Well, I’m back from my Arizona adventure, which seems to be turning into an annual pilgrimage to Sedona. My husband put it best when he said last September, you know you’ll never not go to Sedona!
It was over the top inspiring as usual. I feel a peace and contentment as soon as I see the desert. It feels like home out there.
It actually is home to a dear chunk of my family, so I’ve been visiting once every year or two my entire life, which probably helps with that feeling. Sacred Circularities in Sedona is the perfect excuse to travel down and visit them and then head out for a dance, mediation and personal renewal retreat in my heart’s home, the land of the red rock, where all the vortexes swirl.
I’ll share more about the retreat later, but for now here’s a clip of some hooping on Bell Rock. I shot 2 minutes of video on our hike, and this is what happened. You’ll notice I’m a little conservative. That’s because tossing the hoops would have been a very big problem 😉
My Sacred Circularities experience in Sedona was so jam packed with amazing transformational experiences, I don’t think it can be properly conveyed with mere words. To give you a real sense of how I feel about it would require enthusiastic hand gestures, jumping up and down and a few funky dance moves thrown in. Maybe some fireworks and an orchestra playing in the background as well. So, as I share the experience with you, imagine a symphony accompanying my words and maybe a choir of angels, or castrato altar boys. Maybe some explosions too, just at the dramatic parts.
Ok, now I feel like maybe I’ve built it up too much. Instead of the symphony and chorus of heavenly host, imagine Djembe and Hang drums with African rhythms, Native American Flutes, sacred mantras sung in harmony, the crackle of a roaring bonfire and the whoosh of a fire hoop. Oh, and coyotes cackling in the not so far off distance. Also, imagine being in the Arizona desert in the fall, so the air is cool but the sun is warm, on acres of incredible desert terrain, surrounded by the stunning red rocks on land dedicated to meditation and spiritual enlightenment, surrounded by vistas like this:
The Mago retreat center is gorgeous! About half an hour from any other developments, down a red dirt forest service road, it feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere. As you drive in, the first thing you’re greeted with after the gate is a figure like this friendly Taoist master, who I keep thinking of as a wizard. Definitely sets the tone for the magical feeling you get from this land.
Everything about the retreat center exudes peace, serenity and healing. After checking into my casita, home for the next week, I wandered the grounds to find my bearings. I came across the swimming pool and a very epic tribute to another Taoist master. The weather was perfect and I was so happy to be there with a little time to myself to soak it all in before loosing myself in the upcoming spiritual shenanigans.
As I approached Earth Hall, our venue for the week, a giant globe popped up out of the desert, surrounded by statues of children playing. In a half circle around the kids were giant golden statues of spiritual masters; Jesus, Mary, Confucius, Chief Seattle, Mohammed, and a Taoist master, all beatifically looking down upon the children and the earth, holding space for all of our work this weekend.
Our first official event was a meet and greet which of course turned into a hoop jam. Just seconds into playing with my Synergy hoop I fell into the absolute bliss that I had been longing for. The swirling vortex energy coming from the earth had been calling me to dance in it for years.
After a delicious first meal together where we may or may not have honored the mindful speech posters peppering the dining hall, we returned to Earth hall for a Sacred Cacao opening ceremony. The energy within our circle was so vibrant and alive! Looking around at all the bright shining faces I knew some radical transcendence was going to transpire over the week. Our night was punctuated by the laughter of coyotes outside the hall, and many of us could feel the presence of something bigger than us descend into the room. Perhaps it was the Sacred Circularties oversoul, along with all our guides, ancestors, spirit animals, totems and friends, along with all the elementals, devas and nature spirits, the energy of the divine source, and all other beings of the highest vibration who were there to support our journey. We called it all in.
There were so many amazing classes, and moments after that I’ll have to just share a few highlights, but every class was worthwhile and appreciated. I loved starting my mornings with Qi Gong with Shelly White Light. The first session I went to was great, but it was the second day when we had a smaller, intimate group journey with the same warrior’s breath exercise that was really incredible for me. The emotion and energy that moved through the group brought us individually and collectively to tears. It felt like a deep lineage healing and clearing on behalf of all women, as well as a profoundly personal healing.
The dream workshops with Jane Carlton were also incredible for going deep, deep within yourself. The shamanic drum journeys were vivid and wild. First I journeyed into a wolf’s den with my spirit animal, where he accepted me into his pack, only to play a horrible prank on me (spirit has a wicked sense of humor). Then I wound up shifting my perspective to several other creatures’ points of view, from the wolf, to an ant walking between giant blades of grass, all the way down to an amoeba.
On a second shamanic drum journey in a subsequent, more intimate workshop with Jane, we journeyed to find our healing pools. I found mine in a different, very exotic dimension. That was another journey with aspects shared by our small group, many of us seeing elements of each others’ dreams, like phosphor-luminescence, canopy beds and a representation of our divine masculine consort. So much fun to know you’re traveling as a pack in dream space.
The Theta Healing with Jocelyn Gordon was another profound group meditation journey. We connected up to divine source energy and came back down together, healing and downloading new programs of thought and belief systems to upgrade our lives. I’ve done many of these journeys alone, but I find the energy of the group really heightens the experience. After our journey, I could feel how we were all vibrating at a higher frequencies.
There were of course, many great hoop classes over the week. I learned some super badass new breaks from Ann Humphreys and appreciated core hooping all over again with Anah Reichenbach (Aka Hoopalicious). Anah also had us plank, do jumping lunges and dance as weirdly as we possibly could. Fantastic fun was had by all (except during the lunges, those were hard!) Rainbow Michael blew our minds equating Anti-spin to planetary movement and cosmic alignment. Jocelyn Gordon kicked our butts and reminded us that LIFE IS AWESOME! (Oh yes, it is!) in her HoopYogini classes and Julia Hartsell unlocked some amazing spiral movements in her sustained spinning workshop.
A major highlight of the week for me was playing with texture and possibilities in Beth Lavinder’s workshops. She equated hoop dance and movement to textures in fabric, saying when she watched someone hoop, she could feel the texture of their dance. Such a beautiful, apt metaphor that I completely understand as a very tactile person. Watching Beth dance feels like silky smooth satin, and dancing with Beth feels like magic.
There were a couple workshops that really combined spiritual and transformational aspects with active movement, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Julia Hartsell’s ecstatic spin jam was the first, and it was so easy to drop in and bliss out with her spectacular play list. Khan Wong’s two movement classes involved deeply witnessing a partner’s soul essence through movement and art. I feel as if you can’t help but fall in love with the person you witness when you see them move authentically. My partner (whom I was so deeply moved by and honored to witness) said we need to get the whole world to do this with each other. Imagine that… to see the authentic soul essence of a stranger would be to suddenly know them intimately. How different the world would be.
The Five Elements Ecstatic Dance and African dance classes with Malaika were so incredibly wonderful and powerful. In all of them she created such a community feel, inspired by African villages… We danced, sang, laughed and moved together as one tribe, one entity. I also had the privileged of booking a Lomi Lomi massage with her, a Hawaiian spiritually based body work modality that was one of the most wonderfully holistic healing experiences I’ve had to date.
There were also two amazing Yin yoga/sound healing classes lead by Rainbow Michael. The first was so relaxing, we were all puddles of blissfully resonant ooze at the end. There was a spin jam scheduled for afterwards, but I think we all just went to bed instead (at least my wonderful roommate and I did). The second class was just before the closing ceremony. Rainbow was careful not to melt us into puddles again, but the long, relaxing poses stretching all the fascia, ligaments and connective tissues in our bodies was the perfect way to end the retreat.
It wasn’t until the last full day that I wandered into the healing garden, but I’m sure it was perfectly timed. I may have spent too much time there if I had known about it earlier in the week. It’s a vortex site with a beautiful lake, with many a spot to sit and meditate and soak in the energy.
That might have been the most relaxing part of the week, although our trip out to Boyton Canyon and dinner at the Chocola Tree were right up there as well. Did I mention they provided a smoothie service to us in between classes? YUM! Then there was also the divine Hoop Kirtan experience and the ridiculously fun talent showcase where we saw talents of all kinds explode from our friends (SO MUCH TALENT!) I also can’t forget our full moon fire ceremony where we popped quite a few fire hooping cherries! I had the opportunity to briefly double fire hoop for the first time, to live drumming. It was indescribable to have the chance to play and dance under the full moon in ceremony with my Sacred Circularities tribe.
I want to give huge props and a million thank you’s to Jaguar Mary, the Divine Creatrix of Sacred Circularities.
The schedule was absolutely perfectly made and she was able to hold such a safe, peaceful container for all of us to shed our skins, open ourselves up, be transformed and taken to the next level. I can only begin to imagine the intricacies of throwing such an event, but she handles it all so gracefully. She also had a few wonderful, radiant volunteers who I thank deeply, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you’s also go out to every single person who was there. Thank you for being so profoundly authentic and willing to share your experience and transformation with us all. You each have a piece of my soul and I will hold space for all your hopes and dreams in my own heart.
There was so much awesome packed into my trip to Sedona, AZ that I don’t even really know where to begin. I got back a week ago, but I still need some time to really absorb and integrate all the experiences.
I don’t even really feel ready to be writing about it, but I’m sure there are at least one or two of you out there who are dying to hear some details. Honestly, I think I’ll be processing all I learned and all it opened up in me for the rest of my days, it was so chock full of awesome.
I started my adventure by flying into Phoenix, making loads of friends at the airport since I was carrying my silver, gold and bronze hoops onto the plane. I wore them across my shoulder, coiled down, and many people stopped to stare, did a double take or just had to ask what they were. There were a surprising number of folks who knew they were hula hoops and thought it was awesome!!!
After renting a car and getting a free upgrade to a Toyota Camry (from a Kia or something), I set off on the open road. I love driving int the desert, and the two hours passed like nothing as I listened to my audio book, Destiny of Souls. While I was getting sleepy towards the end of my drive, the energy of Sedona hit me like a wave of inspiration as soon as I entered the beautiful town.
I checked into my West Sedona motel, The Sugar Loaf Lodge. which was incredible for $77 US a night, with comfy beds and a little fridge and microwave. It really was way better than I expected. Apparently it used to be the crack motel back in the day, but it’s clean, quiet and crack free now!
Anyway, after a light dinner of Kale Ceasar salad and gluten free cheesy bread at the Organic Italian Kitchen called Picazzo across the street, I went to bed at the unbelievable hour of 8:30 pm (which was 9:30 my time, but still seemed ridiculous to me).
I woke up at 6am and made my way to the kitschy Red Planet Diner for BREAKFAST IN SPACE!!!!
It’s basically a UFO themed diner. As an avid space enthusiast and Sci-Fi geek I really enjoyed my omelet and green tea in this setting. Sadly, the food itself was not space themed.
After breakfast, I wandered around in a natural grocery store marveling and drooling at all the gorgeous, delicious, healthy things we don’t have at home (yet). Then I made my way to Chanda’s house for my life between lives hypnotherapy session (which I explained in this post: http://wp.me/p32wA4-6B).
Chanda and I had really hit it off during our phone consultation. What should have been a 20 minute call turned into an hour long chat, so it was no surprise that we started talking like long lost friends the second I sat down. In fact, I was enjoying our conversation so much, I actually forgot why I was there. After about an hour, she mentioned getting started, and I was jolted back to the task at hand with the thrill of excitement and anticipation.
The actual hypnosis session lasted 2-3 hours. It began with deep relaxation, visualization and memory recall exercises. I felt incredibly safe, relaxed and comfortable and I slipped into a hypnotic trance as easily as I’d imagined. Although I’d never been formally hypnotized before, I’m very familiar with a trance state of deep relaxation through all the meditation, shamanic journeying and energy work I’ve done.
We went through my childhood, into my mothers womb and back through a tunnel into a significant past life . We used the death scene from that life as a jumping off point into the spirit realm. I felt myself observing the end of my life from the outside of my body. Turns out I tend to escape just before the final moments of my life whenever I see death coming. No sense in sticking around to feel that kind of pain. Once free of my body, I was eager to head home and I outpaced the instructions Chanda was giving me, arriving there within seconds. The first beings I met with upon my return greeted me warmly, reassuring me that life ended appropriately and that everything was all good. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light and to be able to really focus on the others in my presence. They appeared as luminous, radiant beings made of sparkly light. I recognized my primary guide and another one who worked with me in the past as well as my husband from that last life who had arrived here a few years ahead of me.
I spend time meeting and talking with some friends and family members from this life, as well as with my council. I also had the opportunity to see some glimpses of the kind of work I do over there (some kind of inter-dimensional energy balancing involving light, color and sound). The overwhelming feeling I had the whole time was one of overwhelming joy. I felt almost giddy really, and there was so much laughing and joking around. Few of my close companions are very serious, some of them are down right silly. I had such a shit-eating grin on my face the whole time my cheeks ached for hours afterwards.
The longer I was there, the deeper the hypnotic trance became and the more vivid every image, sight, sound and feeling became. It was incredible in every way, and re-affirmed every I knew to be true about myself and the nature of our soul’s eternal existence. It was hard to want to leave that high vibration, but you expend a TON of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy reaching that state in your human body, and it can’t be sustained indefinitely. Suddenly, you just become tired, and you know it’s time to come back into your body fully.
Coming back was a snap, once I was ready. I knew that I’d be able to go back in meditation now that I’d been there in my conscious mind. Sitting up was hard, but once I did, I was incredibly grateful to be back in my body, knowing I had chosen it very specifically for my time here on Earth. Honestly, I’d never felt quite so alive and at home in my body, which seems almost ironic.
After debriefing and chatting some more with Chanda, I realized I needed to eat. After showing her a little hoop dance stuff, we reluctantly parted ways.
I fed myself, browsed a few crystal shops, caught the sunset at the Airport Mesa, skyped my sister to share the experience and fell asleep by 9pm again!
Waking with the sun, I stretched, ate and had a spectacular Shamanic Astrology reading with Sedona Jeannie. It was another amazing session that gave me so much awesome information myself. I almost wish it has been before the LBL though, because it’s pretty hard to follow a sojourn actually into the spirit realm.
I felt like I could have headed home after those two days, irrevocably changed for the better, but I had another whole intense week of personal transformation and exploration at the Sacred Circularities hoop Dance and movement mediation retreat at the Mago Retreat center. I’m going to save the details for my next post, but suffice it to say that it was just as chock full incredible awesome as the first two days of my journey.
The theme for me seemed to be one of deeply connecting to people, which was foreshadowed in my shamanic astrology session. SC in Bali seemed to be more about personal purification, but this was much more inter-connected and grounding. Every class was incredible and I was so honored to witness countless moments of deep transformation and awakening for many people. To quote one of the inspiring facilitators, Shelly White Light, I fell deeply in love with each and every person there.
We were all witness to the purity and greatness in each other. It was incredibly raw and tender, as well as being incredibly powerful. We had so much fun and really honestly raised the vibration of the world through the work we were doing together, dancing a new world into being.
After a glorious week, leaving all my new friends was actually painful, but the blow was softened since I didn’t have to head home right away. I was spending a day and a half with my family in Phoenix, some of whom I hadn’t seen since my last trip to Sedona 4 years prior.
We had a wonderful time reconnecting with each other and I had the time of my life when my uncle took my cousin and I to the Musical Instrument Museum.
My favorite part was the experience gallery where can try many of the awesome instruments displayed elsewhere. It’s also my 2 and 4 year old cousins favorite place in the gallery. I was apparently running around like a kid in a candy store, trying everything I could get my hands on. But haven’t you always wanted to try playing the harp, a giant Chinese xylophone or a theramin (the electronic instrument Sheldon has on Big Bang Theory?)
I’m sure I’m going to have to go into more detail about all these incredible adventures, but Ill save those for next time!
We started our journey outside the wantilan, standing on the roots of a giant tree as Malaika smudged us with sage one by one, blessing us and clearing away any energy we no longer needed. As the fragrant smoke wafted over me, I released all the energy holding me back from being completely present in the moment and invited in all my personal power.
I entered the wantilan and took a moment at the altar, bowing to Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles. Then I walked to the back and stared out at the rice fields, stretching and grounding into my body, working out all the kinks from hooping my heart out at Hoop Kirtan the night before.
Once everyone had been smudged and cleared, we gathered in a circle while Malaika explained the path we would take as we journeyed through the five elements together. This shamanic journey came to her through spirit and is focused on breath. We had a different breathing pattern for every element, which we familiarized ourselves with before we began.
We started on the floor, laying down and exploring the feeling of the earth underneath us. It felt comfortable and safe on the beautiful dark wood. As we rose up, we grew roots into the earth to connect us deeply to Her spirit.
Dancing with Air has a beautiful expansive quality and the music was dreamy and ethereal, but drove us forward. We found partners and gently put our third eyes together, inhaling in unison, exhaling Aloha to each other, switching partners many times, connecting deeply with everyone we met.
Moving into Earth we started a powerful Sufi breath pattern where we inhaled twice with a long exhale as we stamped our feet in a primal rhythm to the drums. The energy became primal as we danced with our sister, and brought in the spirits of our mothers and grandmothers. It was intoxicating and liberating as we sent energy down into the Earth and received it in turn.
Awakening the Fire element, we stood in a circle and shook ourselves. We shook and shook and shook for ages. It was intoxicating to completely surrender to the flames by shaking every inch of my body, shimmying and shaking my entire being. There were primal yells, grunts guttural cries and moans in an orgasmic release of everything no longer serving us into the Flame. My entire body is still tingling. Once we stopped shaking, we spun out of the circle and into our goddess power, embodying Shakti, Lakshmi, Svaraswati and all the goddesses in all the realms. Some of us picked up our hoops and danced into our power with their spiraling universal energy.
Finally slowing down, moving into water, we explored our bodies with the reverence reserved for the most sacred of things. Touching each part in turn with sincere gratitude and love, with promises to treat our temples with the utmost respect and love. We then found partners and turned our movements into a contact dance, slowly moving together, feeling each others flesh, blood and breath as our own. We split off into groups and merged into new ones, finding support and safety in each other.
We ended up together in a puddle on the floor, utterly spent, limbs tangled, perfectly content and at peace in meditation. I didn`t want to get up, I just wanted to stay and bliss out in that pile of loving cuddles, but after a few minutes we sat up and closed our journey by passing around the seed of a cacao plant. We spoke two words as we held it. One was how we felt at that moment and the other was our gift to the world. Themes emerged. We all felt peace, clarity, love, bliss and gratitude in the moment, and many of our gifts were similar as well. Light, love, inspiration, passion, sincerity, sensitivity…..
It was such an honor to share this space with such beautiful, powerful and radiant women. The journey was transformative. Our states of consciousness were altered into higher dimensions through movement, breathwork and the loving guidance of Malaika, who is the embodiment of inspiration and joyful earth magic. We re-emerged lighter, stronger and more powerful beings. This was one of the most intensely immersive dance experiences I’ve had. It truly as a shamanic journey and I feel such a strong connection to everyone and everything, and intense gratitude that I am here right now, in Bali at www.sacredcircularities.com
My feet haven’t really touched the ground in the last two weeks.
Anytime anyone asks me how I’m doing, I grin (almost maniacal) at them and practically yell “Great! I’m AWESOME! Never better!!!” Then they back away slowly, wishing they hadn’t asked… Since we’ve been in the middle of second winter here in Edmonton (hit with a blizzard on the first day of spring) a lot of people are getting pretty grouchy, and sick of the snow. My joy has been a little confusing to the winter haters in my life.
Not me though, I’m loving it! I frolicked in it. I may have also sneak-attacked my husband with a giant icicle.
It’s not because I love snow per se, but I’m loving the fact that in two weeks I’ll be flying to Bali, Indonesia (aka, paradise).
Not only do I get to escape our 3 feet of snow to spend a week in the tropics, but I get to do all my favorite things while I’m there too! This is no ordinary vacation.
I’m attending the Sacred Circularities Hoop Dance And Movement Meditation Retreat as a blogger, so I will be participating and then sharing my experiences everyday here with you!
Healing and Transformative Movement through Hoop Dance, Trance Dance, Meditation, Nia, Yoga, Sacred Sound, Personal Empowerment Practice, Shamanic Dreaming, Theta Healing and More!
YES, YES and MORE YES to all of that! This is the stuff that I live for, the stuff my dreams are made of!
Writing and dancing are my two favorite things, not to mention traveling nd explore new places (especially creative, sacred places). To be able to fuse them together life this is such a wonderful opportunity! It actually came up right after the hoop workshop with Baxter (HoopPath: EarthQuaker), where we spent time shaking up our untruth, so our Truth could rebuild our lives with more stability and beauty. Throughout that weekend, I felt like the energy was transformative, and I talked about how life changing it was, but I had no idea that the magic would work so quickly.
This website is dedicated to my own personal journey of transformation through dance, meditation and listening to my body’s wisdom and this year (my 30th) is dedicated to deepening my connection to my body, mind and spirit…. I had always been excited about turning 30. I felt intuitively I would be stepping into my own power. Little did I know how much fun I would have along the way. Definitely living the dream!