There have been many days, weeks, maybe even a year where I felt I personally rocked New York City. I savored every moment in it. I would meet a friend for yoga at 6:30am in Lower East Side, go for a green juice after at my beloved Juice Press and then buzz off to a series of meetings/work dates at different locations throughout the day at the Ace Hotel, various Le Pain Quotidien's or my most frequented spot Jivamukti cafe. Then, I'd head over to Brooklyn to teach Qoya at Sacred Brooklyn and go out to one my favorite restaurants in the city Flatbush Farm after that. If the spirit moved me, I'd end up dancing after at Barbes, Brooklyn Bowl, NuBlu, or some other place determined in that particular present moment. Get home after midnight and wake up to do that or some other variation that included museums, parks, plays or other city adventures. Days like those, I loved all the variety that each neighborhood offers, the inspiring people at every corner and the buzz of New York City around you. And then, as if a switch turned off, all of a sudden the sound of the subway got a little louder, the lack of only one tree in sight a little more depressing, the heat a little more oppressive and was it me or were there really 1000+ plus people on this particular block? I came home the other day completely defeated by New York, cried with exhaustion and woke up the next morning with severe and sudden strep throat. For the next 2 1/2 days, even texting was ambitious and challenging to my low energy level. The fever, body aches, painful attemps to swallow (ouch!) and inability to sleep were a strong invitation to surrender into the swamp of fear, pain and despair. The goal is being emotionally responsible right? Definition of responsible being able to respond. Not collapsing into our wounds like a child. Not dismissing them like an emotionally unavailable way-too-busy-for-this adult. Right in the middle. For me, it's going deep into the darkness with certainty of what is on the other side. Hint: love and light. I shed tears. I wondered why, what could I have done differently. I blamed myself for getting sick...and then I didn't. I let go to surrender into the experience of what was happening, knowing that it would get better. And, when I couldn't surrender, I watched movies of other people's challenges that they overcame. I also cheered my immune system on. (I think she liked that. I should write her a thank you note). As I swallow in this moment without wincing, I'm writing to you from the other side.
The other side of those moments. Those moments when you really feel like the unknown is too much. It is too scary. The pain is too great. When will it go away? The bills are due next week, where will the money come from? Your heart is bleeding to create your art, but what if "they" don't like it, what if it's not good enough? You care about him or her so much, but if you tell the truth will they leave? Those moments where you can become so paralyzed in the what if's, you can really get lost. You can forget. And, sometimes you need someone or something to help you remember.
Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember. Through movement, we remember our essence as being wise, wild and free. We remember how to locate and identify our essence through movement and then use our connection to that essence like a compass as we navigate our lives in this world.
Recently, Kitty Cavalier, a burlesque dancer and the creator of the School of Charm and Cheek, (who is one of the women that went through the Qoya teacher training in Costa Rica last spring and who is pictured to the left with me) wrote a blog post about her inspiration to start teaching weekly Qoya classes in Manhattan. You can read it here. (I also encourage you to take her classes if you are in the city. They're perfect.) As I was recovering from not feeling well, faith still strong, but a little lost, I read her quote me in her blog with the words I said to her, "Just start. Whatever dream it is you have, just start with what you have in that moment, but just start." It was the perfect thing for me to hear in my back in the saddle state and it was something I had already said, already knew, but just forgotten.
Sometimes the best advice is your own. Know yourself well enough to know the ways that you can connect back in with your own inner wisdom. It can be through movement like Qoya or yoga, meditation or prayer, being in nature or on a pilgrimage, getting a good night sleep or taking a long hot bath. Investigate which ways really work for you and maybe write a little list to keep, so when you need them and forget, they're still there. Another way to evoke hearing your own advice is to imagine how you would advise your best friend with the issue that has come up in your life. Offer yourself the same honesty, compassion and kindness that you would to him or her. Most spiritual teachings guide you to remember that all you seek is already within you. The next time there is something looking to be discovered, resolved or created- go within to find it.
My last class in New York City for a little while is Sunday, July 15th at Sacred Brooklyn. The theme is the next paragraph which is a poetic collection of the song titles and lyrics from the playlist I'll use. Come dance with us in Brooklyn or with us in spirit by listening to the playlist on spotify, click here.
Take up your spade and break ground.
The Sun is up, a new day is before you. Sun is up, wake your sleepy soul.
Sun is up, hold on to what is yours.
There is no greater love than being able to say thank you sun.
Like a moth to a flame, burned by the fire. My love is blind, can't you see my desire?
That's the way love goes.
Drive while helplessly hoping to stay strong and keep your faith alive.
The Wolves, the man on fire and passion may take you out,
but even when the stars go blue, hide tide or low tide, I'm going to be your friend.
I believe in a better way and a higher love and am here to remind you, you are not alone.
Come dance with me up on the hill where they do the boogie or
with me and julio down by the schoolyard.
Follow your own advice. Follow mine if it resonates as truth in your heart. My advice for the day is to try Day 2 of the free 10 day into to EmbodyQoya.com. The theme is Just Move (kind of like Just Start, but with movement)! Here's the link to check it out with a free 5 minute video to get your body moving.
I look forward to dancing with you at the perfect time.
With love and two dancing feet,