Courageous & Candid Conversation...
I encourage you to put aside what you know in the interest of expanding perspectives of what might be possible. In this way, you could discover a new truth within your own lived experience. Also worth noting, what follows is a sharing of a process that led to the creation of a breathwork practice. The practice itself will follow in "Part 2", to be published at a later date.
A CONTEMPLATIVE CREATIVE JOURNEY
I recently had the honour of holding space for a group of conscious explorers within the container of The Field Festival: Edge of Emergence. My offering emerged from these two contemplations, which at first glance, may seem quite separate.
1) Eros is an energy that flows through ALL energy channels, not only sexual channels, and we can therefore be aroused in the direction of life in multiple ways. Multiple sensations can be amplified when we support the flow of eros with presence, which is supported by breath. Such amplification can encourage somatic embodiment and provide valuable information as to who and how we feel ourselves to be. From this place we can make healthy choices, boundaries and move into consensual connection with others whilst being ease-fully anchored in our own experience.
2) When we are willing to make the warmest welcome to the whole of our inner experience and reveal that to others; others are better able to perceive our authenticity and relax in our presence. We become co-regulators rather than perpetuators of dysregulation and separation. From this place of emotional and nervous-system regulation we have more power available to us to step forward as meaningful contributors and players within the vast game of life.
Energy Flow & Eros
The first of these contemplations forms the backdrop to my 1-2-1 Sensual Touch Tantra sessions in which the invitation is to develop even more connection from the periphery of the body to the core sex-channel, and vice-versa.
EROS AS NATURE'S LOVING EMANATION
To further encourage the expansion and flow of erotic energy beyond genital focused sexual responses, it may help to frame Eros as an "emanation of nature's love". How might it be to relate to eros as a vibrational power pulsing from Earth and the cosmos, which arouses all of Earth's creatures towards life? If the imperative of nature is to evolve in a life-sustaining direction, it would be quite savvy and appropriately sophisticated to set up a system which provides pleasure-centric remedies for the growing-pains that seem to be an unavoidable part of such evolution.
Taking it a step further, if eros is nature's love arousing us in the direction of life, and continuation of life requires that we engage in sex, it follows that for many, our body-minds are wired to experience eros most tangibly as a sexual response.
Sensual engorgement and pulsing sensations in the sexual tissues; a system flooding with heart awakening hormones; the breathless, heated, desirous hunger triggering a dance of animal magnetism; a movement towards "other(s)" or deepening into "self" as we tease and please one another or ourselves into more pleasure. Perhaps all of this opening into a wild ride of sweat-slick limbs, juicy lips and tongues plumping, and undulating torsos carrying eros through our open channels.
There are a myriad other ways to receive and feel eros moving though us. I for one easily enter a more nuanced subtle dance with eros that doesn't involve a sexual response, but can carry me wherever I most desire to go. Like a vast ocean moving all around and through me, with slow but strong, impactful yet gentle undercurrents, this experience of eros actually holds me in my centre more, whilst charging up my energy field and contributing to my role as a sexual-shamanic facilitator.
Or there is an experience of eros that enters directly through the heart, often aroused by the sight of astounding beauty, or a moment of clarity and wonder, or a light-breeze sweeping over the skin. There may be the sense of colours becoming otherworldly, or white light filling the mind. Harmonics may be heard and all of the fine hairs of the body lift upwards as the skin tingles and the word orgasm takes on new meaning. There are those who arouse in response to stimulating discourse, and others still may be switched on by a direct surge of will-power or by utilising maximum physical strength.
However the encounter with eros may begin, by cultivating impeccable awareness we can tap into Eros to refine our self-knowing, and access new levels of empowerment. Parking this here for now, let us turn our attention to the next thread...
A Wider Warmer Welcome
The second contemplation came about as a response to what I was experiencing on the approach to the festival. I am acutely aware of (at least) two strong yet contradictory aspects of my own character/nature. One is stoked up by adventure, experimentation, intense experience and is really quite the exhibitionist! She is more than happy taking centre stage and would love to, (ideally in some monumental way), create impact. The other aspect is the one that tends to create boundary. She is excruciatingly shy, super-sensitive, and very awkward in human connection. She definitely does NOT want to be centre stage, if anything, she dreams of remaining unseen by humans and living in a fairytale cottage with lots of animal friends.
Of course, sometimes it is appropriate to be discerning in who we reveal ourselves to be and to whom. However, to consistently monitor, edit and censor ourselves for reasons based on misinformation or misconstruing the reality of a given situation, is to give a stronger voice to the inner critic and create an inner world of self-negation. Inner and outer reality may in fact, be poles apart. Over time we may stop taking the risk of being true to ourselves, and instead, create fake masks that might favour survival in some circumstances, yet destroy the possibility of thriving.
So how do we begin to address this?
And how was I to allow both of my contradictory aspects to have expression, causing harm to neither, whilst being a lead facilitator in front of a group of fellow humans? The answer for me, as already implied, was by making the warmest welcome available to the WHOLE of myself; AND revealing my truth to those who had turned up to receive an experience.
The exploration I offer you is the same. To make the widest, warmest welcome to yourself, and to begin to take the risk of letting more of you be seen by others (in situations and with people that it feels safe enough to do so).
Why "The Erotic Breath?"
So how did a breathwork practice spring forth from this heady rumination? In truth, the inspiration arose whilst I was, myself, receiving a different kind of breathwork session. All of the thoughts that I had been meditating on for days dissolved into a felt-experience within my body. My breath entered me with such exquisite delight that I received her as one might receive a lover; filled with curiosity, attentiveness and fully open to every nuance.
As usual, during the earlier stages of the practice, I met resistance in the form of boredom and distraction. Knowing the deal though, I was able (with the help of the facilitator) to keep my focus on breathing, and paying attention to everything that arose in my awareness. I moved through points of physical pain, was visited by grief-inducing memories, and met both my shy-girl and my feisty adventurer.
As the breath continued to flow, every cell began to vibrate with an erotic charge. My senses were turned up to the max, I was able to detect hints of incense and floral tones in the air I breathed, taste the tang of metal on my tongue, and feel tiny trembles quaking outwards from my bones to my skin. I was warm, my body writhed in sensual pleasure and I realised that in this moment, I loved and embraced every part of me. It was as if my breath had opened so much space, that any previously conflicting constellations repositioned themselves and became integral, complementary parts of one being. The different perspectives offered by the two poles now served to enhance the experience of the Whole. They were no longer opposing enemies. And better still, I was able to envision a world in which I, with all of my hang-ups and imperfections, could embrace and be embraced by others with their own unique set of "perfect-imperfections".
I was left with the bone-deep knowing that it was all connected. The breath as my lover enabled new levels of self-knowing and self-acceptance, which in turn allowed my body to soften and open and for eros to flow. With eros in flow I felt empowered to love the whole of me without an ounce of judgement. Unconditional acceptance enabled me to "hear" and listen to all of my voices and inner knowings. Hearing myself more fully allowed me clarity on what felt correct and incorrect for me. This level of knowing created the foundation upon which truly **consensual connection could then be made. (**This is an extra consideration pertinent to the actual festival and applicable in other situation which will be explained further in Part 2.)
Naturally, after encountering this experience for myself, my deepest desire became to guide others through something similar and The Erotic Breath was created as a fuller practice. In a later piece I will share the stages of the workshop that took place within the festival. For now my invitation is for you to also play with the two contemplations shared earlier, paying attention to what arises for you in response.
Right now, if you fancy a micro-practice, you could choose to take an extra few minutes just to notice yourself in relation to all that you have just read...
Have you been arguing against it, or are you still wondering what the point is? Are you feeling affirmed and in resonance? What physical sensations have awoken for you? Are you noticing tension anywhere, is your breath flowing? Did you feel aroused reading about eros? Or did it make you squirm?
Are you disappointed or frustrated that the actual practice hasn't been shared yet? How does it feel knowing that there is now going to be a pause before Part Two is published?
Know there is no "right or wrong" response, no "good or bad" answer. This is a simple practice in knowing more about yourself; and I would love to know more about you too should you feel to share in a comment or connect with me further.
She leans closer and tells me how desired I am by life. The whole of life is hungry for my unique medicine, which is birthed from the unique dark and light constellations within me. I am the child of messiness and chaos dancing with beauty and grace. And so here I am, just AS I AM, claiming my rightful place in the heart of life itself."
How about you? What might Eros awaken for you when you are willing to stay exquisitely present?
Sacred Sexuality & Magick
Recently, I was asked "Why do you make the statement, I am not a tantrika, when you clearly offer what others would happily call Tantra?" This lead to a full conversation in which I attempted to share my personal truth around this. The conversation has inspired this (condensed version) sharing:
In the realms of spirituality and personal growth, there are ancient practices that have intrigued and captivated seekers for centuries. Among them are Tantra, sacred sexuality, and sex magic, each carrying its own unique essence and purpose. Whilst these practices share certain similarities, it feels important to me, to recognise their distinct qualities and understand the differences that set them apart. Without doing so, we disrespect the lineage of "classical tantra" by simply using the term as a marketing tool, whilst straying far away from its inherent teachings. Can you imagine a whole range of sexy experiences being sold under the heading "Christianity" or "Judaism" just because somewhere within their scriptures, there might be mention of the whole of life, including sexuality, being deemed sacred? No? So why have we done this to Tantra? (I acknowledge this is an oversimplification, but I feel there is some validity in asking the question.)
I hold my hand up to be counted amongst those guilty of using the term, knowing that by doing so, my information is more likely to show up in an internet search. The only (weak) justification I give myself is that I do at least attempt to pay homage to the truer expression of Tantra; even whilst being more accurately aligned with the term Sacred Sexuality, and including in my services, Sex Magick.
Here, I seek to offer a brief glimpse at what makes what what, and which, which...