Pop Culture Shamans, pop culture gurusYou don’t have to travel to an ashram on the other side of the world (or even get yourself to that meditation class) in order to get the deep spiritual fix you’re craving.

The world is brimming with magical teachers in droll disguises.

You just have to squint and tilt your head a little so you can see them.

Here are five of my best spiritual teachers: 

  1. Nike’s marketing department. For someone as dreamy and imaginative as me, having brilliant ideas is never the problem. I can believe five impossible things before breakfast and still write a line of poetry while the tea brews. I can also tell you 6 innovative things you can do in your business or your life in under five minutes. But making any of those good ideas actually HAPPEN???? Ay, there’s the rub. The slogan “Just Do It” is potent medicine for me. It doesn’t always taste good, but boy oh boy does it set my feet back on the ground and get me moving faster than any cod liver oil ever could. 99% of the time, what I need to do is stop dreaming and start DOing. Whoosh, baby!
  2. Taylor Swift. I wrote a whole book for sensitive people with big feelings. It took me 100 pages to say what Ms. T-Swizzle concisely distilled down to 3 minutes of pure pop genius. Haters gonna hate. Fakers gonna fake. Shake it off! Keep cruising, don’t stop moving, you’re lightning on your feet– even when no one else can see– so keep dancing on your own, make the moves up as you go, keep playing the music in your mind that says it’s gonna be all right. And while you’re at it, shake your ass and sing your freaking heart out. May we all be so wise.
  3. Harry Potter. JK Rowling actually created a boot camp to train the good guys to battle the forces of darkness, and then she cleverly disguised it as a series of books. The most witty magic trick of all! She inspired a generation of kids to want to be brave and kind and heroic. And she did it– it’s easy to forget this part– at a time when the next best available role model was Bart Simpson. I bow down with gratitude. Harry, Hermione, Dumbledore and Snape were a welcome antidote to irony, ennui, and sarcasm. That was a victory like no other, and I learn at her feet every year in my annual re-read of the HP books.
  4. Michelle Obama. She is my great teacher when it comes to telling the truth in a way that is gracious, kind, generous, and totally un-fuck-with-able. She has the most impossible job in the world, and she has KILLED it with humor, elegance, and a kind of otherworldly strength that inspires utter awe in me. Watching her endorse Hilary Clinton recently, and take the high road while also pointing out that she wakes up every morning in a building built by slaves?!!?– I grabbed my daughter, plunked her down, and said, “Watch this. This is how you change the world.” Our new family mantra: When they go low, we go high.
  5. Apple products. I remember what an epiphany it was for me when I read Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall. I’d loved my iPhone from the very first moment I held it, and Apple stores are basically church for me, but I’d never understood why. That book explained that what I was feeling was the result of an intense and deliberate decision to do a very few things, but to do them better than anyone else did and to keep finding new ways to make them even better. It shifted the way I approached my business and my life, so that instead of trying to do and be all things to all people, I fiercely dedicated myself to doing the few truly important things that matter most in my business and my life.

Your list will probably look very different than mine. Maybe Beyonce and Aaron Sorkin are your spiritual teachers, or you worship at the Anthropologie aesthetic, or the Olympics is a sacrament (okay, those are all on my list too). Maybe great restaurants can transport you into the ether, or walking in the woods pours metaphysical vitamins directly into your veins, or Olivia Pope is the guru you’ve been waiting for. Perfect!

Go and drink deeply of those things, my loves.

And come and tell me on facebook what yours are!! I’m dying to know.

much love,

Anna

 

How to set boundaries when you're a kind, empathic human.

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