Along with many of my peers, I’m starting to wonder if life is just one big misery. There’s no evidence that my parents feel this way, so I’ve started to think that it’s generational. Or more specifically, a sign of the times—a day in age where we’re all in constant comparison and judgement of others on social media, and where our most scathing thoughts not just about others, but ourselves, are vocalized a little too easily. Enjoying the journey is an impossibility when we’re all impatient to get the destination.
Ruby Warrington spent four years as the Features Editor at the UK Sunday Times Style magazine. Responsible for commissioning and writing across all sections of the magazine, she was also tasked with landing an A-list celebrity for the cover every week. On paper, it sounds like an enviable role – powerful, glamorous, and fun – but Ruby felt uneasy and conflicted about what she was doing. “After two or three years at Style, I began to get seriously itchy feet,” she explains. “I was bored and the boredom morphed into anxiety, and self-medication with alcohol and other drugs.” She decided that she needed a new challenge, a distraction technique, and so she started studying astrology on the side of her full-time job. The more she delved into the esoteric world, the more possibility she saw for making the switch from Style to launching her own website, but at the time it seemed like a daunting prospect.
“Despite my unhappiness at Style, I would never have left of my accord I don’t think,” Ruby tells us. “I was too addicted to the glamour and status that went with the title.” As always though, the universe had her back, and in 2012 Ruby relocated to New York when her husband landed a job in the city. She left the magazine, moved to a new country, and only then did The Numinous really come alive. “You can’t fully know the full potential for any project until it exists in the world,” she warns. She might have been pushed to take that first step, but with a fully evolved site and a book launch under her belt, there’s no looking back.
ON HER LAST EDITORIAL ROLE BEFORE STARTING HER BUSINESS
I landed my ‘dream job’ as Features Editor at the UK Sunday Times Style magazine back in 2008, and I held that position until I moved to NYC in 2012. Prior to that, I’d spent the summer editing Pacha magazine in Ibiza (a glossy lifestyle mag about the island)—a different sort of dream come true. Having been an annual visitor to Ibiza, I’d always wanted to get below the surface and meet the characters running the show, and having the opportunity to edit the premier magazine on the island was essentially an access-all-areas pass. As for Style, coming up through the ranks of the London journalism scene, it was the only mainstream publication in the UK that really pushed the envelope with its features section. It had a reputation for not playing the rules, and for writing about the most neurotic/juicy social trends of the moment— which is the kind of stuff I’ve always been interested in reading and writing about. Sadly, it’s changed since then and gone a more traditional fashion and beauty route. My job involved commissioning and writing across all sections of the magazine, as well as landing an A-list celebrity interview for the cover every week. No easy task!
After 2 or 3 years at Style, I began to get seriously itchy feet. I was bored, and the boredom morphed into anxiety, and self-medication with alcohol and other drugs. On paper, the job was everything I wanted—yet on a deeper level I felt utterly unfulfilled. I was so confused, wasn’t this everything I’d wanted? Having always been ambitious and super inspired by my work, I began to question what it had all been for. At the time, I thought it was simply a case of needing a new challenge, which led me to take up the study of astrology on the side—a subject that had always been a passion. My journalistic mind, however, quickly realized there was a gap in the market for a publication like The Numinous, which made all mystical/esoteric topics more accessible, and cool. But despite my unhappiness at Style, I would never have left of my own accord I don’t think. I was too addicted to the glamour and the status that went with the title. But the Universe intervened a few months later when my husband got a job in NYC—and I ended up leaving to go freelance. A year or so later I began work on The Numinous, as the idea just wouldn’t leave me alone.
It took me a while to begin work on The Numinous because I spent time worrying about what I wanted to project to become in 5, 10 years’ time, opposed to just taking the first steps towards making it a reality today. What I’ve realized since, is that until you take those first baby steps, everything is speculative. You can’t truly know the full potential for any project until it exists in the world, as it tends to take on a life of its own. Having a ‘big picture’ vision is essential, but it’s the small daily details that are the actual building blocks.
WHEN CONSCIOUSNESS STARTED PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN HER LIFE
I’ve always been highly ‘conscious’—it’s what makes me a good features writer and editor, as I’ve always been able to feel into what’s going on in the zeitgeist. But in terms of applying this skill and emotional sensitivity to my own life, it was in the gap between my fabulous ‘on paper’ life at Style, and how empty and unfulfilled I felt inside at the time. This resulted in some pretty serious existential self-enquiry, which meant getting conscious to a) who I really am, and what truly makes me happy, and b) what I am actually here to contribute in the world. I think this is what the ‘evolution of consciousness’ we keep hearing about is really rooted in. People are getting conscious to the fact that a lot of the time, the things we’re led to believe will make us happy and healthy (fancy job, endless new things, cure-all magic pills etc.), don’t.
THE STEPS SHE TOOK TO GET THE NUMINOUS STARTED
I launched The Numinous very much as a passion project, which simply meant setting up a site on WordPress, having a friend make me a logo, and beginning writing articles for it. I have never had any investment, so my subsequent growth has been very organic—vs. doing any paid marketing campaigns. I just busied myself with getting immersed in the numinous scene in NYC, reaching out to people to write articles, attending workshops and events to write about myself, and interviewing leading figures in the field. I guess you could call this networking, but I was just following my passion and reporting on what was interesting to me, which was exactly what I did in my previous magazine jobs.
ON WHAT INSPIRED THE BOOK
An editor at Harper Collins approached me a year or so after I launched the site, as she was researching new voices in the modern spirituality space. She asked if I had a book proposal in the works … and so I quickly got something together to show her! Material Girl, Mystical World is an introduction to all the subjects I cover on the site—but through the lens of my personal experiences, and the inner and outer transformation I’ve undergone as a result of adopting these practices and philosophies in my life.
THE CHALLENGES SHE FACED CREATING MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD
As a journalist, I’m used to working on a story, having it published, and moving on to the next thing within the space of a couple of weeks. So the biggest challenge with the book, was maintaining focus on this one project for over two years while continuing to grow The Numinous, as well as various offshoot projects on the side. But perhaps the biggest growth has been in putting my story out into the world. Having spent my career writing about other people and their projects, it’s felt extremely vulnerable—especially since it turns out being an ‘author’ also means being a speaker. Coming out from behind my laptop has generally been a terrifying experience.
I saw an IG meme the other day that said: ‘Alignment is the new hustle,’ which I love. To me, getting ‘aligned’ means really tuning into my intuition, and making all my decisions based on what my gut is telling me. Too many times I’ve ignored this, and found myself neck-deep in situations that are sapping my energy and enthusiasm, and out of alignment with my overall goals. Usually because I was putting somebody else’s needs before my own.
THE MINDSETS SHE USES TO OVERCOME FEAR
The only thing is to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’! My biggest fear is public speaking, and in these situations, it helps to remind myself that it’s not about ME it’s about the MESSAGE— meaning I try to focus on what I want to come through me, and what I want my audience to learn, versus getting too caught up in how my ‘performance’ might be judged. When you really examine them, many of our fears are about how other people might judge us—which in turn comes from us judging ourselves. Using all the tools in my book to get more comfortable and accepting about who I am has helped me care less about what other people think.
BALANCING BUSINESS HUSTLE WITH HER SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
For me this is essential. I’m super passionate about my work, especially as I now feel my multiple projects are contributing something valuable to the world, and I truly give it my all. But this means I can also burn out fast. The law of physics states that for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction, right? And so the way I see it, for every action out in the world building my high-vibe empire, I recognize that I must spend an equal amount of time being quiet and tending to my internal life. This means daily meditation, really early bedtimes, and hardly any socializing during the week. It’s also only when I get quiet that I can listen to my intuition and make the choices in my work life that fully resonate with me.
When I met my husband 18 years ago (OMG!) I made a commitment to myself: to tell him the truth about how I was feeling, no matter what. I think this kind of open-hearted communication is the bedrock for any successful relationship—be it with a romantic partner, your family, or your colleagues. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. In fact, a lot of the time it can be downright terrifying, since what I’m feeling is not always what the other person wants to hear. But I think total honesty shows the utmost respect. When I don’t feel the need to be upfront with somebody, it’s a sign the relationship isn’t that important to me.
HOW HER SOBER EVENT SERIES CAME INTO BEING
This project is very dear to my heart, as it came out of my personal journey reframing my relationship to alcohol. I used to be a real ‘party girl,’ but as I have deepened my spiritual connection it’s become clear to me that alcohol is a major block to me feeling aligned with this part of myself. As much as I had always been a habitual drinker (like most people I know), I never identified with the term ‘alcoholic’—and when I did go to AA, the teachings and format didn’t resonate with me. I realized there was a huge gap for a new conversation about booze, and our Club SÖDA NYC events are really about asking all the questions so we can get more conscious about our drinking choices.
HER ADVICE FOR ALL OF US TRYING TO FIGURE OUR ISH OUT
If you’re even ‘trying’ then congrats, because you’re in the process of figuring it out! So many of us go through life without considering if the path we’re on is the right path for us, like on a soul level. Asking this one question is the first step, and then it’s about seeking out tools, philosophies, and experiences that help us find the answers, many of which I introduce in my book. I believe that this path is a lifestyle choice in itself. Destination unknown … but freaking fabulous!
ON WHAT LIVING HER BEST LIFE LOOKS LIKE RIGHT NOW
We’re taught that success equals money and status, but I had that in my old career and all I could hear was this voice that kept whispering: it’s not enough. And so now, success for me means having found a way to express myself and my soul mission in my work. This feels like a privilege and an incredible gift (not that I haven’t worked so hard to reach this point), but I truly believe that this is our birthright. Not only that, it’s kind of how we earn our keep as citizens of this planet.
Want To Learn From The Pros?
Subscribe to grab a round up of the top career & business advice from over 350 of our interviews with women making their mark.