Imagine entering a womb-like environment, in which you know you are free to explore the deep inner recesses of your heart and soul. Heart beating with a blend of anticipation and nervousness, being greeted by radiant beings, one who you have waited 2 1/2 years to meeet hug to hug and the other a new friend whose glowing smile has beamed out at you from on line for a few months. The setting was familiar; the home of a long time friend Robin Renee and many those who gathered to absorb information and experience have been in my life for several years (one for about 30, one at least 15 and the other 8; the last one present at the beginning of my tantric journey). I had been eagerly looking forward to this weekend since I had heard that Monique Darling from San Diego and Ran Baron from NY, by way of Israel, were going to be offering workshops designed to invite participants to connect with the Divine. In many cultures, the body and soul are considered separate; one sacred, one profane. In traditional Hindu tantra, as taught by Ran and Monique, both are holy, created by the Source. Ran came to offer these teachings after 13 years of living in an ashram, being trained as a daka, (translated as ‘sky dancer..the female term is ‘dakini’), and taking the vows of Hindu priesthood. Monique is a spiritual teacher, soul explorer, Cuddle Party Facilitator, writer and healer whose curious mind fascinates me and whose courage inspires me.
I had set intention before the weekend began to fully allow for receiving, rather than giving out all the time. After all, the ocean tides flow both ways, so why was I expecting that I need not? I had wanted to peel off layer upon layer that I had built as pseudo-protection from emotional pain that I didn’t want even to acknowledge that I held. I desired to connect on a deeper level with people, with my role as facilitator taking a back seat to my place as full participant in a series of mystical experiences. I wanted to be real, genuine and fully present to all of my emotions, those which I lable acceptable and those I hide from for fear that “if people really knew what I was thinking or feeling, they would dispappear from my life.” Taking a deep breath as I write this.
The first night was the Goddess Puja, in which the men honored the women, in specifically performed ritual that included all of the senses and ritual items such as incense, a conch shell, water, fire, chocolate, and the sound of a ringing bell. Seated comfortably on a cushions as the men moved around the room to sit in front of each one of us. I sighed with gratitude and delight at being adored. How many women long for that, to be fully seen by a man, to be viewed through the eyes of love ? One of my favorite parts was being showered with rose petals. This was some of the group after the experience, celebrating with the flowers.
Saturday brought with it Tribal Love: Full Immersion as we took a more thorough exploration of tantric principles and engaged in energetic exercises that had me glowing from the inside out. Bonding with the community of kindred souls whose willingness to go beyond the mundane into the profound, sharing their joys and sorrows, beckoned me to do the same. By the end of the day, I was feeling wrung out and paradoxically energized (as a friend describes as “tired and wired”), which was a positive thing, since Monique and I faciliated a Cuddle Party that night. This was the first time that the two of us taught together and our styles blended seamlessly.
By Sunday morning, I was a weepy puddle; at one point, curled up in the lap of a new friend as he rocked me and stroked my hair; whose solid, supportive and loving presence, made it safe for me to truly allow a man to take care of me. So used to being self sufficient…who me? Need support? He and the others there held space for me to cry as I felt called to. One of my entrenched beliefs that have surfaced at other workshops is that ‘It’s not ok for me to take up too much of the group’s time.’ Since we teach what we need to learn, I tell participants in my workshops that they and their feelings matter and whatever arises for them, will.
One of the deep delights I experienced over and over during the weekend was the feeling of people’s hands resting on my back, ‘the back door to the heart'; my favorite chakra; anahata. It felt like a familiar knocking, to which I only wanted to answer “Yes, yes, yes.”
Sunday was all about honoring the Divine within the man or woman in the mirror in: Finding Your Ultimate Love: Yourself. Such a practice for me to keep coming back to my core essence, the love that I am, since I am so accustomed to being external. Again and again, I went within; mining treasures. I felt like my heart kept expanding (kind of like the image of the Grinch’s heart that ‘grew three sizes that day’…although I have never been compared to him, thank goodness:) Smiling with contentment throughout.
Although (uncharacteristic of this wordsmith), I didn’t write a whole lot this weekend, since I truly wanted to immerse myself in the experience, slurping it all up so that I could enjoy it, without my default thought : “Oh, how can I write about this, so other people can be here with me too? , I did note some feelings that arose, which I am sharing with you now.
And then last night, before drifting off to dreamland~