Escape From A Spiritual Cult

Escape From A Spiritual Cult

Escape From A Spiritual Cult A Wellness Retreat Gone Wrong By Charmaine Selwood Editor’s Note: The following story is one woman’s personal view and account of visiting an advertised spiritual retreat in Australia. The events described have been reported to the authorities for investigation. Reader’s discretion is advised. Earlier this year I was working as an au pair in Brisbane, Australia. Things were going well until I found myself in a wild relationship filled with alcohol, drugs, and hotel rooms. As our relationship continued, I noticed my mental health deteriorating. I needed to get away, be somewhere pure, and come back to myself. So, I decided to go to the Samaya Ashram, in the Byron Bay Hinterland of Australia.  This self-sustainable, spiritual community had a tight schedule. We rose at 5.30am before sunrise, had a jam-packed day of meditations, yoga, “meditation in action” (work), and vegan meals. In the evenings, we had a sangha. The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony, and love. By 7 pm, the moon-illuminated forest led us to bed. Samaya, the 80-year-old Italian guru, and owner of the ashram was wise, charismatic, and intelligent. Through listening to him, I realized how one could so easily become a slave to society. He made us feel like we had escaped all that pain and suffering, and the ashram would set us free. Over the first few days, the intensity of the Osho meditations shocked me. We practiced the ‘Mystic Rose’, which was talking ‘gibberish’ for 10 minutes, crying for 10, and then laughing for 10 minutes. After a few days, we did ‘Dynamic’ mediation...
The Ottoman Chic Lifestyle

The Ottoman Chic Lifestyle

The Ottoman Chic Lifestyle Interior Designer Serdar Gülgün By John-Paul Pietrus The Ottoman Empire reigned supreme from 1299 to 1922, ushering in an era of opulence and global expansion. Although the empire has fallen, the Ottomans legendary taste for the good life is still inspiring design enthusiasts today. East met West, as NOMADS Editor at Large John-Paul Pietrus sat down to discuss the Ottoman chic lifestyle with the acclaimed Ottoman expert, author and designer, Serdar Gülgün. I swiftly walked through Kensington Gardens one misty morning, aware that I was cutting it close for the morning tea invitation on Gloucester Road with Ottoman expert Serdar Gülgün. Sedar had come to London to launch his pop up store in collaboration Assouline Books on Piccadilly Circus. I made sure I dressed well, as Serdar was known to be always impeccably attired. I arrived at the café and luckily had a few minutes to catch my breath before he arrived. He was as dashing as ever, with his round glasses, Turkish moustache, and gorgeous tailored jacket that he “picked up somewhere in Florence.” Always the gentleman, he complimented me on my Toile de Jouy jacket. Over many a pot of fresh tea, Serdar told me his story. A native Istanbullu, Serdar attended a French school as a youth and then began studies in business administration, which he quickly decided was not his thing, and then moved on to SOAS University of London for his master’s degree. It was a wonderful awakening for him, all he wanted. Post studies he worked for a very short while at Sotheby’s before returning to Istanbul in the...
Mectoub The New Arab Man

Mectoub The New Arab Man

Mectoub The New Arab Man Switching Arab Gender Codes By Lauri Lyons Mectoub is an Arabic word that loosely translates as: “It was written”. The word denotes a sense of pre-ordained destiny. The beginning of the Arab Spring protests in 2010 marked a cultural shifting of the sand, throughout North Africa and the Middle East. The recent announcement that Saudi Arabia will lift the ban on female drivers is further evidence that things are changing.  We are beginning to witness the rise of the new Arab man and woman. Scarlett Coten is a french photographer who explores identity and intimacy throughout the Arab diaspora. Her series Mectoub poses questions about the emergence of a new Arab masculinity. The series documents Scarlett’s personal encounters with men who are challenging the established codes of gender and the relationship to women. “I decided to photograph men. My journey took me from North Africa to the Middle East, in order to look into male identity. Hidden places, abandoned houses, forgotten shorelines, these are the places where men would come, at my invitation, for a photographic tete-a-tete. I wanted to photograph the men with all their complexity, fragility, sensuality and freedom. I set off to further my travels into countries which had long been close to my heart, including Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine and Lebanon. I walked through the streets to alleyways, cafes to backyards, always searching. Mectoub is a relationship that I decided to have with men that were strangers to me, in these Arab countries. The men I chose had a freedom of spirit about them and I sensed a mutual connivance...
Travel Like A Rock Star

Travel Like A Rock Star

Travel Like A Rock Star Tina Farris Tour Manager Interview by Lauri Lyons Tina Farris travels like a rock star with some of today’s most popular entertainers. As the owner of Tina Farris Tours she is the tour manager of your favorite bands. We check in with Tina to learn her behind the scenes journey from being a fan to becoming the boss. Where are you from? Tina Farris: I’m a Cali girl.  I was born on a now defunct Army Base in Monterey, CA and raised in Sacramento. Did you have another career before becoming a tour manager? I was a French teacher at Compton High School in Compton, Ca. Linguistics are super interesting and of course it helps to get you out of trouble. I also taught Leadership and Spanish. What inspired you to get into the tour management business? I was a fan of The Roots. I used to follow them around the world when school wasn’t in session. Then one day they were like….”Just hang out.” What makes you say “Yes” or “No” to managing a tour? The Artist and length of the tour. What is your pre-preparation for a tour? I do routing, meaning the mileage to see if it’s a bus tour or flights. I do a budget.  I work in tandem with my Production Manager to get day of show times, so I can plan the transportation. I book hotels depending on the budget of group. I book ground, food, extracurricular activities…basically life on the road for myself plus 20 additional people at any given time. What does your “typical” day on the...
Jamming With Jamaican Rastas

Jamming With Jamaican Rastas

Jamming With Jamaican Rastas Adventures with the Legends of Reggae By David Tesinsky David Tesinsky is a Czech photojournalist who focuses on exploring global subcultures. His never ending search for the unique and authentic finally landed him in Jamaica, where he went searching for the people who follow the Rastafarian way, in the hills, in the streets and inna di yards. I went to Jamaica in search of real Rastafarians and the living legends of roots reggae and dub music. If you’re a foreigner it’s not easy to meet the real Rastas in the streets, because every other person with dreadlocks says, “I’m a Rasta!”. A “Roots Rasta” should not drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, eat meat or chase money. Rasta is not about having dreadlocks. A rasta could be hairless but truly follows the paths of Haile Selassie. Rastas believe all of us have a connection with the universe. One Rastaman told me, “We are all part of one dread”.  Although many people told me, “Kingston is dangerous for a white guy”. I had quite a good experience during my 45 days there. I rode my bike day and night around Kingston’s ghettos. I did get caught by the police with a higher amount of weed than tolerated, and a man ripped my wallet out of my hand, but I took it back very fast. In general, I had a good experience - in my own way. Music is very important to Jamaicans. There are sound systems in the streets, and very often they overlap each other, so you will find yourself listening to dancehall and dub at the...
Canada’s Largest Music Festival

Canada’s Largest Music Festival

Canada’s Largest Music Festival Festival d’été de Québec 50th Anniversary By Lauri Lyons Festival d’ete de Quebec, Canada’s largest outdoor music festival rolled out the red carpet on July 6th and will continue with 11 more events packed days and nights of concerts. The festival showcases 300 performances at 10 indoor and outdoor venues in Québec City, Canada. The roster will include 1,000 artists covering the genres of hip-hop, rock, pop, country, world beat, and EDM. Tickets for the festival cost a mere $75USD for a transferable pass that gives you access to 11 days of concerts by some of the biggest headliners and the latest trendsetting talents. The reason why the tickets are so inexpensive is that the FEQ organization is a non-profit, so they cover their expenses but do not try to make a profit from the general public. As you know, most concerts can easily cost over $100USD to see only one artist. The idyllic setting of Old Quebec City,  a UNESCO world heritage site, has created a history of rocking hard with legendary bands and superstar artists including The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters , Keith Urban, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Bruno Mars, Bryan Adams, Stevie Wonder, Bon Jovi, Sting, Peter Gabriel,  Rammstein, Elton John, and Justin Bieber. This year’s grand 50th Anniversary is no exception with a stellar lineup that includes headliners Kendrick Lamar, Pink, Melissa Etheridge, Metallica, Lady Antebellum, Fetty Wap, The Backstreet Boys, The Who, and much more. Kendrick Lamar put on a gladiator worthy performance when he and his DJ slayed the sold out crowd with his lyrical finesse, which was echoed back...
The American Dream vs. Reality

The American Dream vs. Reality

The American Dream vs. Reality Global Opinions About the USA By Lauri Lyons In 1995 Lauri Lyons grabbed her camera and an American flag and began an odyssey to discover and reveal the faces and voices of the unknown: Americans who did not bask in the seats of power, who did not control the destinies of mega-corporations, and who rarely appear in news stories. Americans reveal themselves to us through their pride, openness and honesty, They proudly display the banner of America with their hope or stomp it beneath a heavy boot. Given the opportunity to speak their truth without restrictions, they present themselves with a directness and honesty that brings them to life. - Paul Fusco, Magnum Photos What is America? Beautiful, violent, principled, racist, hopeful, chaotic and always changing. America completely reinvents itself on a daily basis. “Thanks to our veterans America is #1” As a college student during the Gulf War, it became apparent to me how little my peers knew about the symbolic power of the American flag. This realization coupled with the political polls and sound-bytes defining the current American psyche made me question the validity of the people’s opinions that the media represented as facts. “I think that this country is way below standards. We a have to become as one before we all fall apart from each other.” I decided to find out what people really thought about America by traveling to unfamiliar cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout the country and asking strangers, “What do you think about America? Please write your honest opinion in this notebook and sign your name.” Afterwards,...
The Gay Preacher’s Wife

The Gay Preacher’s Wife

The Gay Preacher’s Wife LGBT, God, and Marriage in Atlanta By Lauri Lyons Growing up in the church in the 1950s and 1960s, homosexuality wasn’t discussed, especially not in the black community. Lydia Meredith’s memoir The Gay Preacher’s Wife is a personal account of how life can become a testimony of tolerance, love and acceptance even within the confines of the church. “I was one of those preachers’ wives who sat in the pew many a Sunday morning while my “real” life was a fraud. I discovered several years into my marriage that my husband was cheating on me—with men—numerous men. (And women too, I later found out). I watched my husband stand in that pulpit on Sunday morning, preaching one message and living out yet another.”   An estimated 4.2 percent of metro Atlanta’s population identify themselves as LGBTQ, placing the region in the top half of a list of 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a Gallup analysis. The data is based on surveys of 473,243 adults across the 50 largest metropolitan areas, conducted between June 2012 and December 2014. These results are based on responses to the question, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?” which was included in 206,186 Gallup Daily tracking interviews. This is the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record. It is the first time a study has had a large enough sample sizes to provide estimates of the LGBT population by state. After being married to Reverend Dennis A. Meredith for almost thirty years and having three sons, Lydia Meredith and the...
Emilie Baltz’s Food Utopia

Emilie Baltz’s Food Utopia

Emilie Baltz’s Food Utopia Let Them Eat Travel Cake! Interview by Mackenzie Lowry Emilie Baltz is everything. She is a well seasoned traveling Food Designer, with a multitude of former professional lives that includes being the Creative Director for The Museum of Sex, Founder of the Food Design Studio at the Pratt Institute, a dancer, and photographer. Whether it’s a meal celebrated together or spent with a book, that is the focus of Emilie Baltz. Her passion for food is the center of our early morning meeting as we sit and sip on green, foamy Matcha Lattes. This unusual drink is made of a very finely ground powder of a particular strain of green tea, and is often the center of Japanese tea ceremonies. It is the perfect elixir for listening to her tales about an eclectic life. The first thing I saw when I went on your website is that you believe in unicorns, so I’m wondering where that came from? Emilie Baltz: Well, the truth of it is, it comes from a couple places. One, I’ve always felt like I didn’t fit anywhere and there always is a belief and disbelief. Can you have a life that you make of your own that’s of your own magic? And that’s basically what the question is. For most of existence, it’s like, do dreams come true and are fantasies real? So, believing in unicorns is kind of what that’s about. I would rather choose to believe than not – so I would rather choose to believe that dreams can come true and that myths are real. I also had...
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