One of our guides was recently featured on CanvasRebel

We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Stacy Piccolo. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Stacy below.

Alright, Stacy thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Some of the most interesting parts of our journey emerge from areas where we believe something that most people in our industry do not – do you have something like that?

In many spiritual communities there is an emphasis on “transcendence”, or moving beyond the human experience, the struggles, and the overall reality of daily living. Since ancient times, rishis and sages who renounced chaotic worldly life went into caves to sit in meditation to attain ultimate peace and liberation. They had to withdraw all of their senses from the stimuli in the very loud and crowded outside world in order to embark on this journey within. The goal was to be in higher states of consciousness, beyond needs and wants, transcendent of human experience. While this is valuable and even had effects of peacefulness and serenity on the people in the towns and villages where they came from, since they are connected by the thread of consciousness, some find it curious that they went to sit in caves away from it all. Why did they do this? Not having to face the struggle and reality of daily life is how they were able to achieve these states. Others helped care for them to sustain their practices. Some became so fragile and sensitive to the outside environment that they found it hard to go back into society. I mention this because I don’t believe it is practical to transcend our humanity while still having to live life day-to-day.

In my experience, we are human beings. We are not just spiritual beings connected to the Divine, although that experience is very blissful. We are also human and live in a world where we cannot afford to leave struggles, difficult mental states, or inner emotions unacknowledged. They are very real and most of us do not have the opportunity to live in seclusion in order to transcend these things. When one attempts this, it may not go so well. Their life in this 3-D reality is still moving forward without them as an active participant. They may be ignoring things that need their attention. They may dismiss the fact that there are problems and injustices that need a light shone on them. “Transcending” often leads to the belief that one should not speak up against something that is wrong because it does not affect them and they will spiritually bypass the difficulties that it could cause to their loved ones or the world.

Distantly related to this is the urge to respond to negative life events with ultimate positivity. As you may know, constant positivity can be toxic. I believe a lot of people do this simply because it makes them uncomfortable to have to sit in discomfort, whether theirs or someone else’s. If someone has suffered through a tragic event it is inappropriate, in my opinion, to immediately turn the narrative around to be something positive. It is almost like gaslighting them that the event actually did happen and takes away the opportunity to express their emotions about it. Bypassing the stage of acknowledging the event, of feeling the sensations in your body related to it and working them through with breathing exercises, yoga, movement, somatic experiencing, etc. will not help you to overcome the effect that the event can have on you. If you do not accept that the Energy of the event is present, and work with it as it passes through, it will become lodged in the body as an energy block.

You can be as positive as you want but the Energy will still be stuck there. A friend of mine teaches that you should validate someone before you challenge them. Let them know that they are heard and that their experience is true and valid before proposing it should be different or turning it into something positive. I do believe that finding a positive or something that you can express gratitude for can be powerful but I do not think you should skip the steps before.

I’ve lived in a spiritual community where some of the residents and guests were all about transcending human experiences. Some were what I would describe as “floating in the clouds”. Others were constantly and chronically surrendering to life. It is good to surrender your will to certain situations you can’t control, but there are times you have to take action or set boundaries. If you surrender, time after time you may just end up with no belongings, no security, or means to afford what you need.

What I’m saying here is that transcendence, positivity, and surrender have their places and can be beautiful practices. It is important to me to approach life in the most balanced way possible, acknowledging both the dark and light areas of our existence. It is my intention to be a grounded human who is connected to my spiritual beingness–a spiritual human being.

As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?

Yes, thank you! I know it is my calling to serve and guide others through their journeys of healing and transformation and I am certified as a professional coach to support them to do so. As an Empowerment Coach, I mainly work with women and gender-expansive individuals who wish to enter a process of self-discovery to move through their fears to excavate their authentic gifts and share them with the world. I founded my business MindMovement Coaching and have joined forces with my partner, Sarah, to make it an LLC. Together we will expand the business to host a variety of different retreats and experiences.

We see the toll the pandemic is taking on our country. We are in a mental health crisis, with depression and anxiety on the rise, as well as the virus itself causing mental health issues in some. While there is a dangerous shortage of therapists and clinical psychologists available to support the population, I am seeing a huge increase in yoga and mindfulness offerings, retreats, Energy workers, Coaches, and many other practitioners of healing modalities. We are not a substitute for mental health workers but I do believe we have a different healing approach that can be used in tandem and is also extremely important for these times. Something distinctive about our retreats is that they do include yoga but are not primarily yoga retreats. They are designed to address the difficult Energy of the times, uniquely work through them, and return to the world more empowered and ready to affect change.

We are very excited to offer LGBTQIA+ Well-being and Community Building retreats, the first is scheduled for the end of October, in collaboration with a Queer Licensed Therapist. There are very few if any, businesses or groups that we know of that are offering these types of LGBTQIA+ retreats, specifically. Our community is in a very difficult place lately with a lot of the new legislation passed, especially in Florida. We deserve to be treated equally to everyone else, as we are all human beings. Sarah and I are dedicated to creating a space where we can build community and a web of support as we acknowledge the struggles we are facing and how we feel about them. At the same time, we will focus on building our capacity to feel the joy that is present in our community and our lives. We also do a virtual version of this retreat and it has been a wonderful and impactful experience for all involved. Additionally, we have more LGBTQIA+ events scheduled for 2024.

We know that December is a chaotic time so we’ve created a Holiday Reset retreat scheduled for the first weekend of the month. The intention is for people to take a break from the outside world and recharge before jumping back into the holiday season. The ticket price includes a lovely massage from a local massage therapist!

We will also host the first-of-its-kind Self-Expression retreat next year where participants are supported to step into their power and show up more boldly in the world. We will focus on mind, body, and spirit, as well as appearance, which is unusual at a spiritual retreat. As a fashion design graduate, former hairstylist, and jewelry designer, I have created a remarkable lineup of events for this retreat. Participants are able to receive a “Conscious Haircut” (a technique I created while living at the yoga ashram) as well as make a new piece of jewelry to adorn themselves as they move back into their lives more intentionally and authentically.

I’ve also developed a Mindfulness program for medium-sized businesses. It raises productivity, and employee satisfaction and increases well-being while reducing turnover. We offer a powerful strategy to engage employees, daily meditations and breathing exercises, mindfulness coaching, workshops, and culture boosters tailored to company needs. As we work with the company we teach current employees how to continue running our program and then we gradually withdraw, leaving the business in better health.

MindMovement is a member of the Bring Joy Forward wellness network which has professionally guided communities, events & resources to explore, heal, and grow with each other. There are so many amazing offerings there, both free and paid. I have both Dancing Mindfulness and Conscious Rest Yoga Nidra communities on this network which you are able to join for a monthly membership fee. Dancing Mindfulness is near and dear to my heart. We can experience a beautiful experience of Presence while exploring a connection with our bodies through movement with a wondrous curiosity and the essence of non-judgment. And, in yoga nidra, you are guided through descending brainwave states into deep states of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. Here, the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system is triggered, and you can disengage from the endless stream of thoughts we experience.

At MindMovement we Explore, Excavate, and Empower. A major part of my personal work is shadow work; a deep exploration into the parts of myself that are hard to deal with. I believe in accepting my darkness as well as celebrating my light. Because I have been practicing this, I feel that I can experience a wider scope of emotional gradience that is very valuable in experiencing the richness of life. What makes our business one-of-a-kind are our personal life experiences and the way that we transformed through them. We wish to share our wisdom and the gifts we took away with others.

We provide a compassionate and nonjudgmental space for people to explore themselves deeply. In co-creation, we excavate the facets that they may not know or sometimes may not like. Since I have done this myself, I am able to uniquely hold the space for them to find love and acceptance for these emotions or parts. We mix the spiritual, physical, energetic, and psychological with scientific techniques designed to retrain our brains from unhelpful conditioning or limiting beliefs, causing a shift in action. And we empower our participants and clients to bring this back into their lives. We wish to attract inclusive people, who hold kindness high in their list of values with a willingness to do “the work” and who are open and excited to explore themselves and their inner worlds.

We hope you will join us as an empowered community who will support and nurture each other’s gifts and talents so that we can share them with the world!

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