A Spectacular Six Months in Goa
Spending time in India has become so commonplace (five winters in a row, wow!) that I often neglect to update this space while in this special place. This has become my everyday life and I usually don’t feel the need to comment on it (since I don’t feel like I’m traveling). Yet I realize that even though I’m not moving location, I am traveling on a journey taking me deeper into my sense of self and my sense of community. I’m having many extraordinary experiences along the way and meeting so many extraordinary people that it starts to seem commonplace, and indeed there are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in all corners of the world.
What an incredible feeling to be in a state of wonder and let smiling be your natural state. There are a few moments in particular that have brought big smiles to my face this year, and here’s a little photo collage of some of those most memorable experiences.
In October I lead a yoga teacher training at Ashiyana alongside the dancing powerhouse of bhakti energy known as Yamuna. The focus of the course was to teach from the heart and the group of 14 women (and Don repping the guys!) are close to my heart. (No matter how much they tease me about how excited I get about fascia.) The space in Ashiyana is truly vibrant as you can tell from the pictures below. I began to focus more on teaching from my heart and less from my head (practice what you preach), something that can often be a challenge for my analytical mind. We shared lots of laughter, tears, sweat, playfulness and good vibes. This group rocked!
This season a momentous shift happened. The Tribe Goa, a collective of musicians, artists, and conscious people to which I belong, shifted from the beach to our own space in the jungle. The space is currently evolving each day. Together the Tribe has constructed tree houses using bamboo and coconut rope (I managed to catch myself with a machete and had to get my finger stitched back together, I may be a tad accident prone), made a luxurious compost toilet, and had many epic nights singing around the bonfire underneath the virgin sky. For Holi my friend Saskia made an epic eagle sculpture that we burned and then all slept in the tree house underneath the stars.
Within the new land we cleared a ceremonial space in the forest where I have been conducting Sacred Cacao Ceremonies. The cacao acts as a natural heart opener, boosting blood circulation and releasing chemicals that help create that feeling of liberation. We have stomped, howled, danced and sang, massaged, drummed, connected with our primal nature and looked deep into one another’s eyes. We have connected as a community and it has been quite an uplifting experience that I have been extremely honored to facilitate and participate in!
This New Year’s I visited North Goa, notorious for its crazy parties. And guess what? It was my first completely sober New Year’s in a long time, and one of the best. I attended ecstatic dance at The Source, dancing with around 150 other also sober people to some awesome beats for hours on end. This capped off the last day of 2016, which included a Rebirthing Breathwork class and cacao ceremony lead by my longtime friends Mango and Nat. The next day there was an all day reggae pool party, what a way to transition into the New Year!
Perhaps the largest reason why I’m so upbeat writing this post is because of the presence of a really special girl in my life. Chrissie’s quite modest so I won’t extrapolate too much, but she’s one of the most open and loving souls with a great sense of humor and a perpetual smile painted on her face. I often find that she paints that same smile on my face, plus she indulges my wild and weird sense of humor. (I have a tendency to follow a strange train of thought way down the rabbit hole, eventually popping back up somewhere in the vicinity of my immature sense of humor.) She’s also a kickass chef, a kickass yoga teacher, and a kickass tree climber. Just a kickass woman in general!
Thai massage is a practice that I can’t get enough of, both practicing and teaching. I’ve held a few workshops and immersions to introduce this practice to some really eager students. I get so much enjoyment seeing people develop their sense of touch and turning the practice into a sacred dance. I’ve been astounded by how much information the students have been able to retain and it’s rewarding to hear the positive feedback from their recipients. Seeing compassion in action is truly beautiful to witness. The world needs more loving touch!
This season has been special in its own way and I’ll carry a lot of memories with me. I’ll also carry around a new tattoo on my left forearm. My friend Valentina is an awesome artist from Chile and she did an amazing job creating the dotwork style seed of life with three bands running around my arm. Seven circles comprise the sacred geometric form, resembling the cell division that starts creation. The three bands represent the universal law of three, the natural cycle of birth, life, and liberation through death. It serves as a reminder both to live in the present moment and to acknowledge those who have passed away who impacted my life.
It has been a spectacular six months in Goa. Too many little special moments to mention, so many shared smiles, and lots of love among this evolving community. It has been a blessing to be a part of it all!