When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
- David Whyte
I'm began writing this post in Mexico on the last morning of the Qoya and The Goddess Process retreat. I would sit each morning around 6am on a wicker lounge chair between the salt water infinity pool and a cliff overlooking the ocean. Around that time, before sunrise, it's still dark, so I can't see the view, but I can feel it. And, I can hear it. Those rhythmic, pulsing waves from infinity rolling into shore. Above me the moon would play peak-a-boo through the clouds allowing me to celebrate every blessed view of it and trust its affect and power even when it was invisible to me. After an hour of sitting there, around 7am, promises of a new day in the soft yellows and oranges painted across the horizon line of the sky would begin to emerge. Even though it was still dark, that growing intensity of light was undeniably inevitably going to shine. Which is similar to how it feels to be living at this time in the world as a woman and feeling the potential and the rise of feminine values into our lives, relationships, work, society and world. The possibility is right there. The promise is right there. Sometimes more easily felt and trusted. Sometimes, out of convenience or necessity, repressed and ignored. Such is the case when you live in a patriarchal society as a woman. It's like a fish out of water three feet from the sea, hearing and seeing the waves and a combination of trying to will yourself back to the ocean or surrendering and praying to be pulled back in to the familiar waters. The yearning to remember.
Being a woman in a patriarchal culture can be destabilizing to a feminine based soul. When the world around you does not mirror your own essence and alignment, doubt ensues, vision dulls and self-criticism rises. It's interesting to lead retreats for women around the world and for some it is a form of indulgence, but for many is like CPR for the feminine spirit. Reconnecting to nature like we did this week staying in open air casitas without electricity, having no phone or wifi on the property and surrendering to the sound of the ocean waves and the rise and fall of the sun for our natural light allowed us to hear ourselves more and feel our connection to nature again in a way that modern life rarely allows. Being in a group of women, one of the first things I notice is the genuine kindness, collaboration, compassion and love that women innately shower on one another and expand their ability to receive as the trust of the group is built. Such a homecoming back to sisterhood and releasing the pain of competition promoted in the media, workplace and out in the world. Most importantly for me, when we come back into the wisdom of our bodies, the physical sensation of truth, our intuition, our deep inner knowing and through Qoya we reconnect to the source of power that is always inside of us, not outside of us. Inside of us. Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember.
In a feminine friendly environment, a magical thing starts to be revealed. The struggling, pushing and forcing things to happen ceases. There is a recognition of the universal flow and divine order and it becomes more clear that going against it only leads to frustration and disappointment. It's like when Marianne Williamson says in her Monday night lectures in LA, "There's your plan and there is God's plan. The only difference is that God's plan works and yours doesn't." The relationship of the feminine to life is not the individual fight to overcome obstacles, it is in the graceful surrender to the divine, the acceptance of things as they happen and the embracing of the gifts they bring. It is an inherent trust in this world, a forgiveness and letting go of the things that led to distrust and a moving on into present time instead of reliving the past. The dance of celebrating the present becomes an open invitation for the blessings of the future to come. In one word, you remember what it feels like to trust. To some, the paragraph above sounds unrealistic, full of wishful thinking and lacking will power to not fight or force and sounds like giving up is "allowing things as they are". Instead of acquiescence of allowing injustice, it's the opposite, it's a stand for the belief of the interconnection between all things and in the acceptance of things as they are, there is a trust between you and the great mystery of life that allows an opening to surrender to the divine plan and be guided.
It's like this. The flow of the river is the flow of the river. Why do you constantly struggle and exhaust yourself paddling upstream? Bow to the power of the river. Honor the natural force behind it and in your reverence for the animation of life that is in that river that carries your boat and imagine, what if...what if you could actually trust the world around you? This perpetual state of left-brained judgment, analysis and desire to create a world, a life, that is predictable is what our world trains us to do. The initiation into the right-brained way of surrendering, allowing creativity to flow with how things show up, making art and beauty from the challenges of the moment and creating community and connection along the journey. The left-brain encourages you to walk the shortest distance between two points in a straight line. The right-brain encourages you to dance around the garden, take time to smell the roses and revel in the pouring rain- even though you are wearing a new silk dress that will be ruined and you don't have an umbrella.
It's hard to watch the sunrise or the sunset and not feel your soul exhale, relax and rest for a moment. It's hard to listen a group of women be truly honest about their life's journey- celebrating the blessings, honoring the challenges and not be in awe of the resilience that people in the circle have experienced. In awe. It's hard not to imagine a world where connection to self, others, the natural world and the divine was encouraged, valued and taught. But, the truth is, all those things are more common on vacation or a retreat than in our daily modern lives. For many of us and many of the people who will read a newsletter like this, you find your way through women or Goddess circles, classes, workshops, books, etc. You may do yoga, dance and eat healthy nourishing meals. You get into nature when you can and pause at the absolute overwhelming beauty of the stars when you see them. But, even for those of us, we forget and on retreat, it just seems like the whole point is to remember to remember.
You don't need to go on a retreat to remember, For some people it just makes it easier because all the prompts are in place. Healthy nourishing food. Check. Luxurious eco-friendly and consciousness accommodations. Check. Group of intelligent and soul seeking women from all over the world ranging from Olympians, to ex-banker stay at home moms to school psychologists, to retired to twenty something dreamers. Got it. Space for vulnerability and vulnerability seen for what it is- courageous strength. Yes! Rituals and ceremony in nature to feel the connection to the divine in this world. Highly encouraged. You can do this on your own, making your own travel sacred. You can do this during your day, making time to listen for the more subtle requests of your own heart.
The message here is to notice that the momentum of the world, the advertisements on TV and in magazines, the collective consciousness of fear and competition, the weight of worry in 2014 is significant and it affects us all. So, take a moment and just ask yourself. How do you remember? How do you remember what is inherently true and important for you?
Here's my top 5 list for today.
1- See Live Music. Something magic happens. The music is a portal to a feeling based place instead of being stuck in the judging and analyzing of the mind. If you're lucky, the music may even inspire you to DANCE.
2- Hang out with some kids and be really present with them. Before kids learn the worries of this world, their nature is pleasure seeking, celebratory, creative and kind. Imagine how you were as a child and let some more playfulness into your day. Why not?
3- Nature! Nature! Nature! I promise- you will feel better. Go for a hike and breathe some fresh air. Walk along the ocean and hear the sound of the waves or walk along the river and see the beatify of the flow. See a sunset and attune to the truth of your own cycle right now. Hug a tree or meditate on a tree stump, ask for guidance and you will receive it. Get ready for some spring gardening! I would say a minimum of 30 minutes a day in nature to stay connected and the more the better. If it's winter and cold where you are, try having fresh flowers and taking care of plants inside.
4- Read Danielle LaPorte's book The Desire Map which asks the simple and profound question, "How do you want to feel?" Learn your core desired feelings and take them into every aspect of your life. What does remembering FEEL like?
5- The most powerful way that I personally remember is through Qoya. Classes, workshops, private sessions and retreats! Upcoming retreats in 2014 are:
March 19-23 New Zealand at Aro Ha Wellness Center
March 29- April 5 The 5th Annual Qoya Costa Rica Retreat at Blue Spirit
May 2-5 Qoya Spa Retreat at the Standard in Miami, FL
June 21-28 Qoya and Dolce Yoga at a Villa in Tuscany, Italy
August 26- September 1 Qoya at Burning Man
October 3-5 Dance Qoya by Day and Dance at Austin City Limits by Night in Austin, Texas
October 24-26 Pay What You Can Qoya Retreat in Woodstock, NY
November 10-21 Join Qoya for a Women's Journey through Chile with Marcela Lobos of the Four Winds
November 29- December 6 Join Qoya and the House of Loveness for the second Service and Safari Retreat in Zimbabwe
I am so grateful for all of us who feel the call to remember. Who encourage others to remember and the possibility of co-creating a world where we can remember to together.
Remember to Remember,