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”.
I want to keep on deepening this work, and taking it to a larger audience, challenging myself in being seen as one of the many warriors who have the courage to guide others into a mature, healthy and wisdom-based relationship with their own genitals, and a better understanding of what sexual energy is really all about. When we relate to the whole of our body as being deserving of love and respect, not leaving any of it out, we can move through any veils of shame, guilt, grief, rage and find ourselves in pleasure and authenticity. A level of pleasure that is so innocent, that belongs unto ourselves, and is so darn sacred that we recognise it as the prayer it is. As a prayer to our own inner magnificence, it raises us through our awakened power and into a brilliant merger of Will and Devotion, the power to act and to love in alignment with a greater Truth.
There was a time that women were being abused, burnt at the stake, hung, drowned, and beheaded for sharing this wisdom. The price isn't as high these days but in some countries there is still risk of a prison sentence, and all around the world there is commonly a reaction based in fear and ignorance which exposes anyone working in sacred sexuality, tantra, or similar fields to judgement and ridicule. It does take the courage of a soul on fire to keep on bringing this work regardless.
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?
Do I trust in the One True Source and the wisdom that says we are all of us forever loved, forever cherished,
that we can do no wrong in His/Her eyes and we ALWAYS have a home in Source?
When core fears rumble, will I crumble or will I cure?
that we can do no wrong in His/Her eyes and we ALWAYS have a home in Source?
When core fears rumble, will I crumble or will I cure?