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The Art of Suffering and Celebrating Well: Summer Solstice and New Moon in Cancer

Dear Dancer,

Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh shares, "We may think that we're 'doing it wrong.' Somehow we are 'failing at happiness.' That isn't true. Being able to enjoy happiness doesn't require that we have zero suffering. In fact, the art of happiness is also the art of suffering well. When we learn to acknowledge, embrace, and understand our suffering, we suffer much less. Not only that, but we're also able to go further and transform our suffering into understanding, compassion, and joy for ourselves and for others."

I couldn't say it better, the only thing I would add is: to dance it.

In a Qoya class, we ask women to imagine, "What if you couldn't do it wrong?" While there is an unsaid but reverently honored code of ethics and integrity that holds this question as an experiment, there is also a freedom to explore one's truth without the fear of judgment or expectation that we are at fault for feeling how we feel and being where we are. We get to explore the open door of love, acceptance, and encouragement that lives inside every human heart.

Qoya is joyful and playful. A common thing I'll hear from new people is, "I don't remember being that happy since I was a child." That innocence happiness. That ache from your cheeks being sore from smiling so hard for so long. That unapologetic enthusiasm. 

However, a lot of the celebration in Qoya comes after the storm, or after the Shadow Contrast Dance in which we practice what Thich Nhat Hanh calls "the art of suffering well." We honor our suffering and shadow experiences with the wisdom of homeopathic medicine. 

Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal responses of the body as it attempts to regain health. Homeopathy is based on the idea that "like cures like." That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness.

If like cures like, happiness does not cure suffering. Instead, the cure is the art of suffering itself — the courage to embrace, honor, learn, and feel. 

The fear is that when we feel, we will be consumed by the feeling, unable to re-emerge. Yet it is by feeling, by diving into that thing we fear, that we cultivate our will to shine through. When we must go beyond our self and call on something greater, we surrender to the light that animates the world, the brightness that inspires us to rise up and meets us where we are. The love that unconditionally shines on all of creation without exception. The Sun. 

Ancient cultures weave ritual and ceremony into the year to create an interface between nature and the soul to remember its mirror reflection. 

There is a light that shines bright in all of us. Our own inner sun.

There is a part of us that reflects and cycles around that light, courageously exploring itself beyond its glow. Our own inner moon.

This solstice, embrace your light. This new moon in Cancer, embrace your embodied emotion and submerge into sensation.

Practice the art of celebrating and suffering well as if they were as interconnected as the sun and the moon. To honor the dance of the planets, mirror this dance in your body by...dancing! 

For a Solstice Ceremony tonight, I invite you to do a fire ceremony to commit to re-ignite your light again and again. Click here for instructions (you can also read about fire ceremonies on page 143 of the Qoya book).


For our New Moon in Cancer, let yourself be inspired by our resident Astrologer Virginia Rosenberg's words, and do our movement ritual to Embody the Flow of your feeling. Remember - there is no way you can do it wrong, and the way you know you're doing it right is that feels resonant with the waters of your soul:

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23, 2017 (10:31pmEST) is an origin point. Feel what you feel. All of it. Leave nothing out. Dip yourself into emotional sensation like you would dip your body into a flowing river on a hot summer's day. At first, the sensation might feel cold or shocking. Breathe deep. As your body adapts to sensation, it merges with the imprint of all within the water. The river is crisp and clear, yet contains volumes of history. Herstory. All the years of flowing. Years of fullness. Years of drought. Years of murky muddiness. Years of pristine clarity. Years of ebbing stagnation. Years of overwhelming momentum. And this river, by simply being, has been a home to so many. Infinite creatures. It has housed fish and frogs and birds. It has fed bears and wolves and insects. It has sustained human communities. It has baptized countless souls. The river is home. Feel its waters. Be one with its environment. The river within you leads to Home. It is the nest of eternal safety. It is both a cloistered temple and an exposure to the elements. It is both a sense of self and a relationship with kin. It is your memories and habituations. It is your caring commitment to mothering your self. Feel what you feel. Submerge. Emerge. Here, you are safe. You are accepted. In your blood, you will always belong. We are all related.


MOVEMENT RITUAL: EMBODY THE FLOW 

A prayer of gratitude for everyone reading these words and for being the lighthouse that you are. For yourself. For others. At this time. I bow to your courageous commitment to embody a consciousness that honors the one heart that connects us all in remembering, as Virginia says that, "We are all related."

Honored to be your sister, with love and reverence for the light that shines in us all,

Rochelle


NEW! ZIMBABWE RETREAT 

November 18 - 25, 2017

Join Qoya teacher Betsy Blankenbaker on her fifth Qoya retreat in Zimbabwe! You will partner with House of Loveness on a service project to help the local community while also enjoying daily Qoya classes and rituals and exploring the incredible culture and natural beauty of Africa.

Click here to learn more. 


RETREATS TO REMEMBER YOUR ESSENCE

France Retreat: June 23 - 26

Multiversity Retreat in Santa Cruz, California: July 30 - August 4

Kripalu Women's Festival: August 25 - 27

Zimbabwe Retreat: November 18 - 25 

Australia Retreat: November 10 - 15, 2017 - Enrollment opening soon!

Guatemala Retreat: January 20 - 17, 2018 - Enrollment opening soon!

India Retreat: March 2 - 11, 2018 - Enrollment opening soon!

Collective Retreat: March 24 - 31, 2018 - Enrollment opening soon!

INITIATION TEACHER TRAININGS

France Retreat: June 23 - 27

Toronto, Canada: June 24 - 25

Online Initiation Training: July 1 - 9

Multiversity Retreat: July 30 - August 4

Mougins, France: September 22 - 24

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: October 6 - 7

Odemira, Portugal: October 7 - 14

Dorset, England: November 4 - 5

INTENSIVE TEACHER TRAININGS

Highlands, North Carolina: September 10 - 17, 2017 with Sara Ballard and Kaci Florez

Nosara, Costa Rica: March 31 - April 7, 2018 with Rochelle Schieck - opening soon!

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Convergence With A Whole New World: Full Moon in Sagittarius

Dear Soul on the Other Side of the Screen,

As I write this, my mom, niece, and nephew are here from Minnesota visiting my fiancé and me here in Woodstock, New York. I just returned from a few months of teaching and traveling, and we are planning a wedding in less than 4 months. My birthday is also in 2 days (June 11th), so I'm in that reflective space of the past and dreaming place of the future. In a sentence, life is full. Yours probably is too. 

I have a theory about our individual experiences being a reflection of the whole, of the collective exploration and co-creation of our understanding of life. So I'm curious: do you feel that way, too? Do you feel so many different aspects of your being rising up to your awareness for healing, release, review, and re-invention? Do you feel these times as incredibly dynamic and full of strong medicine? Do you feel a push and pull between your preference for life to be easier and moments when you surrender and it suddenly...is? Instead of feeling depressed by darkness, do you breathe an awkward sigh of relief not to have to pretend and honor that challenges seem to be a consistent part of most people's inner and outer lives? Like they say, "No mud, no lotus."

How else can I ask this?

Do you feel more than you have ever before? Although potentially overwhelming, if you close your eyes and take a deep breath, do you simultaneously feel the part of your being that has full faith in this renaissance of sensation? 

Do you feel committed to co-creating this new world alongside all the other courageous souls here at this time hearing this call?

My inspiration with Qoya has always been to empower women to remember their essence by inviting them to feel the physical sensation of truth in their body (versus feeling confined only to their mind). Thousands of women have found relief from the challenges of daily living not through making their intensity going away, but by learning how to move through it and dance with it by feeling it. By being present with it. 

When we are present and deeply listening, we often feel a call to create and merge with the unique wisdom that our life experiences have given us. We may master this in a moment, but gratefully, we have our entire lives to refine our ability to experience this moment today and to, as Virginia says in her new moon astrology below, converge. 


Our resident Qoya Astrologer Virginia Rosenberg shares:

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 9, 2017 (9:09amEST) is a convergence. Separate identities and differentiated states of being move towards unity. Unique ebbs and currents meet. There is love in this marriage. Rather than retain their original shape and pattern, each individual stream bends to incorporate the movements of the other. They remold and reflect each other. They allow themselves to be influenced by their love and by their beloved. What began as one stream, bound by the limits of familiar embankments, emerges as a limitless ocean of potential. Of interconnected self. How? Through co-creation. Through coming into right relationship and restoring balance. Old tales are washed away by being. New legends await. Life becomes a book with blank pages. Words are replaced by feelings, sensations, and symbols. Constriction is balanced by the freedom to unfold as spirit requests. Gathered experiences rich with meaning litter the path like scattered rose petals. Seek and follow the signs of delight. Sharpen all senses. Expand your perceptions and dance through life's labyrinths toward the shared destination of the soul.


There are many valuable ways to access thoughts, ideas and information. For example, I'm very excited to share my new podcast with you (more details on that below), but there is another way to access another type of wisdom: through the movement of your body. It tends to be non-linear, a million times more creative, consistently honest, and potentially more enjoyable. Only one way to find out! 

I invite you to do this movement ritual, Listen to the Call to Create, for 15 minutes and see if you can expand your capacity to feel sensation in your body and to honor your relationship to it. Explore your willingness to focus your mind, awaken your body, soften your heart, and embody your soul through the art of deep listening to yourself, to the music of the moment, to the beloved other, and to life. Full moons are an auspicious time to honor our intentions, so as you access the physical sensation of your truest experience, plant the seed of your prayer in the field of awareness and after you leave class, watch it grow!

If you have enjoyed our free movement rituals on this blog, there are 9 full Qoya classes in our online course which is $111 off for 2 more days. In addition to the discount, you receive 9 bonus calls with me so we can take this journey together and a $250 and early access to enroll in the 2018 Qoya Collective Retreat in Costa Rica. Click here to learn more and register. 

We're also so excited to announce the launch of our Lifestyle of Reverence podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud! To find it on either platform, simply search for "Lifestyle of Reverence." 

Blessings for this full moon (or whenever you read this), and remember the new moment comes right after this one. May our openness support us in the convergence of the past and the future with the place where they meet between this inhale and this exhale right now.

I feel so honored to be dancing alongside all those that are called to share at this time. Thank you for reading this. Thank you for dancing. Thank you for loving, and thank you for embodying love.

With excitement,

Rochelle


TWO JUNE CLASSES WITH ROCHELLE IN NEW YORK

June 9th from 2:00pm-3:30pm

Awareness Seeking Awareness

Explore your willingness to focus your mind, awaken your body, soften your heart and embody your soul through the art of deep listening to yourself, to the music of the moment, to the beloved other and to life. New moons are an auspicious time to set intentions, so as you access the physical sensation of your truest experience, plant the seed of your prayer in the field of awareness and after you leave class, watch it grow! Click here to register. 

June 14th from 6:30pm-8:00pm

Trusting the Flow

Have you heard the joke? Instead of WTF, GWTF? Go With The Flow! Of course there is medicine in our perseverance to swim upstream, and of course there is medicine in our ability to trust life as it is and surrender to the gifts the flow brings. Unwind the mind, unclench the body, unbreak the heart, and unify the soul back to the moment as we individually and collectively explore our relationship to trusting the flow of our lives on June 14th. Click here to register. 


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The Choice to Create: New Moon in Gemini

Dear Soul on the Other Side of the Screen,

I'm so happy to share this moment together and honor the GEMINI New Moon!!!!!!! With my Sun, Moon, AND Venus in Gemini, I have some things I'm really inspired to share with you about this energy alongside our resident Qoya Astrologer Virginia Rosenberg (also a Gemini!).

As an ambassador of Gemini energy, I offer you this invitation to consider:

What would be the most delightful thing for you to create in your life right now?

What would THRILL you?!?!

What would you like to dance with day in and day out and develop a dynamic understanding of from every single angle?

For me, this inquiry has been to dance with the mind, body, heart, and soul of WOMAN.

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The Great Mystery of Rebirth: Full Moon In Scorpio Movement Ritual

There is lore of a time when the greatest thought leaders were not the ones who gave you five steps to this or that. They wouldn't insult your intelligence that way. They would create situations in which you could realize what they knew, but it was shown to you through the courage of your own heart to See. Instead of exchanging mental information, they offered you a way to explore and expand your wisdom through honoring your own experiences. They held a vision of you inevitably remembering who you are, and they guided your best next step with subtlety by encouraging you to free yourself of distractions so you could access a realm of integrity and magic.

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Slow Down to Listen: New Moon in Taurus Movement Ritual

Dear Soul on the other side of the screen,

There are many voices calling for your attention. Some come through your text messages, your emails, your voicemail, your mail. Some come through the people you share your day with: your family, your roommates, your co-workers, your friends, your lovers…

As meaningful as all those interactions can potentially be, there is always one other strong steady call reaching for each of us.

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What Lights You Up? Full Moon Movement Ritual

Dear torch carrier of the light,

Chances are if you are reading this, you are some combination of the following:

A) experiencing or are empathic to the challenges of this time

B) consciously practicing gratitude and appreciation for the many blessings of this time

C) feel a call to be of service combining your skills and passion at this time

D) identify as a light worker and take responsibility to do shadow work instead of project it on everyone else

E) like to dance

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The Well-Rested Warrior: New Moon Movement Ritual

Hello Dear Dancing Soul,

Let us celebrate for one quick moment.

Throughout all of time and space, in this moment, here we are meeting!

Your eyes are on your screen, and as I look into the screen in front of me, my fingers are typing symbols of letters to create communication through words and phrases, so that during this wildly dynamic time on Earth, we can have a moment of being CONNECTED.

(Party time!)

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Be Willing To Do the Work and Occasionally Break Some Dishes Along the Way: Virgo Full Moon

How many times can we hear the encouragement, "Trust yourself!"?

How many ways can we receive the message, "Follow your heart!"?

How many heartbreaks need to heal until we trust the resilience of love to heal all wounds?

How many times do we have to see our old habits and patterns hold us back until we stand up and say, "Enough!"?

Everyone reading these words knows the next step you are being called to in your life, and you know the main thing you have to let go of to do it. I promise you, you know!

So now the question becomes: are you willing?

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Dream the Impossible Dream: New Moon Eclipse

It's been said unless there is a question, there is no need for teaching.

When we are connected to our body, our breath, our heart, our life, we trust in its flow. When we lose connection with our body, our breath, our heart, and our life, we feel bound by the patterns of the past and torn towards the thoughts of the future, feeling disconnected from the power of the present moment. Many variations of the same question arise here: How do we return? Remember? Heal? Awaken?

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Sovereignty as Oneness: Full Moon Eclipse!

Qoya means Queen.

Not an emotionally distant, bejeweled, position of inherited power. Queen as a feminine manifestation of consciousness. Queen as embodied wisdom. Queen as expressed creation.

Queen as free. As sovereign. Sovereign not on a throne dominating others. Sovereign as a conscious chooser and co-creator in her own life. Sovereign as a woman who has remembered her essence as wise, wild and free. Because she has a deep experience and awareness of the physical sensation of that truth when it zings through her spine, she recognizes others as expressions of that same eternal light.

She can trust life because she realizes: she is life.

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Descend to Ascend with this New Moon in Aquarius

Do you remember the story of David and Goliath?

One man against a large giant?

Do you remember how David defeats Goliath?

A slingshot to his head. Let's say his third eye.

Do you know the brilliant metaphor of a slingshot that applies to honoring feminine cycles? The deeper you go within, the more momentum you have to move forward.

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Create Your Own Reality: Full Moon in Cancer

Dear Dreamers,

During the Qoya Remember Our Future Retreat last weekend in upstate New York, we created our own sense of reality. We dedicated the luxury of our free time to movement to honor the sacred gift of our bodies that make it possible for our spirits to be here. We did ritual and ceremony to honor the awareness of our consciousness and emotions that pass through our hearts for all things that bring us back to love. We gathered in community to strengthen our spirits on the sometimes arduous journey of life. We followed the call of pilgrimage.

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Wishing you a WONDER*FULL New Moon and New Year!

Dear Qoya Dancers of Light,

There's a game I like to play from Ester and Jerry Hicks' book Ask and It is Given called Rampage of Appreciation, and it goes like this: set the timer and for a few minutes, name as many things in the room that delight you.

This game reminds me of a time I had an epiphany after I heard, "If you want to be happy later, you have to be happy now." It was one of the first times I really understood that instead of focusing on external events to determine or derail my happiness, it is dependent on my own perspective. What you look for is often what you see. If you look for a miracle and believe in your heart of hearts it is possible, you are the most likely to experience it. However, if you do not believe that it is possible, it may cross your path but you may not be able to see it, because when you're not looking for a miracle, you may be looking for more evidence of loss.

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Contrast is a Powerful Teacher: Full Moon Movement Ritual

Dear Courageous Embodied Soul, 

If you are reading this, you are likely conscious of the transformational process you as an individual and we collectively as humanity are being forcefully initiated into. On a soul level, you acknowledge that you most likely chose or won the lottery to be here for this moment.

You are becoming a master of sensitivity to the non-dual aspect of everything truly being one. One breath. One mind. One heart. One pulse. One love. You are praying for yourself and all others as we courageously face unity's contrast through thoughts of hate, actions of violence, and emotions of fearing the other. 

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We All Must Journey: New Moon Movement Ritual

What if someone told you the world is spiraling towards impending doom and destruction and that the prophecies of this time are to break down the old systems that do not serve the highest good of all? Would you get that fight, flight, or freeze feeling in your body?

What if someone told you the world is re-birthing itself into an inevitable fifth dimensional reality where polarity is no longer necessary as a teacher? What if they promised that if you keep doing your energetic practices, you can levitate your consciousness above all that does not appear as love and magically one day ascend to a land with perennial sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns? Would you feel relieved in some ways and simultaneously suspicious?

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Sovereignty: Full Moon Movement Ritual

Dear Dancers of the Dance,

A lot has happened since our last cycle of the moon.

Many are shocked and disoriented from the results of the American Presidential election triggering PTSD from past hurts and inciting fear of the future. In the midst of these challenges, there has also been a spark ignited to wholeheartedly commit to co-creating the world we want to live in.

For many of us, activism, service, and participation felt optional. Somewhat unexpectedly, we have all now been thrust into what a friend said to me this week with his eyes and with his words, "Welcome to our Brave New World."

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Grief, Gratitude, and the Art of Alchemy: New Moon Movement Ritual

Here's a recipe you may want to consider.

STEP 1) Honor your grief. You don't have to force it. It doesn't really work that way. But if you sit still for a little while, something may happen. When the numbness of being so busy falls away and you can take the true grief in the heart of your heart and offer it the gift of your attention.

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Gather Around the Fire: Full Moon Movement Ritual

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I invite you to gather with me around the fire. Have a seat and rest your bones.

Yes.

Now we will all inhale together and exhale together and see ourselves and one another more clearly by the light of the fire, even through it may be dark this night.

If we get closer to the flame, the light illuminates our true faces and helps us acknowledge that human desire to be in a circle of support and be part of a community in which we feel supported authentically.

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Loving the Journey: New Moon Movement Ritual

This New Moon is an invitation to see the grace and beauty in the dance of separation as it leads us back together. Through lived experience, day by day, we get initiated into this evolution of consciousness that is happening in us and all around us, and on some special days, like at a wedding, or on a New Moon in Libra, the divine whispers into our soul ear and says, "There is one thing to which there is no opposite. Do you remember what it is?"

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Patience Prays: Full Moon Movement Ritual

Dear Dreamers and Doers,

You know the saying...Patience pays.

I just made up another one...Patience PRAYS.

What do you do when you want something, not indulgently but from a place of needing it SO badly. The perfect home. The perfect partner. The perfect job. The perfect a/b/c/x/y/z. We know that honoring everything has it's fair share of challenges or imperfections, but still, we yearn for the things that are puzzle piece perfect for us.

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