Sean and Jess, along with Vida Asana, were recently featured on the HGTV program “House Hunters International.” Check out the full episode below. #puravidaasana
Excited is not the right word to describe how blessed we feel to be hosting Lila and Kait’s Dance Camp! ~ Performance Lab Intensive. So much so that we’ve asked for and received a the fantastic blog entry from Lila below. I encourage you to take the time to read along, and then learn more on The Divine Playground link at the end. Be well #puravidaasana
Dance Camp! ~ Performance LAB Intensive: Dream Awakening our Soul Bliss at Vida Asana
By Lila: visionary of The Divine Playground and co-producer of *Dance Camp!
The dynamic tension between who I was – and who I knew myself to be was too much. I desired to tell the stories of a new time, to inspire a world that worked for everyone in beautiful, artistic, entertaining and magical ways.
And I was self-conscious. The witness of an audience terrified me. As a child, even walking down the aisle in school or church was traumatic. I knew too well what my soul was calling for, although there were fears to overcome, and at the same time, I could see no other way. The shadow would rear its fangs if I became dis-embodied – in my head, and I would drown in unmanifest creative ideas. I longed to share, and express, and yet resistance was winning.
For me, dance has always been innate. The music plays, and like a baby, I move. I did so without thought of why or how, or who was watching. I was not performing. There were no expectations of me. I did it for my soul. For most of my years, I considered dance a hobby, or something that happened when the time was right – at a party, or in one moment, but not the next. My cultural conditioning told me that dance was not a right livelihood, that dance was too frivolous to be divine service, and somehow was less important.
I realized though, overtime, that I felt most alive, purposeful, and fulfilled while dancing. I was being danced by the universe! It was blissful, tantric, and even orgasmic. Were they watching? It didn’t matter. I could not, and would not deny myself of this bliss. I was not doing the dancing! This was profound. Memories of past lives surfaced, areas of my body found new joyful expression, and time and time again, dancing proved to be my highest bliss.
And yet, the story remained. I am not a trained dancer. I have no real performance schooling. Dancers dance from age 4. I kept stifling my own soul with story, with limitation, fears, and thoughts that the pursuit of dance was silly, not worthwhile, nor able effect change in the world, like policy or more “important” roles.
How could I then stay embodied, happy, feel amazing, and still serve humanity and the Earth for the good of all? Was I shaming my soul, by not honoring the gift of dance? Was I suppressing the giddy awe-inspired child within – the presence and grace I would experience, and the healing that I received while I danced?
Over time, I began to surround myself, and attract more performance artists and conscious beings – singing and dancing their prayers and passions into being. They felt magical and surreal, and these interactions sparked my soul to re-evalute the idea that embodied performance art might just be the most fun and effective passion I could pursue! I could inspire and empower healing, innovate conceptual frameworks, and share truths. I could dance the world I wished to feel and see into existence! For to merge the giddy joy of the inner child who is free, creatively expressing oneself with the potency, wisdom, and enchantment of serving humanity and the Earth. Well that felt divine! And to serve as a channel to expose the possibility of LOVE embodied in form, as a human? Yes. yes. yes.
>> Fast forward to present day. Dance Camp! Performance LAB (loveandbliss) is happening! As I began to share the desires of such an intensive supportive experience, in that same moment, two beautiful divine souls expressed that same desire, passion, and exalted joy for the potentiality and courageous empowerment of this project. They are Kait, our musical maven and sound healer, and Alicia, our circle facilitator and breathwork integration coach.
We all desired to feel our best, fully free in our body temples, to be strong and fit, confident, clear and empowered divine channels to share our love and dance with the world. We desired to train ourselves with focused dance technique and to inform our cellular memory with the multitude of ways that one’s instrument may be danced in grace, in precision, in joy, in emotional expression, and enchantment. And we desired to be confidently witnessed in the process, and to share more joy and empowerment with the world! Our soul’s were speaking, dancing, and singing loud and clear!
We are blessed that Sean and his family of Vida Asana accepted our project into their calendar and believed in the potent container that is *Dance Camp! The new moon cycle of April 17 to May 18 of 2015 will prove to be a powerful time, as we break through our fears, enlighten-up together, and say yes to our deepest soul’s calling and our dreams as dancers of the divine, and performing artists of a new time.
Another awesome guest post, by current Vida Asana inhabitant Orly Faya. Orly is a wonderful artist, who we are blessed to have visiting us for as long as we can kidnap her. Please take time to read about this fantastic project she is working on, that features Vida Asana and many of our favorite yogis. I’ve only pasted an opening snippet here, and encourage you to read the whole story, in context at Orly’s site www.fayotopia.com , which is generally a place to visit anyway.
After an enriching three months painting and creating in the United States, I flew away the day my Esta Visa Waiver ended (thanks to pure synchronicity and no means due to my sense of organisation…)
Into new lands and unexplored cultures, I arrived in Costa Rica one week ago. I was generously hosted by a wonderful artist by the name of Rodrigo Piedra www.rodrigopiedra.com in his stunning glassed wall house. He helped me buy a little van to get around the country and showed me his wonderful warehouse workshop where he makes humongous butterflies amongst other incredible things. The time spent in San Jose also clarified that I am entirely done with the city worlds, except on the occasions of necessity. There is nothing appealing to me about concrete jungles and anonymous souls. I want to breathe her in and know the essence of who you are… Finally all was ready for me to step into a new world of creation: Painting the Yogis into Costa Rica.
Truth be told, I was very nervous to be driving my new/old, cute-but-rickity minivan. Having rented new and luxurious cars throughout my time in the States, and not having driven a manual for at least 10- years, arriving safely was met with much gratitude! And so it was that yesterday afternoon I reached my first destination, geographically close to Playa Hermosa near the city of Jaco, the first of many beautiful yoga resorts to be visited during my stay in Costa Rica, VidaAsana – www.vidaasana.com. Blessings showered me once again!
Not only is VidaAsana incredibly beautiful, tranquil, welcoming and fully equipped, It is being run by the sweetest family, Sean, Jess and 9month old baby Julep (JuJu) McDonald. The McDonalds have recently relocated to Costa Rica to live a dream life running this gorgeous space and it is of full credit to them that VidaAsana is sparkling with care, teeming with natural life, and open to all aspects of creativity – including me and my visions. I have a lovely clean room, with a sweet window that looks out to the jungle, a kitchenette and ensuite bathroom. The walls are white and blank for now but might be touched by my brush before I leave. It is, quite frankly, perfect. Mornings are met with fresh coffee next to the communal kitchen space, and one of the most wonderful yoga sessions that I have ever had with a master Yogi by the name of Laura.
As with all the resorts that I will be visiting, I intend to create a number of artwork with the local yogis, that take mimetic pachamama body painting to a whole new level. Incorporating asana poses and deep meditation will allow for a deeper resonance, both experientially and observationally, in merging humanity and planet earth. It is a collaborative challenge, an experience that neither the yogis, nor myself have ever embarked upon…
Now off to www.fayotopia.com/blog for the rest.
A guest blog, by our dear friend Alexandria Romero. Learn more about her story, how you can work with her, and to see why we love her so much, at http://www.lunasoulspeak.com
Oh dear God, there in the closet on a shelf are my husband, Mitch’s ashes. This is what happens to our bodies. This is what happens to our bodies after we die. He’s free as a bird, I tell our daughter Ava, and then I find myself at a loss for words to describe this, physical remains. Ashes after a body is cremated. It is heavy. Emotionally. The urn is heavy, ashes of a body burned are heavy. Heaviness sits with me as I look, as I look without seeing. And then in the quiet of the night, they are still there. I look away, turn off the light and dream of Mitch while I sleep. I dreamt he almost died, almost, I felt his body hard, and then like a miracle, he lived. Overjoyed.
And this is in the coming home, the full circling of my journey since he died. Seeing the ashes, starting a life anew that is all my own. Where is he? I’ve disconnected from our spiritual ties months ago, a conscious “living in reality” as recommended by a well-meaning friend. And now, I come back to California, I come back to him, physically, he is here waiting for me in the brass urn. A printed label on top, his name, the date of the cremation, a special id number for his body. One of many, bodies, as I’ve learned in real life. All bodies die. This sits in my body as a heaviness, and what is left is not him as I know him now. 1 year and 8 months ago, everything became different. I could no longer relate, connect to his physical body. This is when my spiritual search became like breathing, like a search for that next breath, after all the breath leaves our bodies. And now I’ve come home, and here he is, in a brass box. And this leaves me heavy, sad. I know that is not the reality that leads to that next breath, that life that comes after life.
I connect to everything about him, of him that feels alive. His music, his beautiful art, his beautiful photography, the qualities of his spirit that fill me with love, wisdom, and courage. And all things that remind me of my own spirit, sage burning, meditation, prayer, spiritual service, music. And this is how I move forward. I learn to tune into my experience, and honor that as best I can by living in accordance with it. Living in alignment with that which bring peace, acceptance, joy, light. And him, his spirit. I learn to live with the spiritual knowing that we are eternal beings, that we are all connected through both life and life after life, and in the spaces between. The memories come when I am reminded of them, so many, so much, so much in ten years. Almost like a past life, a life full of things passed. But I see without that, I would not be the same. And I’m not the same. I drive around these places I used to drive when I was carefree, when I lived without the illumination of the darkness that death brings. And as I drive around, I see that I am no longer the same, not thinking about the same things I did then. And I see now that through the illumination of the darkness, my ignorance, naivety about death, I am lighter, I now have a gratitude for life, a deep thanks in my heart, whereas before there was a fear hidden away in the dark parts of what was not known.
I see myself smiling in photos celebrating the wedding of friends and I smile inside my heart with pride, it has taken much travel, much pain, much courage, much love, and much faith to arrive here. To smile from my heart, to feel joy and the utmost gratitude for the people in my life that have held and supported me along this journey through devastation into the unknown corners of what every human being must undergo at some point of their lives. Their meeting and their peace with death. Their sadness at the impermanence of this life they love so much. A grieving of my husband and a grieving of a belief that I was invincible, that he was invincible, that this life was all there was, that spiritual truths were simply stories, not grounded in true experience. I see the rich contrast, the lessons rich in this earthly, sensuous experience where we are connected to each tree, each stone, each crystal, each rising and falling tide, each fistful of earth, and that we are also as infinite as the universe expands. A journey into wholeness, a wholeness that is forever expanding and lighting the world. And I decide I will keep a small beautifully carved wooden container with my husband’s ashes, and the rest that rest in that heavy brass urn will be scattered somewhere beautiful.
“To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
Against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
In Blackwater Woods
I could not be more thankful than I am this year. Thankful to God for my beautiful daughter, who awakened my heart. Thankful for my loving wife, who prepared my heart to be awakened. Thankful for my Aunt Tami, my lifelong anchor. Thankful for the greater Vida Asana family and the love, support, and acceptance we’ve received since arriving here last year. Thankful for the limitless love everyone has showered on our daughter. It has been an incredible trip from Jess and I living in a luxury condominium, in perhaps the trendiest neighborhood in New York, to living the Pura Vida life in Costa Rica.
It has been an incredible year, and 2015 will be even better. Thank you for being part of our family.
Sean, Jess, and the incomparable “Baby Juju”