Overwhelm can come from an abundance of challenges, but also from a plethora of blessings.  In both circumstances, the way into the heart of the matter- the map to being in right relationship with what is- is by learning how to say thank you.

After the Qoya Costa Rica Retreat April 21-28, 2012, I found myself needing to visit the library of wisdom teachings I've been exposed to in my studies to remember...How does one process, digest and enjoy life when it seems so incredibly full?
While meditating on this question, I remembered the four different levels of perception- physical, mental/emotional, spiritual/soul and energetic and the importance of involving all parts of the Self when doing anything and in this case when learning/remembering how to say thank you.  Here's what I know to be true.


Physically- Say a prayer of gratitude with your body or to your body.  Go somewhere in nature.  See a sunset.  Kneel at an altar.  Prostrate to the ground.  Feel the gift of every inhale and exhale breath as you do your sun salutations.  Honor the temple your body is with a hot shower, salt bath or by receiving a massage.  Feel the physical sensation of thank you pulse through your body.  Here is the link to a 20 minute Qoya video to help FEEL your thank you.

Mentally/Emotionally- Write a list of gratitudes to yourself around whatever blessings or challenges you are integrating into your life.  Express your gratitude outwardly in the world.  Write a thank you letter.  Take someone who's touched your heart out to lunch or cook them dinner.  Notice how you are nourished and nourish others.  Feel the energy of gratitude flow.


Spiritually/Soul-  My favorite Gandhi quote is "Be the change you want to see in the world."  I loved learning the phrase in Kabbalah, "Be the light."  Be not only the receiver of blessings or victim of challenges, but become the creator, the light, the miracle maker.  Turn what's going on in your life to art.  Write a poem or story.  Pick a song that perfectly expresses the unique human experience of this moment and dance.  Create more beauty in the world.  Do an anonymous act of good for someone else.  Pay the toll for the person on the bridge behind you.  Send flowers to the person that challenges you the most at work.  Elevate your perception to see the bigger picture and create from there.


Energetically- Create a ceremony to honor what is- as it is- and from a place of gratitude and right relationship with life as it is showing up, dream a bigger dream. Rituals are best done to release what no longer serves, express gratitude for what is and call in the resources or guidance one needs to expand and grow.
An easy way to do this is when you are preparing a meal.  My key to cooking is to put prayers into my food.  Last night I made one of my favorite recipes- Kale Salad.  As I cut the kale, I say, "thank you for all the miracles in my life" because I believe kale is a miracle food. I slice small strips and then cut into small squares. Then, add whatever veggies you desire: i had organic red peppers and cucumbers, and make a prayer for them to. The dressing is olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and cayenne pepper- all to taste- each one with it's own prayer.  Olive oil, thank you for making life delicious.  Lemon juice, thank you for all the moments filled with zest and being awake.  Sea salt- thank you for the clearing of the past.  Cayenne pepper, thank you for every moment of passion and heat.  I'll go ahead and give you the rest of the recipe here. The most important thing is to MASSAGE the kale for about 5-10 minutes with your hands with loving intention. Then...voila! Delicious kale salad! Another fun thing is to add some smashed croutons. The crunchiness is a super delicious contrast.
You can create ritual and ceremony out of anything.  One of my favorite ceremonies to do every new and full moon is a despacho ceremony.  Here is a link to some of the instructions, but I also strongly encourage you to trust your intuition to guide you and not feel overly concerned with the form, but more with the intention of honoring and gratitude.  You can use the things on their list or whatever is available in your kitchen or leaves, sticks and rocks from outside.  http://www.thefourwinds.com/newsletter/featured-ceromony.html


Almost all types of illness (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) occur when there is stagnation, where there is lack of movement.  You find this in the word disease- dis-ease, which is lack of ease.  One of the biggest gifts of movement like Qoya is that it provides circulation.  Circulation in the body of blood, oxygen, nutrients.  Circulation of thoughts and feelings to release from the past, experience in the present and dream into the future.  Circulation with awareness of spirit by noticing the animating pulse of life through the breath and the connection to the animating life force that makes trees grow, flowers bloom, ocean waves crest and the earth spin.  Circulation of energy to dance with life, like a dance partner.  Like a sexy tango partner on a warm night in Buenos Aires.  Smile and wink.  Let's get things moving!


I invite you to come experience my next retreat in Woodstock, NY called the Goddess Altar which will evoke your awareness and embodiment of the Goddess in each level of perception- physically, mentally/emotionally, spiritually/soul and energetically by nourishing the body with healing movement and delicious healthy food, transformational exercises to free the mind from the grips of the past and be liberated in the pleasure of the moment and the possibilities of the future, to honor the divine spark that lives within and enhance our ability to see it outside of ourselves, to honor the connection between us all and to sit in ceremony.  The level of the energetic, the sitting down with spirit, as spirit, in ceremony is one of the most powerful paths I know and I am so honored to be teaching alongside my mentor, one of my most illuminating teachers Marcela Lobos as she shares her teachings with us during that week.  I have several experiences of transformation under her attention and am so excited to be able to share her with you too.  Join us.  http://www.thegoddessaltar.com/


Riding the Wave,