Curiosity: Love + Sexuality
We sat down with Amy, a coach, author and artist who is passionate about sharing sacred sexuality and the healing it brings through tantra. She takes great pride in helping create a world without shame and guilt, especially around sexuality and our bodies, so that everyone can live a fully expressed and vivid life. She has brought her teachings to women all over the world from New York to LA, Vancouver and Australia. Her new book of poetry, Woman and Me, is now available on Amazon.
WASN: We hear the term Tantra used often in our circles—would you share a basic overview of what Tantra is?
AJ: Tantra is practiced and described in very many different ways. The main principles of Tantra is to see the sacred and holy in the physical form (our body), to see the divine in everything (not rejecting anything as not being a part of God/Goddess). Tantra shows us that pleasure can open the door to enlightenment or heaven. Tantra also teaches that universal power is feminine.So what does that mean for us Westerners?It trickles into not seeing feminine aspects of life as less than masculine. It teaches us through practice to find bliss and happiness even in chaos and suffering. It's also a form of feminism. Many ancient lineages are lead by female priestesses and worship the power of the Goddesses. Something that I had been searching for in Western religion was the celebration of being a woman, and I couldn't find it. It also doesn't reject sexuality and sensuality, but sees it as holy, sacred and powerful.In our culture we are obsessed with sex, but repelled by intimacy it’s so easy to disconnect. Tantra is a bridge back to health, back to pleasure and authentic intimacy.
WASN: What are a few ways to add the embodiment of tantra into your day to day life?
AJ: Breathwork is an incredible way to be present with your body and clear your mind. Incorporating pleasure into your everyday life by slowing down, listening to your desires. Something as simple as really tasting your food without distractions can transport you to bliss and joy. A practice that has become a luxury in our society.
WASN: You've spent time researching and teaching about the Goddess archetypes, can you explain more about what that means?
AJ: Shakti is the name for the feminine power of creation. We all (men and women) hold shakti. It is our creative energy and our sexual energy, it is also aspects of our consciousness. I find the archetypes give us permission to access parts of ourselves to grow, evolve, create and heal. For instance- if we have trouble letting go or accessing anger- you can devote your practice to Kali- the fierce warrior goddess of rebirth and death. If we are seeking to create more beauty or abundance- we can bring in aspects of Lakshmi the giver of Gifts, Beauty and Boons. There are thousands of goddesses in the Hindu pantheon. Not unlike Carl Jung's archetypes, we can begin to grow and expand through aspects of the Goddesses. The goddess is also associated with Kundalini, or spiritual awakening. So as we open to these energies, ideas and practices, we become transformed ourselves.
WASN: What are some of the the differences between Tantra and Western approaches to love and intimacy?
AJ: In the West, we have our roles to play and have modeled most relationships around the nuclear family. Shame and guilt are woven into dynamics of marriages, dating, sex. Which can cause depression, anxiety and overall mundane relating. In Tantra, you are your first soulmate. The key to universal love and romantic love is unlocked when we are able to sit with ourselves and see the divine. Also, there is no rejection, just presence. So as we grow and change- we continue to see ourselves and our partners as divine. Instead of dating being a daunting interview process, it becomes a dance that you invite someone into. Sex becomes a prayer or a meditation, not just an urge or a peak.
WASN: Why has dating and love become so difficult or has been painted that way through media?
AJ: I do think dating or love is difficult. The pressures of evolving and no longer ticking the boxes that our parents and grandparents did can cause some major upheaval. The deeper we know ourselves the easier relationships and dating and love becomes. We've been taught to settle in so many ways. There has been so much fear instilled in us that if we find someone that chooses us, we better keep them. When in reality, it's physics. Like attracts like, and nature does not like a vacuum. If we create space for a relationship or partnership, it will come. We just need to be really clear on what we want, and feel full within ourselves.
WASN: How do you wake up your own curiosity?
AJ: It's a practice. Slowing down is key to allow curiosity and creativity. Learning to allow pleasure and desire is key to being curious about life. There's a sanskrit term Lila that describes life as a cosmic game or movie playing out. A reminder that everyone is playing a part in a movie, do we want to have a boring movie with no highs and lows? Or do we want to have a vibrant life filled with expression, pleasure and transcendence?
WASN: What is one piece of wisdom you would like to share with our community?
AJ: Sexuality is a small piece of Tantra. However we are desperate for intimacy, connection and to understand and own our sexuality. We are seeking pieces of ourselves externally. There's so much room for control, abuse and rejection of ourselves through shame and guilt. There are many spiritual paths that will help you transform and feel connected. Tantra includes the body, a practice I so desperately needed to see my divinity in order to release past trauma and guilt. Even if Tantra is not your path, the message that your sexual energy is powerful and available, your body is intelligent and your desires are a good thing- we can start living from a more powerful place.