I am forever intrigued and enchanted by how a woman will begin with a heart break, a heart ache or a yearning that goes as deep as the center of the earth and as soon as she starts to move her body, express the full spectrum of who she is and feel the physical sensation of the blessings and challenges of the situation she is in, there is a peace and calm that starts to emanate through her eyes, a softness you can feel in her heart and a fire in her belly.
All life, every situation, has its blessings and challenges and what you look for is what you see. Your job, your partner, your home, the weather, all of it. The tendency is to polarize one's perception into only making a gratitude list of the blessings or collapsing into being victimized by one's challenges. The invitation in life and in Qoya is to dance wildly across the spectrum and into the wholeness of the situation, of self and of life, with love. To wisely acknowledge that it is both- that every situation, person and experience of life holds its blessings and its challenges. Savor the blessings and the beauty. Stop to smell the roses and enjoy planting seeds in the garden. Honor the challenges and know they are not happening to you, but for you and for your soul's growth. Why else would they be there?
One of the most profound examples of feminine power is the ability to do this. To be able to sit with the pain and challenge and then use it as fuel for art and beauty and blessings, using everything that does and does not happen as a pathway back to love. You can see this modeled perfectly by the V-Day Movement One Billion Rising created by visionary Eve Ensler, who wrote the Vagina Monologues, to use Valentine's Day as a global movement to end violence against women and girls through art. Through expression. Through the honoring of the real life challenges and abuse by more than claiming, seizing, the blessings of turning pain into power and strengthening our spirits to find a collective voice of truth. Visit her website here to see how much magic, beauty and love can be born when we mature to stand, and then dance, together.
One Billion Rising aligns with the essence of Qoya. Through movement, we remember. We remember our essence as women, our truth, as wise, wild and free. Through the embodiment of spirit, through the dancing of our souls, we judge and analyze less to feel and experience more. Our knowingness resonates as a zing in our spine and a confidence in our bones.
There's an important piece of the puzzle to One Billion Rising. It's the invitation for women to rise up and stand for a world where they can share the full expression of their brilliance, beauty, sensuality, power and life force. There is a tendency with women to stay small to stay safe, but the more women speak up, shine and share their unique gifts, the better this world will be.
I recently had the pleasure of working with professional photographer and Qoya dancer Lori Berkowitz for my first boudoir photo shoot. Her intention is to capture moments where a woman can recognize her own beauty- inside and out. The interesting thing about boudoir photography for me is like Qoya, it's less about how it looks and more about how it feels, what it evokes. It's an experience of embodiment of selfhood, of being whole and holy onto oneself. It's a captured moment of the remembering of the divine feminine light in this world, at this time, in 2013. Through these images I was able to see the part of me that is constant, and impenetrable, regardless of gain or loss, the spirit of being a woman. I was so moved by the transformative power of my experience and wanted to share it with you. Lori is going to be offering Boudoir sessions at 50% off her normal rate at the Costa Rica Qoya Retreat April 6-13, 2013 and we will raffle off one free session to all women who have signed up for the Costa Rica Retreat by February 21, 2013
To see Lori's website, go here. Boudoir photo sessions with Lori in Costa Rica will be offered at half price, which is $275, and includes a full gallery ofall images and 2 retouched custom prints. If you can't make it to Costa Rica and want to get your Boudoir on please call 212 244 2232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a friend of Qoya deal!
Besides being able to win a free boudoir photo session, I'd like to share one paragraph about the Qoya Retreat in Costa Rica.
In an ideal world, I wish we could all go to Costa Rica together and begin our day, instead of with an alarm clock of obligations, with the bright Central American sun coming through our window and the sound of howler monkeys ready to play. I wish that on our walk up to early morning meditation and breathing, we would be overwhelmed with gratitude to have some time and space in our lives to reflect, to be and then to dream. I wish that we could allow ourselves to be deeply nourished for an entire week with food that is all organic, mostly vegetarian, delicious, nutritious and made with love. I wish that as we danced Qoya for hours every morning we would have the most profound remembering of our essence- of our wise hearts, wild souls and free minds through the movement of our holy bodies. I wish that in the free space of an afternoon, we could follow our intuitive guidance to take us on external adventures of surfing, zip lining, horseback riding along the sunset or internal adventures to rest, to receive a massage, to have an hour long talk by the pool or sit and watch the waves of the ocean rise and fall. I wish that as we gather together in the evenings to sit with spirit in sacred ceremonies, we would remember the power of our interconnectedness, to each other, to nature, to life. I wish that with every time we immersed ourselves in the warm ocean water, felt the cool breeze, saw the canopy of palm trees or the butterfly crossing our path, that we would be able to pause and take a deep breath and that the moment would fill us completely. Here is the link to the 3 minute Qoya video
which really captures the essence of this trip to Costa Rica. There are still some spaces available, so if you're thinking about joining, please do.
QOYA RETREAT - Costa Rica April 6th - 13th 2013 from jodi jones on Vimeo.
Ok loves, I leave you with an invitation to join One Billion Rising in support of ending violence against women. Dance today and honor your movement as prayer and your intention as a portal for the divine to flow through you in this video as , "Only Love is Real. FEAR is False Evidence Appearing as Real."
May it be so.
Only Love is Real. Fear is False Evidence Appearing as Real. from Rochelle Schieck on Vimeo.
May it be better than we can even imagine,
Testimonials for the Qoya Costa Rica Retreat
Rochelle Schieck's Qoya retreat was a magical, loving and liberating experience for me! She taught me how to connect to my inner wisdom through moving my body in a way that was less about what looks good more about what feels good ... Rochelle is the most loving, giving, kind and inspirational women I've ever known. I recommend Qoya retreat to any woman looking to deeply connect with self, meet amazing like minded women and experience more joy in their life! You will have a blast! You will leave Qoya retreat feeling rejuvenated and more of you again!!!" - Brittany Daniel, Los Angeles, CA
I was lucky enough to celebrate my birthday at Qoya Costa Rica last year- Rochelle set off an incredible dance party to ring in my 41st year that I will never forget. We were high up in the sky over looking the ocean and feeling it all! Best BIRTHDAY ever- can't wait to return every year for celebrating LIFE! - Lori Berkowitz, NYC
The Qoya Costa Rica retreat can be summed up by the expression of how all people greet each other: PURA VIDA! (Translation: Pure Life!) The return on your investment in yourself when you sign up and go on a Qoya retreat is infinite...being wise, wild and free is truly priceless. The Costa Rica Retreat is a shortcut to BLISS by way of heaven on earth. - Tara Dixon, Brooklyn, NY
"This retreat is the place I go to fall in love with myself again. Qoya Costa Rica ignites my soul. When I am there I find myself dancing with wild abandon, laughing with delight, washing away my sorrows and connecting deeply to spirit. Qoya reminds me who I am as a woman. I can't think of a better way to spend a week. I am so grateful." - Sarah Charlesworth, Toronto, Canada
Rochelle is a the true version of a modern day Sikh. She embodies a matriarchal energy that can lead, generate, inspire and renew a Spirit within all of us to deeply connect with ourSelves first, and the community at large. Rochelle's Qoya retreat in April of 2011 was one of the most sacred weeks I've ever spent with myself and an awe-inspiring group of women. She had me connecting with my own matrilineal lineage through special rites and ceremonies that truly swept my heart away in gratitude for the duration of the retreat and beyond. Rochelle is a modern day gift bestowing magical presents from what seems to be from a time long-ago. I encourage ANY woman to be a part of Rochelle's Qoya retreat not only for Herself, but for what she'll invariably inspire amidst her own community after her return! -Kelly Quintia, Los Angeles, CA
Qoya in Costa Rica blew my whole world open! I was confused about where I was in life and why I was there and didn't even think I should go an such an extravagant trip as Costa Rica, but once Qoya started I knew immediately it was right. Rochelle has a way of daring you to face your dreams and Qoya empowers you to know you're capable of achieving them! I never felt so light, so connected, and so ME as I did while I was in that jungle paradise, dancing everyday. Thank you Rochelle for blowing open my mind and changing my life! -Luci Butler, St. Augustine, Florida
The Qoya Costa Rica retreat was for me, THE BEST!!!!!!! I have actually gone twice! And twice, I fell in love. I fell in love with the environment we are placed in, the fascinating howls from the howler monkeys vibrating through the trees each night, the delicious, wholesome, taste-bud sizzling food, the guidance and teachings each day, the connection with other girls who just so happen to all be incredibly rad, interesting and fun. But most of all, I fell in love with the way I was able to tap back into everything and anything I ever wanted to know/feel/intuit/strengthen/lossen/deepen/open about and in myself simply through moving my body to the words and music offered on this retreat. Just So Good. -Becca Kannapell, NYC