honouring where we are
There are so many ways to make meaning in our lives and allow that meaning to support us on our journey. One such way is to play with the idea of the natural cycle of the breath as a micro-representation of the cycle of the seasons. When I drop into my body with this as an contemplation, I feel the pause before the inhale as being perfectly aligned with winter. And here we are in the depth of winter, YES! The DEPTH of winter. We have another two months here in the northern hemisphere, before the first showing of delicate flowers open our senses to the beauty and va-va-voom of life, thus inspiring a gloriously renewing inhale.
So how are you in the long pause we are currently in? Does lockdown and its accompanying restrictions make it especially dreary and uncomfortable, bordering on unbearable perhaps for some? Or does lockdown feel supportive, a permission to draw in, slow down and be more aligned with this season than you usually have opportunity for? And of course for some of you the external circumstances haven't created such a huge shift in how you are living and experiencing life. But whatever you are or are not experiencing, I wonder if leaning into your pause and this season without any resistance could open up more ease?
How might it be to give yourself full permission to receive winter's invitation to rest here?
Nature is so incredible at giving us clues as to what is needed in order to create harmonious living, and we humans are incredible in our capacity to ignore the clues and push through with mind-orientated agendas and goals. We enter the month of January and are immediately seduced by the manmade world to set our New Year resolutions AND to get on with them there and then. New health and diet regimes, purchasing of exercise equipment and, before lockdown became a thing, gym memberships are all a big part of this, as are work/career goals and big decisions within our overall life structure. So as the natural world becomes still we become crazy in our busy-making. UNTIL that is we have an experience of falling into step and feeling deeply the magic of this.
Two years ago I made a choice and responded to an invite to enter winters stillness to practice the art of none-doing. I was so fortunate to be supported in this by a beautiful friend who provided low cost rented accommodation, and a Christmas gift that made it within reach financially. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I learnt so much about myself and discovered that none-doing is PAINFUL when so adjusted to doing. So many pressures from within myself arose, instructing me on my failings, and how I ought to be somehow productive in this time. It took me at least four or five weeks (plus a conversation my Dad who effectively gave me the permission I was searching for within but couldn't find), before I was able to feel the peace and healing available in the pause I had called in.
Back to the breath and this pressure was like holding my breath out yet feeling a desperate need to take the next breath in. I wasn't trusting that the inhale would occur in "good timing" or that it would be enough to make-up for what I had lost in the none-breathing/doing. But guess what! The inhale/spring and my return to productivity was made all the more fruitful and rich an experience because I was so deeply rested. I am laughing as I write this because another "guess what!" moment has dropped in - it takes practice and repeated experiences to truly build the trust in the body-mind so that a new pattern can replace an old one. I confess, I have been experiencing the same pressures lately, the deep need of my body to drop into restorative stillness and the tension this creates when my busy-making "doing" mind doesn't yet FULLY trust the process.
So how might you and I ease the conflict and create a bridge from inner conflict to peaceful surrender? The first answer is to honour your current situation, in an ideal world, all people would enter a relative hibernation in winter yet our lives are rarely set up this way. There are things that need tending to all of the way through the year. So the first step would be to take stock of how things are, then make decisions about what could be let go of in order to create more space for pauses within your daily life.
Secondly, put the New Year resolutions and any other goals that require radical change to one side (not to discard them, but to come back to them when there is more energy available). This is the dark time of the year and as such, it is perfect for allowing the nebulous quality of the dreaming state of offer us fantasy and imaginations of what might later come into being. In Human Design, Gene Keys and no doubt other astrological/wisdom traditions that I am not as familiar with, the true beginning of the year occurs when the sun enters the 41st hexagram/gate. In gene keys this gate is referred to as a "start codon"- the piece of genetic coding our DNA needs in order for gene expression to occur (it's like the retaining box and the first pins on a zipper... without it the rest of the zipper can't line up properly and fasten our garments together).
The sun enters this gate on the 21st of January this year, but that still doesn't mean the time of pause is over. A start codon, or the retainer of a zipper, isn't the active part, it's simply a point of origin. It enables what follows to follow in the most beautifully and perfectly aligned way as possible. If we try to rush this and push ahead to the next phase without securing the zip we get all out of line and risk busting the zip altogether, (I'm remembering times of trying to get my daughter's coat on in a rush and ending up with a stuck zipper!). So, might you reconsider attempting to action any resolutions and goals just now? Instead we can let them remain as dreams and fantasies of what will be, trusting that the ones that are meant to become manifest will do so in good timing.
How does it feel right now in your body to read these words and this invitation to enter the pause more deeply? Are you being met by resistance or relief? If you feel relief or a softening within your body that would be a great clue as to what you need right now. And if there is any resistance, is it truly coming from your body? You might feel it there, but might that be the reaction to your own conditioned and disbelieving mind?
NB Always always check in with yourself and discover your own truth and most appropriate ways of being for you!
If you would like to begin to invite less resistance and/or a nurturing relationship to winter, and to your own inward pause, please read on...
A CYCLICAL BREATH EXPERIENCE
Allow your mind and your awareness to enter the pause and rest there, simply hang out in this pause. When the body needs more breath it will literally "inspire" the next inhale. You might find that the inhale which follows this slightly extended pause comes in and fills you even more than before, finding the spaces that were a little tight and unyielding before this breath.
Allow your body to re-enter its natural flow for a few breaths, with simple awareness and no forced changes, but with the invitation for the breaths to fully open your body, and your body to open to allow more breath in (its a two-way dance). When you feel ready to and after an exhale, enter the pause again. Rest there with the breath held out (no pressure, no tightness in the body and no yogic locks). Just stillness and a surrender into trust. Your body will welcome the next inhale when it is ready to just as the first buds of spring show themselves when Earth & Sky are ready to welcome them. Be & Breathe here, in winter, surrender to nature's stillness and let the dream state show you it's beauty.
Repeat this pattern of natural yet full breathing with awareness for a few breaths; followed by attention on an extended pause at the end of the exhale for as long as feels great for you. I would recommend a minimum of seven minutes for the whole practice and you can extend it to 31 minutes over a few days if you really want to get the know the practice.
Once you know it well (when your body-mind can easily drop into the pattern and you feel soothed by it), you can really lean into it anytime, anywhere, for just a couple of cycles to quickly remind yourself to take a pause, relax, and trust in the seasons.
May this meet and nourish you well.
unfolding the story
unfurling the rose
In my dreams…
“I’m trying to find the words to explain to my dad, an uncle and aunt, a cousin and his partner the work I do, in particular Tantra, and how people’s lives are very much supported by this work. The words are failing me so I invite them to come and witness a session. A client generously agrees to be witnessed even though this makes him feel quite vulnerable, there are others there too, students maybe. My client waits in one room while I set the space up and get everyone settled in a circle around the treatment couch. Candles are lit, satin sheets laid out, there is a heater keeping the space warm and the oils are also being kept warm, ready to anoint my client’s body.
I go to check on my client, he expresses his nervousness but affirms he his still willing so we enter the space together… its in disarray! My uncle has decided to inspect under the sheets for some reason and they are now in a heap on the floor, my dad has turned the heaters off not wanting to waste electricity and blown the candles out as they were, in his eyes, a fire hazard. I had asked everyone to be respectfully quiet, to bring their presence and to ensure my client felt supported and safe. My family were all chatting, making jokes and coming out with “rather you than me mate” comments to my client. A student has positioned himself at the foot of the couch and my dad forcefully moves him convinced he is just trying to get a look at my bottom… It is a out and out disaster.
I’m furious, I send everyone home then turned my full attention to easing my client out of the shock and anxiety triggered by the raucousness of my family”
For a while now, I have been tentatively dropping in little comments into conversations with my dad, when opportunities arose, that allude to the fact I have a better understanding than some in the arena of intimacy, connection and healthy sexual function. I have known if I was to have a fuller conversation about tantra and my work it would need to arise gently, without any confrontation or soap-boxing.
On the day following the night of the dream shared above I was in conversation with my dad about the prospect of finding a place to rent this year. Out of that conversation arose questions about viability, could I make it work financially, will I gather a large enough clientele in the area I choose, and then the biggy “What do you actually DO these days Amanda? What do clients come to you for?”
When I could feel the energy moving away from the conversation I shared with him the dream sequence above. We laughed about how close to the truth it would be and he said “so Amanda, what do you think the dream is telling you?” I replied, “that you guys aren’t ready to see the whole of what I do”. He laughed, stood up and confirmed “We were just blokes being blokes, we don’t get it, and we don’t need to know the full details”. He smiled and walked out of the room, and that was that.
I sat in the quiet for a while just smiling, years of build up to that moment, so much working through deep dark shadows, healing the inner child, growing-up the inner parent, integrating my own masculine and feminine, initiating through the inner marriage, claiming my right to be me - sexually, heartfully, soulfully me.
And it was done, in just a few minutes, in a calm good humoured way.
All of our lives, yours as well as mine, are made up of these stories, these pathways to remembering who we are. In the telling of our stories we capture their wisdom on our own breath, in our own voices. We acknowledge how we are transforming through them, over and over again. For a while we will tell the exact same story, perhaps from a different perspective, playing different roles each time or witnessing another nuance rising to the surface. I’m not sure if we ever reach “The End” or if it simply transmutes into another version… either way, or in many ways, it doesn’t matter. The art of Tantra invites us to remember, there is no goal, no finish line, just an onward flow of connection with pauses. Full spacious pauses pregnant with potential, and full enriching moments of flow. May we all of us be blessed by the beauty and medicine encoded within our stories. Thank you for reading this snippet of one of mine.
When Core Fears Rumble
Do we crumble or cure?
I was born into a wonderful family, I have been loved and cared for every step of the way, I have never truly needed to fear the harshness of poverty. Even in my struggles I have known that a home with parents, or my brother, or my cousin, would always be offered to me and my daughter should we need it. Not that any live in huge mansions or have gold dripping from their fingertips, just that they would do what they could to ensure our safety and well being, as I would theirs.
The only exception to the “no fear” has been an ongoing inner child fear of being abandoned by my dad. As a child I had recurring nightmares of both of my parents getting into the car in the middle of the night and driving away. I would wake to the sound of the engine starting, run downstairs in my nightie and out onto the drive, into the street and call to them “STOP, STOP! Please come back, where are you going?”. As I helplessly watched the car drive down the hill and out of view I knew they were leaving forever, I knew that it was my dad’s decision and my mum was going with him because her love for him trumped her love for me and my brother. In the dream my brother would appear on the driveway, woke by the commotion, and I would be sobbing, inconsolable and barely coherent as I told him “They’ve left us! They’re not coming back” He would just shrug, turn his back and say “Come on”… and lead me back indoors. I would wake crying.
In my teenage years, sitting at the dinner table, my Mum excitedly told me how she had met one of my old primary school friends. My mum was a health visitor and the friend, at 14yrs old, had become pregnant… My mum was now giving her guidance and supporting her in looking after herself and her new baby. Before I even had chance to ask any questions my Dad exploded with “WHAT! This girl is Amanda’s age and already has a baby!!” Turning to me he said with passion and conviction “Don’t you ever come home in that state out of wedlock, you’re not bringing that shame here, you’ll be out on the streets if you do!” Sheeesh! I could hardly breath, I looked at my Mum as she gave a small apologetic smile and moved the conversation on, while I quietly, inwardly, self-soothed my way out of the paralysis of shock.
There seems to be a particular dynamic in some father/daughter relationships which leads to the difficulty many fathers are faced with when their sweet innocent girl child who has doted on daddy, starts to show signs of sexual maturity and demonstrates an interest in others, and others show an interest in her. Or as in my case, in which I adopted the stance of “tom boy” in order to try to help my dad relate to me; but was unable to hide the magnetism of my feminine sexuality once boys started to draw in close. Not all fathers handle this tender initiation well, very few have been shown how to. My own dad’s reaction was clearly rooted in fear and a desire to protect, sadly, it did quite the opposite.
In my twenties, as part of the Spiritual Healing training I was taking part in, I received past-life regression. I had very clear images and memories of a life in which, as a girl-child, I was of no use to my dad (interestingly I was in the same family unit, including same grandmother, aunt and cousin); I was sent to a priestess temple to be raised by family members who were elders in the sisterhood. It wasn’t a bad life at all… until the temple was razed to the grounds by the same legion my father was a Commander of. It wasn’t a cohort under his direct command that carried out the assault, but his choices in his “career” had very much contributed to the movement which was now busying itself with the destruction of all feminine-wisdom traditions.
From my teenage years all the way through to now, I have chosen a path that has confused, sometimes embarrassed and definitely worried my family. Both my choices in relationships AND in career has been a cause for concern. Moving through some painful, abusive, and self-esteem-thwarting relationships my parents have watched on, sometimes in literal horror; while I have soaked up the opportunities for growth, and seen each person as a master teacher in their particular field. I have always trusted in the unseen bigger picture and it’s steady unfolding. I was an aromatherapist 30yrs ago in the days when it was still seen as witch-craft and spoken of with derision; I was a massage therapist and holistic therapist and discovered if I was to offer those words as answers to the question “what do you do?” I was often met with a blank look and a cold shoulder, or some lewd comment inferring sexual services. Add angel therapy and crystals to the mix and it starts to become quite the chortle, something for others to poke fun at. My dad avoided embarrassment, not by standing in my corner and saying “Amanda is very skilled in the healing arts”; but by introducing me as his “daughter who is a physiotherapist”. To this day many of our mutual friends and associates believe I’m a physio!
While all of this sounds very personal, and definitely felt personal in my younger years; I can now look on with fascination as I see the archetypal story playing itself out over and over again. From the intangible whispers of past-lives, to the astoundingly “in your face” shouts at the dining room table, this story persists. The story told through such myths as Inanna’s descent into the underworld and the consequence of then being abandoned by her Father and the Sky Gods, to the deep-rooted unconscious story we all carry of our individuated soul being ejected out of the heavens by the Father/God. Perpetrated by organised religion we are all capable of believing we are fallen angels and sinners, desperately trying to please our Father in order to be welcomed back home.
I am now heading into my 48th year and have lived through many experiences. I am a kundalini yoga teacher and shamanic practitioner (sentences such as “it’s a dangerous cult you know” and “do people pay you for this!?” are amongst the many my dad has made when I’ve attempted to share with him a little of what I do). I have been offering Tantra and Sacred Sexuality for 5 to 6 years, and am quite open and public about that but mainly in arenas where I know my dad won’t look. I don’t feel shame around this work, I know what I bring to it, I see it as immensely honouring and sacred, healing and empowering. And yet the fear of abandonment has meant that in my dad’s presence, everything is now named “yoga”.
Before I can really go there, I need to step through this one final gateway, burning the last vestiges of the abandonment story. Do I dare? Can I lay my truth bare at the feet of my earthly dad and accept whatever consequences might play out? Do I trust in myself, my power to endure, the capacity of my inner masculine to take care of my basic needs for home and shelter implicitly enough that I can risk no longer trusting in my dad to fill in the gaps should he take this level of support away? Can I reach full emotional-sexual maturity at this late stage by claiming it as my right regardless of all that might bring upon me? Have I garnered enough understanding that my dad in his humanness is simply a representative of a mythology, and through this story we have each been characters in, he is the perfect teacher and guide, challenging me to have the courage to stand for my soul’s purpose - do I believe that enough to now act on it?
Four friendly anchors
The Four Friendly Anchors as I'm light-heartedly choosing to call them are really and simply our innate psycho-emotional-maintenance system that we all of us move through one way or another - either skilfully or messily. Yet sometimes it helps to lay these processes out in a clear form, that way we can remember and choose with intention to step into the process each time we feel pulled off centre or find ourselves in a stress-response to life. Please note, this isn't a linear process, 1 to 2 to 3 to 4; but something far more fluid, intuitive and organic, so while I lay it out in stages for ease of writing, let your experience be something far more flowing than this.
In order to keep it real we need to take a look at what is going on; in the world, in our lives, in our own body-mind and feelings. Of course, with major global events brought to us through the media, we are never going to know what is being represented accurately and what is misinformation or manipulation, so as we acknowledge all that we are seeing, we need to recognise that some of it may not be "real". And yet our inner responses to anything we see are very real for us and these inner responses are what need to be acknowledged. So take a moment to turn those seeing eyes inwards, quietly sit and draw your attention within. Acknowledge the quality and content of your thoughts; how your physical body feels, where are you tight, where are you experiencing pain or discomfort; what emotions are with you; can your feel any eros flowing, any tingles of energy? Are there tears, growls, yells wanting to be sounded?
We need to give ourselves permission to express our thoughts and feelings, in the expression lies the power to release and transform. So take a moment now to sense what your preferred forms of expression are. Do you like to talk it out with friends or a therapist/coach? Do you prefer writing and what style - creative, poetry or journaling? Do you sculpt, paint, dance, drum, sing?
Release may happen before, during or after Expression, so feel into what is true for you. For me there are two parts to release, or perhaps two flavours. One is cathartic release, the emptying out of pent up emotion which once released leaves me feeling so much lighter, relaxed and liberated. It is important to have your inner observer or inner parent with you if you enter catharsis on your own, a part of you that can call time and gently hold you and draw you up for air. It also supports you in ensuring that you don't cause yourself, your environment or anyone else any harm as you tantrum yourself to freedom. I find drumming and/or breathwork greatly supports me in entering this kind of release - what works for you?
The second flavour of release is the simple, gentle yet complete decision to let go. To smile at all you have acknowledged and expressed and choose to soften, unclench the metaphoric (or actual) fists and drop all that is not serving you. Easy for some, and easier for all of us after adequate time spent acknowledging and expressing.
Finally as you move through the other three of the four friendly anchors (of sanity!) you will feel the organic happening of elevation. We can create a false elevation by bypassing the other three phases and using positive thinking or blatant, stubborn action to disregard our feelings and force ourselves into a lower-level happier state. This might be known to you as "pull yourself together and get on with it" - it works for short to mid-term, but often keeps one trapped in an energy that is more aligned with resignation than with the bliss of true elevation. At best this approach will help one to survive life in a numbed out kind of way; at worst it could lead into emotional, mental or physical illness/breakdown.
When we move into elevation as a natural effect of taking care of ourselves by moving through the stages of acknowledging, expressing and releasing; we engage a delightful sense of buoyancy as we tend to whatever else we need to tend to in life. This form of elevation is what enables us to "be the light", we are centred in Self and radiate calm clarity as a gift for all.
Rinse & Repeat
A final note that this is not a one-time event. Life spans out across the years, there is change and challenge every step of the way, marvellous and terrible opportunities for growth and richness at every turn. So it serves us very well to enter this process on a regular basis. To begin with we may find ourselves clearing years of baggage, touching on the yet to be met woundings of the past; in time we catch up with ourselves and can keep ourselves clear by doing some version of the above frequently if not daily (or moment by moment). The struggles and challenges of life will forever be part of the earthly human experience (well, until they are not!), yet we don't have to suffer them. Taking things seriously whilst holding all lightly, we can be with the challenges, grow through them, evolve, and as we disentangle ourselves from our own suffering, we can play a vital part in easing the suffering of others too. Sat Nam.
Prepare and Tune In
Set the scene by lighting a candle and making yourself comfortable either crossed legged on a cushion on the floor; or sitting in a chair with both feet on the floor. Either way feel your weight balanced equally on the sit bones, and invite there to be length both in the front line of the body, and in the length of the spine. Head resting at the top of the spine in a very light lock (collar bone reaching upwards, chin slightly dropped to lengthen the neck).
Take your hands into prayer position, resting the base of the thumbs against the chest at the level of the heart. Enjoy two or three long full breaths to fully land in the body and in the moment. Sing/sound the mantra "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" three times over to align with your inner teacher and the lineage of teachers who have kept this wisdom alive through the ages. (Video to the right will support you if you have never done this before)
Arms are relaxed down yet elbows straight, and the back of each wrist is resting on each knee. If sitting in a chair allow the thighs to be comfortably wide so that the arms and therefore chest are open.
Hands are in Gyan Mudra (tips of thumb and first finger touching - see image in right column)
Your eyes are looking down at the tip of the nose and are one tenth open.
Listen to Satkirin Kaur Khalsa's recording of the mantra and sing along. In this version there is a break in the mantra and a bridge about 5 minutes in, we will use that as a turning point.
For the first half of the recording sing along with the mantra while you allow yourself to be with all that worries you and challenges you. Personal and global events and situations, all you perceive as being wrong and a source of suffering. Acknowledge what is happening for you and be open to receive any insights as to how you might later like to express yourself. Releasing is likely to happen at this stage also, especially if you have been holding onto emotions, so give yourself permission for any tears to fall and any other emotions to make themselves known.
Invite that the musical bridge serves as a turning point and as the second half of the mantra begins, sing along, this time using your imagination and heartfelt emotion to dream into view a more perfected world and life.
Your eyes are now closed yet turned upwards looking towards the third eye area of the forehead.
Allow the mantra to support you in the gentle simple 'flavour' of release and let it all go. Be open to beginning to feel yourself being elevated into positivity.
There is another musical bridge at 10mins which we can use to support the intention towards elevation. SMILE!
In the final 30 seconds or so of the mantra be purely focused on love, compassion, forgiveness and a vision of a world in which we all belong and all thrive (ALL including all our relations - plant, rock, animal, soil, water)
Complete the practice by taking the hands once more into prayer at the chest and singing/sounding the mantra "SAT NAM"
3 three times - a long Saaaaaaat, and short Nam.
If you would like a fuller completion the video to the right will guide you to close with "The Long Time Sun" blessing.
Recall those insights around expression and should it still feel relevant, take up a pen, a paint brush, a recording device or whatever your preferred form is and bless yourself and the world by expressing your truth. Sat Nam.
NB An alternative to experiment with:
If you can share this practice with another, it is supremely powerful and heart-opening to sit opposite one another and eye-gaze throughout the whole of it. To share your vulnerability as emotions move through you and witness one another without judgement as you move from your small and personal self towards your elevated Self - Wow! Nothing quite like it.
If you are practicing solo you can eye-gaze with yourself using a mirror; or using an image of a teacher/guru/ascended master/archetype that you feel drawn to.
I woke gently on the morning of Friday 13th here in the UK and before even opening my eyes I “felt” a curious noiseless noise; it was reminiscent of the eerie silence following a huge explosion, or perhaps the quiet pause at the turning of a tide right before the force of a tsunami makes itself known. I wasn’t feeling personally invested in the outcome of the election, and I don’t feel pulled into any extreme emotions in response, yet in the early hours of a cold December morning this is the energy that seemed to surround me - the silence of shock.
I have avoided being on social media much since then, but I have seen a few comments from those who had pinned their hopes on a change in government; despondency, dismay, despair, rage, heart-break, grief, confusion have all been expressed, and little bit of gloating, relief, optimism, and joy also in the mix from those happy with the outcome.
For my own part, I am with a sense of wonder, I find my lips curving into a smile - not because I believe the government are now in a stronger position to do better for us all; but because I feel this is all part of the dissolution of what has been, and an opportunity therefore for each of us to choose to be the best that we can be within our personal lives and beyond as we move forward. In yogic terms we are still in the Kali Yuga (dark ages) and will be for many years to come, chaos will continue, so how can we BE with all of this?
I have witnessed time and time again how living in “hope” that something or someone outside of ourselves is going to “do the right thing” and usher in the new world, or put things in place that assure our health, wealth and happiness, ultimately creates a reaction of disappointment, upset and despair when it doesn’t work out. I had the realisation a little while ago that unless we are born into a very small and specific sect of our society, our “role” in society (as perceived by those in power - heads of global corporations, government, armed forces, church and royalty etc) is to tend to the day to day functions that keep the economy and life at grass-roots level moving AND to pay our taxes. Beyond this we mean very little to these giant forces.
This realisation didn’t create a cynical “stuff them” attitude, it simply put things into perspective for me. No one outside of me is going to take better care of my well-being than me and the people I know who care for me; no political party is going to worry itself over the small lives of each individual, it simply needs to placate society at large with sweet talk and promises until it secures our vote and is assured of it’s cut of the public purse.
With this clarity in place (and yes, I’m aware the above is a huge simplification of something far more complex, but bear with me if you feel to)… with this clarity in place I can let go of false hope and get on with creating and making choices in life. This isn’t about feeling repressed or being a mug, this is about claiming back any energy I had sent out in the form of hope, and claiming back the power that those hopes had inadvertently taken from me. When we say “I hope…” we are actually saying “I don’t believe I have the power, (but I can hope)”. It is a little bit like saying “I’ll try” as opposed to simply committing to doing or being whatever it is that is being asked of us, or saying “no” to it.
No matter which political party you align with, no matter which way you voted or how you feel about Boris being PM, we are all of us still swimming in a sea of uncertainty. So how can we take good care of one another in the midst of this? Well it begins with calling your full power back home to your core, remembering that whilst you may not be in the position to re-write government bills and ensure the policies that matter to you are funded; you DO have choice as to how to spend your own time, energy and money. You have choice as to who you hang out with and what and who to make your priorities in your life. You can choose to enquire… “How does love want to move through me today”, and then allow love to guide your actions.
I set off on the 29th of October, the day after the New Moon I now realise; and intended to return to the UK on the 19th of November. A friend had put some adverts out for me and I had plenty of interest. Unfortunately most of that interest was from men who were really seeking escort services so I turned down perhaps 90% of enquiries. From the moment of getting there I could sense a discomfort in response to the thought of seeing clients. But believing I was there to work I agreed to see three people over the first weekend. The first was a clear message, letting me know I really needed to up my game of discernment as my boundaries were pushed time and time again in session. It almost turned me off doing any further work but after a re-empowering chat with a colleague and a day of meditation and kundalini yoga, I came back to centre and was ready to go again. The second two clients were lovely to work with, they were both more accustomed to receiving escort work but were respectful of boundaries AND made themselves available to receive something new. There were tears shared as hearts were touched and they each allowed themselves to be penetrated by love. The sessions felt fulfilling and impactful in all of the right ways and yet afterwards I still felt a strong discomfort.
I moved locations and landed at the venue where I had imagined I would offer the bulk of my work. It had a beautiful small and cosy yoga studio perfect for Tantra, Yoga and Sacred Sexuality work; a lovely corner bath perfect for bathing rituals and pamper time. Yet still, an ever growing tension was settling in my body, my mind was spacey and scattered, my emotions were all over the place. I had by now received some bookings from people experienced in true Tantra who seemed to really understand the level I was working at - but even this didn’t calm me. So, I had to contemplate other reasons for me being in Ireland and what I really wanted/needed from the experience as opposed to what I had imagined I wanted/needed. Living the Tantric path really asks this of anyone on this journey “What is your Truth in THIS moment”.
It was dark by the time we reached the harbour in Holyhead, and as I drove across Wales and back into England the most beautiful Full Moon lit up the night sky. I took many a deep inhale and sighed out in pure joy. I am home. I am here. I have landed.
Wherever my feet walk, under whichever sky, the fire of my ancestor's homeland burns bright in my heart. Their courage is with me, their love pours through me and their songs are forever sung.
At home I was a tanty-pants, back-chatter and risk-taking tom-boy. Give this spindly limbed ragamuffin a dare and it was as good as done. At school I faded into the background, humiliated by a teacher at the tender age of 6 then submitted to the torment of bullying peers from that moment for the next 5yrs. School was my hell. I couldn’t choose not to attend so I had to survive and did so by keeping myself to myself and living in my own curious world of fantasy. Of course this infuriated the teachers further and “day-dreamer” “lazy” “could do better” were regular scribbles on the school reports.
I was very much loved by my family, but we weren’t a family who naturally complemented each other. The primary affectionate messages given to me were in the style of “You’re a funny thing” and “You’re a strange little girl but we love you”. This internalised by a child can come out as “I’m ugly and weird” (the absence of comments about my being pretty or beautiful were noted by my seven year old self and onwards). It is quite understandable then that the natural shyness would deepen into something excruciating, and the lack of self-esteem create yet more social awkwardness and introversion. There was fundamental sense of being tolerated rather than accepted and I experienced myself as a lost soul desperately yearning to find a safe place to land. In the dark of night I would fervently pray to God and the stars to take me home, my being on this planet was clearly a mistake.
A little note before I go further… my experience is just that, my experience, and my choice in how I interpret and use it is mine too. As I share my interpretations let it not be misunderstood as a “this is how it is or should be” message for anyone else; and especially, please don’t misinterpret what I share as a statement that all people with developmental disorders, disabilities or illnesses ought to apply the same filters as I use to their situation. We are all on our unique journey and that journey and each person deserves ultimate respect…
Exclusion - Being excluded by my peers at an early age was incredibly painful and confusing, I just couldn’t seem to find a way to develop friendships. In my adult years this has created within me a passion for inclusivity and a compassion for anyone who feels marginalised. This doesn’t mean I am now suddenly a social butterfly or find it easy to integrate into a group, I still have awkward moments a plenty. I will however step out of my comfort zone to aid others when appropriate.
Another happy side-effect is that I am very content in my own company. I don’t think twice about taking myself on dates to the pictures, for a meal, to a gig, a workshop, retreat etc. If I have a desire to do something I don’t wait until someone is able to do it with me, though I DO enjoy sharing these experiences with others too. I have a small number friends but those friendships run deep, all of them.
Day-Dreaming - it is NOT a negative, I have gone so far as to make it a practice. Free flowing day-dreaming powers up my imagination for use in creative endeavours; structured day-dreaming (i.e. choosing a specific theme) becomes a contemplative practice which is a spiritual art form. Regular stimulation and indulgence in this way forms the basis of the Medicine I carry as a Shamanic practitioner, it helps me to find the words, visions and imagery to support others gaining a deeper understanding - it underpins such methods as Soul Retrieval and Journeying and allows me to access other dimensions by entering a light trance with ease.
Lack of Logic - I can’t see the sequential flow of events or the easiest ways to “do” things (as my oft exasperated father would point out - “you never do things the easy way do you”). Well no I don’t… however, I find many many different ways of doing the same thing, each time learning something new. This means I develop a broader perspective and can hold space for multiple points of view. In my illogical twisty-turny journey, never moving in an A to B to C direction but more from B to A to C to Q kind of way, I experience things from all angles so that when I do finally get the gist of something, I truly “know” it.
Lazy - Occasionally I still experience overwhelm and minor symptoms of anxiety… I now know that this indicates that I need to immerse myself in a state of non-doing for a while or at least drop a few projects and simplify my life. It amuses me (and also makes perfect sense) that a learnt strategy to cope with anxiety also forms the central tenets of most spiritual paths - do less, be, simplify. One of the expressions of dyspraxia is the inability to attend to simple tasks such as household chores, or use will-power/discipline to force oneself to take action - many people with dyspraxia are labelled as lazy which can lead one to feel ashamed or guilty. Having more understanding means I can now go easy on myself and use strategies to support myself, or ask for help from those around me. I can discern the difference between the ‘overwhelm indicator’ prompting me to take time out, and the paralysis of dyspraxia which just needs a little bit of support to allow the flow to continue. Understanding this about me enables me to understand the needs of others and how unique we and our needs are.
ADD style Hyper-focus - I get a lot done in a short space of time then go back to non-doing or rest. Now that I know how my productivity functions, wham-bam-whizz-woo-done, I can surrender when the motivation and drive bottoms out and not a thing is happening. I trust so deeply in this flow even though it runs counter to any 9am-5pm seven days a week social norm (or for some 12hr work days throughout most of the week), that I can now see the insanity of such social norms and the amount of stress it causes people. My work is predominantly about helping people find their own unique rhythm by calling them home to the centre of their Self so they can overcome the stresses, strains and trauma that living an unnatural and burdened life creates.