On my path of tantra and exploration, I have so often found that my greatest breakthroughs have been in the most surprising places. In fact, so often I discover a huge opening lies right behind a big wall of resistance or judgment. But when that wall comes down…well then the dam of energy that was caught up behind it begins to flow free once again.
Erotic dancing has been one of those surprises for me.
No, I didn’t go off and work as a stripper for a year. In fact, I don’t think I have ever even stepped inside a strip club in my life. Well actually, one night watching the Lady-boys in Bangkok…but I have never even seen inside a female strip club.
However, I have encountered many amazing women who teach the art of striptease, pole dance and erotic dancing as part of the alternative world of transformation, and I have had the joy and liberation to join a few. And the joy to share some of this work within my own workshops.
Is this so that women can learn to dance for men? No, not at all. This is so that women can awaken their energy and feel into their bodies even deeper, for themselves. So that women can love themselves again.
It is also about being seen: this is a big one as it is often our greatest fear and yet our deepest longing at the same time! Once we understand that paradox, we realize that the very parts of us that have been hidden away all these years are the very pieces that long to be seen and accepted exactly as they are.
And this is the healing.
So in a women’s workshop, when we use dance to heal, it has nothing to do with performance. To perform gives the idea to show off some great part of yourself or some great skill. In women’s workshops, this is not performance…this is about revealing.
The essential factors here are love, safety and trust. It is vital that the women feel connected to each other, have moved beyond judgment and comparison, love and honour each other and have taken time to build trust. These are all the reasons that I often wait until the end of a long workshop before I bring this piece in. It is like waiting for love and trust before you make love with a partner…then you know that you will be held in whatever arises from the experience.
And each woman gets to stand before her sisters and have their loving support and guidance into which energy would most open her in this moment. They may find her costumes, make-up and the perfect piece of music. They create a space of deep presence and high reverence.
This is damn scary. Its terrifying. Just before you start to dance, your body often shakes with energy….the energy that is about to awaken. It can feel like total fear, but when you move that energy it becomes total awakening. It is the deepest alchemy in the presence of love.
As each woman feels into her hidden parts, the parts she has feared will be judged, the parts she has kept away from the light of the world…and she begins to move with them, breathe life into them, reveal them….there are no words to describe the deep and moving beauty of this revelation.
As you watch, you cannot help but love her. Her deepest vulnerability laid out before you; a gift that has no comparison.
And as you watch something awakens within you. You own deep hidden and rejected parts start to stir. As you love her, you are loving yourself. As you give her space, you are giving space to those parts within yourself. As you celebrate her totality, you awaken your own.
The beauty is indescribable.
Finally we realize we are lovable as we are. We see that we have been told to pretend to be someone we are not; told to push some image out into the world. And we remember that actually our deep essence, our embodied stories, our pain and vulnerability and longings and passions…these are the ingredients that make us the perfect mystery, loveable in our completeness. Loveable in our uniqueness. Loveable in the power of our vulnerability.
And this is how erotic dancing has healed my sexuality, and my psyche and core wounds and more!
As I said, I have never been to a strip club, and I imagine that they are far from this deep loving transformational space found in women’s workshops. It seems that erotic dance has become a commodity, bought for men’s pleasure…and no doubt, like many great things, the true essence has been squeezed out of it. Possibly in the ancient times, the tantric temple dancers (devadasis) were transmitting the energy in a way that is closer to this powerful alchemy.
So I cannot speak for the commercial world of erotic dance. But I do have immense gratitude for the sacred spaces we are creating, enabling life force energy to flow again in its freedom and nature and beauty.
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