My way is that of a woman who is Wise, Wild and Free. Qoya and Wise, Wild and Free are the words I use to frame my perfect self-expression, the way that I bring my strengths, passions and pleasure together to contribute to the collective. It's the idea put most succinctly and articulately by dancer and visionary Martha Graham... “There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You just have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatsoever at any time. There is a divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I hear you Martha. I wholeheartedly believe each woman on the planet at this time has a unique gift to share with the world. I also believe that during these times of great change, advancements and reinvention, she has the impulse to share. The dissatisfaction Martha speaks of- the depression, the confusion and the despair, those may seem in the way. But, what if we look at them not as something to overcome or get over, but to go into? And once we go in, what if we use their soulful cry as fuel for our art? As an opening instead of as a dead end? Could be fun...
Here is a little about my journey to find that expression Martha speaks of. Growing up in Minnesota, especially in the middle of winter, days could seem somewhat...beige. Gratefully, I always felt this strong invitation, this urge as Martha puts it, to bundle up in an imaginary technicolor dreamcoat and dance in the land of infinite possibilities.
Through dance, I found, honored and expressed myself. I expressed my grief, my joy, my pleasure, my pain, my confusion and my certainty as they cycled through me, each day taking a new spin on the wheel of fortune.
And then one day, many years and adventures after leaving Minnesota, life started to click and come together. I was finding my artist's way and while living in the creative capital of New York City, Qoya was born! All the different puzzle pieces and chapters of my life evolved into a cohesive whole. They evolved into a message.
A little deeper: After experimenting with many different spiritual traditions, pilgrimages and reading many books, I've found that dancing in Qoya is the most fun, the most feminine and one of the most powerful ways I know to honor and embody the blessings, challenges and gifts of life. *I should also mention that it happens to be an amazing workout. Be prepared to sweat in class.*
I recently realized that not only I am whirling like a dervish in gratitude for the opportunity to follow my soul calling to create and share Qoya, but as I look around at my circle of friends and acquaintances, I see that their puzzle pieces are clicking together too! Their lives are drawing strength from their wounds, power from their desires and momentum from the support we receive from one another.
I say this to you, because in addition to inviting you to dance with me, to embody the divine through the philosophy and movement of Qoya, and ultimately to find your unique voice and expression, I say this to you to remind you that you are not alone.
Below is a list. A list of many amazing women I've met who are standing for themselves, for you and for women around the world. From lawyers to nutritionists, to bakers to hair stylists, to musicians to web designers, from burlesque dancers to moms- these women are standing in their divinity, in their essence and courageously shining and sharing their unique gifts. Martha would be so proud.
Before you check out this amazing list, 2 things:
1- Here is a video to Lenny Kravitz's song Are you gonna go my way? It is filled with images that remind me of what it looks like to live a life that is wise, wild and free. Things like devotees in India throwing a coconut against the temple wall before they walk in to symbolize the breaking of their ego and anything else that keeps them from fulling experiencing God, being captivated by the beauty of ancient spiritual statues, going on dream vacations- like to Hawaii! Dancing in nature, dancing in a friend's kitchen, dancing! Road trips with a lover, cartwheels for no reason, the unconditional love of a dog, and the fact that Jon Stewart exists (a clip from dancing at the Rally to Restore Sanity). Taking samba lessons, family jams after dinner (making music, not marmalade), the peace from yoga and meditation, recognizing the goddess, a little boy who drums with rhythm, the hope of the future, OM and big body circles of gratitude. I love the scene of a Qoya student from the retreat in December taking the leap to zip line hundreds of feet above the tree line in Costa Rica and blowing a kiss before she sets free to fly. Booty shaking at sunset and backward bends to shift your perspective~all sealed with a kiss.
I hope it will inspire you, ignite a sense of remembering and delight you. Because, I think that's the whole point. To figure out how to live in a way that delights us and from our delight create a positive impact on the collective whole.
2- Dance with me! New 6 week Qoya series is beginning Tuesday, February 15th- Sunday, March 27th.
Classes will be in Manhattan:
- Tuesday nights 7-8:15pm, February 15, 22 and March 1, 8, 15, 22
- Thursday mornings 9:30-10:45am, February 17, 24 and March 3, 10, 17, 24
- Sunday mornings 10-11:15am, February 20, 27 and March 6, 13, 20, 27 *Entrepreneur Group will meet after!
$30 Drop-In. $75 for 3 Classes. $115 for 6 Classes. $150 for 6 weeks of Unlimited Qoya Feb 15-March 27.
Costa Rica Registration for the Retreat April 16-23, 2011 is OPEN! Click here for details and to register. There is also an option to attend the first Qoya Teacher Training!
Back to this list! I remember hearing, "A good teacher is not someone who shares with you solely information and facts, but someone who shows you what these ideas and theories look like in a human life." These women do just that. So, here's a peak into my rolodex of inspiring muses who have all contributed to my life and I want to offer you to have on your radar just in case you may be looking for them too. I know there are several more women to add to this list, if one of them is you, please send your info to me and I would love to learn more about your work in the world! I look forward to building a stronger community with each connection and feeling our sisterhood thrive.
- Regena Thomashauer is the creatrix of the pleasure revolution, Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and the life-changing/ life-affirming Mastery Program, as well as many great books.
- Marcela Lobos is a powerful Shamanic Healer leading an upcoming course called Women's Altar in April 2011. I will be there and leading Qoya in the morning for participants.
- Ophi & Tali Edut, the Astrotwins, bring the stars down to earth. Astrological oracles who offer soulful ancient wisdom to the modern woman. Check out their must have 2011 planetary planner.
- Dr. Christiane Northrup is a doctor every woman must know about. Her books and website are an incredible resource.
- Meggan Watterson is the founder of the upcoming Reveal Conference in NYC in May, devoted to the next generation of Feminine Spirituality.
- Wendy McKenna is a Holistic Healer, Energy Worker, Philanthropist & runs the Global Alliance for Balance and Healing
- Lara Rosenthal is a healer and acupuncturist extraordinaire, specializing in women's fertility.
- Danielle LaPorte is a woman that will knock your socks off with her sage wild wisdom for entrepreneurs, her site is www.whitehottruth.com.
- Dara Cole is a woman beyond words, and that's why her specialty is movement. Her new studio Sacred is opening in Brooklyn Feb '11. Come to her opening gala February 19th! (And yes, Qoya will be there! See photo here.)
- Barbara Stanny is revolutionizing women's relationship with money.
- Sara Beak is theauthor of the Red Book. A sassy self-proclaimed Spiritual Cowgirl.
- Kate Northrup, is dedicated to the art and science of living life. Follow her on her upcoming Freedom Tour and check out her amazing interviews on Glimpse TV.
- Alissa Vitti is the founder of FloLiving, an incredible resource for women on how to heal naturally.
- LiYana Silver is a rocking relationship coach and so much more.
- Smita Paul is a visionary and social entrepreneur of Indigo Handloom making divine scarves and clothes fit for a goddess.
- Janine Francolini is a fearless mother, coach and philanthropist. Founder of the Flawless Foundation bringing love and light to all children.
- Lisa Bloom is as fierce, intelligent and compassionate as they come. Civil rights lawyer, legal analyst and also known to spread vegan propaganda. You can always find her standing for what is right and true in her heart. Upcoming book Think scheduled to be out this year!
- Kelly Quintia, check out her yoga and Ayurvedic practioner website Grace in Motion for inspiration and support on your journey.
- Amy Gottesman, baker and mother extraordinaire, heating up ovens and hearts in Columbus, Ohio. Website coming!
- Aimee Follette, sexy chef of an oasis in Park Slope at her restaurant Sun in Bloom. My favorite salad: Bella Divine.
- Alice McCarney, Alice the Oracle owns Alice Hair, an upper east side salon that will truly help you love the hair you wear.
- Erin Marsz, Erin lives out loud all of our childhood-rockstar-Barbie dreams-come-true front and center in the band The Hotcakes! If you're in NYC, they are playing February 14th. You'll love it, I promise.
- Luci Butler, this woman shines light through her fingertips as a professional musician and future teacher of Qoya.
- Colleen McBride is an amazing masseuse, healer and mother in San Luis Obispo, CA. A very special inspiration to me.
- Kayse Williams is an energy healer for many years, lover of life and founder of Sacred Alchemy, which provides high quality, pure, organic, essential oils.
- Suzanne Guilette is the author of the published book Much to Your Chagrin. Suzanne embodys Qoya by living her dream.
- Teressena is a visionary artist who created a new tarot deck called the Fifth Tarot which mirrors the evolution of consciousness many of us are feeling.
- Kitty Cavalier is her burlesque stage name as she wakes women up to their seductive beauty with her burlesque classes!
- Colleen Lasota is moving from NYC, back to Minnesota this week to be a pioneer and start an amazing movement studio and acupuncture practice there called Four Gates. Website will be www.fourgatesmpls.com. Qoya will be there too!
- Lisa de Navarez is a beautiful soul & powerful life coach with abundant love to share, she is all about delighting in your life.
- Mishel Herrera is just getting started on creating yoga clothes made for every woman's body and her business is called Dea, which means goddess in Italian. :-)
- Sarah Bray is a website designer extraordinaire!!! She will bring your dreams to life in a feminine enchanting way. She did for me.
- Jodi Jones is God's gift to the camera. Forever grateful to have been able to work with her as she shot my website photos.
- Dame Lori is an amazing soul stylist, pleasure coach and incredible woman. Visit her site to see how to get some Dame in your life.
- Denise Cooper, my goddessly bookkeeper who will celebrate with you and whip you into shape all in one meeting.
- Elizabeth Mueller is a Savvy Soul Messenger brings those stirrings from deep inside you to the front of your consciousness.
- Margaret Shrum is the founder of the Lingerie Diet, which is a revolutionary and luxurious approach to self-love.
- Morisha Shuey, Yoga. Massage. Jewelry. She lives her bliss out loud in Brooklyn and NYC.
- Nicole Oheshbaum is a wealth of information for women to learn more about nutrition and a woman's path of precious radiance.
- Tara Dixon is a Brooklyn based artist with beautiful gratitude designs and a commitment to her life as art.
- Barbara Wayman is the founder of Blue Tree Media, a marketing and a PR muse with sprezzatura!
- Sheila Hay is the founder of Ecstatic-Birth.com, is devoted to the mission of putting childbirth back on its sacred pedestal and women back into an empowered relationship with their bodies and their experience of birth.
- Jill Rogers is the creator of the Seven Sacred Steps, a guide to loving in an extraordinary way.
- Nancy Moon is a PR genius. (period). Actually, (exclamation point)!
- Karen Quinn writes hands-down the best blog/newsletter out there. Her wit, charm, humor and light pour through each word she writes and luckily it's not just newsletters, check out some of her amazing books as well.
- Martha Williams, founder of Bikram Yoga Minneapolis, a yoga and lifestyle mentor to me who embodies love.
- Barrie Cole, widely acclaimed Chicago based playwright, live performer, and muse.
- Emily Bohannon is an amazing combination of a fully developed creative and practical artist. She's an actor and paywright, as well as a small business consultant, online community genius who codes and does basic design, audio and video editing.
- Jennifer Gandin Le is a writing superpower that helps business owners, creative professionals, and storytellers translate their ideas and passion into clear and vibrant language that connects them with the audiences they desire.
- Nancy Block runs a peer learning network for entrepreneurs who want to become excellent managers of their wealth. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Laura Bonarrigo is an accomplished actress, model, mother and is building her own business in teaching women how to take care of their skin and health with pure, safe and beneficial products. Email her at email@example.com
- Sarah Sherwood is a powerful and passionate life coach with an aptly named website, www.notadressrehearsal.com
- Rebecca Kousky, is the founder of one of my favorite inspired non-profits, Nest, with the mission to have female artistans leading communities out of poverty.
I am so grateful to live in a day and age, in a part of the world, where this many women that I personally know can pursue their dreams and live a life once only imagined. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I look forward to dancing together soon!