Is your work…Tantric?

There is a short answer and a long answer.

The short answer is, no.

The long answer is…well, it’s nuanced.

My journey into Tantra started when I was 15. Standing in Logan Airport in Boston about to board a flight to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was in a bookshop and saw a copy of Anne Hooper’s Pocket Guide to the Kama Sutra. A friend, you know who you are 😉 dared me to buy it. Being the cheeky 15 year old that I was I went for it and read it cover to cover on my overnight fight to the U.K.

Fast forward a few years and I am a sophomore in college taking a course entitled The Philosophy of Sex, Love, & Marriage. It was fascinating, engaging, and a revelation. In this class I learned how to discuss the human body while staying grounded and without shame, a skill that has served me well as a touch therapist. I did my final project on the Kama Sutra as a philosophical text.

Then life happens. Graduation. Student loan debt. Marriage. Home ownership. Children. And I, like many other people, felt something missing. Like a part of me had died in the learning of how to walk the tightrope of life. After the birth of my daughter I nose dived into over 3 years of postpartum depression. I had to claw myself out of the darkest hole I have ever been in. What should have been the most joyous time in my life was one of my most fraught, most raw, and most overwhelming. I was in hell. In an earlier post entitled How The Light Gets In I discuss a part of that journey that helped me get out of hell.

After I returned from my time in Hawaii I made the conscious decision that I was going to live my life in a way that fully embodies Tantra and all that it has to offer. I embarked on daily practices to cultivate my Chi energy, my vitality if you will. Shortly after starting this work I realized that I had spent my entire life existing consciously in the Yin, or female, frequency. I came to understand that I had never spent time cultivating a relationship with my Yang, or male, frequency. Yes, these polarities exist within all of us regardless of gender. Connecting with, and exploring the Yang polarity within myself has helped me feel more balanced within myself and my practice. It has given me the ability to stay grounded and clear in what I offer my clients. It has enabled me to envision and uphold my boundaries. As a massage therapist this is essential.

Shadow work, the practice of self examination, is another way that I embody my practice of Tantra. This work gives me the ability to hold space for others when they are in pain. Because I am constantly examining my own pain, my own vulnerabilities, my own fears this helps me provide the space for clients to share theirs before they get on the table.

The last facet of Tantra that I want to touch on is its sensuousness. This past year I began to tune into what I call the “minutiae of life,” those small moments of pleasure. The way it feels when you plunge your hand into a bowl of uncooked rice. How the water falls over your body in the shower…how it undulates over my curves. When my long hair rests on the back of my shoulders like the softest touch of my lover’s hands. This is the practice of tuning in, of noticing how my body, mind, & spirit responds to pleasure.

All of this combined has aided me in my work. When we embody a set of values or a daily practice of anything it will spill over into all aspects of our life including our work. So the more nuanced answer to the question “is your work Tantric,” is yes, it is because my life is Tantric.