I grew up with very practically-minded folks – both my parents were hard-working Capricorns, dad a bank manager and mum a nurse. I can still see mum now in the latter stages of her career as a lead haematology nurse, leaving the house at 5am, head forward, walking at a near running pace to the catch the first ferry from the Isle of Wight to go to work at Southampton General Hospital. She would work a long day before heading back across the Solent to assume her other role as carer for dad who was suffering the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease.
They had always supported each other through the biggest challenges in their lives, this one being the hardest and the cruelest, as the man she lived in partnership with slowly disappeared from her life as the disease ravaged his mobility and his personality, on-set dementia stealing his mind and his memory.
Even though she tried to slow down a little as she hit the first six months of her retirement. She filled every drop of time she could with things for her to do that would take her away from the stress of caring for dad at home.
Three days after dad was finally admitted to a full-time care home, his dementia having taken him away from us completely, mum was found collapsed on the downstairs bathroom floor with her loyal dog, Rosie, keeping her warm in her time of need. She was rushed to hospital, and there it was confirmed that diagnosis of cancer had started in her adrenals and spread to her kidneys. It was a rare form of cancer affecting only 1-2 people in a million. She did always say she was one in a million! Coincidently the only Adrenal Oncology Specialist worked out of Southampton General Hospital, so she was transferred over and administered a ground-breaking new drug. She was hopeful. She always had a smile for the endless stream of visitors from colleagues and friends who worked with her at the hospital. They made sure she had the best care she could possibly have, but despite all best efforts, the medicine proved futile. When she received the news that the drugs weren’t working, her body responded and within three weeks of saying her last goodbye to her husband, she was gone.
We had some incredible times in the room with her in the weeks leading up to her passing. I was curious to the energies that surrounded us all as she was getting ready to transition—from her telling her sister off for being in the way of their mum who had her hand out to her, to my brother who had a vivid dream a couple of nights before she passed about his best friend who had died who visited to let him know he was OK. Mum’s mum – always ready with mischief a cheeky grin – had passed over 14 years previously, but certainly made herself known to me and my sister in the days leading up to mum’s passing.
Even though my parents were practical people, mum and her side of the family were very tuned into ‘something more’. She used to say to me, “You know we’re from a long line of witches, don’t you?” There were times when I very much believed it! Their particular penchant seemed to be visiting each other when they pass.
In the early hours of one morning mum’s other sister sat upright in bed in her home in Australia, thousands of miles from what was unfolding in the hospital in England. In between sleep and dream her little sister, my mum, was at the end of her bed playing the piano they way they used to do together when they were little. “Lizzie”, my aunt said in her half-wake, half-sleep state, “You’re the brightest star in the sky.” A couple of hours later she got the ‘phone call from England to confirm what she already knew—that at the time her little sister was playing the piano to her she had passed.
I’ve always been a curious soul seeker. My gift is being highly intuitive and clair-sentient. I can be lost in a train of thought about someone, and when I get a email or message from them, or bump into them, having not seen them for year, it’s never a surprise. But for many of the years leading up to mum’s passing – and after dad’s a couple of years later – I pushed that all away, throwing myself headfirst into work. I left the Island to go back to London and focus on rising up the career ladder, becoming a clients services director in the fast-paced world of advertising. Much like my mum, I was trying to work my way through pain. I valued thinking over feeling, it was so much easier to control.
As time passed I felt purpose calling. I no longer wanted to help people sell ‘stuff’, I was much more motivated about what made them want to be successful in their own lives, and how they could move beyond what was holding them back, so I trained as a life coach, and then went on to become a Master Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner. I was transitioning away from a full-time job and into building my own business. Life, on the outside, looked perfect, but there was something seriously missing. I had been making decisions based on logic for so long I was a walking and talking head, disconnected from the neck down, which made it impossible to feel anything – no joy, no sadness, no… nothing. I realise now, looking back, that I was suffering from a depression of the central nervous system.
One weekend I was back on the Isle of Wight at a friend’s hen party. I had started to find my way to spiritual practices to try and make sense of what was going on, and maybe create an energy line where I could deepen a connection to mum and dad. What I didn’t know at the time was that what I most needed was a connection back to me. There was a tarot reader at the party. I had decided I wasn’t going to have a reading as I had an angel card reading booked for the very next day. Just as the tarot reader put her coat on to leave I found myself sat opposite her, “I’ve been waiting for you all afternoon.” she said. With every card turned, the story unfolded—water not able to flow, rivers dammed, the last two cards stuck together, the one on the bottom depicted an iceberg. “Kate, do you need any more indication that your energy is stuck?” “I know”, I said, “But how do I get it moving again?” “You’ll know.” she said, “You’ll know.”
So I went headlong into finding a re-connection on to my energy flow. I tried reiki, kinesiology, yoga, readings, crystals, you name it, I did it. I had started spending more time around spiritual people, I followed my curiosity to try things out. I had seen my friend Jayne doing something called Qoya, a somatic and spiritual movement practice with roots in dance, yoga, feminine wisdom, and shamanic principles based on Peruvian traditions. I had seen various pictures with her dancing in front of a gold curtain. “Qoya means Queen”, said the blurb. “A movement practice to help you remember that your essence is wise, wild and free. A connection to the divine feminine within you, and natural pulse of life.”
“Divine feminine? Qoya means Queen? Dancing?” I scoffed. I loved my friend Jayne, but for me dancing was something reserved for the kitchen at parties, or a wild night out at a club, and those days had started to pass me by.
One afternoon I found myself at a Qoya workshop Jayne was teaching at in London. As we moved through the pillars of Qoya to connect to remember our essence is wise, wild and free, it suddenly became true when it came to the free dance. There I was, spinning ‘round and ‘round with my arms aloft, I was that firework that Katy Perry was singing about. I felt like a kid again and was alive with a sense of joy that I hadn’t felt in years.
I came away from that afternoon with a belly full of cacao, and a knowing in my heart, “This is the thing. I’ve found it, and I’ve connected back to me.” I went to as many classes and workshops as I could, although there were still only two Qoya teachers in the UK. Back in 2017 doing sessions online wasn’t really a thing yet. It was great, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was supposed to be doing something more with this in my own work. Not that I had a clue what it would all mean. I was a life coach and a Master NLP Practitioner, surely people would think I’d lost it if I started talking about the divine feminine and getting people to dance? And, more than that, the training to become a Qoya teacher was in Costa Rica. I was transitioning out of salaried work to focus on my business full time, how would I justify the expense? But it wouldn’t leave me alone— no matter how much I tried to ignore it.
One morning I woke up, put my feet on the ground, and felt a full rush from the tips of my toes to the top of my head and settling into my heart. I had to go to Costa Rica. I had to train to become a Qoya teacher. It was time, my body and my heart knew. I see-sawed between this knowing and fear as I told my partner what I was thinking. Half of me wanted him to tell me that I was crazy for wanting to do it, half of me was already planning the trip. I said I’d go for the week, he said I should consider going for a month.
I took the solo adventure that started with a 24 hour trip from cold, grey London to 35° heat under the Costa Rica skies, travelling on an old American school bus to get the a place called Santa Teresa to learn how to teach Qoya. But something was off as I made this journey across the tropical green wilds of this beautiful country. I felt awkward, self conscious, clumsy and stupid. What if I didn’t fit in? What was I doing? Even as I watched the sun rising from behind the landscape it didn’t do much to lift the heaviness I had been feeling, and feeling for a long time. Like a void of nothingness inside my soul. Nothing made logical sense.
We danced and moved through a journey that Rochelle Schieck, the founder of Qoya, had set out for us throughout the week of training. We danced to let go, to shed layers, we danced our shadow, we danced in the sun, I danced in the shadow of the news that David Bowie had died. For the first time in what felt like forever, I cried as I felt his loss like a member of my own family,/ Grief flowed through my body. It became a gentle, yet powerfully cathartic process, because healing through feeling was the thing I needed most.
Every day we were invited to meditate and journal on what we were experiencing. I found that hard to do before Qoya, like something was trapped inside and couldn’t get out. Every morning I would wake up and head to the the beach. With the waves crashing onto the shores, and the world waking up, I meditated. I kept visualising a treasure chest wrapped with rusty chains that kept the lid shut. Each day we danced Qoya to a different theme, I would see colours behind my eyes—reds, blues, a lot of purple. In my meditations the lid of the treasure chest was opening to reveal an array of colours from within. I was curious to find out more, asking Rochelle what colours related to different chakras. Not that I knew much about what they were! The colours I had been seeing aligned perfectly to what we had been exploring in our body and our energy each day through Qoya. My wild colours were returning. My energy was flowing back through me. The treasure was revelling itself. It all felt like magic had woken up within me.
I returned to the UK the same person, yet so much more me. I felt more confident, more creative, more aligned to how I wanted to share my work. I had learned to listen to my intuition, which the volume had been turned down so low it was inaudible before. I followed where it whispered. I trusted the wisdom in my body, which I had been disconnected from for too many years.
My work and my creativity started to soar. Ideas would rain down with the water in the shower. I had an idea for creating a wisdom deck that brought all of the pragmatic elements of my work as a life coach and NLP practitioner blended with ancient technologies of breath work, chakra activation working with energy, along with the somatic movement elements inspired the powerful wisdom of Qoya. Practical Magic was born. The Practical Magic Activation Deck – a life coach in a box – followed a year later brought to life by a crowdfunding campaign of people searching for the intuitive mind-body wisdom in all of them.
Qoya and the blended melting pot of goodness that is Practical Magic has woken up something inside of me, and so many others that I work with, that will no longer sleep. Through an adventure of curiosity, creativity and somatic connection, more and more reveals itself. So too does community—I owe all of this work to the community of curious soul seekers who are on the path o discovering more through spirituality, wellbeing and self care. So when I had an idea in the ‘shower of dreams’ – as I affectionately call it – to create a festival to bring an incredible community of wellbeing practitioners together for a weekend, it felt right. I followed the feeling and knew deep in my heart and my bones that it had to be on the healing land of the Isle of Wight—the place I used to call home, and where my parents honoured me with so many lessons and so much love.
I tuned in—what if – as it had started for me on that day of the tarot reading – one day could start a journey of spiritual and discovery that awakens an adventure of mind-body-soul wisdom that lasts a lifetime? What if this could be an Awakening of self care, connection and wellbeing for so many others who need it more so now than they’ve ever needed before?
The Awakening Festival of Wellbeing, Self Care & Connection
The Awakening Festival of Wellbeing, Self Care & Connection takes place at Northwood House on the Isle of Wight across the weekend of 24-25 September 2022. You can enjoy over 50 different wellbeing workshops on the Saturday, including inspiring talks, yoga and movement, meditation and mindfulness, conscious living conversations, holistic therapies plus an evening of soulful fun and entertainment with The Glitter Party on Saturday evening. Super Soulful Sunday takes a slower pace with restorative yoga, breath and sound healing sessions to integrate a deep sense of connection from the weekend.
Tickets available from £75 for the Saturday, and £115 for the weekend from www.awakeningfestival.co.uk
Written by: Kate Taylor, life design & empowerment coach & Qoya teacher
Find out more about Kate Taylor and her work at www.katetaylor.co
The post Re-Awakening the Energy Within Through Mind-Body-Soul Connection appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.