HOW TO BALANCE YOUR HUSTLE AND FLOW

As we emerge from our wintry cocoon and head toward the Spring Equinox, how do we keep worldly ambitions aligned with our intuition? Greta Solomon shows us exactly how to support our soul goals by balancing hustle and flow …

Greta gets her hustle on

There’s never been a better time to be a self-driven woman with big dreams, and a big heart. In the past, we were taught to err on the side of caution when it came to career. When I left my full-time gig to go freelance in 2002, I was warned not to leave gaps in my resumé.

Now, taking a year out is seen as decidedly grown-up. It’s all about the side hustles, taking big leaps, and embracing the highs and lows of being your own boss.

But to truly succeed on your own path, is about more than simply “making it happen.” It also means being in the creative flow. Without mastering this, it’s easy to feel stifled and frustrated, as you try to muscle through inevitable blocks.

In the corporate world, we’re taught to operate in fight or flight mode. Success often means “putting out fires” and dealing with crises. Many of us have absorbed this mentality. That work is all about pushing, striving and achieving linear goals. That it requires stress and strain.

But to get your own business off the ground—and see it thrive—we need to exist in an Alpha brain state. The state of being alert yet relaxed, this is where you can access your intuition, and write, think and speak most freely.

Read on for my tips for dipping into your Alpha, and using your flow to fuel a successful business …

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1// Schedule flow time in your diary
Meaning blocks of time where you deliberately do activities that create flow—ESPECIALLY when you have deadlines and tons on your “to-do” list. You could have a head-clearing walk, do a workout, or chop some veggies to make a big salad. Cooking, driving, running and showering help you get out of your mind and into your body. Listening to music at 60 beats per minute can also get you in an Alpha state, priming you to do your best work. Find what works for you.

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2// Make important decisions when you’re in your flow
Five years ago, most of my writing skills training clients were sales teams in the corporate world. So, a coach advised me to call myself a “sales expert” and totally ignore the fact that I taught writing. This was VERY, VERY wrong advice, that led me away from my true path. At the time, I was juggling a new baby and a newly-published book. I was frazzled and couldn’t think straight. I recommend using your flow time to carefully consider your big career choices.

Greta in full flow

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3// Know your personality type, so you can do things YOUR way
Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type (you can take a free version HERE)? Having this info means you’re less likely to second guess yourself when it comes to the BIG decisions. For example, I’m an “INFP” type, which means I’m introverted, sensitive and rely on intuition to make choices. I’m unconventional and enjoy working alone, but my empathic nature means I also connect very well with people. Knowing my type has helped me to feel confident about building a business based on writing, speaking and coaching.

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4// Plan and plan some more—because creativity also needs a container
But don’t just sit at a computer and make spreadsheets. Go on quarterly or yearly planning retreats, where you switch off from everything and map out your vision in both pictures and words. Creativity is truly your secret weapon when it comes to business success. After all, there are no new ideas, products or services—it’s all about your unique spin on things.

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5// Sometimes you just need to hustle hard
It’s fine to hustle when you need to—when the deadlines are stacked up, opportunities are popping, and there are bills to pay. But do it consciously and mindfully. Keep your time in the Beta energy zone to a minimum. Then schedule plenty of time to rest and recover afterwards—as well as some space to just go with the flow!

Ultimately, there is no short cut to building your own business. But knowing exactly where you’re putting your energy and why, will help to prevent burnout. It’s about learning to protect your sacred creative
time, so you can hustle with heart, and create a business that lasts.

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Greta Solomon is an author, creative writing coach, business writing trainer and former journalist for British newspapers and magazines. She is the author of “Just Write It! How to Develop Top-Class University Writing Skills” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and the forthcoming book “Heart, Soul & Sass: Write Your Way to a Fully-Expressed Life” (pre-order it HERE from April 15th for fab bonuses). She lives in South West London with her husband and daughter, runs creative writing workshops for bloggers and the business world, and coaches people to bring their own books to life. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

QUEER HERO: HOW TO CAST A NAME SPELL

In the first official installment of his monthly column, Queer Hero, Danny Brave shares his journey to discover the name that reflected his true identity. PLUS how you can cast your own name spell …

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

Over the course of my journey as not only a transgender man, but also as a shamanic healer, I’ve discovered the power of our own names (both given and chosen).

I lived most of my life being called Katie Greene, moving through several different iterations and identity crises, only to discover, or rather re-member, that I am Danny Brave. Now when I say “re-member,” what I actually mean is the opposite of dis-member: to put myself back together, to become more whole.

Read on to discover my name changing story, and discover how you can cast a name spell on your own life …

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Releasing my ancestral line
In the Fall of 2015, “Katie,” first started to feel like it was not really me any more. After remembering the sexual assault I experienced as a child (read more about my sexual reclamation after incest HERE), the name was feeling more and more like a fake smile—something that I did often when I was living that identity. If you say “Katie” out loud, you’ll notice your mouth even takes the shape of a smile at the “ie” part.

After remembering what had actually happened to me as a kid, there was, not surprisingly, no more fake smiles left in me, and my full birth name “Kaitlin” began to feel more appropriate. This name felt darker, more serious, and more powerful—a reflection of my energy at the time. This was the name I was called when the abuse happened to me, and it facilitated me in re-membering and reclaiming some of the darkest moments of my life.

With “Kaitlin” in place, I started to search for a replacement for “Greene,” a name that belonged to my father and his father—a name that to me denoted false Irish family pride, toxic Catholicism, and all of the lies and abuse that had been passed down my ancestral line. This line would decidedly end with me, and it would end via the ritual of literally releasing this last name and claiming a new one for myself. This change-of-name spell happened gradually over a long period of time …

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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Was I “Brave” enough?
“Brave,” first came to me in December 2015 at the Barnes and Noble in the town where I grew up, where one fateful night I noticed a little green book with the gold shiny words titled “Brave Enough” by Cheryl Strayed winking at me from the shelves.

Strayed’s memoir “Wild” had come to me a few months prior, shortly after the volcanic repressed memory eruption and was like a little twinkling ray of hope from God, a love letter to my soul. It was a story that had a lot of trauma, death, and addiction—that was totally true, and often brutally honest. In her memoir, Cheryl literally gives herself the last name “Strayed” and changes it legally to reflect more honestly whom she knew she really was. Someone who had, in more ways than one, strayed.

I opened “Brave Enough” and read: “Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.” I wasn’t leaving without the store without it.

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Dancing in my own words …
“Brave Enough” came with me in my bag to India a month later, where I was attending a women’s dance-healing retreat, and a self-imposed writer’s retreat.

Every morning I would dance for 2-3 hours with a beautiful group of women, and every afternoon I would write alone, mostly poetry, and sometimes for hours and hours. It seemed like the energy of “Brave” had already started working on me, giving me the courage to re-claim my authentic voice, and I wrote and wrote about everything as honestly as I could handle at that time. I transmuted abuse memories that spontaneously arrived in the morning dance class, channeling those feelings and vibrations into words, vomiting the poison out of my system.

During my time in India, without thinking much about it, I switched my email address to reflect the last name “Brave.” My old last name just kind of slipped off—like the wind blowing a piece of fabric off of a rock. It was just so ridiculously obvious that “Brave” was my name, and that it now belonged to me.

As I prepared for the journey back to the States, I realized I could never go back to my parents’ home. No longer sharing a last name with any family member, “Brave” carried me onward, forcing me to individuate myself from my family and preparing me to stand on my own two feet.

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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Becoming Danny Brave
When I started to realize that I was a guy (which is really a whole other story), I was initially so uncomfortable with myself and scared that I wanted to die. At the same time, there was an immediate ease with which my first name arrived—it was Danny. I just kind of knew, it was a lightning bolt that zapped the crown of my head in meditation.

But the name and my body and life at that time felt too at odds, and I was living too far away from where I knew I could  feel supported enough to transition. Desperate for some sort of change, but not yet able to feel safe enough to fully step into Danny, I switched my first name again, this time to “Kate.”

I took a part-time gig as an assistant to a jewelry designer. “Ooo, I love your last name … I think that ‘brave’ means a female warrior” the woman I worked for told me. I Googled it and discovered that it in fact meant MALE warrior. “Oh dear god,” I thought with terror. I was being called out, pushed out of the closet, by my own last name! As I started to prepare myself to face the fact that I was not, and never have been, a woman, I knew that “Kate,” a female name and the one my dad would use whenever he yelled at me, would have to go.

When I showed up to my first trans-masculine support group, late and shaking, I simply said “I’m Brave.” As I would to the random barista, just to practice having a different name with no clear gender. Just to have to say it out loud to remember I was courageous, to cling to the one true part of me over which I had ownership.

The affirmation of my last name would eventually lead me to admitting to the real first one, Danny, a month or so later in my support group.

The vibration of Danny has lead me home to my ultimate truth: that of a flamboyant little gay boy who loved to play dress up, loved watching figure skating, loved to paint, draw, and dance. The real me, only now a man. Sometimes the most loveable parts of ourselves are the most hard-won.

I was recently joking with a new friend, saying to her that I gave myself the last name of “Brave” so that I would constantly have to strive to live up to it. “I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “Names are spells. You don’t even have to try, it’s just you now, and it’s how your life will unfold.” Looking back on this story, I can see that she was right.

Photo: Tommy Venus. Jewelry: Gilded Lily.

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How to cast your own name spell
Your name(s) (past and present) carry a meaning and vibration that is worth exploring! Being curious about what is underneath your name may lead you to a deeper understanding of your family dynamic, about what remains to be healed within you, and about your life path and purpose.

The following exercises are for you to explore your true feelings about your name(s) so that you can either reclaim it with your own meaning, intention, or vibration, or maybe even choose a new one for yourself!

1// Call your own name
Start with either your first or last name—whichever one you want to explore and play with first. Then, if you wish, you can follow up with your second name:

Close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart. Take a few deep breaths. Say your first name three times. What do you feel? Does this name feel like you? What do you feel in your body when you say it? What comes up for you? Honor whatever it is and trust your feelings. Know that if your name doesn’t feel like a match for the real you, there is one that is.

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2// Free associate  
You can do this with your current name, or play with a different one that you have in mind.

Take out a piece of paper and a pen. At the top, make two columns if you don’t have a middle name, and three if you do. Under each column, without thinking, write stream-of-consciousness based off of each of your names (if you are trans-identified, I recommend you do this with both your birth name and your chosen one).  Then, take a moment to read your associations. Our names carry so much energy, don’t they?!

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3// Take an inner child name inventory
You may want to use a pen and piece of paper for this one as well:

Consider or write down answers to the following: Was there a name that you really loved as a kid? Is there a name that you really love now? What did you name your pets, your dogs, your dolls when you were little? Is there a celebrity or friend whose name you admire? Is there a name you have always loved and wish that you had? What would happen if you tried it on for a minute, like trying on a new dress or shirt?

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4// Play with your gender identity
Don’t take this one too seriously or freak yourself out—try to have fun and maintain an attitude of light playfulness! Now, let’s do some name-drag:

If you identify as a woman, imagine for a moment that you are a man. What would your name be? If you are a man, imagine for a moment that you are a woman. What would your name be? What does it feel like to call yourself by this pretend name? What spell would this name cast on your life?

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5// Know that you are worthy of your real name 
In the USA (in the larger cities in particular), we are so privileged to live at a time where we can exercise our free will to become more of the person that we really are. Know that if you are unhappy with your current name, or if you don’t feel like it is truly yours, you can, in fact, change it. The same goes for your life!  If you don’t like it, you do, in fact, have the power to change it.

Beyond gender identity, I hope that you feel you are worthy of the real you. You deserve to love your name, which is to say, you deserve to love yourself. I know that if you follow your heart and trust your gut, you will find (or re-member) your real name.

**If you are a transgender individual living in the U.S., please visit my list of resources for trans individuals HERE

Danny Brave is a shamanic healer, writer, public speaker, and artist. In his private practice, he specializes in helping women and individuals assigned female at birth overcome the affects of sexual trauma. He conducts monthly LGBTQIA Shamanic Healing Circles at Brooklyn’s Maha Rose (sign up for the next one HERE) with the intention of creating safe, sober spaces for queer people to heal, and to amplify marginalized voices. He loves to paint, dance, and spend time in nature.

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.

INSTAPOETS: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARKUS ALMOND

In a new series celebrating our favorite poets of IG, Kiran Gill talks to Markus Almond, author of Motivational Quotes To Get The Blood Moving, about the intersection of creativity and spirituality…

 

The Numinous: You’re both a poet and a musician, how do these two worlds intersect? Is the creative process similar or different?
Markus Almond: They are pretty similar I think. Writing feels more natural to me. With music, I would have to fit a certain number of syllables into a melody and then sometimes make it rhyme. But with writing prose, I’m able to say exactly what I wanted to say without making it fit into an existing format.

TN: Where do you get the inspiration for your writing?
MA: The inspiration comes from different things depending on what I’m writing. Sometimes I’m just writing thinly veiled notes to myself or people I love. Other times, I’m telling a story or trying to pass on some sort of advice.

TN: What is your definition of spirituality?
MA: It’s that unexplainable power that you feel when you close your eyes and let go.

TN: Do you have any daily rituals or practices to aid you in your writing?
MA: I meditate every day. And I listen to music in my headphones when I write. I prefer to write with the lights off and my office locked. It helps keep me focused on the task at hand. And I can usually only write at night after everyone else has gone to sleep.

TN: What was the impetus for putting your work out onto the Internet and becoming a published author?
MA: I was going through some personal stuff a few years ago. And I was so over-worked and tired of looking at a computer. So I bought this little manual typewriter and made a limited edition zine with some scissors, a glue stick, and a copy machine. It was the first thing I ever published. And people seemed to like it so I published some more, built a website and started writing books.

TN: What life experiences have had the biggest impact on your work?
MA: Being a musician has probably had the biggest impact on me. That journey took me to so many different places (both spiritually and geographically) that there is just so much material to write from. I’ve got enough stories floating around in my head that it will take me the rest of my life to get them all down on paper.

TN: We love your existential take on self-help – are you a fan of any traditional self-help authors? Who and how has their work impacted you?
MA: Yeah, I read self-help books all the time. Right now I’m reading two books by Thich Nhat Hanh and also The 12 Week Year. I think books are like software for our brains so it’s important what we read. It can have a great impact on our lives if we read helpful things.

TN: What do you hope your writing will inspire in people?
MA: Honestly, I hope that they’ll just email me once in a while and tell me I’m doing a good job. I don’t really write books for mass appeal or with the intention of selling a million copies. I write them because I enjoy writing. But still, it’s nice to know that people like them from time to time.

TN: What are the biggest challenges of being human? The greatest joys?
MA: Fear can be one of the biggest challenges. It can manifest itself in all kinds of weird ways. I think if you can learn to spot fear and get through it without stopping, you’ll go far in the world. The greatest joy of being human is probably different for everyone. For me, it’s those happy things that happen by accident. Sometimes lucky magic just crosses our path for no reason and that can bring a sense of joy.

Read more at Brooklyntomars.com and follow Markus on Instagram @markusalmond

MOVE, SIT, WRITE: 10 REASONS TO WRITE AND MEDITATE EVERY DAY

As she prepares for her Move, Sit, Write tour of the US, Tatum Fjerstad explains how learning to write and meditate every day is about sparking a conversation with your higher self. Artwork: Brian Lynch

Call it an exercise in trading comfort for terrifying uncertainty (she does, in this brilliant blog post), but when something broke in Tatum Fjerstad in December last year, the only option was to pretty much quit what she’d been doing and start again. Which looks a lot like setting off across America to teach her twin (okay triplet) passions of yoga, meditation and writing – a.k.a. her Move, Sit, Write tour, which will take place in 15 studios in seven states, beginning March 3 in Portland, Oregon.

Up until this point, Tatum had been making her life / career decisions a lot like: If I do this, people will think it’s cool. If people think it’s cool, then I’m cool. If I’m cool, people will like me and then I don’t have to work so hard to like myself because everyone else will be doing it for me.” And if you too suspect, on any level, you might also be living this life: “Get out now,” she advises. “It will bring you to a very dark place where you will feel so very disconnected with your own wants and desires that you’ll start to have bleak feelings about how we’re all just atoms bumping into each other and everything is meaningless so what’s the point.” Our point, in general, precisely.

It’s been through her own move, sit, write practice that Tatum has learned to re-connect to and value her sense of self – and since it’s often our own wounds that lead us down the path to our dharma, who better to guide others to do the same. Here, she shares 10 reasons to write and meditate every day…

For more details of Tatum’s Move, Sit, Write tour check out her Go Fund Me page  or book tickets at Tatumfjerstad.com

1. Take An Inventory: When you create the space to listen to your patterns by meditating on and writing down whatever is bouncing around in your head, you (and only you) can decide what you want to keep and what you want to release. This doesn’t happen after one go at it. You have to do it every day.

2. Own Your Shit: When things are rough, this practice can help you get super clear on your hand in the matter. All of us are walking around with a LOT of baggage, no matter who you are, and we can’t unpack it by ignoring it.

3. Sleep Harder: I started meditating twice a day everyday and journaling once in the mornings almost a year ago. Since then, I have had some of the best naps, dreams, and deep sleeps. When you give yourself the time to slow down during the day, your body settles much easier when it’s time to do so.

4. Deeper Connections: When you become a better listener to yourself, you become a better listener to others. It’s a lot easier to put your phone down during a conversation and make eye contact with another person if you know how good that feels when you do it for yourself.

5. Forgive Freely: This soft quiet practice initiates the nurturing of your inner teacher, who happens to be pretty benevolent, empathetic and compassionate. You’ll start to be more lenient on yourself and that will trickle down to others because you’ll realize that we’re all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

6. Treat Yourself: So many of the people I teach think this sort of work is too indulgent or they say they don’t have time. If you have time to scroll through your Instagram feed in bed in the morning, or wash your hair every day, you have enough time to get up a little earlier and do yourself this favor.

7. Increase creativity: When you sit and watch your thoughts and freely write them down you are sitting at the seat of creativity. You can’t force that shit. It has to come on its own with space and sweetness. What better space than writing and meditation?

9. Inspire Others: The longer you do this, the more your friends will want in. They will see your softness emerge and they will ask for your secrets. Share them.

10. Get it Out: Omg, it feels so good to write a bunch of shit about someone who is pissing you off. It feels WAY better than telling them this stuff and then immediately regretting it. I’ve solved entire friendship dramas without speaking a word to them and having the conversation with myself until I was done with it. Sometimes that takes a few days, sometimes much longer.

11. Be Your Own Best Friend: You know that feeling when it’s whatever-night-of-the-week and you don’t have any plans and everyone is doing cool shit and you feel like a big loser full of FOMO? That goes away because you’ll start to really love those cuddly moments with yourself when it’s just you, a good book and some great music.

FREEDOM FOR ALL: WORK WITH YOUR AQUARIUS MOON SIGN

Understand your Aquarius moon sign and maximize your self-care practice to be the best YOU, says Ash Bonelli. Artwork: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

Let’s dive deep into the unique and progressive energies of a soul born with an Aquarian moon sign. Our Moon is our HEART. Our emotional and physical support system. Our mama. Our deepest, hidden feelings, that only the ones we really trust get the privilege of knowing. We feed our Moon sign so we can go out and be our best selves, our Sun sign. And once you know how to care for your Moon, you can show others how to do the same.

Self-care is one of our allies to a better world. The Moon is also the source of our intuition, and the zodiac sign it falls in signifies the way we instinctively know things. So understanding your Moon sign can really bolster your relationship to your subconscious feelings in a healthy way.

Work out your moon sign, when you do you chart for free here.

So, what if you have an Aquarius Moon sign? This is the independent thinkers’ Moon. Aquarius is an air sign, that uses its intellect to go about its daily tasks. This is also a fixed sign so once you set your mind on something it may prove difficult to persuade you otherwise. You may also have a tendency to think with your emotions versus feel them. This can actually be used as a superpower though, since this level of detachment can give you the upper hand at in life’s more emotional situations. You most likely don’t wallow in your emotions, and this allows you enough freedom and space to distance yourself and apply some of your unique logic to the given situation.

You probably require a lot of freedom in relationships in general, and need a home environment that lets you come and go as you please. Other people’s expectations could feel like a tremendous amount of pressure – as if your true self is being stifled.  But you gladly offer this same freedom in return. Any sort of “boxing in” creates discord and dampens your ability to by authentically you. You need to be accepted for your original and possibly eccentric ideas, philosophies and ways of being. You may even rebel within your relationships just to prove the point that you won’t conform to their ideas about you.

This is also the humanitarian sign. You care deeply about the collective and will rally for a cause you stand behind. It can make an Aquarius Moon sign sing to really support a charity/foundation, or even a circle of friends that has a progressive impact on society. I could see you as the friend people turn to for solid advice. You have the Moon sign of the wise owl that flies so high you see everyone’s perspective with clear vision. You can be an emotional bolster for humanity without diluting yourself in an ocean of feelings.

Below are some wellness suggestions to express, soothe and connect to and from your Aquarius Moon sign. Your heart runs free and needs a whole cosmos of space to breathe. When you find yourself feeling caged in or overwhelmed, come back to some of these tools.

:: Have a writing practice ::
Aquarius Moon signs express their emotions through the use of their intellect. They use words versus demonstrative acts. Start journaling your thoughts, ideas, wishes and dreams. Try your hand at writing poetry. Use your non-dominant hand, just to get a new perspective. Write out the stories you hold dear. Write down what you are grateful for each day. Make a cookbook or keep a dream diary. Whatever is close to your inner sanctuary, take the time to write it out. Come back to it and reflect on your own spiritual/emotional growth.

:: Join a breathwork circle ::
That’s right, air element Moon sign! Your heart has lungs of its own. Connecting to your life force will give you that much needed feeling of freedom, while at the same time allowing you to connect with yourself on a potent level. Plus you get to meet new people and find that sense of community you so thoroughly enjoy. You have a natural spiritual intuition that can grow and expand with grace via pranayama.

:: Find your cause ::
Get into charity work or assist with a non-profit so you can utilize your greatest emotional strength, your compassion for humanity. You can express this humanitarian pulse in the best way possible by supporting a cause that pulls at your heartstrings. Any type of goodwill is up for grabs and the work will add to your quality of life while making this world a little better than it was before. It’s a win-win for the Aquarius Moon sign.

:: Guided meditation ::
Your heart is always in your head – and you need a break from that constant stream. This type of meditation would be good because it covers both bases for you. The spoken words help your mind follow a path. The path, however, leads to the detachment of thoughts. Giving your mind the space to be empty will in turn give your heart a deep rest.

:: Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) ::
Balance out both hemispheres of your mind to balance your heart.

Bring your first and middle finger down and in towards your palm. You will use your thumb and ring finger for this practice. The pinky can just hang out and rest where it’s at. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril. Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils. 10 rounds please.

Keep space, move with grace & continue your healing work. From those places, your moon will feel content.

CONTRUBUTING TO THE SITE: NUMINOUS SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

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DEAR DIARY: A CONVERSATION WITH THE DIVINE

As Neptune goes direct and the Sun moves into Sagittarius, it’s the perfect time to instigate a conversation with the divine. And your journal is the place to start, says Katie Simpson.

Almost 18 years ago, I bought my first journal. It was a small back hardbound book covered in pictures of Mickey Mouse designs. I’ve since journaled for self-care, self-expression, and so much more.

In the past year, my journal has provided a surprising new benefit: it’s become the space where I have dialogues with the Divine. This began on more intense days, such as in the build up to a New or Full Moon ritual. But now I can have these conversations during lunch breaks, late nights, or days when I am sick.

To be clear, these conversations don’t require any mind-altering substances. The most I have in my system may be a cigarette or a glass or two of wine. And my most profound conversations with the divine occur when I’m completely sober.

Journaling and talking to God both happen in my journal but look very different. When I’m journaling, I write my thoughts down as they come. With the Divine, it’s a written conversation. It sounds and looks like two different people having a discussion. I will write something, and then She responds. The best way to explain it is like the old written notes we used to pass in class. Only I am both one of the writers and the messenger.

These dialogues are a gift, but not one that’s unique to me. I believe that with a little time and effort, you can have these kinds of conversations as well. Here are a few practices that have helped me commune with the Divine through the written word.

:: The faces of God ::
As a religious studies major in college, I learned a lot about the different faces of God. For example, in Hinduism, you could see Kali, Goddess of destruction, and Sarasvati, Goddess of wisdom, as two separate entities. Or they could represent two different aspects of the same Divine Feminine.

So often in the Judaea-Christian West, we focus on God as a judge, ruler, or father figure. But for many women, it’s difficult to connect with this. Personally, I connect best with Jewish idea of the Shechina. She is the feminine, the maternal presence, that I see when I reach out to God. And as such, she is the one who communicates with me on the page.

To begin a dialogue with anybody, you need to feel a connection with them. It’s the same with the Divine. Perhaps you need God to be a fierce warrior. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of God as Sophia, or wisdom.
There’s no wrong answer. So think back to which icons, saints or experiences really made the divine manifest for you. Is there a pattern? What images and ideas do you gravitate towards now? Exploring this is a great start to feeling a connection with the Divine.

:: The inner God block ::
For me, God has never just picked up the pen on her own and started writing: she writes through me. Which means that before the Divine can show up on the page, I have to make space for her – space beyond the doubt, the criticism and the disbelief around God, that so many of us have developed.

To give her space, a free-writing practice is critical. Each morning, I sit down and write three pages, either typed on my computer, or in a hardbound journal. No editing, no second guessing, just writing. Have I perfected this practice? No, but showing up helps me be honest on the page. This way, when the Divine does decide it’s time for a chat, I don’t fight it. I just keep writing.

This practice does take time: I’ve been doing it for over two years now. A couple glasses of wine could be a faster way to muting the inner critic. However, drugs are only a quick fix. Taking the time to show up and write will prepare you to have a dialogue with God, whether it’s 8am or 8pm.

:: Just ask ::
My dialogues with the Divine don’t start off in a complicated way. In fact, they usually begin with a vulnerable honesty.

“I’m so scared of telling him, what will happen?”

“I’m feeling so tired today, I just want to rest in your arms.”

I don’t believe there’s one right way to start chatting with God. For me, it’s about being simple and direct. My dialogues began by me being honest about where I was and what I needed – while the maternal Shechinah simply listened, and held me.

It’s very rare that God reaches out to me or begins the dialogue. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have had any dialogues with God if I hadn’t started the conversations. Why? I wouldn’t have even known I was hearing the Divine.

And what YOU need when chatting with God could look and sound completely different. However, it is up to you to show up. It’s up to you to say you want the conversation, and in fact it’s critical that you ASK for it. The Divine is all around us, waiting. It’s up to us to show we’re ready for a deeper connection.

:: Say Thanks ::
I’ve seen it time and again in human relationships. Want to mess something up? Take a person for granted. Believe that your employee will simply continue producing great work and never leave – and just watch that relationship ferment into a bitter and moldy fruit.

The Divine doesn’t need gratitude. However, simply assuming that you can continue to have dialogues with God won’t do, since becoming proud and assuming of this connection is a surefire way to destroy the dialogue.

Being in the presence of the Divine should always feel like a gift. As such, showing good manners and saying even a quick thank you after the fact can help. There are other ways to show your appreciation: donate money to your favorite charity; give a loved one a call and tell them you love them; pick up some trash from your park.

Divine dialogue has become a gift that helps me be the best version of myself, for others and for myself. Whether you find God on the blank page or in the woods, know that it is your birth right to have time and space directly with her. But taking time to discover what aspects of the Divine resonate with you, and then actually asking for that relationship, are fundamental to creating and sustaining this connection for the long haul.

GET TO KNOW YOUR VIRGO MOON SIGN

With the Sun in Virgo it’s also the perfect time to shine a light on your Virgo moon sign, says Ash Baker. Image: Prince Lauder via Behance.net

If your Sun sign describes your vitality and speaks to the way you operate day-to-day, your Moon sign is your reactionary pulse. Her phases push and pull at us like the ocean’s tides. Your Moon represents how you vibe the most authentically in the world, without time to apply logical thought or judgement. If the Sun thinks about himself, and the Moon feels herself.

You can find out your Moon sign when you do your chart for free here. And do one for your friends’ while you’re there!

So now let’s discuss what what form the Virgo moon sign takes in its fullest expression.

Being proactive is the gold standard for this spirit. People with the Sun in Virgo tend to be very organized, but with a Virgo Moon sign, being able to control (to a reasonable degree) the external chaos is key to your health and wellbeing. If your internal desire to control a particular area of your life (that area all depends on which house your Virgo Moon sign falls in) is thwarted, you will literally feel as if your whole world is out of balance.

The Virgo Moon sign is a humble creature. She wants to be seen as skilled and gifted and has a strong, deeply rooted desire to help others. Virgo is the sign of the craftsman, so to have your Moon here means you have an emotional pull towards the kind of perfectionism that is built on day-by-day effort. I always picture the worker bee when I think of the Virgo Moon sign. With each passing day she is crafting something amazing that can be of service to the world, no matter how small that contribution may actually be. Goal-oriented repetition resulting in measurable success makes your soul sign.

Virgo is ruled by logic and analytical thought. Yet the Moon is all about feeling, so bridging the gap between the heart and mind is something the Virgo Moon sign will always be working on. They will want help the ones they love tackle their problems in a practical way. Remember, this Moon nurtures by helping others heal through logic.

Hyper aware of their own flaws, they sometimes project that critical tone onto others through a simple desire to help. This may not be the best approach, so remember that constantly critiquing yourself and the people around you isn’t exactly healthy. There is a time for discernment, and there is a time for pure acceptance.

The Virgo Moon sign feels their best around authentic people who accept their flaws, because underneath they are hugely self-critical too. Their Moon cracks the whip to keep improving daily. Not only are they a worker bee for others, but that drive gets reflected a la luna back onto themselves – the feeling that they must always be working on the best version of themselves.

This can make a Virgo Moon sign your own worst enemy. Use your natural gift of hyper-awareness to improve, but don’t let it run your life to the point of feeling stifled. Your Moon has very specific gifts to offer the world when you allow intuition to get a look in!

Some ideas to put into action to assist your Virgo Moon sign tendencies.

WRITE. Making lists is an easy way to feel like you’re in control of your life. That creeping fear you may forget something and, heaven forbid, look like you made a mistake will be put to rest. Your Moon can relax while still feeling on top of her game. Also, when feeling cranky just write it all out. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, the sign of communication, and is symbolized by our hands. So when emotions are overflowing, get out your pen and paper to purge what’s assailing your heart.

CREATE. Use your hands, and take a class in something that will require lots of skill. Your Moon will be put at ease by having a detailed task to perform. Your natural perfectionist tendencies will love to learn an instrument, or create photo-real pieces of art. Having a creative outlet that gives you the opportunity for others to praise you will also make your spirit sing. Cooking could be another option, because you get to work at it till it’s just right while also bringing happiness to others. Providing a delicious meal for the people you love is a win-win.

GET PHYSICAL. Virgo sign rules physical health and wellbeing, so your Moon needs to feel healthy to be happy. Whether it’s lifting weights, seeking zen through yoga or hiking out in nature, you will be more balanced once you some regular exercise to your routine. Speaking of routines, that need to control the chaos will also balanced by exercise. The Virgo Sun likes to think, the Virgo Moon wants to feel, and movement is super helpful to address this duality. Getting out of your head and into your body gives you the opportunity to just feel.

In summary, Virgo Moons make for great listeners, loyal friends and practical partners. Just keep the critical self-talk and need for control in check and all will be copacetic.

How have you learned to work with your Virgo Moon sign? Connect with us and share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!