Spiritual Politics

Spiritual Politics

Spiritual Politics

Many of you know that I have a very conservative, religious upbringing. One of the things that always bothered me about many of the churches I attended growing up was pastors who preached politics. Many of them endorsed political candidates (always the republican candidate) and essentially encouraged their congregations to vote for that candidate, outlining all of the reasons why they were “god’s chosen candidate.”

Since all of this has started happening, I’ve begun to see many alleged spiritual teachers doing and saying the exact same things. And this, once again, rubs me the wrong way.

No true teacher should be telling you who to vote for. They should encourage you to think for yourself. No true teacher should be laying out what you should believe and then say, “But I’ll let you decide for yourself,” because that’s leading the audience.

True spiritual teachers understand that politics is a game that exists within the illusion of duality. Left vs. Right. Republican vs. Democrat. Liberal vs. Conservative. This IS the matrix. As long as one exists, its opposite will rise up to meet it, until we transcend the illusion.

What we are attempting to do here, now, is dismantle the system and build a completely new one. It does not look like capitalism. It does not look like socialism. It does not look like communism. It looks like something completely new that has never existed.

No single person, no political Jesus, is going to swoop in and fix this. That is for US, the PEOPLE to do–not by relying on voting for a person already entrenched in the system who you think will fix it, but by BEING THE CHANGE you want to see. By inhabiting the consciousness that we purport to believe in. By no longer looking outside of ourselves for solutions, but by BEING the solution.

What does that look like?

It looks like community. It looks like reaching out to each other. It looks like supporting one another in times of need in whatever way you can. For example, people are in financial trouble right now, but are offering their services on a pay-what-you-can basis anyway, and those who aren’t in financial trouble giving more to help them, or sending other people who can pay to them, to help keep each other afloat. That’s what community looks like. We don’t do it because we gain from it, we do it because IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYONE. It looks like an intrinsically-driven system built from the ground up, not a mandated top-down system implemented by a government.

It looks like UNITING with each other and standing in our true power. It looks like creative problem solving at the local level. It looks like grassroots-lead movements. It looks like something completely NEW that we have to build because it doesn’t not yet exist on this planet.

These are all Aquarian themes and we are headed into the age of Aquarius (2023-24) as soon as Pluto is finished laying waste to all of the shadow energy of Capricorn (greed and selfishness in government and economic systems).

We do not need politicians. We need EACH OTHER.

But for as long as we continue to seek solutions externally, and expect someone else to come and save us, we will stay on exactly the same path we’ve been on. Thinking Donald Trump or Joe Biden, or whoever the fuck ends up on the ballots is going to save the world is no different than sitting around and waiting for Jesus to come back or the aliens to land and rescue all of humanity from itself.

If any spiritual leaders are telling you to believe in the system right now, to believe in any political party or candidate, then they are a part of the system. That is OLD PARADIGM AND IT IS DEAD.

This is new paradigm. We are our own saviors. And do not let ANY spiritual teacher tell you otherwise.

What Price Freedom?

What Price Freedom?

What Price Freedom?

I‘m re-sharing this post that I initially published on January 22nd, 2017, because it seems like a particularly relevant topic right now. Let me know what you think.

I had an interesting dream last night. I dreamed that Donald Trump wanted to buy me. Literally, buy me…like a pet or some sort of material object.

The thing was, I had to agree to allow myself to be bought. The trade off was that I would be completely taken care of, live in material luxury, and never, ever have to worry about my physical safety or being provided for – but I had to live in his mansion and I could never leave. It was represented to me as a gold and glass terrarium, of sorts – literally, a gilded cage, like a human aquarium.

The entire dream, I was walking around with him and one of his assistants to various places where he would comment on things and attempt to convince me to allow him to buy me.

In the end, I decided that no amount of security or safety represented in the form of material wealth was worth trading in my freedom.

As I thought about the dream and what it represented for me personally, as well as on a more national scale, I had some illuminating thoughts.

On a national scale, if we are to take Mr. Trump’s appearance in my dream at face value, it’s an interesting metaphorical representation of Trump’s isolationist outlook and certain political sentiments that have been expressed by a number of people over the last decade (and long before that, I’m sure) in reference to things like national security and the NSA. People who say that they are perfectly okay with trading in certain personal freedoms for the promise that someone else will keep them safe, provide for them, people who are ok with sacrificing their privacy in the name of security, etc.

It’s also a very apt metaphor about the illusion of security that is provided by a capitalist society–that money and things are what make us feel provided for and safe. The aspirations of success and luxury are really just a cage that keeps us trapped in an economic system that benefits some more than others, and is, at the end of the day, unsustainable.

With the rise of terrorism in the U.S., people seem to be adhering to fear in insane ways. Is this what so many people want? Is a prison still a prison if it has golden bars instead of iron? It’s incredible what fear will make people do.

On a more on a personal level, the dream represents sacrificing what would bring you true happiness for the sake of being financially provided for. So many people live in the mindset that they can’t pursue what they truly want because of money or some other material reason based in fear and a scarcity mentality.

When we make these kinds of sacrifices out of fear, we are giving away our freedom to create a life we truly love in exchange for a life that simply meets our material needs. We are sacrificing enjoying our lives to just be alive. Ask yourself this question – which is better? A few short years of pure, unadulterated freedom and joy, unencumbered by the illusion of material comforts, or a long life lived safely but mundanely? Is total freedom worth the risk involved? And how much freedom are you willing to trade in the name of financial safety and security?

Four Ways to Stay Sane Over the Next Two Months

Four Ways to Stay Sane Over the Next Two Months

Four Ways to Stay Sane Over the Next Two Months

I‘m trying to write more, but I am fortunate enough to still be working full-time from home, so a lot of my time is still dedicated to business as usual.

I know things have been intense these last two weeks, especially here in the greater New York City area, and they are only going to get more intense in the next few weeks as cases continue to rise. Earlier this week, the notifications about confirmed cases from people at work started rolling in. Many of them began exhibiting symptoms just 1-3 days after we were sent to work from home (March 10th).  Of course, none of them were able to confirm what they had until two weeks later due to the unavailability of tests. At the time we closed, there were only four confirmed cases in New Jersey (where my office is located) and none in Hoboken where I work. Our offices closed at least five full days sooner than many in Manhattan. As you can see (and as was made clear by many health officials), COVID-19 was already spreading, and this delayed action and lack of proper testing is a major reason why New York City is in the state that it is in right now.

Luckily I work for a university who, like many other universities across the country, closed campus out of an abundance of precaution–and they got us out just in time. Many in the media criticized this action, however, it may very well have saved our student population AND ME.

Like most people, I’ve been experiencing waves of fear and anxiety about current circumstances. Just because I’m here helping you all doesn’t mean that I’m immune to the emotion surrounding what’s happening in the world, and I won’t pretend to be.

I want to tell you that it’s okay to be afraid.

You don’t have to pretend to be strong. You don’t have to bury the fear and pretend everything is going to be ok when you don’t know if it is.
We use coping tactics like denial (it’s just a cold), dismissiveness (I’m not worried!), humor, or even positivity as ways to mask our fears. It’s ok to admit to yourself and others that you are afraid.

You can’t help what you feel. Uncertainty is a BITCH and we are facing a lot of it right now.

But I do know that this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. This is the moment so many people have been predicting. The world will never be the same after this. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We have the opportunity to collectively create something better when this is over. Life will change. And we will be better for it.

So for now, we must all be here, together, with each other and for each other, as we move through this. Let yourself cry, and then let go of control, and surrender to change.

As of right now, my tentative return to work date is May 18th, which means I’ve got another month and a half of hanging out at home, and I imagine many of you do as well. Here’s four things that can help you survive the next few weeks:

#1: Limit Your Media Consumption

Stay informed, but moderate your consumption. Stop watching the news and stay out of your Facebook feeds. Stay informed, but remember that once you stop learning useful information that is relevant to your immediate safety, it becomes fear porn. Media speculation is only going to feed your fears, but it’s just that: speculation. Headlines are particularly loaded, divisive, and misleading right now because we are in an election year. The same way that you feed your body, you also feed your mind. Don’t fill it with fear.

You can still be social, just stick with groups that uplift you (like mine! Join here) or on platforms where there’s less fearmongering, like Instagram.

#2: Stay In The Present Moment

The more you focus on uncertainty of the future, the more fearful and anxious you become. Stay rooted in the right now, right in front of you. Your family. Your home. Your work. Yourself. Take it one hour at a time. The sun will still rise in the morning. You are going to be okay. Take a break. Take a breath. Let your mind be with things that bring you joy.

Some of my magical friends and I are offering lots of free or low-cost spiritual resources, classes and events right now including spiritual reading material, free long-distance group reiki sessions, donation-based one-on-one reiki sessions and personal readings, daily online yoga classes and so much more. Join my Facebook group for more details.

#3: Emotional Stability Comes From Within

The notion that it comes from certainty of outside things (like jobs, routines, and otherwise) is an illusion. When you relax into trusting the universe–that you are going to be okay, no matter what, you can release your need for control. This gives us the ability to be resilient, to change and adapt as we need to to whatever comes. It’s easier said than done, but if there were ever a moment to place your faith in something bigger than you, it’s now.

#4: Release The Need For Control

The only thing any of us truly has control over is ourselves. Mind your business, stay in your lane, take care of yourself and the ones who matter to you most, and detach from everything else. The only exception to this is if you feel called to help. Just remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you must take care of your mental health and emotional well-being first and foremost.

It’s crazy out there, guys. Remember, you cannot control what goes on around you, but you can control what goes on within you and that is the greatest power any human being possesses.

Xo, 

 

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Age of Aquarius: I’m Coming Out of Retirement

Age of Aquarius: I’m Coming Out of Retirement

Age of Aquarius: I’m Coming Out of Retirement

Well hello, friends. It’s been a long time.

Given the state of affairs in the world today (global pandemic and crumbling economic system), it would seem the universe is putting out the call to lightworkers: All hands on deck. This is the moment you’ve been preparing for. So, here I am. Springing out of retirement to hold the lines.

In my very last post–almost a year ago now–I vehemently raged against the commercialization of spirituality and how many “coaches” had hijacked it and exploited it for financial gain, and that I refused to be a part of this movement if that’s what it was coming to. Fast forward about a year…enter global pandemic and worldwide financial and economic collapse.

Suddenly, over the course of two weeks, your bright career of instagram  influencer-turned-millionaire business coach who charges $5,000 per program doesn’t mean jack shit. A good chunk of your millions went down the drain when the stock market crashed, and you’re having to improvise your instagram selfies because you can no longer hire professional photographers to take pictures of your ass in a thong while hanging out on the beach because of your entire state’s shelter-in-place order. And nobody’s buying your over-priced, culturally-appropriated branded home decor because everyone has more important things to worry about.

Now, more than ever, you are just like everyone else on this planet: filled with uncertainty about the future and susceptible to a disease that makes no distinctions between rich and poor, famous and faceless.

The universe has a funny sense of humor, eh?

By now, many of you may know that current events were predicted by astrologers. My friend and professional astrologer Susan Grace has been speaking of a global collapse that would begin in December of 2019 for four or five years now, and here we are.

Astrologers knew this collapse was coming because of the approaching conjunction between Pluto and Saturn in Saturn’s home sign of Capricorn–an astrological combination that hasn’t occurred since 1518, the height of disease, pestilence, famine, and mass hysteria which included witch trials and the Inquisition.

Pluto is the planet of transformation. Archetypally, it represents death and resurrection–total transformation. Capricorn is the sign of authority figures, systems, and institutions of authority (governments, government officials, financial institutions, CEOs and corporations, etc.). Saturn rules CapricornSo it’s themes are very similar, except at the planetary level, it brings tests and challenges. The combination of Saturn and Pluto destroys what cannot stand the test for the purpose of rebuilding something better in its place.

Here’s a couple of great astrology articles about what all of this means:

Saturn Pluto Conjunction 2020 | Saturn in Capricorn 2017-2020

We are seeing all of this happening right now before our very eyes.

While astrology can’t predict the specific mechanism through which an event will occur, it can predict the general themes of the time. And a global pandemic tied to the planet of death and resurrection is pretty damn fitting.

It’s important to remember that every sign/planet/archetype is dualistic, meaning it has both a positive side and a shadow side, even if the planet in question is considered a malefic (meaning negative). Death’s silver lining is complete transformation and freedom from that which has held us back.

Pluto spends about 30 years in each sign, so it’s been in Capricorn for a while now, exposing secrets, lies, and corruption, and systematically dismantling patriarchy. Saturn’s conjunction here with it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s taking a jackhammer to any structure whose foundation has already cracked and made unstable by Pluto’s presence. This is the crumbling. What these two planets tear down now, they will rebuild as they move through Aquarius. Saturn will be there for two and a half years laying the foundation, and then Pluto will slowly pass through for another 30-year transit.

Aquarius rules groups, communities, technology, communication, and it’s the sign of the humanitarian. The world is about to change drastically over the next 35-40 years, and evolve toward a more community-focused system that operates for the good of the whole instead of a me-first attitude. Right now, we’re demolishing the old. Things are going to look ugly for a bit. But have faith that soon, we’re going to be rebuilding something shiny, new, and much more beautiful in its place.

Have faith that humanity will get trough this. I won’t say that it won’t be a big painful, as that’s the nature of Pluto–but only if you cling to that which is being destroyed. The old ways of living–competition, war, hoarding, selfishness, greed, and all things that spring from it, like capitalism, poverty, wage gaps, racism, misogyny–will be going the way of the dinosaurs. It can no longer survive where we are going.

Embrace the change as best you can, know that something better is coming, and you’ll ride the wave right into the Age of Aquarius.

I Quit

I Quit

I Quit

I had 17 people follow me in a single day on Instagram earlier this week. Of the 17, nearly every one of them was some type of intuitive personal development coach or mentor.

Within three days, most of them will disappear, because that’s what people do on Instagram to try to gain followers.

When I see people behaving this way, I question their motives for doing what they do.

I wrote in a post on Instagram not long ago that I take serious issue with the commercialization of spirituality. Once the desire for success overtakes the desire for service to the greater good, you cross the border into service of your own ego, and the work loses its integrity.

Spiritual work is sacred work. People are trusting you with their deepest level of vulnerability. You have a responsibility to honor that within your interactions. You have a responsibility to model integrity, not just in how you do business, but in how you live your entire fucking life.

It’s easy to tell people the fundamentals of how to create change in their lives. It’s a wholly other thing to show them in the way we carry ourselves day-to-day. It calls us to elevate ourselves, our actions, and the entirety of our lives to a higher level of integrity. To live fully within our purpose in every moment and be a beacon of hope for the masses.

This is the highest calling, the greatest purpose – to BE that which you present yourself as.

The longer I’ve been on social media, Instagram in particular, the more disillusioned I’ve become with people who claim to be something they aren’t, the people who follow them, and the people who help create them.

“Anyone can become a coach! I’ll teach you how. Just take my online course for $5,000.”

They throw out words that they don’t understand the meaning of, like intuition, spirit and purpose, teaching others to teach others when they haven’t done the work, and neither have the people they’re “coaching.”

The fact is, you can only teach others from the same depth at which you’ve done your own work and the thing you start to learn the more you work is that the work is never finished.

One of the people who started following me was a 22-year-old “intuitive transformation coach.”

“It’s taken me 22 years to find myself!” she glowed in one of her perfectly curated Instagram photos, ending with a call to action to join her training program.

I’m almost 36 and I still haven’t found myself and honestly don’t expect I will until I’m at least 50, if truly “finding yourself” is something that’s even possible in the grand scheme of being an ever-evolving, multi-dimensional being. The one thing I do know for damn sure is that 22 is the age where you barely fucking know who you are and, more than likely, are the epitome of lost in your own self-loathing, completely unaware of yourself, your true values, or your true identity. 

Sure. Anyone can present the illusion of being a “coach.” Even someone who was a teenage adolescent as little as three years ago.

You can teach people. You can coach them, even, without completely “knowing” yourself. The key is to be transparent as fuck about the fact that you don’t know and that you, too, are a student of life. But that goes against the principles of a good sale, doesn’t it?

Business coaches will tell you that you need to present yourself as an authority. Talk about what you KNOW, not what you don’t know. Admitting that you’re not the best and ultimately, you’re just here feeling it out like everyone else doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd and it certainly doesn’t make needy people want to buy your product.

The thing is, especially in the realm of personal development and spirituality, “best” doesn’t exist. There is no spiritual authority. That is both the beauty and the madness of it.

I see these people – people who feel energetically out of alignment, some of which I know empirically and factually to be living a lifestyle that is out of alignment with the spiritual values they preach on a daily basis – presenting it on social media to thousands of people, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of people, as though it’s some kind of evolved thing they should all aspire to, and it is utterly appalling. They even preach authenticity while simultaneously having no real understanding what that even is.

I unfollowed the maker of my favorite oracle deck because I discovered she was following one such person. My immediate thought was, “How do you, as so-called intuitive, not see this person for what they are?” I’m sure it’s only because there’s a blue checkmark next to their name, but that now brings her spiritual integrity into question. How can I, in good conscience, support the work of a person who either A) claims to be intuitive and supports someone who is energetically disgusting, or B) support the work of a person who will follow and engage with people who are energetically disgusting simply because they can gain more exposure for themselves?

The answer is that I can’t, in either instance. It makes me want to throw up, and I don’t mean metaphorically. I mean the energy behind it is an actual assault on my solar plexus – it tightens and constricts and I feel repulsed.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent 16 years immersed in marketing, branding and advertising and I can smell a sales pitch from 100 yards away. Maybe it’s that my intuition really is that on point. In the one instance where one of these kinds of people offered me exposure on their platform, I refused because I didn’t want to be associated with that kind of energetic garbage.

If this is what mainstream spirituality has become, if this is where we are…turning our healing process into a business model and using sacred terminology to make sales pitches, I can’t be a part of it anymore. I. WON’T. DO. IT.

My platform is authenticity and it’s been built on a foundation of integrity. And I can’t, with good conscience, continue to align myself with this parade of false idols.

And so, it’s with that, I bow out. The day I thought would never come has arrived. This the end of In My Sacred Space.

Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s been long overdue. I did discover  over the weekend that on the last day of Mercury Retrograde, my entire website had mysteriously been deleted from my hosting server. It was recovered, obviously, but it seemed like that was the final and ultimate sign from the Universe that my time here has gotten stale, and to move on.

I suppose my first sign should have been when a semi-well-known bra company that, if you’re female, you’ve no doubt seen heavily advertised on Instagram and Facebook reached out to me to be a part of their influencer program. What did they think I was going to do? Post pictures of my tits in their bras and talk about self love like everyone else on Instagram? My body is not your billboard, and my words are not for sale. Seriously. Fuck off.

I didn’t respond to any of the multiple emails they sent me. I happen to own three of their bras already and frankly, they’re no better than any other bra I’ve ever owned. Here’s your glowing endorsement: mediocre at best.

For some of you this may admission may seem sudden, but it’s been building for well over a year. Probably since I first set foot into ABC Carpet and Home and discovered their culturally appropriated home decor collaboration with Deepak Chopra. It was very beautiful, very over-priced…and it made me uncomfortable as all hell. But I guess if that $1,000 iridescent-glazed statue of Ganesha makes one rich white person feel a little more enlightened and a tad closer to God, so be it.

No space is sacred anymore, not even your living room. Capitalism has recognized an opportunity to merge with “spirituality” and the money machine is in full effect, permeating every aspect of your life.

I feel like I’m in the Wizard of Oz, screaming at everyone to look at the man behind the curtain, and their attention remains transfixed on the glittery image being projected in front of them.

I’m sure I’m not completely done with spirituality. It’s probably more so a time for me to evolve into something else, and this form of it has simply come to an end. My takeaway from the whole of this experience, all of my years in marketing and advertising and all of my experience with “influencing” and “coaching” is that the U wants me to learn from it, to see it, and to do it differently. This is Uranus in Taurus energy, for all you astro nerds out there.

I have no idea what it is or what it looks like. I just know that there has to be a way to make a living for yourself while successfully helping other people, without selling yourself out, without compromising your integrity, without creating a fraudulent public image or using your body as ad space, and without servicing your own ego and that of others before the greater good. If you want the game to end, you have to stop playing.

But before I go, in my last parting words to all of you, I challenge you to do one thing and one thing only: give very careful scrutiny to those “spiritual” people you put your faith in. The ones with their professional photos who look like they’re “living their best life” on Instagram and Facebook, who talk about their dark times in vague generalities in a formulaic caption that always ends with something to sell you (or “Tag a friend and share with someone who needs to see this!”). The ones who say, “Look at me. Look at what I’ve done. Look at how much I’ve achieved. I can help you do the same…” for a price.

If the main message of their narrative is to learn from their success and not from their struggle, they’re not authentic. If the main message of their narrative is learn from their “struggle,” but they never present that struggle in true, vulnerable terms, they’re not authentic.

Look at them as a whole and ask yourself, “What is the overall feeling that this person leaves me with?” If the answer is a feeling of need, of lack, of envy, if you feel less successful by comparison, or pressure to be like them – they’re out of alignment with you.

Someone who is IN alignment with you will leave you feeling hopeful. Seen. Heard. Understood. You will identify with them. They will make you feel like you can do what they’ve done, not because they’re successful and they can teach you how, but because you identify with their struggle and it is evident in their words, actions, and demeanor that they do, in fact, continuously conquer it with grace and humility.

They’re covered in scars, not glitter. Those scars have given them the gift of depth. Of presence. Of Truth that radiates from the core of their being. It is felt. They don’t have to speak it.

That being said, I think this is my last post for a while. Maybe ever, or at least, under In My Sacred Space. I invite you to share it, far and wide, and not so that more people will follow me or so that I can get more potential customers, because I’m obviously not selling anything at this point. Share it because people need to wake the fuck up to who they’re looking up to and see beyond the illusion.

I plan to leave the site up, as there’s still a great deal of helpful content and many people who are still discovering it.

I don’t know where I go from here, but I’m sure there’s something waiting around the corner. It was fun while it lasted. I grew a hell of a lot. So much so, I’m not who I was when I started. I guess that means I get to start over, somewhere else, as someone new.

Maybe I’ll meet you there one day.

When Was The Last Time You Cried in Front of Someone?

When Was The Last Time You Cried in Front of Someone?

When Was The Last Time You Cried in Front of Someone?

I’ve had this picture since September. I’ve almost posted it on multiple occasions, but then didn’t.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ash Riley (@inmysacredspace) on


I’m not sure why, but it makes me slightly uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the vulnerability it evokes. It makes me feel silly. That must sound odd, coming from someone who regularly spills their deepest thoughts to 14,000 people, but writing my feelings for thousands of people I’ll never meet provides a safe buffer. There’s still a computer screen between us. You can feel me, but you can’t see me. Not really.

You see, the thing is, for years and years I never cried. I could count on one hand all the times I let a tear escape—maybe four or five times a year? Certainly never in front of people.

Up until a couple of months ago, I’d cried in the presence of exactly eight people in the past 20 years. Three of them were therapists, another three were singular occurrences with friends, two of whom were both with me when it happened. One was a single tear shed in front of an ex from college, and the last was my ex-husband, and I’d never cried in front of him until our divorce (with the exception of when we put my cat to sleep).

I’m still not comfortable being THAT vulnerable in front of people. I can really only think of one occasion where I really allowed myself to be a full on train wreck in front of another human being. It was 13 years ago when I showed up at my best friend’s apartment at four in the morning sobbing uncontrollably, and she let me lay in bed with her until I cried myself to sleep.

Having another person witness your deepest pain is the most vulnerable any of us will ever feel. But when that pain is met by steady presence and total acceptance, it can also be the most healing thing any of us will ever experience.

When was the last time you cried in front of someone?

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