This blog comes in two parts and covers days 20-31. I had the powerful intentions to write one blog a day, but as Week Three of Sacred Circularities began and I decided that my body needed more yoga and less time at the computer, more sleep and less late nights up writing, more hoop and less observation, and then with the epicness of Bali Spirit right after that, my blogging has lagged for the last 11 days. So, this blog is a recap of all of Week Three, and Part Two reveals the magic of Bali Spirit Fest. I write this from the villa that sits on the pristine grounds of The Water Palace on the East side of Bali. I am listening to the fountains and streams serenade me with the subtle sounds of surrender. Water flows. It simply flows with no resistance or argument. That is me in this moment. I ended up here by allowing my path to flow along without any struggle. The past 11 days have been a whirlwind. A tidal wave. Now I have a moment to reflect i the mirror of the lotus pond. Ready for the ride?
Let’s start with the beauty that was the last week of Sacred Circularities Hoop Dance & Movement Meditation Retreat. We savored the last days of SC Bali, and drank up all of the delightful nectar that was dripping from every sacred syllable and sound spoken between us, every sweet glance exchanged, every touch and gesture...each moment precious and irreplaceable. Each day, we gave thanks. Every meal delicious, every sunrise and sunset sacred and soothing. We could feel the time slipping by so fast, and we know that clinging to a moment is not an option. Instead, we soaked it into our very beings. Our DNA is now programmed with the joyous times we all shared here. Joyous times indeed.
The teachers here are some of my best friends. I feel so lucky!
The workshops with Caterina Sutton were amazing and inspiring, as we Metamorphasized as butterflies, explored the floor and some fancy footwork and used “breaks” as a breathing meditation. Gail’ O’Brien’s workshops melted my brain a little as always, as we tossed, twisted, and trained in the technical realms. I am always inspired to practice SO MUCH MORE after hooping with Gail! Babz blasted us with tantalizing tricks and groovy leg work, and left us with some great material to incorporate into our flow for some added funk. Jaguar Mary led us through some amazing meditations, some really sweet partnered exercises, and opened our minds and hearts to the realms of inner beauty. I love it when JM does her thing! It’s always an inspired experience. Francie led some super succulent yoga classes on the mornings I wasn’t teaching breath and I made it to as many as I could. I love the way she facilitates and speaks. Francie is an inspiration to me for sure, as she is living on of my future dreams of holding international retreats and living the healthy life!
My workshops were some of my favorite to teach out of the three weeks because I was able to share one of the most powerful technologies I have ever experienced: Breath Work. The facilitation of The Breath Empowerment was incredible and very special. People truly have life changing experiences and it is such an honor to hold space and guidance for this transformative 90 minutes. There were at least 35 people there, which may be the largest circle I have held on my own. Everything went perfectly and everyone had a powerful experience; my prayers answered! I have been incorporating more singing into the closing portion of the practice and really enjoy using my voice a shamanic tool. The Breath Empowerment paved the way for participants to fully receive the next two workshops I led, based on the Nine Breath Method, which is just a powerful as the Breath Empowerment but a shorter and more succinct technique. Both of those workshops were incredible; the first one being instructions and practice for the technique, and the second one being a Nine Breath Healing Circle which had a great turnout and potent results. After my circle, I received the message that Christabel Zamour of Hoop Girl & Breath of Bliss wanted me to help assist her Bali Spirit Workshop! What a blessing! Looking forward to that. I LOVE teaching breath work and feel that breath, song and storytelling are certainly in my future career cultivations :) Be on the lookout for recorded audio versions of these powerful practices.
I also had a beautiful time at Malaika’s 5 Elements Ecstatic Dance.This is my sixth 5 Elements Dance led by Malaika, and every one is unique and different, and as a facilitator I love witnessing her variations and seeing what feels really yummy to incorporate into my own facilitation! It always feels right to sweat and pound the floor with my feet. This is how I truly worship. This is how I expose my soul to my Creator.
Ah, sweet release!
Afterward, I felt very honored when she asked me to assist her during her 5 Elements for Bali Spirit Fest. This week is bringing me lots of opportunities to fully participant in the Bali Spirit Festival which I have been asking for. Again, prayers answered. More on the epic surprise I received during that dance in Part Two.... ;)
We also had a lovely excursion to Ganung Kawi, an ancient Buddhist Temple that dates back to the 11th Century. There are massive stone carvings in the side of the cliffs, all built around the royal tombs of the ancient kings and queens. The river and rice fields surrounding the temple helped me to feel at home. There is something about the swaying of the rice in the wind, and the rushing of a river over my feet that assures me of the simple truth that ‘I belong here’. We all do. Everyone deserves this. We are all Royal. The beauty that was once for the rich dead is now for those alive and well, here and now, able to climb the 300 plus steps it takes to get down to this beauty. I do appreciate the intricate carvings and aesthetic pleasure here on this island. The Balinese believe if they make things as beautiful as possible, the gods will stay pleased. It seems to be working.
Another highlight of Week Three was the Tribal Market & Performance Showcase. I was blessed to be the Emcee again, and I seriously love that playful job! It’s an honor to witness the vendors shine in their creative light, introduce the performers and watch them passionately display their talent and art, and have the opportunity to be myself while serving my community. Plus, all of this emcee experience is showing me how much I love being on the mic! Like I said before, I feel a new and expanded career path coming on....
I also managed time for a photo shoot with Bailey Wheeler this week. Here is a sneak peak at some of the lovely images that came from this really amazing experience. I had so much fun and felt so beautiful. We had the blessing of perfect lighting, a lotus flower that fell right into my hands, and a beautiful little spiraled friend that showed up as a sweet surprise in the petals! Thank you, Bailey of B.Balanced Photography for provided not only me, but pretty much every instructor and some lucky and smart participants who booked sessions with you with the most amazing photographs and memories. What a talented young woman with extraordinary gifts. I just loved this co-creation.
Finally, after a week of daily dancing, sunshine, temples, talent shows, tribal markets, workshops, epic food, laughter, loving, learning, letting go, taking in, watching, waiting, witnessing, helping, hoping, highs, lows and LOTS of life lessons we came to the humbling and heart centered Closing Circle. As we all shared our stories about the week, and for many of us the past three weeks, tears streamed and smiles beamed. We couldn’t believe it was really over, and were also ready to take our experience with us into our daily realities. I know that I am really looking forward to a daily hoop practice commitment, as well as incorporating all of the aspects of myself that I have discovered along the way. The Closing Circle came to, well, a close...haha, and it was time to say Good Bye to the friends we had made with lots of hugs and sweet words. Truly, it never feels like ‘goodbye’ in this community. I know I will see my spinning brothers and sisters again...it’s only a matter of time and travel. Two things that I feel blessed to be abundant with in this life.
Overall, my three weeks teaching and writing at Sacred Circularities was absolutely one of the most profound and perfect experiences of my entire life. This dream has been three years in the making. I remember when I was in Australia in 2012 during a total solar eclipse that fell four days from my birthday, wishing I could extend my trip in Australia so that I could fly over to Bali for a while, and I have been wanting to teach at the Bali SC for some time now. Here I am in Bali, present for an amazing eclipse three years later. There is magic in the moon. Sedona is also so amazing and teaching there for two years has whet my appetite to deepen my involvement with the SC family, so I feel so blessed to have gone three weeks deep with this tribe! I am so grateful to Jaguar Mary for founding and forging this Sacred Circularities path that affects so many in such a positive way. Thank you, JM, for bringing us all out here together to teach and learn, to touch and grow, to feel and express, to transform and be transformed, to experience and witness, to be in this beauty and feel the depth of the culture. Truly, an ultimate dream come true. I can only imagine what’s next!
As soon as SC was complete, Bali Spirit Festival had already begun and I am diving straight in...read all about this initiation and co-creation in Part Two! I hope you enjoyed taking in these words and images as much as I love delivering them.
Blessings to you from the clean, clear flowing waters of the Water Palace in Bali!
-Shellie White Light