Before I even start on this book review/ summarization/ elaboration, may I humbly just say… that I manifested this book.
Or maybe, I’m actual quantum terms that don’t borderline on my taking credit for Ruby’s beautiful work, I attracted it. Ruby Wellington, if somehow you’re reading this all I have to say is: thank you. Authenticity, especially spiritual authenticity, is so rare, and even rarer still, so beautifully expressed in written word. (You know the book is good when, oh I don’t know, pages induce goosebumps, and photographs, and actual choking back of tears.)
Okay, fair warning, this post is going to be glittered with sparkly praise for the author. I’m not sorry about it. I love this book. Aside from being a total, undeniable empath myself, Ruby (I don’t mean to sound informal, but an actual shiny name is the one I’m choosing to use) kind of grabs your hand and takes you right along with her in all of her colorful anecdotes about spiritual adventures. As an almost-21-year-old that only recently began her oh so similar journey, I haven’t really been this inspired since first seeing The Devil Wears Prada. Or, more recently, Practical Magic.
I digress! I’m supposed to be talking about the actual contents of the book, right? So, I’m gonna divide this roughly into thirds. This first section will include the first two chapters: The New Age, but Now, and Health & Well-Being.
You know I probably fell head-over-heels in love with the book when the first section following the Introduction was about astrology! Um, jackpot? My actual spiritual jumping off point? With guides to the signs, planets and houses, to boot. “Astrology as basic life skill.” Amen to that. Ruby moved on to talk about Tarot, and again, I’m jumping up and down a little.
She discusses many different tips and tricks for using the cards yourself, but these stuck out to me… first, seeing them as a window to your own intuition, and not a “fortune-telling device.” Hello, you’ve got your soul in you, who actually has infinite divine knowledge. Let’s not ignore her. Ruby also advises against the limitations of yes or no questions, writing “Be expansive with it.” Why would you limit yourself when there’s a whole Universe of options? Good point, Ruby. She uses a Whole Foods salad bar metaphor to get her point across. Speaking my language.
Next section covers all things psychic. I love that juicy word. Even more so, it emphasizes that everyone has innate psychic abilities. That whole, soul thing, remember? She tells a vivid story about attending a seance with a not-so-archetypal modern psychic. Love. This section is confetti’d with little exercises you can do to strengthen your intuitive abilities. The Stop, Drop, and Roll exercise goes a little like this: imagine all the different ways you could approach your sitch, stop when it’s really clear, drop to your gut feeling, assess if it’s good, then rinse and repeat until you’re ready to roll. Noted. Next, an exercise to differentiate between intuition and paranoia: listen to music/eat food you know you’ll hate. Document where the authentic feeling of disgust is. Do something you like, and document the positive feeling. Use this as your reference point!
Then, the section about dharma, a.k.a. life purpose. What your soul wanted to accomplish when it decided it wanted to be a human this time around. Having just finished my first Abraham-Hicks book, I had this concept living in my head already. But, as she does throughout the book, Ruby takes from so many different spiritual paths and reports back all her important findings. (This makes for a read that never gets boring, by the way.) She lists out ways to connect to the highest self, that in turn, connect you to your higher purpose. Looking to the stars to find yourself may be the best decision you ever make… my words, not her’s.
Then comes Part II: Health & Well-Being. Ruby starts with the chapter titled Confessions of a Reluctant Yogi, delving into yoga in both spiritual and societal terms… i.e. the interesting body-image subculture within it (thanks, Lululemon). But she also explains the actual value of the practice outside of its Western perception. As it turns out, it’s a lot more than skinny white girls in expensive/tight pants. It’s a lot more about understanding the divine soul’s residence in the earthly body… or something like that. Generally speaking, yoga triggers a lot of those monkey-brain thoughts we’d like to stay away from: this is impossible, this hurts, this is embarrassing, etc etc. Learning how to let those thoughts pass without attending to them is pretty much invaluable, actually. Time to start a regular practice.
The next chapter covers all things meditation, including an especially colorful anecdote about an invite-only meditation lesson hosted in her astrologer friend Shelley von Strunckel’s “luxurious loft apartment” somewhere in NYC. Through personal experience, I’ve found the practice to be an absolute must. With my personal habits of paranoia and overthinking, without meditating, my journaling at the end of the day spirals into a worst-case-scenario elaboration. No thanks. Connecting to source, or God, or love, whichever you’d prefer, is key in keeping a stable mindset. I’ll stand by this statement: your day starts with hydration and meditation. Seriously.
Lastly for this post, in a turn I didn’t expect, Ruby finishes Health & Wellness with a chapter entitled You, The Shaman. Interesting, I thought, I just did a Humanities final project over the subject. But applying the concept now? Ruby paints a detailed picture of a self-titled modern shamanistic practitioner:
“And then in saunters Marika, dressed in leather pants, a fur gilet, and a pair of kick-ass Isabel Marant boots, with strands of diamond-laced mala beads around her neck. Marika, I love you, I think silently to myself. And of course she dresses this way. Marika’s clients are lawyers, bankers, and CEOs– not the kinds of people who are going to swallow anything as downright mystical as spirit animals without a spoonful of first-world glamour to help the medicine go down.”
And aside from fur and leather, this might be my favorite excerpt from the entire book. Shamans are explained as guides that lead their clients into different realms of consciousness, to find answers, inspiration, healing, basically whatever they may need. I suddenly saw a lot more me and a lot less peyote in the word Shaman. (LOL.) Ruby’s description of meeting her spirit animal seriously struck me. And not in a I’m just thinking about it a lot kind of way, more like an I-saw-my-spirit-animal-in-a-dream-or-maybe-a-vision sort of way. (It was a white rabbit, if you were wondering.) The chapter has too many excellent details to include, here, but the point is: connecting to something, or somewhere, out of this world… is every bit of enlightening.
That’s all, for now! I could write and write about this book all day, and I will write more posts about it, but I could recommend reading it enough. Purchase it on Amazon, or as I found it in person, at Barnes and Noble.