Tending to my zen-den, a modern day witch hunt, and a Skype date with Russell Brand…
:: MONDAY :: So I spent the past two weeks on vacation in Hawaii, where I had planned to switch off completely and mend my broken mind after pretty much a year of #nodaysoff. Which, for various reasons, is not how things panned out – but OH WOW, what valuable lessons and insights the Universe had in store for me instead! Why do I bring this up? Because rarely does life give us what we think we want – the Universe prefers to serve us what it knows we NEED. Basically the number one thing to keep in mind as we head into this Mercury (+ Mars + Pluto + Jupiter + Saturn!!) retro phase. So be open, be vigilant, and just watch in grace and wonder as it all unfolds.
:: TUESDAY :: Mega congrats to my beautiful friend and collaborator Kirsty, who launched the most fabulous service today – an online subscription service for high-end, hard-to-find scented candles named Scent. When you set up an account, you’ll be asked to create a “scent profile” so all the candles you receive can be tailored to your tastes. Your zen-den never smelled better – and just in time for Mother’s Day too! Discover more at Scentfrom.us
:: WEDNESDAY :: And speaking of zen-dens – can we just officially acknowledge that ritual baths are currently officially a thing? Like is anybody out there not soaking with a bunch of salts, crystals, and activated herbs? Which is timely, actually, since with all those planets currently in retrograde, the big memo from the Cosmos is to slow things TF down. So check out this ritual bath recipe from Deborah Hanekamp, or stock on House of Intuition’s genius “bath bags” (like a tea bag but for your bath, see below) – and soak it up!
:: THURSDAY :: An interview with Jessica Knoll, who’s runaway best-seller Luckiest Girl Alive is – hello – an absolute feminist classic. Do not be put off by the breezy comparisons to Gone Girl etc, this is a straight-up Medieval witch-hunt at its most gory. And in the Now Age? Girl comes out alive and kicking. It’s not giving anything away to reveal that Jessica recently came out about the rape scenes depicted in the book as being based on her own teenage experiences – in other words, took one giant leap for female kind in re-writing history from the perspective of herstory. Read it and weep (tears of fully empowered female joy).
:: FRIDAY :: Got so SO close to making an actual dream come true today, when I got to speak at an event hosted by the David Lynch Foundation with none other than…Russell Brand! Only Rus ended up being Skyped in – so near, yet so far. The topic? Meditation as a tool for addiction recovery and substance abuse, and of course Russell nailed it. I’ll share a link to the whole panel discussion when it’s posted online, but one classic RB take-away to take you into your week-end: “I used substances to access a alternate state of consciousness. Now I have meditation for that.” Amen.
Looking for an alternative New Moon manifestation ritual? Artist Monica Ruiz makes prayer flags for herself and her friends as a way of reppin’ her love for the life she gets to live. Main image: Larry Louie
When I think of prayer flags, fabric panels ranging in sizes and colors with spiritual images, hanging and swaying in a breeze in a secret garden or a cute storefront, I always see and feel peace, wishes fulfilled, Universal love and freedom.
I had given to friends and also received the mini-squares from Tibet that represent light and all the elements, thus bringing health and harmony to all. After the panels naturally fade away due to the elements, it is believed that the mindful loving intentions within the flag fade into the Universe, contributing to an ongoing cycle of the flag’s blessings.
I wanted to re-create my own using images I had already saved from magazines, old books and stamps, and even just cool paper that felt special to my heart. After I made a quick one just to see if my vision was as easy as it seemed (it is!) I kinda went prayer-flag crazy. I made them for everyone around me, including many for myself.
The two that hang in my studio today represent the surfing elements for my Pisces ocean-loving soul-surfer boyfriend, along with some “Marie Antoinette/ French masquerade” vibes pour moi!
And then I have one hanging up in my vanity room / lounge reppin’ my love of books, writing, and my job at the library that supports my life and allows me to live out my daydreams. While I’m putting on my mascara in the a.m. I can glance up and give thanks with a smile.
My flags are small pieces of art that I feel serve as sacred reminders of the simple things that make us smile and lift our spirit. While I like to hang ours on our year-round blue fairy lights in our bedroom, doorways and windows are fun too. I have also hung them up on bulletin boards on my desk at work and on a huge collage at home. There was even one point they were nicknamed “Purr Flags,” by a friend who felt all warm and fuzzy on receiving hers.
Having got such a great reaction gifting them to people I know, I decided to make a special one as a birthday gift for my spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein a couple of years ago. I’ve written about my gratitude for her before, as she’s kinda been the vessel for many hardcore lessons I’ve needed to start receiving, and for learning more about forgiveness, love and how to listen to my heart and angels.
I felt compelled to make a prayer flag a la Gabby, with images that included her love of street art, the cosmos, her recent engagement in Paris, sacred Buddha statues, mystical silhouettes, powerful words, vibrant energy and of course just lots of LOVE.
Only Love is Real is Gabby’s motto, and I felt like I wanted this flag to have my love and appreciation for Gabby literally bursting through because of the gifts she has shared with me. It took all day, but it was so enjoyable and groovy to create. I was also happy and excited to put many of the images I’d save for future flags of my own on my guru’s flag, because I actually felt the transfer of love: it felt good to give away something beautiful that I loved. It was a true gift of appreciation from the heart.
Because of Hurricane Sandy that year, Gabby didn’t actually receive my flag until May 2013, while her birthday was November 1st! Regardless, my birthday/gratitude gift cosmically made it to her six months later. The morning I woke up and saw it unexpectedly on her Instagram feed, I felt like I was lucid-dreaming. She had it hanging up already and was allowing the magic and love from my home into hers. She loved my gift and I loved making it for her, and the prayer flag looks so cool in Gabby’s “zen den”.
Are you inspired to make one now? Let’s do this…
Here’s how to make a prayer flag for a sweet soul in five simple steps.
Paper images (magazines cut-outs, computer graphics, old books, saved stamps, cards, clip-art, etc)
Twine (pre-cut to the length you want your flag)
Card stock or construction paper
Paper clips (optional)
Think about how many panels you’d like to work with. I’d start small at first with either three or five (odd numbers work best and the traditional flags come in sets of five, but remember there are no rules!) However many you choose you will need enough images to cover both sides.
You can either pre-cut your card-stock and then alter your images after or cut your card-stock around the image leaving about an inch as a border. Remember, this is not about being “perfect” or having exact straight lines – you’r e creating something from the heart to bring joy into your heart and home!
Glue one image to each panel’s center, one side of the panel only.
Grab your double-stick tape and twine. Lay the panels down in a row, with the image just glued on face down with a little space in between each panel. Now along the top, lay the twine across about one inch below the top edge and place a piece of double-stick tape in the center of the twine on each panel.
Glue the remaining images in the center of each panel, on top of double-stick tape/twine combo.
Voila! Your flags are ready to be shared and invoke feelings of peace, spirit, strength and magic.
Sacred and simple, have fun bringing the tradition of prayer flags into your home. Tie some little loops at the end and use a couple of twisted paperclips if needed and they can be draped wherever you like. Enjoy the process of making each panel personal but keep the process simple.
Whether you make a prayer flag for yourself or for someone special, just remember to use images that make you feel good, because whatever is made with your heart is your art. And don’t forget they are reversible! Switch ’em up depending on your mood or needed inspiration. Sometimes I will do an opposite theme on each side, like maybe sweet dreams contrasted with powerful sun energy. Use your intuition and just pick art and pictures you like! Be whimsical.
When I commented on the prayer flag I made for Gabby the last time I saw it on IG, she sweetly replied; “I look at them every day and I love them!” Wishes-fulfilled and blessings received, Amen.
Island dweller Monica Ruiz is a collage artist, hardcore daydreamer, HayHouse book reviewer, bloggess, burrito lover, cat enthusiast, librarian assistant and wanderluster who is obsessed with good hip-hop beats, Lana Del Rey and Paris, France. She owns way too many black clothes, swoons over Sofia Coppola films and loves the concept of protecting your magic with an open heart.