Last week, I was gifted with the amazing opportunity of coming together with women from all over the world as we experienced the healing teachings of Tantra Goddesses, Caroline Muir and Amrita Grace. After five years on sabbatical Caroline returned to teach Divine Feminine Awakenings with grace and enthusiasm. It was truly an honor to absorb her life’s passion for sexual vitality.
Like Caroline, it was through my journey into Tantra that I discovered my aliveness and felt supported in expressing my full femininity, which possesses both softness and strength. Tantra helped me embrace my vulnerabilities. I also came to understand my desires to be adored, to be served and (to both my and my husband’s surprise) to surrender. At the same time, I found that inner primal passion of Kali, ripping the clothes off my man and coming together with intense lust.
We all have both masculine and feminine qualities and energy within us. As women, we too often lose ourselves, mistaking our masculine power as feminine power. We attempt to cope with the harshness of the world by hardening ourselves. Often this causes us to become aggressive and controlling. We forget the feminine force within us, which is grounded, considerate, determined and–ultimately–more affirming. As women, we must strike a balance. It is good to be powerful and effective, but it is also important that, after the work is done, we retain the ability to soften, let go and be held.
As a teacher, I have promoted inclusivity of all genders. At the same time, I have had a few recent opportunities to dive deep with just women in particular. There is something undeniably special and beautiful about being in sisterhood – a real coming home and softening occurs. Likewise, I am sure that there is something meaningful in the brotherhood of men and the siblinghood that occurs between people of other genders. Being seen and supported by one’s own gender is soul affirming – a basic need. A true gift for any and all genders is to be held by their kin.
Another need is to be accepted. Unconditional acceptance comes after we fulfill a deep ache to be fully seen and heard in our rawness. I believe that is the impetus that drives this new “naked“ generation to share such personal musings on social media. They reach out and say: “This is me.” But are we as skilled at supporting each other when we are cracked open? Do we offer the depth of holding that says “I see you, I hear you, I am with you, and honor you”? Do any of us ever say “I hold you in your pain and I rejoice in your celebrations”?
At one point during the Divine Feminine retreat, I came to a sharing circle feeling restless, aware I had not gotten vulnerable and shared myself emotionally. I feared that I would leave this retreat having missed the opportunity for true meaningful connection with these amazing women. I longed to be with them, to be more of my full self and let them see the aspects of me that I am tired of keeping in the shadows. I wished to know more of each of them, but that was theirs to reveal.
I decided to facilitate my own exposure, to be with each of the women and share the recesses of my private life. I spoke of how I felt lonely and scared, and also about how I am learning to love myself and let more love in. I told of the qualities I have that I celebrate and the behaviors of which I feel ashamed. Progress was marked when I heard myself exclaim, “I love my body.” It wasn’t until later that my body retorted, “Then why do you still criticize me so much?” So far I’ve come and still so far to go.
In the end, I did feel seen, heard, held and celebrated.
I am thankful for the courage that Tantra has provided to me – the validation of my wholeness, by weaving together sometimes contradictory aspects into a harmonious sacred being, which we all are in our own ways.