I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. In my Qoya class last night, we began dancing to Nina Simone’s version of  I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free.  The lyrics continue...

I wish I could break all the chains holdin’ me.  I wish I could say all the things that I should say.  Say ‘em loud.  Say ‘em clear.  For the whole ‘round world to hear.  I wish I could share all the love that’s in my heart.  Remove all the doubts that keep us apart.  I wish you could know what it means to be me.  Then you’d see and agree that every man should be free.  I wish I could give all I’m longing to give.  I wish I could live like I’m longing to live.  I wish I could do all the things that I can to do and though I’m way over due, I’d be starting anew.  Well, I wish I could be like a bird up in the sky.  How sweet it would be if I found out I could fly.  Oh, I’d soar to the sun and look down at the sea.  And I’d sing because I know, I would know how it feels to be free.”

Question: What does it mean to be free?

The New Oxford online dictionary definition of free is: not under the control or in the power of another; to be able to act as one wishes.

Better Question: How does it feel to be free?

An amazing writer, entrepreneur and philosophical inspiration to me, Danielle LaPorte of www.whitehottruth.com, and I were talking at one of her NYC tweet ups last year where she said she recommends  a “to feel” list vs. a “to do” list.

Of course!  The idea is this - more than a job, you probably want the feeling of purpose or security.  More than a vacation, you probably want the feeling of pleasure or the feeling of being rested.  More than a massage,  you probably want to feel cared for, that your life is abundant or that you have time for yourself.

It is incredibly empowering to identify your desired feelings.  Here’s an exercise to find out how.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, who wrote one of my favorite poems called "The Invitation", talks about a writing exercise she learned from poet David Whyte that goes something like this.

1) You write "what you say you want" and then write "and if I never have _____, what I really want is ____.”

Here’s my example:

I want to continue to travel the world and make the following stops: Morocco, to dance all night to Berber musicians, go back to the most amazing Israeli restaurant I’ve ever eaten at (it was on some sidestreet in Paris and I want to find it again!),  sip tea before doing a yoga class in the town of Rishikesh in Northern India, trek through the Himalayas doing the 18+ day hike on the Annapurna circuit in Nepal and then rest in a hammock being served coconuts in Bali.

And if I never get to do those things, what I really want...is to be swept up in the magic of life.  To feel the exhilaration of adventure, the see the bright smiles of strangers, to remember that there is so much more to life than the 9-5.  What I really want is to feel connected.  I want to feel fully present and enjoy each moment.  I want to embrace each person I cross paths with.  I want to love.

See the magic?  It may be awhile before I go on this trip, but from asking this question, I have so much clarity about what is driving my desire.  And those feelings are all accessible to me right now.  I can make my lunch outing an adventure.  See the smiles of strangers all over New York City.  I can remember what ‘s really important.  I can take time to connect, to be present and to embrace the people I meet along my path.  I can love.

Even better, through the body, through dance, through Qoya, you can become empowered by physically feeling these desired feelings in every cell of your body.

In our Qoya class last night we started with taking time to dance to Nina Simone’s song I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free and to feel freedom in our bodies as we dance.  No right, no wrong, just free.  Doesn’t matter what it looks like, just focusing on what it feels like.

I invite you to do the same.  Listen to a song you love and take a couple minutes to:

1- Feel free in your body.  Unrestricted.  No judgment.  Just soaking up the pleasure of moving your body like a sponge.

2- Do the writing exercise to go deeper into what one of your desired feelings is.  Then dance that feeling.

By going deeper into the heart of what is driving our dreams, we become empowered by them and can find ways to enjoy them right now.

If you have any questions about trying a Qoya class or joining one of our retreats, please email me at rochelle@wisewildfree.com

Shine on Sisters!

With love,