Dear Soul on the Other Side of the Screen,
Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember our essence. My prayer has always been that when people remember the essence of their individual, impenetrable sacredness, they are better able to to see, honor, and respect the sacredness in everyone and everything else. Instead of solely sharing an idea, Qoya's philosophy is transmitted through embodied experience. What do you know to be true because you felt it with your whole soul through your bones and breath?
Each time a human soul embodies their own essence, feels it in their bones, and honors the sensation of source energy in their breath (the energy that animates life!), a power activates the original intent of their purpose. Each of us hold a unique puzzle piece to the collective evolution of awareness, and many of us feel that our purpose and contribution to the world is changing. Maybe quickly? Maybe intensely? Maybe full of inspiration? Maybe full of fear? Maybe full of faith?
How do you find courage to honor your truth as it gets louder and louder each day? I encourage you to re-sensitize your body with activating movement and restorative rest.
Notice when the body's nervous system is calm, when it's not in a state of activated fear of fight, flight, or freeze. Learn the tools that bring you into this state and balance you. I love Qoya for movement and Karen Brody's Yoga Nidra for rest, but the best practice for you is the one that works for you. Be willing to experiment with different things to find what it is for you and remember that it may change at different times. Be flexible and remember the other best practice is always the one you do. I feel the need to remind myself of these things as the upcoming eclipse season offers an intensity that can be rocket fuel for transformation.
Our resident astrologer, Virginia Rosenberg, shares:
The New Moon in Cancer (July 12, 2018 at 10:48pm EST) is a partial Solar Eclipse and also a Supermoon. Batten down the hatches. Change is here. We are living it, positioned at the gate, listening to the river of inevitability rushing between the worlds. This Moon is a threshold. A reckoning. An eruption of long-buried unconscious. As the veil drops, crisis leads to catharsis. Something dies and releases forever, in turn giving birth to a new reality. We are at the helm of this reality. Claiming our power. Dancing into the depths, into our histories, into the power of lineage and blood and kin. How do we truly belong to ourselves, to each other, to the land, to our nation? How do we return to the fold? Call upon the Great Mother. Nurture her and her creatures. Respond rather than react. In the face of fear or disaster, take responsibility. Show up even more. Stop enabling the old, the addictive, the abusive. When the wells run dry, we make new ways of being in the world. Step firmly into the field of rebuilding. Reshape what is within your reach. Adapt to what is beyond you. All things are a-turning, darkness eventually giving way to brighter dawns.
“God is change...God exists to shape, and to be shaped.”
Viva la Evolution!
When I read Virginia's sentence describing this time as, "an eruption of long-buried unconscious," it felt so true.
For those of us who live in the United States, last week was our country's national holiday. Instead of myopically only celebrating the freedom of some, I observed a more holistic view of the United States in the people around me, awake to its painful origins and the dire need for reconciliation of its past as it continues in our present day.
In each Qoya class, we do a shadow contrast dance to embody the opposite of the theme. We do this to embrace our wholeness and honor all the different parts of ourselves. It's easy not to acknowledge certain parts of our personality, to feel guilt and shame and pretend they're not there. When we avoid our truth, we lose an opportunity to grow and heal. Through embodying the feelings we tend to ignore, our shadow becomes constructive instead of destructive. We expand our capacity to be present with pain, our own and another's. It's often said that if we do not honor the shadow consciously, it comes up unconsciously. As Carl Jung said:
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.”
Would you be willing to explore what arises when you allow yourself to value your lived experience by feeling it right now?
To honor the energy of this new moon/eclipse or any moment that arises, I invite you to dance with this video, Feel Deeply to Heal Deeply, and notice what is present when you feel deeply. Embrace your wholeness through your willingness to look at anything uncomfortable that emerges with compassion. Cultivate the courage to look it in the eye with love, to stay aware of your breath, and to trust your body to guide you on its healing journey.
While many of us in Qoya have been willing to look at our shadow individually, there are soulful instructions I hear in Virginia's forecast about our willingness to do this even more, especially on issues that we struggle with collectively. As she writes:
"Show up even more. Stop enabling the old, the addictive, the abusive. Reshape what is within your reach."
I invite you to explore where you can show up even more in service to the collective to stop enabling the old, the addictive, and abusive uses of power. How can each of us help reshape what is within our reach? I believe one way to start is by taking all the ways you have valued your own life experience and begin to consciously value the different life experiences of others. Listen to their words. Honor their experiences. Stay present and receptive to learn. Move beyond your implicit bias. Move into the potential to truly align with wisdom teachings by honoring the interconnection of all beings and building integrity within your thought, word, prayer, and action.
For any of you reading this who have already been doing the work to dismantle oppressive systems, thank you for your courage, passion, resilience and strength. For those who are new to this work, here are the last three books I've recently read or listened to on Audible and were deeply moved by, all of which are powerful opportunities to learn from the authors' lived experiences.
So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olu
In this New York Times bestseller, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex reality of today's racial landscape--from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement--offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'm Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation by Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah, PhD
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening. The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation that brings together the Black prophetic tradition and the wisdom of the Dharma. Bridging the world of spirit and activism, they urge a compassionate response to the systemic, state-sanctioned violence and oppression that has persisted against black people since the slave era. With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.
New moons and eclipses are powerful times for contemplation. Honor your need for truth. Honor other's needs to express theirs. In the Qoya teacher training, I encourage teachers not to assume that how they feel about something is how everyone feels about something. The most important sentence in every class comes after the theme has been shared and the teacher says, "Now I invite you to dance your relationship to __________(the theme of class)."
My prayer with Qoya is always the same whether someone is doing a video, reading the book, during a class, or retreat: that we are co-creating spaces where you can feel how you actually feel and that everyone experiences the opportunity to embody their truth that emerges from the value of their lived experience.
Holding the Vision,
Classes in New York City with Rochelle
There are 3 opportunities to dance with Rochelle in New York City this summer:
Theme: Radiance. Rochelle is excited to be back at Sacred in Brooklyn! In the heat of summer, come dance your relationship to radiance. Want to prepare ahead of time? Check out the Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche.
Theme: Greater Good. So much of our growth at this time is being aware of how our individual actions affect the collective. In a time of so much transformation and change, let us offer this dance to explore our relationship to the greater good. Location in midtown Manhattan will be emailed upon registration.
Theme: Taking Time to Dream. Rise up from your daily life and explore your relationship to taking time to dream and vision for yourself and for our world. We live in a dream drought, where we not only forget our dreams at night, but forget to actively dream during the day. Let us strengthen our vision by dreaming together. Location in midtown Manhattan will be emailed upon registration.
Love this blog?
Enjoy more Qoya movements, rituals, and philosophies in our online course, A Call to Create, which helps you embody the wisdom of our book, Qoya: A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free.
RETREATS TO REMEMBER YOUR ESSENCE
Taos Retreat for Certified Qoya Teachers: July 16 - 17
Bali Retreat with Betsy: October 6 - 13
Omega Retreat (Rhinebeck, New York) with Rochelle: October 26 - 28
10 Year Anniversary of Qoya at Blue Spirit: March 23 - 30, 2019 - enrollment opening soon!
ROCHELLE GUEST TEACHING
Movement, Myth and the Mysteries of Water in Taos, New Mexico with Dr. Anne Davin - July 13 - 15
Kripalu Women's Festival (Stockbridge, Massachusetts): August 24 - 26
Multiversity Women's Festival (Santa Cruz, California): October 5 - 7
INITIATION TEACHER TRAININGS
New Zealand with Samar: August 11 - 12
Online Initiation with Lyndsey: September 5 - 13
Studland, England with Sonja: September 22 - 23
Minneapolis, Minnesota with Angharad: October 12 - 13
INTENSIVE TEACHER TRAININGS
South Carolina with Sara: August 5 - 11 - one spot remains!
New Zealand with Samar: December 10 - 17
Nosara, Costa Rica with Rochelle: March 30 - April 6, 2019