10 SIGNS YOUR SOUL WANTS YOU TO UNPLUG

When the only altar you’re bowing to is busyness,  your soul wants you to unplug says Folk Rebellion founder Jess Davis. If not now, then when?

Digital Detox Under the Aurora Borealis, Blachford Lake Lodge

Do you arrive at your bed each night wondering how you got there? Has your life become an endless sea of “Oh CRAP! I have to do ______” moments, and blips and beeps that leave your phone feeling like Grand Central Station? Raise your hand if you’ve been bowing down at the oh-so-exhausting altar of busyness.

Now, I can’t see head-nods because you’re reading this on a screen somewhere else in the world. The Internet is an AMAZING invention that allows me to share ideas with you by simply clicking a button. But the idea I want to share with you right now, is in order to profoundly connect with each other, we must use boundaries and rituals to balance our life both on and offline.

As a formerly plugged-in digital strategist and brand consultant, I learned this the hard way. After over 10 years of helping clients discover their digital voices, I found that I had lost track of real-life connection to my own higher Voice. To ensure you don’t end up burnt out and zombie-eyed like I did, let’s identify some warning signs that your soul wants you to unplug:

  1. You’re Wearing “BUSY” Like a Badge of Honor. Somewhere between the women’s lib movement of the ‘60s and current day #GIRLBOSSes, we started to mistake running around like a multi-tasking Jesse Spano on speed as something to strive for. Well, it’s not. Take a breath, log off, and know that you are successful even when you chill out, and that most things can always wait.
  1. Because. Eyes. Staring at a screen for extended periods of time (we’re talking even an hour, not eight) causes your eyes to lock into a position that only allows close-range vision. When you eventually look far away, spasms happen that cause blurred vision or twitching. Never mind how this affects your third eye!
  1. You’ve Forgotten What Trees Look Like. As more of our activities and communication pull us into screens, we are spending less time outside and in nature. Our brains aren’t tireless, three-pound machines; they’re easily fatigued. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too.
Blachford Lake Lodge—remember trees?
  1. Bedtime=Screentime. Blue-lit faces under the covers have become a common sight in bedrooms everywhere. The insertion of a device into your bed wreaks havoc on your circadian sleep rhythm, takes away from your rejuvenation time that happens when you’re reading a book or meditating, and challenges your connection with partners. Put. It. Away. You’ll sleep better, wake better, and love better.
  1. You’ve Left Planet Earth. While many of the emotional and physical effects of digital technology have been well documented, new research by health care professionals (especially those in the addiction field) is beginning to discover evidence that our devices may alter our brain chemistry, and that our brains simply cannot tell the difference between an actual and a virtual experience. Commit to a good 72 hours offline and bring your mind and feet back to earth.
  1. FOMO & FOMO’s BFF, Envy. If you know everything about your friends and acquaintances’ lives but haven’t seen them IRL in weeks, that’s a problem. 2D consumption often leaves us questioning our own lives as we feel like we’re missing out and not living up to picture-perfect standards. When you see someone laugh in person you get a boost of serotonin, and when they tell you a story about their vacation you connect with them on a deeper level. We simply don’t get the same biological benefits from seeing a party on Instagram as we do from hitting the dance floor live.
Folk Rebellion’s Jess gets real
  1. All Your Hobbies Have Been Replaced By 2D. Researchers have found that experiencing memories on a screen versus in the physical world lowers the emotional reaction to a picture, a scrapbook, or a piece of communication by over 30%. As our devices become the gatekeepers to our books, love letters, music, calendars, diaries, and more, we lose touch with the physical experience of our lives. Fall back in love with 3D whenever you can. The smell of a book and the sound of the pages will make your heart go pitter-patter.
  1. Your Internal Compass Is Busted. Is digital noise keeping you from listening deeply to the Universe and to your own internal Voice? Is the world trying to talk to you but you’ve zoned out just like that one annoying friend does every time you try to share your deepest stories? If you’re noticing that your intuition is turned off or non-existent, it may be time to unplug for a few days.
  1. You Feel Generally “Unwell.” Memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, lack of focus, sore shoulders, wrists, and back are all symptoms of digital exhaustion. If any of these affects you, you may want to consider if your relationship to technology has gone from healthy to harmful. When you find yourself reading about wellness habits for hours online instead of brewing that cup of herbal tea or actually leaving your apartment to try out a new fitness class, it’s time to shut the screen and step back into your body.
  1. Work Life Balance Means Balancing it 24/7. Back in the day (um, eight years ago) when you left work, you left work. That meant you walked out of the office and generally didn’t have to think, act, or do something job related until you arrived back in the office the next day. Now our family dinners are cooked in between email checks and coffee with a friend often doesn’t even reach that deep level of yummy connection because of the omnipresent smartphone. It’s up to you to set better habits with your devices, create boundaries with your work, and let the ever-awaiting virtual world know you’ll get to it on YOUR terms. With healthy boundaries, your relationships, work, and play will all get that much juicier.
Folk Rebellion’s Chief Rebel, Jess Davis, at Rest

If you found yourself nodding along to many of these, it may be time for a reset. You can plan your own unplugged mini-retreat, or go all the way and join me on Folk Rebellion’s Digital Detox Under the Aurora Borealis this February 17-24th in Northern Canada, where we’ll teach you how to better manage your technology, so it doesn’t manage you. PLUS, Numinous readers get $250 off using the code NUMINOUS (caps sensitive) at checkout. Together, we’ll build igloos, ooh and ahh under the Northern Lights from viewing decks and tipis, make friends over fireside chats, and reconnect to the world, each other, nature, and ourselves.

Folk Rebellion is a media-concept-meets-retail-outfit launched by Jess Davis in 2014. Through Folk Rebellion’s content, events, and products, Jess champions a return to the offline, personal interactions we’ve lost since the dawn of the smartphone.

THE NUMI YEAR IN REVIEW: BEST OF 2014

2014 has been a year of SELF-EXAMINATION, TRANSFORMATION and ADVENTURE! Here are 11 posts that made us laugh, gasp, cry…and take a good long look at our lives from the inside (listed in no particular order of awesomeness).

1. YOGI VEGAN LEZ: DIARY OF A DETOX A DEUX

The yoga was the fun part…

When Alexandra Roxo decided to embark on a hardcore nine-day Ayurvedic cleanse, she had no idea her girlfriend would decide to come along for the ride. Cue tears, tantrums and an ocean of emotion.

2. TURNED ON: THE TANTRA OF ONLINE DATING

Dancing between masculine and feminine…

Ellie Burrows is pretty sure she’s discovered the secret to online dating. And it’s Tantra. Not super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex – rather the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: a balance of the masculine and feminine energies.

3. NEED-TO-KNOW: YOUR SPIRIT POWER ANIMAL

Feel so much more powerful knowing he’s on my side…

Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.

4. TO SKINNY DIP OR NOT TO SKINNY DIP: KNOW YOUR YOGA RTREAT ETIQUETTE

No hiding behind your hair all week…

Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers fromYoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.

5. KUNDALINI CALLING: HEAVEN ON EARTH WITH GURU JAGAT

Guru Jagat shot in Venice Beach by Lisandra Valazquez

Guru Jagat is the outspoken face behind the Ra Ma Institute, the only all kundalini yoga studio in California’s Venice Beach. She talks to Madeline Giles about her vision for the Age of Aquarius, life on the 33rd parallel and outsmarting the Global Elite. Conspiracy theories or conscious debate?

6. DARK FAIRY DELIRIUM: WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE A GEMINI

Image by Bela Borsodi for Document Journal

Right after a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves, Nadia Noir gives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.”

7. THE NU RULES: ATTRACT THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP FOR YOU

See yourself through your lover’s eyes…

Can’t seem to attract the right relationship? It’s not him, honey, it’s you. Jennifer Kass re-writes The Rules, beginning with a lesson in self-love…

8. 26 LIFE LESSONS MY BURNING MAN EXPERIENCE TAUGHT ME

Ruby and her husband Simon on the Playa…

Connfession: My Burning Man Experience was too full-on to be called fun, says Ruby Warrington. But when it comes to life lessons, a week on the Playa delivered pure gold.

9. SPIRITUAL AWAKENING: THE REBIRTHING OF BROOKE CANDY

Image: Brooke Candy’s Instagram account

Lessons in Kabbalah with Madonna and a “little spiritual trip to Hawaii.” Brooke Candy tells Ruby Warrington how following a more “soulful” path has been a lesson in self-love…

10. BEYOND BFFS: HOW TO CREATE A COVEN

Cara and her coven, photographed by Richard Bush for i-D magazine

Something very special happens when women come together in ceremony. Erin Telford explains how to create a Coven – and bonds that run deep as blood.

11. ORGASMIC MEDITATION: INSIDE THE CULT OF CLIT

Orgasm as spiritual exchange…

Empowering women’s movement, or de facto sex cult? Dani Katz gets intimate with the practise known as Orgasmic Meditation…

AFTER THE PARTY: HOW TO HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRITUAL HIGH

Who says there’s no comedown from a spiritual high? Erin Telford has some advice for rolling out the high vibes even once reality bites.

Illustration: Cate Parr

You know the feeling. You’ve been living in a bikini and cutoffs and braids for a week, meditating and practicing yoga every day, eater cleaner than you’ve ever eaten before and you might even have broken your tech addiction.

You’ve been living off the land, having “paradigm shift” experiences. Who cares about showers? You woke up like this. You’ve got the glow that comes from roaming, discovering, and connecting with wild, uncharted territory ALL DAY.

You’re full of vitality and big plans! Fired up and high on life, your routine is completely revamped before you land back home. You’re totally getting up at 6am every day to move your body. You will finally commit to juicing! Your relationships are going to be so Zen.

And then…wah wah wahhhhh. Reality. Back to the grind. It feels almost like you never left, except for those great photos you keep flipping through on your phone.

We’ve all been there. The post yoga retreat/Burning Man/revolutionary healing session that feels like it will catapult you into a completely new existence. And then you return to “real life” and it feels so hard to hang on to all of those incredible insights.

Illustration: Lauren Albert

What happens when we have new experiences is that we’re flooded with dopamine – a.k.a. the pleasure center chemical, the neurotransmitter of DESIRE. Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that chases rewards – and as new things fuel us with perspective and possibility, it’s a thrill and a half to get your mind blown. We thrive on the sensation of every fresh beginning.

So how do we hang onto the high vibes as we return to life as we know it?

Here’s the deal, everything you’ve felt, transformed, and learned is still within you. There’s nowhere for it to go. The ecstatic dance, the peaceful quiet morning, the Reiki session that turned your world around. The after-effects are contained and imprinted into your psyche.

In Chinese medicine, they say every time your heart beats, it’s like a camera click taking a picture of your moment-to-moment existence. Your sweet heart stamps every bit of beauty and love that you move through into your blood!

Routine is a killer and can make us feel complacent and uninspired. Novelty stirs our souls and our creative spirit. So, to keep yourself in the groove, do something you’ve never done before every week! When they say that life begins outside of your comfort zone, they aren’t kidding.

Illustration: Belinda Chen

Grab the most beautiful vegetable you see at the green market and build a meal around it. Round up some friends to watch the leaves change at Storm King. Go all the way up to to Washington Heights to have dinner. Revel in a Gong Bath. Visit the Dream House.

When you decide to look at life through a new lens, this beginner’s mind can apply to literally anything. Can you use your newfound courage and sense of self to share your fears and insecurities with a friend for the first time? Can you translate the feeling of peace in your body into a more harmonious relationship with your parents or partner? Infuse your transformation into your daily life and extend the feelings of bliss indefinitely.

And remember, you also have no idea how different things would be if you’d just stayed home – because you didn’t! And you can apply this theory to every experience, every day of your life.

Every time something shifts one teeny tiny degree in your perspective, even if you only make the most infinitesimal change in your outlook…you will still be walking an entirely different, an entirely NEW path.

Illustration: Kelly Smith

So you really can’t ever go back to the way things were because you are different now. And now. And now…The wisdom you’ve gained about yourself, your desires, your ideals, and your truth will inform every choice you make for the future. It’s impossible for you to go backwards.

In other words, what goes up doesn’t always have to come down.

Erin Telford is the founder of Radiant Heart Acupuncture.

@RadiantHeartNYC

TO SKINNY DIP OR NOT TO SKINNY DIP: KNOW YOUR YOGA RETREAT ETIQUETTE

Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers from Yoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.

Respect your roomie. Adults sharing accommodation is basically a very tricky situation, so when you’re sharing, let them have their space. We’re not here to make best friends, and if that does happen it should be a natural thing. You don’t need to hit the beach together every time.

Now give everybody else their space. The first day is always hardest and weirdest because everybody is landing. Maybe you’re dealing with some travel issues – your luggage gets lost, you can’t poop. Whatever it is, just know that you need to give yourself and everyone else the time and space to deal.

Be present with your packing. On a retreat in India for example, of course bring your yoga clothes but be prepared to honor local dress codes and maybe wait until you get there to buy something to wear. But Brazil is all about spandex and booty shorts. Also bring enough yoga clothes so you won’t need to wash them. Nobody likes a stinky yogi.

Don’t list your shit in the sharing circle. Sure it’s one way to get to know each other, but telling a 20-minute story listing the injuries you’re here to heal is too much. Choose your moments, and your listeners. Often people are blind to being the talkers, so practise a little self-awareness. Be responsible for your own situation.

Respect the property. It the place has a homey vibe, it can be a fine line but it’s not an open kitchen. You’re getting two meals a day and possibly some snacks, and no, it’s not okay to just go and open up the fridge.

Bring your own props. Check with the teachers about what’s available, and pack a block and a strap if you need them so you’re not shorted in your practise.

Remember this is not a private. If the classes are either too advanced for you or not fast enough, complaining to the teacher is not the way to go. But do ask, “how can you help me modify?” – it’s why we’re here. Don’t just slam your yoga into an hour like you do back home. When your teacher is there at breakfast with you, don’t waste the opportunity to use us. We chose to do this work because we love it.

Let the teachers be the leaders. If you speak the local language, by all means step in when it’s useful, but part of the whole lesson is; “this is your time to retreat, not to run the show.” Especially you, men. You may see two female yoga teachers and feel like you need to be the man – but you know what, we have this. Chill out.

Don’t be too schmoozy. When people come out of savasana, especially after a few days of yoga, they’re in a calmer space than usual and might not want to talk. If you’re in the mood to chitchat, feel out where everybody else it, and give people a little transition time.

Be tech appropriate. We have no problem with people using their cell phones or computers, we’re equally addictive about technology, but on other retreats that might be really annoying. Also, ask before you Instagram.

Show up, whatever the weather. Rain can ruin an entire retreat – but only if you let it. Don’t let it. If the forecast is bad, how about you just don’t look at it. Now is the time to remember your meditation teachings. We don’t angst about the things we can’t control, we just let them be.

Hook up with your fellow yogis. Why not? You’re on vacation and it’s cute. But if you end up in a couple or you’re travelling with your partner to begin with, maybe keep the PDAs to a minimum (#smug)

Enforced skinny-dipping? No.

Yoga For Bad People’s next retreat will take place in Turkey, August 18-25th. For more details and booking information click here.

@yogaforbadpeople