One of my favorite movie scenes is towards the end of Harold and Maude when Harold presents Maude with a ring. She admires the ring, looks at him lovingly and then throws the ring in a lake. “There,” Maude says. “Now I’ll always know where it is.”
I thought about that movie as I attended the memorial service of my friend Kaci Florez’s husband Jhonny who died unexpectedly on July 3, 2015. Nine months later, his family and friends gathered to honor his life and release his ashes at a service and ash dive in Lodi, California. Two hundred people cried, laughed and shared memories. I had never met Jhonny but that day I saw and felt the impact of what he left behind in his thirty-two years on this earth – and in the sky as a BASE jumper.
He left behind love.
Jhonny wasn’t there, but his love was.
One of my favorite things about Jhonny that Kaci shared with me is how he did everything with all his heart.
“Whether it was loving me, training in his sport, how he treated his family, how generous he was with his friends, the way he would research topics that interested him, in his photography, training our dogs, cooking a meal, telling a joke or story, dancing, singing in the car, everything was full on and full of heart,” said Kaci. “He wasn’t fearless, but he had far more love than fear.”
In a few weeks, Kaci heads to Switzerland where she is teaching a Qoya Workshop in Zurich on July 2nd. She also teaches Qoya classes in Sacramento and has a retreat in Tulum in May 2017. Like Jhonny, Kaci teaches with all her heart. I hope you’ll take a class with her somewhere in the world. http://www.embodying-me.com/qoya/
Q&A with Kaci Florez:
BB: Why is it important for you to be in Switzerland at this time?
Kaci: Last year on July 3rd my husband Jhonathan Florez died unexpectedly in a BASE jumping accident in the Swiss Alps. I am traveling to Switzerland this year to honor the anniversary of his passing. I have always felt that the Alps were special, but since his passing I view these mountains as sacred and holy. This visit is a pilgrimage to visit the place my husband’s soul left his body and re-entered infinity.
BB: How has Qoya helped you grieve?
Kaci: There is not much that can soothe the kind of pain one feels when they experience a loss this big. I intuitively turned to Qoya as a way to process the pain and grief. As I felt the waves of many emotions wash over me the only way I knew how to manage the intensity was by moving the energy through my body. I remember standing in the backyard the day after he died and I simply couldn’t stand still. I had to sway, I had to circle my hips, I had to move. It felt like an ancient intelligence was awakened within me; an intelligence on how to be present with and process the fullness of this life experience that grief was giving me. The way Qoya is designed is extremely supportive and aligned for this ancient intelligence to flow through. In Qoya we are invited to feel it all. It was through this feeling it all that I felt I could truly honor it all; from the pain, anger, and sorrow, to the love, grace, joy, and peace. Qoya and the Qoya community gave me permission to be exactly where I needed to be and to trust my own inner instincts and inner knowing on how to get from moment to moment. It helped me to simultaneously trust that everything I need to survive is within and to know that I have the support of a loving community to hold me when I couldn’t hold myself.
BB: Do you plan on teaching more Qoya in Zurich in the future?
Kaci: I do plan to teach more Qoya in Zurich in the future. I will be making a trip at least once a year to Switzerland to honor its sacred mountains. Jhonathan’s sister lives in Zurich with her family so I will always make time to be in the city where I will be sure to plan classes and workshops. I also will be leading a Qoya Retreat in the Alps in 2017. Date and location still being determined.
BB: Any other upcoming retreats
Kaci: I am leading a retreat at Maya Tulum in Tulum, Mexico from May 6-13, 2017.
Online Description coming soon. If you would like to be alerted when these details are available please fill out this online form.
BB: Anything else you want to add?
Kaci: I have dedicated myself to sharing Qoya and the tools it taught me with as many people as possible. I do believe that in sharing Qoya I will be able to help many people who have experienced loss or are currently in the throws of it. But even more than that I believe that by sharing Qoya with as many people as I possible I can help pass on the tools that they may need to draw from if the unexpected happens. My wish is to help people honor and experience the joy, the sorrow, and the fullness of what their lives have to offer in the most authentic and reverent way.
July 2 | Qoya Workshop with Kaci in Zurich
Join Betsy Blankenbaker for upcoming retreats in 2016
Qoya Writing Petite Retreat
Chateau de Clerac, France
July 23-26, 2016
Qoya Writing Retreat
Chateau de Clerac, France
September 10-17, 2016
Qoya Service & Safari Retreat in Zimbabwe
October 23-30, 2016
Qoya Writing Retreat in Cape Town wine country
October 31-November 5, 2016