When I arrived at the ISTA training, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I set my intentions. BALANCE with work, home and my social life. JOY and LAUGHTER in those areas as well. SEXUALITY, CONFIDENCE, MONEY. The work started immediately. Meditations, emotional release, dancing, movement, practicing boundaries, clear communication. “These are all necessary for successful relationship and holistic lifestyle,” I thought to myself. Around Day Three the exhaustion sets in. Long days. Irritation. Emotional outbursts with persons needing to be seen and heard, perhaps like they never have before. The intensity of past trauma presented itself. The repeated stories, attachment to re-playing hurtful messages, crept into the supportive space. Persons scream and cry. They punch pillows, stomp their feet, push through mental walls of thought and mis-perception. Music and meditation help to ground me. Staying in gratitude relieves me of any guilt, anger or having to be the center of any type of immediate attention based on ego. I surrender. I become vulnerable. I find power. I send positive energy back into the circle.
Sexuality and intimacy are a necessary part of a holistic lifestyle. Joshua Rosenthal always asks his students, “How are your primary relationships?” He questions us so that we remember food and shelter are not our only means for survival on the path to wellness. Relationships, Career, Love, Sex, Exercise and Spirit are also what protects us from future disease and quicker death as well as provide outlets for happiness. Joshua writes that he “found clients who made great improvements in their health by smoothing out their relationship issues. Creating more positive relationships made them happier and healthier than any dietary changes could have made them. It’s fascinating!” Pamela Madsen has also found this to be true. She was interviewed in Psychology Today and discussed this very issue, “Perhaps it is the usual obstacles to sexual pleasure that get in our way: Guilt, Shame and Fear. And of course instead of owning and speaking our desire to ourselves and to our partners, we turn instead to the sensation of a crisp salty pretzel, or lick our way through mountains of ice cream (just this once).” This link between sexuality, food, and wellness is real!
Whether it’s binge eating or eating unhealthy foods, the result is often the same. Wellness can only come from wholeness. What might be seen as a silly exercise to some can be a mind-blowing life experience for others. It completely depends on the willingness to surrender to yourself, rather than the Will of another. We can seek out teachers and mentors and coaches, but if we keep repeating the same mistakes, continue behaving in the same way, and refuse to see that we often put obstacles in our own way, the body talks back. If people “give up” on their search for happiness, pleasure and desire, it will usually manifest in a variety of ways. It can be weight gain or weight loss, loss of income, loss of relationships, disease or body-aches or inflammations, drug or alcohol addiction, behavioral addictions (sex, food, lying, cheating, gambling porn, prostitutes) and unhealthy boundaries. The fact is, a human being MUST release and experience emotion, desires and happiness in order to avoid the negative manifestations listed above. It is our rightful need for FULFILLMENT. When we open ourselves to love, intimacy, surrender, gentleness, and do it with our safety and highest good in mind, we will feel FULL.
“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
As a Holistic Coach, Intimacy Coach and Reiki Master I have studied holistic lifestyle, sexuality and spirituality for over ten years and discovered, in the end, that people who struggle internally with their primary relationships are not often content and focus heavily on their external lives. They constantly feel they have lack, and are unable to create their desired manifestations. This creates a need to feel “full” and a need to seek out ways to feel this way (as described earlier). Yet, sadly it does not make them feel full-filled. I saw this in the Sacred Sexuality workshop as well. People struggling with messages from childhood, perceived lack, fixation on the negative and external, and holding to pain and messages of painful memories are those that have difficulty in releasing emotion. I personally experienced the same. This created blocks in the energy fields and, for some of us, showed up as physical limitations or illness. Many participants explained physical symptoms throughout the week, much like a detox cleanse can sometimes make you feel in the process of elimination. Yet, pushing through to the end, felt like a great accomplishment and many of those were truly cleansed. The desert monsoon rains that came on one of the last days was just another symbol of the cleansing that took place, the release that occurred, and the smiles of pleasure and happiness that were taking place.
The next time you hear about a tantra or sacred sexuality workshop I hope you will consider it. Find a good teacher, a trusted member in that community, to learn from and start your journey towards your desires. It’s simply another tool towards Holistic healing and Wellness. You deserve a life you love.