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No. 1: What Universal F*!kery is This?

Leena explores the shadow season and how perspective shifts can empower the moments when we think we are moving backward.

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The Spiritual Anthropologist is a raw, humorous, and inquisitive weekly column by Leena Lemos that explores the dance between the human experience and the spiritual being.


If I’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s this: We are all one, and experience things on a collective level. The craziest part of it all? We think we are going through it alone.

So, welcome to my shadow musings where we look at the themes rising within us from a “WTF” perspective. Imagine this as your spiritual Sex and the City column, but without the sex and personification of NYC and a little more focus on the moments we wonder why we’re carving out an entire watermelon in our lap with a spoon, sobbing to Fleetwood Mac. If we can’t celebrate and grieve the f*ckery that is the human experience in tandem, then what’s the point?

It’s time to normalize the seasons we purge the ugly things that no longer serve us. It’s time to see these moments through a lens of love instead of shame.

So here’s mine in this now moment: My anxiety is making me feel like a monster.

I wouldn’t consider myself an “anxious” person, but every so often, I have these 24-72 hour fits of severe anxiety. The anxious energy consumes my body, restricting my heartspace like Devil’s Snare from Harry Potter. Every mindfulness tool and loving practice implodes into dust. Damn, isn’t it so disorienting to feel so self-aware yet completely out of control? These moments make me feel like I’ve been dropkicked 10 steps backward.

And for someone who continuously strives to be her best self? To describe it eloquently, these moments suck major ass.

I word vomit things that are so petty and unnecessary. I’m triggered by everything. I just want to be alone, wrapped in a cloud or sitting in a huge hotel shower, nursing a fat AF burrito. Or pizza. Or dumplings. Did I mention I’m an emotional eater?

Is it too extreme to declare that these times make me feel like I’m inhabited by a much lower vibrational version of Leena that, to eloquently describe again, sucks major ass? As a result, I oftentimes emerge from these dark depths with some clouds of shame. Cue the healing process all over again. Perhaps I should stock up on greeting cards that say, “I’m sorry for what I said when I was transmuting my own bullshit.”

But see, that’s the key. We’re transmuting. We’re evolving. We’re shedding. What no longer serves us is bubbling up to the surface, asking to be released. It’s up to us to ride the wave of its eruption and allow it to disperse into the ethers without any attachment. It’s up to us to look at these parts of our darkness with compassion. They are a part of us but do not define us. They are the parts that are slowly dissipating in the embers of our own light.

So, help me as I reframe my monster sentiment into one more empowering: Thank you to my highest self, for showing me the parts of my inner world that still need love and nourishment.

Oh darkness, I love how you challenge thee.

I also self-medicate through reflection. Let’s dissect that, too.

I’ve come so fucking far since I started my spiritual journey five years ago. As I type this, “Africa” by Toto just started playing. (Wondering if the watermelon example was inspired by true events? Yep, Classic Rock is nostalgic AF and makes me feel things.)

When I was pregnant, working a senior PR job I loved but was slowly feely unworthy to, I kept hearing “Africa” everywhere I went. Weezer had just released a cover and whether in the car, in a store, or on TV, there it was. This “sign” came at a time when I was slowly awakening. After reading into the lyrics and meaning behind the song, I decided it was a call from my highest self to live my truth. (Spoiler alert: I had zero clue what that actually meant.)

But that’s the thing about the calls we get from the universe. We have no idea what’s on the other line, but we innately know we have to listen, trusting we answered for a reason.

And I have. Listening has guided me to, piece-by-piece, build a life of my wildest dreams where I am serving the collective using my strengths and passions, honoring my sovereign power, and cultivating a life of joy, gratitude, and magic. What more could I ask for? Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Has my perseverance and intention fully manifested in the physical world yet? Nope. But I’ve followed each step presented before me with full trust. (To quote Ben Folds, “Time takes time, you know.” And okay, maybe 82% trust.)

It’s these moments of darkness that help us see our light with new eyes. I believe it’s that reclamation of our own radiance that helps propel us into the next evolution.

So next time we think, “what universal f*ckery is happening right now to make me feel [insert current ailments here]?” maybe we can also reframe and wonder what profound shifts are happening in our external world to provide the next stepping stones towards our fullest, most bad-ass, radiant expression.

Watch out world, here we come. After the burrito nap.

Leena Lemos is the Founder of House of Enlightenedhood, author, podcaster, and speaker. As a leading millennial voice in spirituality, Leena is on a mission to disrupt the current spiritual paradigm to make spirituality more accessible to every soul on this planet.

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The Four Elements: Core Curriculum for Understanding the Self with Debra Silverman

You can build a harmonious relationship with yourself by understanding your elemental composition.

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Debra Silverman

As a spiritual aspirant part way through my own journey I realized there was an overlap of healing and self-understanding that was happening in parallel to my unlearning and unbecoming. Its a curious thing how every spiritual seeker finds the same set of books, retreats, teachers, and guides along our journey to help with our rebirth. Enter Debra Silverman, psychologist and astrologer who has spent her life (as she describes in the interview) helping people fall in love with themselves, their life, and each other.

Debra wrote The Missing Element: Inspiring Compassion for the Human Condition. This book opens up with a warning alarm, reverberating through the dense fog of humanity asking us to “Wake Up!” The earth is in crisis, humanity is in crisis and Debra reminds the reader that we are both the problem and the solution. For anyone invested in self development, part of our work here is to understand our elemental composition, cultivate each one, and find solutions to bring the ourselves and the world back into alignment and harmony–as best we can, all things considered.

What are the Four Elements?

Water, Air, Earth, and Fire.

In our interview Debra breaks down the different characteristics of each element, their positive and negative manifestations and how most of us have one element that is not as dominant as the other three.

Apparently I have almost no fire, which was really surprising to me as a Latina. This is partly because I’ve been conditioned to believe all Latina’s are born super spicy and culture lore tells us we salsa straight out of our mother’s womb with a bad attitude and confidence for days. I do love to salsa, but if I’m being honest with myself I do have a strong inclination for the softness of peaceful environments (earth), the silence of my own company–writing and creating (air), and the warmth of the Earth beneath my feet at the ocean (water) healing and feeling, instead of at some night club, dancing (fire) the night away.

It is clear that my missing element is fire and armed with this knowledge I can find ways cultivate the element of fire that feels authentic to my core personality traits (without making unnecessary drama as Debra says fire can sometimes do) and bring myself into a balance.

Her book is also a means for moving ourselves from a victimized state of being into an empowered position, where we accept that we decided to incarnate here, in this world, as this person, with this family, this personality, and these life experiences.

Debra says “it’s a volunteer position.” Once we accept that, it opens us up to the possibility that maybe everything that has occurred to us is useful, inspiring, and exactly what we needed in order to evolve and awaken.

As an astrologist, Debra talks about how reading and digesting our natal charts gives us tools and information to understand ourselves better, so that we can interact kindly with ourselves and not try to squelch our shadow sides or the things that make us quirky and unique. Gaining this level of self-understanding is paramount to living harmoniously with ourselves, from a place of deep acceptance so that you can fall in love with yourself.

But more importantly; Debra says, when you gain understanding of your chart, you can look around your ecosystem and create compassionate understanding for the people in your life, by seeing them with a fresh set of eyes and an open heart to love and accept them as they are.

 

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Exploring the Akashic Records with Josephine Hardman, PhD

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Learn the origins of the Akashic Records with Josephine Hardman, PhD

Josephine Hardman is an intuitive healer, Akashic records teacher, and podcaster. She’s dedicated her life’s work to helping spiritual aspirants find their way, heal their past, and tune into their innate wisdom. She has an interesting life path story, I’m so excited to unpack the origins of her personal story, that I can hardly get out my prefixed question about her early childhood experience with religion and spirituality.

Josephine grew up in a deeply open and spiritual home, with parents who both nurtured and invited exploration into spirituality. She recounts hearing the shuffling of tarot cards from her fathers desk. He was a trained transcendental and mindfulness meditation practitioner. Her mother was a psychotherapist who expanded her practice to include spirituality, folding in energy work and yoga and the use of the Akashic records. In this progressive environment Josephine had free reign to explore and be curious, she was also a highly sensitive child.

These beginning steps are fascinating, as many of us who come to merge on the path of spirituality find ourselves undoing and unlearning strict Abrahamic roots or nothing at all. Our spiritual education starts later in life, and I can’t help but wonder as I’m listening to Josephine speak how this “head start” in spirituality helped her in own life. She first affirms, that being in this environment helped her as a highly sensitive and intuitive child, who both had the language and experience to understand the non-physical reality around us.

Josephine is erudite and spent many years in academia dedicating her life to education of others. She notes how she has carefully created courses for her students who want to learn the Akashic Records leaning on both the academic and spiritual learnings modalities of education to help each student fully integrate and retain what they learn. Her love of literature and language makes her an ideal teacher, finding all the right words and high notes to help the any seeker on their path of expansion and exploration.

As our conversation continues to unfold, Josephine discusses how growing up on the spiritual path at an early age, she too experienced how disorienting and unsettling the spiritual awakening process can be. She mentions how interacting with people and having them say one thing and their body language and internal energy contradict what she was sensing and feeling. As a child and one with sensitive and intuitive skills she wanted at times to escape this reality of feeling so intensely. From my perspective, of not having a head start and coming into contact with my intuition and innate wisdom later in life I understand this disorientation she speaks of and I can’t imagine how a child would navigate it. But she did and I instantly admire her life story more deeply in this moment when she honestly articulates the ebb and flow of her childhood.

As we fast forward into the interview, we arrive at Josephine giving the audience an overview of the inception of the Akashic Records, how they are access, utilized, and what they can teach us. She breaks down the benefits of accessing the records and gaining information about ourselves looking back in time and peering into our past life decisions and current ones can aide in breaking old patterns, internal blocks, and limiting beliefs. She uses an example from a recent session where a woman had inherited through her lineage (like many of us do) a conditioned response to “staying small” or “playing small.”  A common theme we see in our current society that asks women to be small, demure, and to not make too many waves or conflict. Using the records Josephine assessed that this trait was passed down to help keep ancestral and descendant women in her lineage safe and was a coping mechanism. Working with her client, together they honored her ancestors for instilling this as a means of protection and breaking the cycle through this client, thus liberating her lineage backward in time and forward. .

 

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Embracing the Positive Side with Jeremy Todd

Jeremy Todd on choosing the positive of side of perspective in all things.

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Jeremy Todd is an author and podcaster, who has turned his life experiences into something useful for the collective. He’s moved from victim to victor in a few short years after realizing that he didn’t want to continue to make excuses or blame external variables for the obstacles he had come up against in his life. He wanted to live empowered and in a frame of mind that was positive, without bypassing. Upbeat without ignoring the reality of what has happened or what could happened.

He began rewiring his mind to become more resilient, more solutions based then problem heavy. He realized that he had something to say and even though he faced real hardship from his past and current situation. He was determined to find a way to grow while dealing with his past and current situations that were less than ideal.

He wrote The Positive Side: How I Overcame Bullying, Bankruptcy, and a Bad Attitude and Found My True Identity and in our interview he talks about being bullied in his youth because of his height and boisterous personality. He shares how underneath his big bright personality he was hurting, and he couldn’t tell anyone about sexual abuse he had incurred as well. He found the courage to write about all of it in his book and let his past see the light of day and show people how he emerged from this adversity to become more aligned, honest, and authentic. To show people there’s another way out of the darkness when bad things happen to us.

He’s spent the last five years of his life, hosting his podcast of the same name and in our interview he talks about embracing a positive perspective in life and how his growth and evolution didn’t always sync up with the people in his ecosystem. Many of us on the path of spiritual awakening and personal development experience this, the growth pains of shedding our old identities, mastering the ego, seeing the world for what is, and general waking up to a new reality that is divorced from societal, religious, and familial conditioning and traditions. Jeremy says that when he started changing, people began to push back on his evolution and eventually some people in his inner circle had to be exited.

This is a tough thing to do, to compassionately choose our change over the discomfort of others. To move away from the safety of old friends, co-workers, family members, and acquaintances that once “knew” us and say “I’m not that person anymore…” and in order to continue the deep work of growth and becoming leave some people behind. But Jeremy did exactly that. He’s found peace and a new found perspective.

We also talked about spiritual bypassing, which is a real epidemic in the spiritual industry. Often times positivity can be replaced with bypass and it is important to be able to face the displeasure of the moment, crisis, or pain without turning away or offering in exchange a fluffy quip like “everything happens for a reason” then quickly moving past the real struggle that is occurring for a person in that moment. Jeremy gives a beautiful and vulnerable example of how he is doing this in his life, having been separated from his wife for three years they are turning the page and beginning again to reboot their relationships on new terms. Jeremy says he’s going into this new life change with his eyes and heart open but mindful that there is work to be done. That the relationship still requires repair, recalibration, and tenderness to become what they both collective wish it to be.  He is going into this new chapter of his life, with a positive attitude and envisioning the best outcome for all involved and he’s ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work, to do the work.

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