Do you pay attention to the planetary cycles? Do you believe in the adage "as above, so below"? Do you feel that the scene of archetypical energies playing out above (in the sky) are influencing or mirroring the scene of archetypical energies playing out below (here on earth)?
In other words- did you get the memo that we are in the middle of a three week cycle known as Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury is the archetype of communication, a messenger between the worlds, electronics, etc. The message here is not the fear based warnings of don't travel, don't sign documents, double-no, triple check emails before you send. Although, reverence in those areas would be wise. The gift of mercury retrograde is to go a little deeper within, a little bit more beneath the surface of things, to have courage to look into the dark.
When we go into the dark there are layers. Layers of fear, resistance, sadness, sorrow, grief. And there's this idea that underneath all the layers, there is one singular ever-present omnipresent thing~ love.
It was my birthday last week and I found myself deeply reflective over the blessings and challenges of the year before. One of the main gifts of doing Qoya is to shift from the judging and analyzing of the mind and go deeper into the feeling. For my birthday Qoya class I created a playlist all with music from Minnesotan musicians, honoring my roots being from Minnesota. One particular song on that playlist inspired me to share with you. (Click here to listen to the playlist Qoya Reflection)
Qoya has thirteen different components to each class (click here to see the video components):
1- Set sacred space
2- Share unique theme
3- Intention Setting
4- Breathing Exercise
6- Heart Opening
7- Hip Opening
8- Dancing Yoga as Prayer
9- Choreographed Dance
11- Free Dance
12- Community Sharing
13- Final Stretching and Relaxation
However, there is a hidden component that emerges in most classes and it's best name would be called the Shadow Dance. The shadow dance is when there is permission given to dance all the things that are wrong. To dance your anxiety, fears and frustrations. To not have to fix something. To not have to pretend that it's different. To not make yourself wrong for having a full range of human emotion. And to not collapse into your wounds, but to feel them so deeply, you can feel what is on the other side of them. There's a saying, "you have to feel it to heal it." While the tendency to rationalize one's feelings and explain away our pain can be helpful, there is so much more power in having the courage in your heart to feel it all. When we feel it all, we can often feel the gift. And in our darker times, the gifts are often compassion, kindness, forgiveness and love.
Love is the title of an album some fellow Minnesotans of mine put out. The band is called Cloud Cult and their story, their courage and the art they created from their tragedy illuminates the power of healing that is possible when we express vs. repress the depth within us. In an interview with NPR they shared the story of putting their 2 year old son to bed one night and him not waking up the next morning. The doctors could never explain what happened. This album comes out ten years later as an expression of their journey.
"This album really looks at all the different aspects of the self that need to be healed up in order to facilitate the process of stepping aside and allowing love to speak for our life rather than our wounds," lead singer Craig Minowa says.
The invitation for the Shadow Dance in my birthday Qoya class was this: I shared the story above of the two musicians in the band Cloud Cult losing their young child and asked everyone to drop into their heart to see if they can feel the pain of all the things that are challenging, painful and full of sorrow in their life and at the same time stay connected to that eternal truth that the only thing that is real is love.
Can you be in the "complicated creation" of the transitory human existence and also maintain your connection to the impenetrable and never changing divine essence that is you?
Some challenges cause us to lose faith in the divine and divine order. Sometimes we focus so much on transforming our sorrow that we bypass feeling the depth and darkness and richness of the experience. This isn't a mental exercise, it's a physical invitation. Can you just let your body dance and feel everything? Can you give yourself permission to release any inhibitions and any limitations and express yourself fully?
Would you like to do this too? Click this link to hear the song on Cloud Cult's website, read the lyrics and if you have three minutes, stand up and dance around here and now and dance with everything. As you dance, you can feel into all your own challenges or even start to feel the world's collective challenges and if you feel deeply enough and dance with your whole body, I'm curious if you will remember.
Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember. We remember our essence is wise, wild and free. We remember that our bodies are the temples that house our soul and like we express ourselves with words, we learn how to express ourselves through the poetry of our body. We focus less on how it looks and more on how it feels. There's no way you can do it wrong and the way you know you are doing it right is that it feels good. More than feels good, is that it feels true.
When you give yourself permission to feel all of life through your body, even the shadows, even the darkness, even the pain, an interesting thing tends to happen. We don't collapse into our wounds like we might fear, instead we see how strong we are, how courageous we are and we remember that maybe one day before we were born, we chose this. We knew we would come into this complicated creation and we would stand for love over and over again. Our hearts would break a thousand times and each time we would understand it was so they could break open. We could embrace our challenges and embrace each other by continuing to come back to love.
Love is not a thought. It's a feeling. And the easiest way to feel love is to remember to feel at all. Feeling is experienced through the body. And when we live this way, less fearful of the pain of living and more open to feel all of life that we can, we become alchemists, able to spin threads of love everywhere and re-frame our challenges for what they are, invitations to love more. To love, even there. It's like Rumi says in his poem Not Here;
There's courage involved if you want
to become truth. There is a broken
open place in a lover. Where are
those qualities of bravery and sharp
compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought? I want
a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.
We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change. Lukewarm
won't do. Half-hearted holding-back,
well-enough, getting-by? Not here.
Today is a beautiful day to do a Shadow Dance, not only because it is the middle of mercury retrograde and there is never really a bad time for dancing or a bad time for embodying the truth, but tomorrow is the summer solstice, the longest and and most light filled day of the year in the northern hemisphere. You know that saying, "the darkest hour is before dawn"?
Dance deep in your truth, in our truth, in our celebration of this complicated creation and in the simplicity of our mission: love. And then let the light shine in.
Love and light,
Save the Date:
Intro to Qoya Teacher Training with Rochelle in LA July 19th and 20th
and with Kitty Cavalier
When I first took Kitty's Qoya class, I had such a sigh of relief. The essence of Qoya lives so strongly in her and if Qoya was my baby, it's like she has the best God mother ever. In addition to being a master Qoya teacher, Kitty is also a visionary, creatix and author of her new book called Sacred Seduction! I just bought my copy and highly recommend you all check it out! http://kittycavalier.com/the-book-2/ and join her for some summer time Intro to Qoya Teacher Trainings.
July 19 and 20 NYC
August 2 and 3 Denver
August 16 and 17 Portland
August 23rd and 24 Seattle
To get more info, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org