I just got back from teaching Qoya for the first time in Europe in Norway, Denmark, Greece and Turkey. In addition to the big outer adventure, I also had an interesting inner adventure with a trip down memory lane. Many years ago, I would drool over the possibility to go on one of my yoga teacher's retreats to Greece. I would fantasize about being able to have the free time, finances and courage to get on a plane and then to get on a boat and have a completely new experience. That was about seven years ago.
What has happened in the last seven years that took me from being a dreamer to not only experiencing a dream come true, but being able to facilitate this trip for others?
When I teach classes, retreats, workshops, do private sessions or lead rituals and ceremonies, I always use the map of the medicine wheel that I learned from studying with the Four Winds and the shamans in Peru. The medicine wheel is the map of the archetypal energies of transformation and goes like this:
Call on Serpent to release what no longer serves and shed our past like a serpent sheds its skin. Call on the archetype of Jaguar for protection as we come into our highest integrity, so that we can always know our essence in this physical world and in crossing the rainbow bridge to spirit and back again. Call on the Hummingbird and the metaphor of their yearly journey from Canada to Brazil, this little bird on this big journey (like ourselves) this individual soul on this epic collective awakening. Hummingbirds also memorize thousands of flowers, but only go to the ones that truly nourish them, so we ask to have our nectar be illuminated and our path be sweet and filled with ease and synchronicity. We also call on the healing medicine of the Eagle and its courage to dream bigger dreams and go beyond what we know.
One of the things I've learned in working with these archetypes, is to be conscious of what you call in, because it shows up.
On the first full day of the Greece retreat, we called in Serpent and shortly after, we hit rough seas. Rough seas where the boat would tilt as far as it felt it could before capsizing or throwing one of us off. Over the course of a couple hours of holding on tight for our dear lives, life became oh-so-much-more dear. And this was our gift from Serpent. There is nothing quite like facing your fear of death to bring you into conscious alignment with life. As we pulled into harbor, safe and sound, I was comforted by proverbs and poetry, "calm seas don't make skilled sailors" and Mary Oliver's, "a ship is safe at port, but that's not what ships are for."
The rest of the retreat was full of perfect and divine weather allowing us to go through the rest of the medicine wheel and use the initiation from Serpent of letting go to come into present time. To live with a renewed sense of integrity and purpose for what is really important, because in those moments, where you are in the tender balance between life and your desire to live more life, so many things that once seemed important no longer are. And in those moments, what is the most important thing? I'll give you a hint. It's a four letter world. It starts with L.
Aligned with the nectar of love, we begin to dream bigger dreams and shine. No longer shackled by fear, we emerged from the sea wise, wild and free.
So, what does this have to do with spirituality and politics and with a dream I had seven years ago that manifested to be able to charter a yacht for a Qoya retreat island hopping through the Mediterranean?
Once upon a time I had a dream to go to Greece. Seven years later it wasn't magically manifested out of thin air. It did happen magically, but it was also born out of a series of decisions to align myself with love. My love of movement. My love of travel. My love of leading retreats and seeing how much transformation is possible through going on pilgrimage to sacred sites together in community. It is a necessary luxury to take time from always doing things to be reflective and go deep inside to shed the past, align in integrity, enjoy the sweetness of life and dream another dream. As Agapi Stassinopoulos says in her book Unbinding the Heart, "There are no seven or eight simple steps to unbind our hearts, but there is one choice that we all have, and this is our golden opportunity in every moment of every day, whatever small or big challenges it brings: Do I shut down or do I choose to open up one more time, even deeper?" I would say, "there are no seven or eight steps to simply manifest your dream, but there is a golden opportunity in every moment to align yourself with love and your truth and trust where that leads you."
People on a spiritual path know this. Embracing life with this conscious awareness creates transformational fire. Fire heats things up and then they change.
I heard Marianne Williamson speak yesterday and there was a force, a call for change coming through her so strongly, I felt like one might have in the abolitionist movement, as one of the suffragettes or on the front lines of the civil rights movement. Her call was to merge spirituality and politics to not only to create a new politcal party, but a new worldview where love was the bottom line. Where the goal was the elimination of unnecessary suffering. Where embodying the divine feminine was less about dancing under the light of the moon (in Greece) and more about protecting the children. And every child in the world is one of our children.
Her theory was this- "People on a spiritual path -- personal growth, spiritual practice, recovery, yoga and so forth -- are the last people who should be sitting out the social and political issues of our day. And there's an important reason for this: People on such journeys are adepts at change. They know that the mechanics of the heart and mind are the fundamental drivers of transformation. This doesn't just apply to one person, but to masses as well; if you know what makes one life change then you know what makes a nation change, because a nation is simply a large group of individuals."
I wish I could transcribe for you her entire talk because it moved me so deeply. Click here to see her full Huffington Post article and here for info on her Sister Giant event in LA November 10 and 11th, 2012 for a meeting of the minds and a politics of the heart. (You can also live stream the event!)
Almost everyone I talk to these days is either consciously choosing to surrender to the unknown or being forced to. We are in a time of great change- externally and internally and my invitation to you is to align with love, cast your vote in this upcoming election and like Hafiz says in his poem, cast all your votes for dancing.
Dancing makes everything better. I promise. Even if it is just circling your hips for three minutes with me in this video.
I look forward to being able to dance together whether it is in New York next week October 28- November 4th for Qoya classes, an intro to teacher training and a launch party for EmbodyQoya.com, in LA for Marianne Williamson's Sister Giant Event November 10-11, 2012, in Costa Rica April 6-13, 2013 or somewhere, some way yet to be determined.
The L Word,
A Week of Qoya in NYC with Qoya's Founder Rochelle Schieck, October 28-November 4, 2012 with Qoya classes, a one day intro to Qoya teacher training and the EmbodyQoya.com launch party!
Qoya is based on a simple idea that through movement, we remember. We remember, as women, that our essence is wise, wild and free. Wise, wild and free also draw reference to the movement forms that we practice. Wise evokes the wisdom of yoga, wild the creative expression in dance and free invites us to expand our capacity for pleasure in the body. No experience required. In Qoya, we focus more on how it feels than how it looks, and how you know you're doing it right, is that it feels good.
Here are the following class times and theme for that day. Classes are $25 each (or pay what you can)
Sunday, October 28th, 6pm-7:30pm Surrendering to the Unkonwn
Monday, October 29th, 10am-11:30am Trusting Yourself (For Real)
Wednesday, October 31st, 10am-11:30am Go Dark or Go Home (Dress up as your shadowy dark side to dance)
***Thursday, November 1st, 7pm-8:30pm Do You: It's Better to Fail at Your Own Dharma Than Succeed at Someone Else's (This class is at Sacred in Brooklyn)
Friday, November 2nd, 10am-11:30am Know Your Magic Elixir
Intro to Qoya Teacher Training
Saturday, November 3rd, 9am-6pm Qoya Intro to Teacher Training $250
This is an opportunity to go deeper into the philosophy of Qoya and immerse yourself in the intention behind the movements and familiarize yourself with the map that shows the way of how to access that through movement is one of the easiest ways that we can remember. Remember spirit. Remember our essence. Remember that life is a dance that is dancing through us and we are dancing through it. Price includes 1 day training and 3 months follow up support with membership to EmbodyQoya.com and a private Facebook group to ask questions directly to Rochelle.
EmbodyQoya.com Launch Party with Lunch, Despacho Ceremony and Qoya Class
Sunday, November 4th, 4-6pm Launch Party for EmbodyQoya.com and 6-7:30pm Qoya Class with theme Gratitude as a Superpower, $50
Launch Party! From 4-6pm, join Rochelle and the Qoya Tribe to celebrate the launch of EmbodyQoya.com, a growing library of 50+ Qoya videos, ranging 5 minutes to hour classes, that you can stream online with your membership and do anytime of the day in your own home or on the go. From 4-5 enjoy homemade Kicharee (a vegetarian delicious Indian lentil stew) and hot tea. From 5-6, we'll do a sacred despacho prayer ceremony (feel free to bring anything that is bio-degradable to offer like flowers, candy, rice, shells, etc.)
Qoya Class From 6-7:30pm, come dance and explore gratitude as your superpower. It will be a very special Sunday afternoon.
$50 includes kicharee and hot tea for lunch, despacho ceremony, Qoya class and one month membership to EmbodyQoya.com
All events (except Thursday night's class on November 1) take place in the Bhakti Cafe Building in the East Village of NYC
25 1st Av (between 1st and 2nd Streets)
Right by 2nd Av stop off the F train
***Thursday, November 1st Qoya, 7-8:30pm, at Sacred Studio in Brooklyn, www.sacredbrooklyn.com
Hope to see you soon!