Mary Oliver, And My Birthday



“Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 
Tell about it.” 
-Mary Oliver


Mary Oliver’s birthday is today.  Mine is tomorrow.  (Somehow, this makes me feel cool.) I am following her advice today by sharing some astonishment with you, and inviting you to be astonished with me.  

Few things are more astonishing to me than the feeling of wholeness I have after teaching and experiencing a Qoya class.  Qoya is the movement class I teach every Tuesday. Qoya was created by my good pal Rochelle Schieck. It is a movement class based on the idea that if it feels good, you are doing it right. There are no rules, no simon-says instruction.  It’s not about getting your body to look like what mine is doing, or what the person next to you is doing. What I love the most about Qoya is the way it offers a woman reclamation of doing things HER way.  

Qoya is about remembering that as women, we are all inherently wise, wild and free. I believe that this connection to body is the cutting edge for women’s empowerment. When a woman chooses to source her truth from within her very bones, rather than looking to a set of rules outside of herself, she is truly wise. When she can stand up and speak a truth that is boiling up inside her no matter how big a risk it is to speak it, she is claiming her wild soul, perfect and untamed.  When 5,000 years of conditioning is telling her that her way is wrong, but she decides right then and there that her way is right, and in fact, always has been, she is finally free. 

For my birthday this year, my biggest wish is celebrate my life by empowering other women. Tuesday September 11th, I will be having a by-donation Qoya class where all proceeds go to benefit Women for Women International.  This organization provides education and training for women victims of war all over the world.  The women who take this training often go on to start their own businesses, becoming financially independent.  The most important thing the classes offer is giving women education about their RIGHTS.  The more we are educated about our rights, the more we are able to give ourselves permission to access that which is wise, wild and free within us.  

On my birthday, this Tuesday September 11th, please join me in celebrating this year’s twirl around the sun with Qoya and Women for Women.  Class will be held at Chelsea Studios in NYC, 151 West 26th Street, from 7-8pm. 

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.”
 – Friedrich Nietzsche

Photo by Jodi Jones


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