Tantra Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shakti goes Cross-country England
31 May 2011

I am writing this first blog on my teaching travels for 2011 in the cross-country train between Salisbury and Glasgow. For the next seven hours, I will be watching the green fields and clearly lined hedges of the English-Scottish countryside go by. For the next three months, I will be experiencing the world and traversing great distances, from the UK to Hawaii, California and Portland, and then to Russia and Kazakhstan.

Right now in front of me, at this little table where I am writing, sits a traveler whose eyes look just like that of the floppy long-eared dog at this feet (the dog is a bit more friendly).

A countryside visit with my mom

My time in the UK started with a visit to my mother in Sydenham village, Northhamptonshire There is just nothing on earth like mother love - the best place to land. We traveled up to Norfolk on the East coast where the ocean is filled with crabs and the wetlands teeming with birds. My mom loves this place dearly and it is delightful to share it with her - long ocean walks on a sunny but cuttingly cold coastline. During this weekend visit, two dear friends and fellow tantrikas, Caronne Harford and Dave Eadie, passed away. I was stricken with grief and opened to deeper surrender. Eros and Tanatos - love and death - they touch us so profoundly.

Brighton - deep healing and digital dharma

Then off to Brighton, the brightest seaside town of England, known as the little San Francisco of this county. If I had to choose a place in England to live, this would be it. Daytime, the parks are filled with students in funky colourful short-suits and boots having picnics between visits to the Brighton music, dance and drama festival that was on during my visit. At night, the streets fill up with handsome gay couples in tight black gear and groups of girls with skimpy dresses and black horns. I am astounded by the British relationship with summer: As soon as the first bright days appear, women start to wear thin sleeveless dresses, even if the temperatures outside are closer to 10 degrees celsius. The idea of summer seems to be enough to keep them warm.

My work in Brighton started at 120 miles an hour. Saraha, my graceful hostess, picked me up at the bus station and ushered me into the meditation room in her house just in time for the first session she had booked for me. During the four days I spent in Brighton, I did 20 hours of sessions - 7 hours on Saturday, and 8 hours on Sunday. Marathon! The work was deeply moving. I did a tremendous amount of trauma release work, here and in London. This focus was probably because of my youtube clip on sexual trauma, and also because this was the topic of my talks and one workshop.

It feels like such a privilege these sessions - people from another country sharing with me their most intimate, most vulnerable experiences. Often, they had never shared with anyone before the way they did with me.

For many if not most of those I worked with, that which later became sexual trauma started with parents who were incapable of providing the emotional support and/or physical affection that a child needs. Yearning for this physical-emotional expression of love, the children sometimes find something like it in sexual encounters - sometimes encounters with siblings, often with men or women whose age or manner promise something of the mother or father they are yearning after.

Sometimes our sessions go to direct trauma release work - emotions start the contraction-release cycle between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. I encourage the completion of these trauma-release cycles by keeping the client's attention on their body responses and by vigilantly checking thoughts that habitually take them into dis-incarnating or suppressing this releasing response.

Another category of work that I do a lot on this journey is masculine-feminine dialogue, helping clients to see how unhealthy parental role models have become internalized and are resulting in a very unhappy marriage between their inner masculine and feminine. Sometimes clients feel pure hate towards their parents. This hate is usually a cover-up for a deep love and desperate longing for that parent who never was there for the child. When the client can acknowledge that love that the child felt, and the internalized parent can accept it and return that love, deep healing happens.

The man in front of me on the coach just left, to the great distress of the dog. Here he comes back with a noonday bottle of red wine. The British and South Africans seem to have a shared attachment to the happy liquor. I hear that John Hawken, one of Britain's foremost Tantra teachers, calls it the shame-shameless paradigm. People live with much suppressed (and I would say, inherited) shame, and they find an escape into the 'shameless state (where anything goes) through alcohol. It has been very sad for me to witness how these tendencies get transferred from generation to generation.

Back to John Hawken, I look forward to meeting the man at the European Sexuality and Consciousness Conference in Prague early October. Hawken comes from Margot Anand's Skydancing Tantra school, and seems to have peppered British Tantra with a juicy dose of BDSM. I like the title of his book - Dark Eros. From students of his in Brighton, I gather that much of Hawkens' work on Dark Eros is to help people see that they are not as bad as they though they were. And to bring the fun back into fantasies that have seemed quite evil to many.

Thursday night in Brighton, I present my first ever BlissDance class outside of Africa. We are in the basement of the Anahata clinic - a tiny space, and the event is very popular. It is a delight to find ways of entering the full bliss of the dance amongst semi-medical looking equipment and with limited space. The Brightoners are delightful dance - they trow themselves at the dance with full enthusiasm, and in the last dance, a song burst forth that becomes way louder than the music. Nobody seems to want to leave afterward, they all look slightly astounded at the joy they are feeling rushing through their veins. And they want to know when I come back.

It was good to pass the spirit of Africa on to England. Thank you, Cape Town BlissDancers, you were with me in spirit.

I get met in Brighton with an astounding level of awareness and sensitivity. It is such a pleasure to work with people who have directed the course of their lives clearly to waking up, on every level.

Australian sex coach Andrew Barnes, whom I met at last year's Africa Sexuality and Consciousness Conference, imprompto takes the train out to Brighton to come join in the BlissDance. He admits to me that he is not much of a dancer - but by the end of the dance, he was fully immersed. We meet for dinner and again for lunch the next day to talk about the Body De-Armoring course we will be co-presenting in Cape Town this November. This exciting conversation in the end spans over three meals: A delicious Thai dinner, then a lunch in gorgeous organic cafe in the lanes of Brigthton city (Andrew excited about the vegetarian shoes he just bought across the road, and me peeving a large false-mink wrap hanging in the window next door). The final dinner was in London at SAF - which must be one of London's most elite raw food restaurants (cashew nut cheese with raw food crackers and the best all-raw ceasar salad I have ever had, complete with nut-based 'parmesan' sauce). Going by the meals we consumed along the way, Andrew and I should be able to cook up something delicious togehter.

Back in Brighton. Friday night I do a talk in the Friends' Meeting Place in Brighton - a Quaker meeting space, from what I understand. I love the peace that pervades here. I attempt my first filming of a talk I give - the idea is to eventually get these up on to Youtube. Afterward. I get escorted to dinner by Mark, a Brightoner now but born in Russia. He is a devoted and experienced meditator, and also an internet animator. We talk about digital dharma - his idea of using animated graphics to illustrate spiritual principles. He is working on a dakini animation that I am excited to share with him.

Unexpectedly in Brighton I receive a beautiful channeling by Ja'been in which Archangels Raphael and Michael come to commend my work and urge me to be more available for healing and awakening across the planet. The archangels are practical - they suggest more traveling and networking, and importantly also internet based teaching. I am dreaming into the latter, and intrigued how the digital dharma crosses my path on the journey already.

Sunday, after 8 hours of sessions, I rush to the train with the help of Saraha, and manage to loose my credit card in the process of getting on. So be it Existence, I surrender to this trust walk, and to the ever mysterious dharma of my life!

London, crazy hub of the world's peoples

The archangels' encouragement ended up being much needed in the next ten days I spend in London. This city must be the hub of the world in some ways. That underground, packed minute to minute with people from every continent living here now, is like the vein that mixes this crazy unlikely diversity into one orderly machine. I cannot help but think of the movie the Matrix, and spend many moments pondering its uncanny usefulness. Between buses, trains and the underground, I spend on average 4 hours a day in public transport here. This is much to ask of a girl who avoids shopping centers at all costs. But it is also a beautifully moving opportunity to encounter humanity - mommies with babies, hassled businessmen in pin suits, young lovers, old lovers, lonely men with spiked jackets, African mamas who have somehow made their home in this unlikely city.

There is an eerie mixture between alienation and intimacy on the underground. We all pretend not to see each other, and yet men can't help themselves from staring at me as I eat my breakfast-apple, and women regularly do their whole make-up routine on the tube. I am puzzled by this, as it seems to be a more acceptable act than eating the apple. And then I realize that doing make-up is like putting on your armoring for the day. That direction of intimacy, I guess, is more acceptable.

I loved my time spent with Uta Demonsis, my colleague and friend in London. Uta teaches the Taoist Tantric practices in London and across the UK and Europe, and she is doing beautiful skype-based sessions work as a sex-coach. Uta and I share a love for Tango. She arranges me a private tango lesson with Renee, her teacher.

He does basic work with me on posture - how to hold myself high while staying grounded, how to breathe into the back of my chest in stead of pushing forward with my diaphragm. I go to two tango classes followed by practicas arranged by his school - so fabulous to be whirling around in a large hall with close to a hundred eager dancers around.

Knowing that I love good bodywork, Uta books a session for me with her colleague Carlos. What an awesome surprise Carlos is. He is a cross between a highly skilled and intuitive bodyworker and an Amazonian shaman who will draw poison out of you with his teeth if needs be.

Uta helped organized my events in London - and referred me to Meera of www.onlyforart.com. Nowhere on the planet have I had such smooth support with organizing events so far. Meera wants me to come again, so I'll be back, London!

BlissDance happened in a most gorgeous sun-filled light-wooded floor (the shadow of a boxer on the next floor dancing above us). The room was filled with delightful dancing enthusiasts coming from London's vibrant dance (5 rhythms and biodanza) culture. I find it a beautifully tender challenge to traverse intimacy in this city - the doors are wide open, and people come in from all levels of emotional and physical readiness, need and wounding. But the dance was beautifully creative, like a raw, exuberant cry of our aliveness as human beings reaching through illusion, knowing beyond it all that our deepest desire is to wake up. I watch eyes slowly, tenderly opening to that awakeness in the dance.

Sessions in London - what an adventure! again with the loving support of Uta who knows that people can get loud in my country, she finds me a sessions space in a semi-industrial area where we can get as loud as we want to. London Faerie, my host, is something between a sadhu-born-as-cheeky-elf this lifetime and a soft-natured Dom and initiator of intrepid explorers into the world of kink. Enter into his temple with awareness of doors softly closing - and inside, on the soft checkered floor, the tie-me-up table (which he covered up so as not to distress those clients who are not expecting such fascinating innuendo). In the kitchen, a gorgeous picture of Claire, his colleague, tied up in beautiful rope work. The massive buddha-bag served as a multi-purpose vessel during sessions for clients to wallow in, to beat, to fuck, to scream into or to lounge in. Me too.

Faerie is a busy boy - he organizes various sex-positive events, and has opened the door of The Pot, the sessions space, to all who want to work in a sex-positive environment. Through him I get to hear about Jason who runs Tantra4GayMen. We make an enthusiastic attempt to meet for dinner in Soho, but after a full weekend of teaching for us both, the wires get crossed and we miss each other. He seems keen to visit South Africa, so the conversation will continue. I really think it's time that gay men in Cape Town get some good teaching in Tantra, so I will pursue this agenda.

Back to sessions: I also get to work in the Boudoir - a red draped, red lighted room with a massive bed, condoms, lube and masses of towels. Very gently and tenderly I venture in there with clients.

So this is how my typical day in London looks: I grab a raw-food breakfast and lunch at Planet Organic on the way to the bus around 8am, get to Faerie's (after multiple cat-calls and whistles from worker-men in the area) just before 10am (phew, made it on time!) let in the first client and, 8 hours later at 6pm, say good bye to the last one. Then off to tango or some evening arrangement. The last night that I did sessions in London, it rained. I managed to do the walk to the station without getting soaping wet, but decided not to put on my red dress. I am wearing red satin pants though, good enough for our plan for the night: Uta and I go tango on the plaza in Leichester square. I get off the underground into a lush world of glass and opulents. . Cleverly, Renee has arranged an undercover dance for us, thus saving the dance. I put on my silver shoes, and a suave elderly man with a tipped black hat comes to ask me for the dance. He sweeps me over the dancefloor Buenos Aeres style - hardly any space to move, but the turns are happening inside, so deliciously. And off we go again, on the undergound, to catch some sleep before I leave the next morning.

But I'm not quite there yet - first some more about London. the sessions here are also deeply moving. Some clients come from homes that are so very loving, and yet something, somewhere results in a trauma that goes deep into the body and the unconscious. Sometimes that trauma is directly sexual - a rape, incest, genital mutilation. Bringing love, tenderness and awareness back to our sexual organs that have suffered so much - that is a task I undertake with awe and deep respect.

In between, dinner with Elizabeth and David, dear friends I met in India in January, an excellent solo yoga class with Isaac Mullins and a superb dinner cooked by funky musician Max, with entertainment by her partner. psychotherapist and kilt-seller Richard.

This time, I have two days for the Releasing Sexual Trauma workshop at Neil's Yard. We are underground in a soundproof venue, so anything and everything can be expressed. Just the exercise of roaring, saying "Yes" and saying "No" brings up enough material for a full day of processing. On day two we have a good look at the ways in which our internalized male-female relationships support us in maintaining victim consciousness when the threat is no longer there. Some beautiful healing happens. Two men get up and challenge each other. We watch in awe as they both get totally into their roar, expressing pent up anger at father, life, and all that has come before. And from this expression - deep compassion, and the opening of the floodgates into genuine open-hearted vulnerability. I have a strong, beautiful man lying in my arms weeping his heart open. We are all moved by each other's journeys, and get to see that we are not as alone, not as separate, as we think we are.

On the workshop is Katinka Soetens, priestess of the goddess who does beautiful sacred intimate work. She encourages me to come do some facilitator's training in London next year, and I consider this - it is starting in California this year, and I shall pay attention to the archangels ;) Faerie and I agree I will be back for three days of sessions in London end of September, and it looks like I might be getting booked up already.

Salisbury, land of magic, the hot tub and a Tantra temple

So it's Friday after that last tango in London. I'm on the train to Salisbury, accompanied by Martin of Tantra Transcendence. I am glad to get so spend some time with him - he is a compassionate, knowledgeable and very experienced psychotherapist who understands the world of Tantra well. He introduces me to concepts that explain some of what I intuitively do - bioenergetics, for instance. Sometimes I think it's embarrassing how little I know, and sometimes I think it's better so.

Sahaja, Hanna and Martin's retreat home, is a countryside-goblin-delight. Go find a hole to crawl into amongst velvets and silks and mirrors, and there is your bed. Beds and partners are interchangeable, there are compost toilets and best of all, that hot tub in the wild garden. Lie there below the green at night - long slow simmering nights that are reluctant to go dark in summer - and drink up the springy freshness of the British countryside. The circular temple that we work in is a womb, with a red-draped yoni entrance that takes some awareness and skill to open.

The weekend's workshop is gentle yet also deep.. sitting with many tears and wounds that come present themselves for healing... bodies shaking, emotions unexpectedly bursting forth, and all the time in the background the slow rhythm of tantric breathing, or the tender-wild-boisterous-inward meeting in the dance.

Hanna is excited about her Tantric Massage video's which are in the final stages of production now - for more on this and Transcendence Tantra events see ...

Now I'm traveling through the Scottish countryside with sheep and stonewalls and miles and miles of green. I know that my time with enthusiastic host Gillian will be beautiful and we have a full programme ahead.

Then, I take a sneaky little break just for me, in Hawaii, who-hoo! before I hit California where Claire, Laurel and Soullove have put together a stupendous programme for me, have a look.

I feel filled with gratitude, well used, as available as I can be to the world, cleansed, tired, rejuvenated, like a snake shedding more skin, and with sparking eyes of love, waiting to see what next existence bring.

And sending you all so much love.


PS the man with dog had a lovely chat with me as we changed trains - he is on his way home after visiting his daughter.
PPS I go to the loo on the train to find a lady waiting there with two boxes with holes in - their occupants: Chickens. I thought it's only in Africa that we travel with chickens on public transport