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4 Rituals To Bring More Love Into Your Life

Culture

From letting go of the past to calling in your ideal lover

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away. Whether you love it, hate it, or don't really care about it, it’s pretty impossible to ignore all the romance in the air. As annoying and ridiculous and money-driven as this Hallmark holiday may feel to many of us, that doesn't mean we don't believe in love. So why not treat this time as an opportunity to bring a little more of it into our lives—whether with others or just with ourselves?

For this very reason, we turned to transformational healing artist Alexandra Roxo, who specializes in opening the heart in love, sex, and relationships. She showed us different rituals—all varying in purpose and intent—to help bring more love in.

“A ritual can be anything you imbue with intent, devotion, and repetition,” says Roxo. “Ritualizing something is the act of creating depth around it. For example, the first time you drink tea is not a ritual, but when you begin to establish a relationship with it and fill it with intention and meaning, it ritualizes the experience. Then, the next time you come back to it, you know you will feel the warmth, pause, peace, or whatever you have created around the experience of it.”

And while making a ritual out of lighting a candle, writing down lists, or repeating affirmations in a mirror might not seem like it's changing much of anything, rest assured that, by putting intention on these experiences, change often comes. “Rituals have the power to move energy, to transform an experience. They can create an intentional space for us to make life changes, or start a new cycle or habit," explains Roxo. "The act of lighting a candle every day for a month ceremonially dedicated to a wish has the power to make the wish come true. Every time you light it, you align with that wish, and those vibes come closer.”

So, in honor of love (instead of a random holiday), below are four rituals to heal, open, and strengthen the heart. These are bound to be beneficial, whether you’re wallowing in the pain of a breakup, seeking the perfect partner, looking to strengthen the existing bond between you and your partner, or just wanting to reconnect with yourself.

How to set the space for a ritual
First things first, if you’re going to do any sort of ritual, you must set up the space for it. For Roxo, this means carving out some quiet, peaceful alone time. She suggests turning off your phone, turning on some music, burning candles or incense, and even putting on a hot outfit, if you want. “Whatever gets you feeling grounded, connected to yourself, and good,” says Roxo. “Make it magical, and you will make magic.”

She considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth"

Dani Okon, NYLON's associate creative director of video, sat down with her great-aunt, May Okon, to talk about their shared experiences—despite vastly different time frames—living as queer women in New York City. Prior to retirement, May was a journalist for the New York Daily News, having first entered the male-dominated workforce when "the boys were all at war." And, of course, she absolutely killed it. Her only regret? "Retiring at 55," she tells Dani, joking, "Who the hell knew I was gonna live to 100?"

Upon retiring, she moved out to the Hamptons with her partner and bought a home. If she had to do it all over, May says "there are a lot of things I wouldn't do," but she still considers herself "one of the luckiest kids on the face of the earth." Get to know May in the video, above.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Marlene Colburn and Naima Green
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by: Alexandra Hsie
Camera: Gretta Wilson + Katie Sadler
Edited by: Madeline Stedman

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Here's how they're making sure it doesn't happen

Lauren Morelli, the showrunner and executive producer for the new Netflix show Tales of the City, is fostering a space where multiple queer realities can be shown on-screen. She spoke with one of the cast members, trans actor Garcia (who plays Jake Rodriguez on the show), and, in the video above, they explore why it's wrong to treat queer stories as representative of the entire community. Tokenization is something that they both want to avoid at all costs, and they're on the right track.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Gretta Wilson + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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"Nothing is truly a binary"

We put non-binary activist Eddie Jarrel Jones and The Phluid Project founder Rob Smith in conversation with each other, and the two spoke some powerful truths about the continued gendering of products like makeup and clothing. Smith recalls that 30 years ago, the only way that he was able to experience the joys of playing with makeup was to work at a beauty counter. Even today, Jones notes that it's hard for non-binary femmes like them, or even trans women, to get that experience in stores.

In the video above, get a sense of why Smith created a genderless store, and see how important it is for people like Jones to have a space where they don't feel criticized for dressing like they want.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Naima Green and Marlene Colburn
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Charlotte Prager + Dani Okon
Edited by Gretta Wilson

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We put the two activists in conversation

Marlene Colburn, one of the founders of the Dyke March, and Naima Green, an artist currently working on a project and archive called Pur·suit, which will document queer people of all identities, agree that it's really hard to find lesbian spaces that aren't bars. Just as hard, it seems, is to find lesbian representation that isn't white. In the video above, the two talk about how they are creating space for queer people and what that looks like within two different generations.

Check out the other videos in our series where we placed queer people from different generations in conversation with one another:

Dani and May Okon
Rob Smith and Eddie Jarrel Jones
Lauren Morelli and Garcia
Ashlee Marie Preston and Devan Diaz

Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Directed by Charlotte Prager
Shot by Dani Okon + Charlotte Prager
Edited by Charlotte Prager

Illustrated by Sarah Lutkenhaus

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Travel can be tough. Sure, there are definitely the exciting aspects to it, especially when it means we're going on vacation, but if it involves traveling to different time zones, then we have to deal with jet lag, which is... not fun at all.

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