So the last two posts were about working through and accepting a difficult experience. This post is about opening up to pleasure, an important part of my current journey. I love how life’s lessons are so balanced. 🙂 I am also going to talk a bit about the inspiration for the name Threedeelife (although I have put some more thought into it since then, and will add more later).
Alright, so what do I mean–opening up to pleasure? The funny thing is that just as people have a hard time experiencing pain, we also have a hard time fully opening up to pleasure. This may take a bit to sink in . . .like, wait, I love pleasure. I have no trouble enjoying food, sex, love, ect. That’s what we think.
What I have learned is that what we ordinarily experience as pleasure is a small, contracted form of the larger bliss that is open to us. Years of living in society have given us a shell/armor/cocoon/posture/persona that makes it hard for us to access this deeper place. Sometimes we are aware that we carefully manage and control our experiences–even the good ones–so as not to rock the boat or let others get too close. In other instances, we do not even realize that our usual way of doing things is just one way of approaching life, with predictably limited results. Women can have an especially difficult time experiencing pleasure because of past trauma or society’s judgmental double-standard. Men can have particular trouble escaping macho stereotypes and being truly present and vulnerable. How often do we really open to vibrant, alive, joy?
I am beginning to learn more about my relationship with pleasure through Tantric workshops and practices with Charu Morgan, of Embody Tantra. (Check out her webpage here!) Charu is a dynamic, tender, and caring Tantra teacher, and highly recommended. Plus, she is funny and down-to-earth. She attracts a great group of interesting people who are usually already on a spiritual path.
So, people ask me: what is Tantra exactly? The basis for Tantra is the text of the Vignana Bhairava Tantra, which contains 112 meditation techniques delivered by Lord Shiva to his consort Devi. The techniques include breathwork, chanting, and visualization practices. (There are actually only five meditation techniques that use touch!) These practices gradually open us to ourselves, as well as sensual pleasure and intimacy with another person, as rungs on a ladder to merging with the Divine.
Second question I often get: what does a Tantra workshop involve? Many of the exercises are simple, but run deep. For example, in a recent workshop the men and women partnered up (you can attend Tantra workshops with a partner or by yourself). The first part of each partnering (no talking) was to make eye contact and bow. (Side note: It is amazing how deeply I crave the very simple act of being seen and appreciated. I think this is a craving many women feel.) In each partnering, we explored a practice based on the elements, or different senses. In one of my favorites, the men imagined that they were standing on the edge of the ocean. The women became the ocean…feeling the ebb and flow of water as part of themselves..and then allowed their body to follow and express that movement…and then finally transmit that energy to the men through touch… as if the waves were lapping against them. I felt beautiful during this exercise, and very connected to my partner. Another amazing exercise (and one that is directly linked with continuous whole-body orgasms), is the fire breath. It involves a curving and contraction of the spine, linked with your breath and pelvic muscle work, while holding onto your parter. (Good tip: do not practice fire-breath while driving… even you are bored and traffic is slow. Trust me on this.)
The name of this blog–Threedeelife–was inspired by a two-day Tantra workshop I participated in during this past fall/winter. During one exercise, I started to feel this strange power running through my body–not even so much sexual, although it was pleasurable–but just unknown and much bigger than me. It sort of felt like my body was a computer I had been using as a paperweight, and I suddenly discovered that it could turn on and be used to access the Internet. What was this!?! Why did I not know my body could do this?
The exercise was intense, but what was amazing was what came afterwards. For the next week or two, I experienced this very deep, rooted connection with the present moment. I also experienced a sensual experience for life. The wind in my hair. The sunshine through the window. Finally, my own light and vibration was watted-up. I ran a mile faster than I normally do in the gym. Several friends commented that I was glowing.
That experience–(no doubt made possible in part by my heart-opening from fully embracing the pain of my breakup!)–inspired this blog’s name. When we are in a contracted state, avoiding both pleasure and pain, life is two-dimensional. We stay small. We avoid the lows, but the highs as well. We do not grow. When we are in an open, receptive state–when we say YES to life, whatever it may bring, we begin to let a larger power move through us. We tap into a vibrant and joyful energy, and become aware of an amazing richness to life. My journey right now is about consciously opening my body, mind, and heart, so I continue to experience that third, ALIVE dimension to everyday life. Threedeelife!!