As an often smiling and leaping woman (see photo), this is a question I have received from skeptics and seekers alike. During the Qoya Labor Day weekend retreat a woman with a science background, specifically a PhD in Biochemistry, announced to the group that she was there to do research and find out if my happiness and what I promised through Qoya was real.  She began the weekend with discernment and doubt, but she was there and open to dancing in the question and hoping to be turned on to a new possibility.

The same week, an old friend I have known for 18 years posted this on my facebook wall: "Hey Ro- don't know how you do it- but you seem to always lead a happy life without struggle. Cheers to you for always being happy!!"

My quick response was, "Ha! This made me laugh. I cry and wallow daily.  Yet, the key for me is dancing and doing yoga everyday as a way to be present with and honor the agony and the ecstasy of life. I believe the depth of capacity for us to be present with pain is also the amount we are able to enjoy pleasure. I like to consider myself well versed in both. Would love to dance with you to some good tunes and whirl around in it all."

Happiness in our culture is sometimes viewed in relationship to what is going on externally.  When something positive is gained, I'm happy.  When something positive is lost, I'm upset.  However, the invitation I feel is to identify with the soul's point of view.  What if life is not happening to me and I am being rewarded or victimized by life's events, but what if life is happening for me?  What if every moment is serving my growth and evolution?  What if life is just life as it is dancing through me while I am dancing through it?

One of my first yoga teachers would often preach while holding us in a yoga pose for some torturous amount of time, "Life is like waves in the ocean.  When you are riding the high, enjoy it, but know that it will fall.  When you are low, be present with it, but know that it too will change, for this is the nature of things."

No one is exempt from the human experience which is filled with a multitude of blessings and challenges and the free will to chose how to perceive them.

My blessings are many.  My challenges are a luxury compared to the real pain and suffering for so many in the world as my challenges are mostly internal and I have the tools to use them as fuel for my creative fire.

The anchor that makes it easier for me to surrender to the joy and dance of life in each moment is the underlying belief and connection to the divine.  The interconnectedness between us all.  The fact that as you get stronger, I get stronger.  The truth that as I shine more light, you have space to shine more light.  The belief that we are all in this together and we are all so much stronger than we think.

As individuals and as a culture we slip into moments of forgetting our true nature.  We disconnect from our heart's desire and we end up on some lackluster treadmill of going through the motions.  And then we emerge from a fog of confusion and get to ask ourselves again- what does all this mean?

What you put your attention on grows.  What you look for is what you see.  If you look for the blessings in your life, you will find them.  If you look for the golden thread of gifts that sew together the quilt of your challenges, you will see that too.  If you dance in your living room for 30 seconds or a couple of minutes, you will remember the sacred life force that animates your body, the rushing river, the sun's rise and fall and the speed at which a dog's tail wags.

The foundation of Qoya is that through movement, we remember.  We remember our essence as wise, wild and free.  We remember that impenetrable spot that no matter what is lost, our essence is infinite.

At the end of the Qoya Retreat over Labor Day Weekend, our discerning scientist was a convert and one of the ecstatically happy women in the picture here.

Happiness goes beyond a flat state of experience without struggle, but showing up fully present to dance with what is, as it is and not needing to change it or make it different.  Happiness is honoring the sacredness of each moment.  Happiness is the dance.

Happiness is also easier in community and in a beautiful place in the world while having delicious healthy food served to you after you have just danced all morning and are looking to explore nature all afternoon and sit in ceremony at night.  If you are looking to rejuvenate, to adventure or simply to remember, check out our upcoming Qoya Retreat Schedule to explore the woman that is wise, wild and free in you.

Qoya India Adventure Retreat: October 29- November 9, 2011

Qoya Zimbabwe Service Retreat: December 6-11, 2011

Qoya Kauai New Year's Rejuvenation Retreat: January 2-7, 2012

Qoya Costa Rica Retreat: April 21-28, 2012

With love,

Rochelle