personal crises are not ‘bad’ enough to warrant being the focus of our compassion—but ignoring your own pain will leave you unable to serve. By learning to compassionately address what is currently coming up for you, then you are actually helping to heal the collective and creating connection between yourself, your peers and those strangers you are really feeling for.

THE EMOTION: Helplessness
THE GUIDANCE: Re-connect to yourself
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Take a media break

First of all, avoid watching or reading the mainstream news on a loop. Studies show that when we keep recycling the news over and over we are re-traumatizing constantly. And the more scared we feel, the more helpless we can feel. To be able to start being of service it is essential that we learn to reconnect to our selves, as once back in the present moment we feel more stable to help others. I’ve also lost count of how many people I hear saying they wish they could use social media less, as this can have a similar way of hooking us into judgment and fear, and distancing us from our own truths. The great news is…you can!

Some easy ways to start:

  • Leave your phone at home and go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Put your phone on airplane mode at night.
  • Create a ‘no social media after ***pm’ rule.
  • Log out of all your social media channels on your computer and phone. This means that when you go to use them you become aware that you have to login. This allows using them to become intentional.
  • Move your social icons on your phone to a folder and put it on the last page of scrolling. Again this means you CHOOSE when to look rather than it just being there.
  • Do not read the comments. I repeat DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS.

These small actions may feel massively uncomfortable, and if so, good. If you feel anxious without your phone, good. The present moment will continue to feel painful until you learn to be IN it. And look how much time you now have! What would you like to do with it? I suggest reconnecting to PLAY. Connecting with your inner child is another way to ease anxiety and help you reconnect to your natural energy of love and connection. When you refresh your true north, you are more likely to be able to shift your helplessness into self-love.

THE EMOTION: Frustration
THE GUIDANCE: Express yourself in the way that works for you
THE EMPOWERED ACTION: Show don’t tell

It can be really hard to express yourself in a way that you feel helps, especially when you’re angry and upset. It’s good to remember that we rarely get our point across when we try and force it upon someone and so preaching doesn’t usually feel good. You will always feel better when you can express yourself articulately and if you find it difficult to feel confidence with expressing yourself with words, remember also that you can always just BE the change. We always positively affect those around us with our behavior. So think: what small steps can you take in your day-to-day life that will provide example of the kind of world you’d like to live in?

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A Final Word on Black Lives Matter. Vs All Lives Matter.

This is an argument that’s been raging, and below are a few of my favorite simple ways to explain the situation to someone who is having trouble understanding. It is part of human nature to make everything about ourselves (regardless of the topic) since in times of trauma our survival instinct kicks in. But it’s important to learn to recognize that not EVERYTHING is about us. The more that we can see ourselves connected to everyone else, the more empathy we can ignite.

  • “When we say ‘Save the Rainforests’, it doesn’t mean that all other forests suck.”
  • “Choosing to go to a rally for Breast Cancer does not mean that Liver Cancer is less important.”
  • “Saving an animal that’s about to go extinct does not mean that other animals aren’t important, it just means that right now, this one needs our help.”
  • “Yes, of course all lives are important, but currently it doesn’t feel like black lives are as important as other lives—and until the world is equal, meaning ALL people receive the same level of kindness and judicial treatment, then we need to speak up.”
  • “Choosing to support black lives does not mean your life is any less significant.”

You get the idea.