By Veronica Beltran
A few years ago, I invited a few women to a book club as weekly meet up chats about “The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul” by Danielle LaPorte. This book was my introduction to the spirituality, entrepreneurship, and self-help genre. Until then, I thought I was good — I figured I had done the whole mind, body and soul work that I needed to go through to unveil my truths and live more happily. To my surprise, this Canadian author, speaker, entrepreneur, and blogger’s book showed me something different. Not only did the content inspire me, I became fascinated by the underlying energy of transformation everyone in the book club seemed to have experienced sharing vulnerability, strength, and wisdom beyond our imaginations.
This led me to look at women throughout history in the arts, business, music, politics and several other disciplines. One of my search results returned the female version of God not only as a deity with powers but also a woman who is extraordinary beautiful, charming and greatly admired. This Google find made me see all women, including myself, my grandmother and everyone from Frida Kahlo to Beyonce, as Goddesses with our own unique innate beauty and wisdom.
As I think about all the Goddesses all over the world who’ve led and joined the evolutionary revolution for truth and justice with peaceful marches in 2017, the truth is there is always work of growth and healing to be done. I want to give a shoutout to three remarkable, modern-day Goddesses who shed light through their role models, and continue to share magical tools and platforms mind, body and soul.
I met Jen Kluczkowski, the co-founder of MindFresh, via the weekly Beauty of Mindfulness sessions she leads. MindFresh is an approachable and comprehensive platform offering a “fusion of mindful movement, meditation and breathing techniques” for those that work in an office. After seeing the positive shift yoga had on her work performance, making her a better leader as told by her colleagues, Jen set on to create a platform to share these tools in corporate environments.
For Jen, being part of opening Pandora’s New York Office to its eventual IPO was very exciting. However, the added pressure and responsibility that came with the company’s growth compromised her health into a snowball of side effects that included chronic back pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Jen admits her work performance suffered, too. Jen was assured her back was healthy. Her doctor recommended she try yoga to remedy other symptoms. She stepped into Jivamukti Yoga.
Jivamukti provided Jen with a comprehensive spiritual practice that initiated much needed healing for her mind, body, and soul, as well as inspiration for MindFresh.
Jen grew up in a traditional religious family where women play an important role in the family but they are definitely subservient to the men. Although she says she was encouraged to dream, she was reminded that her “priority number one is to be a mother. They didn’t really push me to make something of myself because it was well, you’ll be someone’s wife one day.”
So in the last fifteen years, Jen became exposed to the concept of nontraditional women through her exposure in business and yoga, and the women in those worlds: “It’s a female energy about the collective not from the hierarchy, (but) we are all in this together and how can we support one another.” These inspirations include Rima Rabbath, a yoga teacher from Jivamukti, who owns her confidence, and two saints in her altar — Anandamayi Ma and Amma — both who she sees before she closes her eyes to meditate and when she opens them. They remind her of God in the female form. In addition to recommending space for meditation, Jen also gets upside down doing a handstand against a wall to help her drop into the body and get perspective in place.
I saw Bizzie Gold’s Buti Yoga teacher training advertisement in a magazine some years ago when non-traditional yoga classes were not as common as they are now. I immediately signed up for the fusion of yoga, plyometrics and dancing training.
Bizzie Gold, founder of Buti Yoga and Break Method, took her first yoga class at the age of 19 in an attempt to heal her knees without having to use surgery. She says she felt so in love with it that she became a teacher that year. Bizzie dove deep into her personal practice physically, mentally and spiritually, teaching yoga up until she had her daughter at the age of 25. Then finding herself not being able to “get the baby weigh off” and feeling “so depressed from the traumatic birth that I had that everything that I was doing just felt so linear and structured and robotic and what used to be amazing for me then just felt so soul crushing” led Bizzie to cultivate the practice that is now Buti. Bizzie’s yoga foundation developed with “the focus of Anusara in heart and hip, the duality of the opening of the heart space and hip space.” Bizzie also studied acupuncture and hypnotherapy, which were instrumental in facilitating a newer Break method, a platform for her clients to tap into their truths, build confidence and break away from limiting narratives in their minds and bodies oftentimes initiated in their childhood. She’s looking to open B MVMNT Club in May 2018 in SoHo/Lower East Side.
Bizzie believes our strength comes from “being clear on what you want and having the courage to get it.” She credits her sassy unapologetic confidence to her parents cultivating loving guidance for independence, and women who push forward in male-dominated industries with female tomboy power like pro skiers - Sarah Burke and Kristi Leskinen. She believes men get to play a role in helping define a female-forward future: “One of biggest problems is we keep trying to talk about female and male issues as separate issues but when we start making a genuine shift in our society is when both sexes become balanced in the plane.”
As an entrepreneur, CEO and mother inspiring others, Bizzie makes sure to practice self-care with a ritual that includes, decluttering, a sauna, a cold dunk and breathing exercise.
Ruby Warrington is one of my favorite women to chat to about spiritual things. I first spoke to her at NYC’s CAP Beauty where she held a book tour event. Ruby is the founder of The Numinous for modern mystics, co-host to sober curious events with Club SÖDA NYC, co-founder of the Moon Club, and author of “Material Girl, Mystical World: The Now Age Guide to a High-Vibe Life.” Be on the lookout for her second book soon to be out called “Sober Curious.”
Ruby relates to sabotaging our happiness with excessivity in the forms of shopping, travel, drugs, alcohol, etc. She adds, “It’s funny because I never identified with the term alcoholic, or have ever suffered from the disease of alcoholism however I have been addicted to alcohol and have used alcohol in very addictive, deeply ingrained habitual ways, very unconsciously. One of the big surprise discoveries of my spiritual path has been really being able to see that about myself — something I would not have considered looking at before.”
Ruby’s spiritual experience started from identifying the negative impact of alcohol on wellbeing and self-esteem to slow and steady journey of “unlearning my habitual drinking patterns.” Learning to meditate around 2010 led Ruby to question what no longer resonated with her, like her career as a Features Editor of the UK Sunday Times Style magazine.
Ruby’s upbringing did not include religion and she does not automatically connect religion to spiritualism. Her spiritual path is “learning to identify there is a part of me, my spirit which is in some way connected to the collective, to the planet, to the human race - the other beings on the planet and following a spiritual path is following, adopting practices and tools that really help me to feel connected as possible to that part of myself on a daily and ongoing basis. For me a spiritual practice can be any kind of practice that connects you to that spiritual part of yourself.”
Club SÖDA NYC and the Moon Club are a progression of Ruby’s spiritual path. It’s her intention to bring spirituality through these platforms in a modern, fun, appealing, glamorous, and “enticing as possible way for those who may not necessarily consider these spiritual practices, something they would want to try out.” There is a sense of community, connection and support for those wanting to share their truth, experiences, questions and learning in an uplifting and judgement-free zone.
Ruby’s mentors include her last journalism boss who “pushed me beyond my comfort zone,” Alexandra Roxo, co-founder of Moon Club, who “taught me about communication and collaboration” and Biet Simkin, co-host of Club SÖDA NYC teaching Ruby “boundaries and a very good business head.” She also looks up to media mogul and sleep proponent Arianna Huffington, one of the first women to offer support for the Numinous by expanding “the conversation around spiritualism and what success looks like perhaps through a more feminine lens” as well as public relations maven Kelly Cutrone, who “really put me under her wing, and cheered me on.”
One of Ruby’s rituals to reset is to disconnect, get off the grid from the noise and distractions. It’s a ritual I love to do myself as much as possible too and consider sacred in order to come back to experience life with more clarity, purpose and yes why not taking up space like a Goddess.