10 SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE FUTURE TRIPPING

Hitting the crystal ball so hard you can’t make a move without psychic intervention? Sounds like you’re future tripping, says Victoria Cox

I still recall my first psychic reading with incredible clarity. At first, I was skeptical. I held my cards close to my chest and answered any leading questions as briefly as possible.

But within minutes, goosebumps covered my entire body as she informed me that my beloved grandmother had come in from the ether to say hello and was looking after our cherished family dog. The psychic even nailed the name and breed!

I was hooked. And so over the years, I found myself going back for more. And more … 

My psychic gave me the courage to follow my soul mission as a writer and to make some pretty drastic changes in my life, all with the confidence that I had the support of the Universe behind me. This was all good stuff. The problem was, eventually, there was a gaping chasm between my dreams and my reality. To get from one to the other required action, yet I was paralyzed and fretting over a life I had yet to create. I was focusing on the future at the expense of the present. In short, I was future-tripping.

Have you found yourself getting swept up by the romanticism or sheer excitement of discovering what lies ahead? Use the 10 signs below to diagnose whether you’re seeing a psychic for the right reasons, or are simply future tripping on your own destiny …

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1/REGULARITY: How often do you get a reading? Generally speaking, as long as you aren’t becoming dependent on intuitive advice, one or two readings a year should suffice. Any more than that and it’s time to start asking whether you are using psychic guidance as a crutch, and thus disempowering your own free will.

2/REPETITION: Are you asking endless questions about the same topic? We all have times of uncertainty in our lives and it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of scheduling multiple readings until you get what you deem a satisfactory answer. Instead, remember that a good psychic reading takes time to unfold and let yourself sit with the answers from one reading for a while.

3/REASSURANCE: Seeking out psychic guidance in the hopes of reassurance is never a good idea. Especially when the search for reassurance comes in the form of asking when Lady Luck will start smiling on you again. Ultimately, this takes you out of your own personal power and leaves you sitting around waiting for life to get better instead of making things better for yourself.

4/REASONS: The reasons you’re getting psychic advice are often more important than how often you are getting it. What are you really seeking from a reading? Is this just a thinly disguised attempt to control everything by knowing everything?

5/RIGIDITY: If your sole intention in a psychic session is to receive that defining answer to a specific question, disappointment will surely follow. If a psychic is legit, the information communicated doesn’t come from them, it comes through them, and they have virtually no control over what they’re being spiritually guided to convey. You’ll receive what you need, not what you want. Two very different things.

Image: Harper’s Bazaar

6/REVEALING: Much like a first date, revealing too much too soon can be a recipe for disaster. Remember that you’re paying a professional for their time. Allow them space to do their job and lead the discussion where it needs to go so that it may serve your highest good. If in doubt, ask the psychic if you may elaborate to underscore a certain point.

7/EMPOWERMENT: Remember that the true purpose of a psychic is to help guide you through a life issue, and to empower you to make your own choices as a result of this guidance. It is most definitely NOT a comfort blanket to protect against future fears. Ask yourself whether you are seeking constructive advice on an important life question, or simply seeking a salve for your anxiety.

8/PSYCHIC-SHOPPING: Much like seeking out a therapist, when you find an intuitive that you connect with try to stick with them for a while. Developing a working relationship with one psychic helps you to build on what you’ve already discussed, digging a little deeper each time. If you find yourself hopping from one to the other in search of new material, you’ll likely end up running in circles and driving yourself insane!

9/MAKING IT FIT: Predictions can feel wondrous (if they come true), but they can also be a minefield of epic mind-fuckery. No one can really know what will happen, even those who tap into their intuition as their professional calling. The danger lies in trying to make your life work around a prediction. Trying to force a certain situation to play out any differently than it is meant to runs contrary to the natural laws of the universe and should be avoided at all costs.

10/EASY ANSWERS: The best intuitive should provide the caveat that they can’t see everything. If you find yourself being told what you should do, run for the hills. True professionals will help you find your own inner truth and offer deeper perspective on it. It’s not their job to hand you easy answers. The point is to learn to rely on your own intuition and inner wisdom.

As we try and quell our anxiety about what happens next, the most important thing to remember is that we are masters of our own destiny. Life is really about every single one of us evolving our souls through the experiences that we uncover along the way. Whether or not we choose to seek psychic guidance about these experiences is entirely up to us!

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Victoria Cox currently resides in NYC. She has written for Amanda de Cadenet’s “The Conversation,” Tiny Buddha, Elephant Journal, LifeHack, The Lady Project, Dumb Little Man, Sivana Spirit, and The Numinous. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or via her website.

5 SIGNS I NEEDED A SPIRITUALITY DETOX

When your practice becomes a crutch it could be time for a spirituality detox, says Victoria Cox. Artwork: Elayne Safir

I’ve been fascinated with the esoteric side of life since I was a little girl, but in recent years I’ve been delving a little deeper. Kundalini yoga, tarot, energy healing, astrology, crystals, meditation. You name it, I’ve probably tried it.

And lately I began to notice that whenever life got more intense, I would lean a little harder on these practices.

I’d pull a tarot card every day (okay, sometimes several), check five or more astrology sites religiously, and my morning meditation schedule became a non-negotiable. To the point I began to wonder if, instead of utilizing these practices to gain a deeper meaning of life, I was using them to numb out. After all, I was no longer experiencing the blissful results and striking insights I’d encountered initially. Simply put, the whole thing was starting to make me feel neurotic.

So, what was a girl to do?

In a twist of irony, my question was actually answered during an energy healing session. After listening to me whinge about how I was working so hard on myself yet my anxiety levels were creeping higher, I was informed I was being put on a month-long “spirituality detox.” In short, it was time to cut the woo-woo and get grounded.

Here are the five signs that showed me I was in need of a spirituality detox. If anything sounds familiar, you might decide to join me…

A daily practice becomes a daily obsession
For me this was Kundalini meditation. At first, the results were impressive; I was calmer throughout the day and found myself less likely to get sucked into life’s dramas. Yet, as external challenges mounted, I became more rigid about my practice. I had to do it no matter what.

There were mornings where I woke up tired yet pushed myself through the practice, counting the seconds until I was finished. My morning “meditation” was beginning to feel more like bootcamp, and I was no longer enjoying it. As a result, the benefits I’d experienced when practicing from a place of reverence, began to ebb away.

Pursuing spirituality for personal gain
Over time I’d acquired a toolbox of sorts to deal with life’s rough patches. If was feeling anxious, I journaled about my feelings. If I was feeling uninspired, I meditated. If I wanted to create something new in my life, I would use visualization techniques.

These tools were extremely helpful in getting me through hard times, but I was starting to use them in the good times too, to satisfy my ego desires—opposed to spiritual yearnings. And then when life didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to, I became angry. I realized that in using these practices this way, I was buying into the idea that the the Universe somehow “owed me”—and was mystically designed to reward selfishness, when actually the opposite is true.

Self-helping vs. self-medicating
I noticed a pattern of behavior that went something like this: waking up after a boozy night out I’d feel a familiar sense of self-loathing about having drunk too much. To alleviate these feelings, I would head straight to a yoga class to clear my head.

Feeling better about myself, I would then come home and have a glass of wine—undoing all the good work I’d done in class! I was essentially using my practice as a quick-fix means to feel better in the moment while ignoring the real issue (why I’d drunk too much again)—instead of a way to learn about myself on a deeper level.

Searching for the next spiritual fix
Living in New York, there are a classes and workshops offering every spiritual answer under the cosmos. Energy healing; Chakra cleansing; Past-life regression. You name it, it’s here. While this is wonderful in many ways, I noticed how the sheer abundance of choice made it feel like there was always one more thing to try.

I began to convince myself that I needed to do every treatment, attend every event. I was treating these revered spiritual arts like a mass consumer, always looking for more instead of stopping and simply asking myself what I was trying to heal.

Spiritual neurosis
I discovered that my motives were becoming completely anti-spiritual, as I indulged in a sort of metaphysical materialism. Over time my beloved practices had morphed from a source of comfort into a supposedly mystical way to manifest my worldly desires.

Instead of wanting to go to a sound-bath at the end of the week to relax, I felt I had to go—or I would be missing out on some great revelation about myself. I wasn’t. I was living my life wrapped up within my ego’s neuroses instead of living from my heart.

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Once I saw clearly how I was misappropriating my spiritual practice, I asked my energy healer what I needed to do.

Her prescription?

No mind-altering substances (i.e. alcohol) for 30 days. Stop reading or engaging with all esoteric information. Cease all meditation. Stop all energy practices or group healing

Instead?

Spend time on grounding activities such as house-cleaning. Practice intense cardio exercise. Sleep and rest. Spend time in nature. Take plenty of salt baths to detox the body and drink lots of water.

Initially it seemed like too big of a pill to swallow. But as I deleted my astrology and tarot apps from my phone I already began to feel lighter. When my alarm went off at 7am for my morning meditation I almost squealed with pleasure at the thought of sleeping for an thirty extra minutes. I relished the empty weeknights where I didn’t have some class to attend.

I knew it was the right thing to be doing simply because it felt so damn good. I felt like a child taking a month off from a very strict boarding school. Admittedly the hardest part for me was not drinking alcohol; I didn’t partake during the week, but I’ll be honest and admit that I still dabbled, albeit lightly, some weekends.

And once the thirty days were up? There were some practices, such as Kundalini yoga, that I was dying to get back into—simply because they made me feel better. But there were others, like my incessant tarot card pulling, that no longer held any appeal.

Most importantly, my experience taught me far more about myself then I’d learned in my obsessive pursuit of all things Now Age. I learned that the spiritual path is a long and meandering one; that there are no quick fixes or shortcuts.

Most importantly it taught me to listen to my heart instead of my head, and to always ask myself if what I’m seeking is in service of enlightenment or egotism.

Have you had a similar experience to Victoria? Share your thoughts with the Numinous tribe Instagram and Facebook, or in the comments below…

3 ALCOHOL-FREE WAYS FOR COPING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

How Victoria Cox switched from Dutch Courage to Divine Courage, and learned to say “cheers” to social anxiety… Artwork: Nahu Marín Luriaud

It’s 7pm on a Saturday night in NYC and I’m getting ready to hit the town for a charity event a friend is hosting. Keeping me company as I slather on the make-up is my obligatory glass of chilled white wine.

“Just to take the edge off,” I tell myself. Give me a quick buzz so that I arrive relaxed and confident. I don’t know many people at the party and this fact alone is revving up my anxiety levels. I’ll just be completely honest and admit that on occasion I struggle with social anxiety, especially when I’m with large groups of strangers. Likely a leftover from my childhood, when I used to be crippled with an extreme case of the shy’s.

Thankfully, I left that mortifyingly awkward stage behind me as I grew into adulthood, but on occasion, my inner shy girl pops up from the deepest recesses of my subconscious to say hello. She usually makes an appearance at large social gatherings and she’s guaranteed to show up as my plus-one at networking events. Those are her favorite.

She especially enjoys it when I walk into a party, look around and realize I’m engulfed in a sea of strangers. “Look,” she whispers conspiratorially in my ear. “You don’t know anyone here, why don’t you just leave?” When I do eventually strike up a conversation with someone she’ll pipe up incessantly; “This person is bored by you. You have nothing interesting to say. This is so awkward. Just go home.”

Sometimes she gets her way and sometimes she doesn’t. But over the years, I’ve grown sick of the bitches sneaky antics, and so I figured out a way to make sure she stays her ass home. Alcohol. That intoxicating social lubricant. She hates it – one glass and I’m already dancing out the door. Two glasses and I can approach a group of strangers. Three glasses and I’m on the dance floor with said strangers, a.k.a my new best friends. Four glasses and… let’s not go there.

I’ve been feeling pretty smug about my secret weapon for many years and it’s got me through some skin-crawlingly awkward networking events that I’ve gladly suffered the hangover for.

But in recent years, as I’ve begun to focus on getting to know myself on a deeper level, I’ve begun to question my secret weapon. Is it really a weapon – or simply a crutch? Could I cope at one of these events if I didn’t drink beforehand? What was it saying about me that I could only be my “best self” when I numbed my senses with alcohol? Why did I feel I couldn’t just be me, weird social ticks and all?

These questions reverberated around my head for many months yet I had no answers. All I knew was that I had two options. Choose to keep on applying the social lubricant or get to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

I chose the latter.

And so, I began an experiment. I decided to switch from “Dutch Courage” to “Divine Courage,” and see what I could learn about myself in the process. Here’s what’s in my tool-box…

:: BREATHWORK ::
Being a long-time yoga devotee I was already familiar with the breathwork known as “pranayama.” And, one form of this is called Alternative Nostril Breathing – where you do just that. Breathe out of one nostril for a set period of time, then switch. Sounds odd but what this actually does is soothe the nervous system and equalize the hemispheres of the brain. Fancy talk for saying, “It chills you the F out.”

This practice had always worked a charm at calming down my over-excitable brain so I added it to my toolbox. But I needed more. Breath-work alone wasn’t likely to be enough to stop me running back into the arms of a perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio.

:: VISUALIZATION ::
This is where visualization meditation came in. It’s no secret that visualization can be incredibly powerful – even professional athletes are known for using it to get “in the zone” before a game. Basically, the aim is to try to see your desired outcome before it happens. So, before heading out to a social engagement these days, I sit quietly and visualize myself at the party, acting confidently, laughing, having fun, meeting new people and generally enjoying myself.

More often than not, what I visualize, or a version thereof usually comes to pass. Even on those occasions where things didn’t quite go as planned, I found I was in a much more centered space which helped me to relax and connect with people a little easier.

:: MANTRA ::
My toolbox was coming together but I needed to add one more thing. A mantra. Whilst mantras are typically used during meditation they can also be used throughout the day as a method to turn a negative thought pattern into a positive one.

Mantras can be incredibly powerful to soothe anxiety or just to give the mind something positive to focus on, thus avoiding a leap down the rabbit hole of fear and worry. My personal mantra differed for each occasion, but phrases such as “I am relaxed and confident” or “I am enjoying meeting new people” were especially helpful when I just wanted to run away and hide in the bathroom.

***

Its been a few months since I began my experiment and already I’ve been noticing some improvements. While I will probably always experience an involuntary shudder at the word “networking” I no longer feel that I simply must have a drink beforehand to get through it.

Whilst my pre-party drink routine enabled me to come across as lively and fun, in actual fact I was only showing people what I thought they wanted to see, lending an air of superficiality to my encounters. The real me might not be the life of the party but it is authentic – and more often than not I’ve noticed people can sense the difference leading to a more genuine connection.

Although I’ll probably never eradicate my inner shy girl completely, she no longer accompanies me to every social event. At the end of the day I’m only human and she’ll probably make an appearance now and again but I no longer feel the need to chase her away with gulps of wine. As a result, she doesn’t hold the same power over me.

I’ll also admit that wine and I will likely never end our love affair completely, but I no longer need it in the same way I used to. Alcohol has transitioned into something I enjoy on occasion rather than a can’t-cope-without.

My experiment has gifted me the knowledge that my social anxiety toolkit is available at any time; which in turn has emboldened me with a burgeoning self-confidence. I feel that I’m now able to face an intense social situation without desperately seeking an exit route, and surely that’s something worth raising a glass to.

TIME FOR CHANGE: 10 SIGNS I WAS LIVING A LIE

As Mercury goes retrograde, the coming three weeks are the perfect time for some life laundry. For Victoria Cox, this meant asking: “am I living a lie?” Artwork: Aneta Ivanova via Behance.net

It’s an unsettling feeling to look back on the last decade of your life, only to discover that you’ve been living a lie. No, I haven’t recently been arrested for identity theft nor do I want to be the next Caitlyn Jenner. What I mean by living a lie is this: upon looking back at the arc of my burgeoning adulthood, I was astounded to discover that the career choices I had made, had never, in fact, been the choices I wanted to make.

There was no gun being held to my head. I made these decisions entirely voluntarily. Succumbing to my own burning desire to please others, I began to emulate a path that would impress my father. Abandoning my creative desires, I launched headfirst into a career in law.

Essentially, I took on what had been one of his ambitions and pursued his goal for myself. All, I can see now, in the hope that he would love me just a little bit more. Of course I didn’t realize what I was up to until much later in life, that’s the power of the subconscious mind. But there were signs along the way, tiny whispers asking if this was truly what I wanted.

Ultimately, it was finally paying attention to these signs that opened my eyes to the fact I’d been faking it all along.

SADNESS: The first sign was the persistent, heavy sadness that was my constant companion. I spent so long convincing myself that I was doing the right thing that I simply chose to ignore it. I knew it wasn’t normal to feel this way, but it took me years to confront my sadness and ask myself that terrible question. The one you don’t want to ask because you already know you don’t want to hear the answer. “Why are you really doing this?”

FEAR: Then there was the fear – fear of making any changes to my life. So, cushioned by my regular paycheck, I chose to play it safe. I convinced myself that it was the fear of losing my job that kept me awake at night, when actually I was afraid of something completely different. I was afraid I was missing out on living MY life.

RESISTANCE: I had always wanted to be a writer, yet I never wrote. Instead of putting pen to paper and creating a story, I created a litany of excuses. I was too busy, too stressed and this was killing off any creative inspiration. What I was really doing was a classic case of self-sabotage; I was refusing to get out of my own way.

DISTRACTION: I would do anything to avoid facing up to the truth of my situation. Cue night after night when, instead of turning on my laptop to write, I poured myself a glass of wine and checked in to see what The Real Housewives were up to. Anything to divert myself from… myself.

EMOTIONAL GUIDANCE: Sensing my malaise, a friend suggested I try a meditation class. Once my monkey mind finally settled I discovered a sense of peace I hadn’t felt in years. Meditation began to show me the true purpose of emotions and how they can actually provide valuable guidance. Quieting my mind had highlighted the fact that anxiety and fear were my sole companions while I was at work. In stark contrast, I discovered that the only time I felt any semblance of joy was in a creative environment.

BOREDOM: Another sign that showed me I was living an inauthentic life was a constant sense of boredom. I was bored by my work and bored with life. I would plan vacation after vacation in the hopes of brushing up against some kind of enjoyment, but nothing excited me anymore. The world seemed to have become one, long, monotonous…nothing.

ILLNESS: Being stressed and unhappy takes its toll on the mind, and on the body. My body decided to give me a sign of its own making, a physical wake-up call. My skin reverted to its teenage years and broke out constantly. I had severe insomnia and my adrenals were burnt out. My body was essentially screaming at me to get my attention the only way it knew how, through sickness.

IDENTITY LOSS: Despite the fact that I was desperate to change my career I hid behind my profession. I used my identity as a lawyer to impress people, because I was too afraid to show them who I really was. Ironically I spent so long holding up this mask as a “successful lawyer” that it was no longer a mask. I had morphed into somebody that I didn’t want to be.

SELF-LOATHING: I was disgusted by the realization that I had let fear hold me back from pursuing my creative dreams. In an attempt to remove these loathsome thoughts circling around my mind, I began journaling every evening. A torrent of hateful words poured forth providing another sign I desperately needed before I could move forward. I now needed to forgive myself.

PERSPECTIVE: The act of writing out my deepest fears in my journal showed me that I was stuck in a victim mentality. Instead of throwing a 24-hour pity party, what I needed was a change in perspective. Why was I choosing to hide this experience in the Life Mistakes folder, when I could file it under Life Lessons instead? Looking at my situation from a fresh perspective showed me that my experience had actually created a swath of writing material. What if I chose to write about my story so that it could help others who were in the same boat?

I’m still a long way off from the writing career of my dreams but that’s the not the point. The point is that each step of my journey has shown me I was living life out of duty rather than desire; acting always to please others rather than pleasing myself.

I hid behind my fears because I didn’t want to face up to the fact that in order to follow my writing dreams, I had to let go of those parts of my life that no longer served me. Yet the very act of finally facing these fears gave me the permission I had been desperately seeking; the permission to pull off the mask of inauthenticity and show my real self to the world.