by Joan Heartfield, PhD
Trust is a funny thing. We want to feel trust. In order to relax and be most deeply connected to one another and ourselves, we need to feel trust. And yet, it can be elusive. In many relationships, it comes and goes.
Trust is connected to our hearts. When we feel trust, our hearts can open. When we perceive trust is broken, our hearts close.
What creates trust in the first place?
When we come in as babies, we have no choice. We are helpless and we need to be cared for in order to survive. We have only our cries to communicate our needs for food and comfort. If we got at least enough food, and enough minimum care, we survived. But how did our parents or caregivers feel about us? If we had parents, how did they feel about one another?
Did we feel really loved? Did we come into a family that wanted us? Were those who cared for us relaxed enough and stable enough and supported enough to be able to care for us? Or were our caregivers so anxious, fearful and frustrated with their own lives that they could not really feel us?
Being able to trust, or not, is experienced early in our lives. Were we treated with some consistency? Could we trust that food and water was there when we needed it? Could we trust that if we got hurt, we could get help? When we needed to be held, was someone there to hold us? Were we welcomed into the family, or were we a ‘nuisance’?
Were our caregivers trustworthy? Did they do what they said they would do? Did they respect us, or hurt us? Could we trust what they told us? Did they break trust with one another, and, if so, did we see them fighting, and was there verbal or physical abuse?
Did we have siblings? Was there trust with them, or lack of it? Were there teachers, friends, girlfriends or boyfriends who broke our trust?
Our early experiences around trust, and they way we learned to react to trust being broken, has shaped our lives. We all have “broken trust” stories. We don’t trust men, we don’t trust women, because of something that happened in our past that gave us ‘good reason’ to feel that way. But do these blanket statements and fearful attitudes serve us? Is it true that (men) (women) are not trustworthy? And is there a deeper compass than our fear that can guide us to trust?
We have ourselves broken trust at some point in our lives. We did not follow through with our word. We did not love that person “forever’, the way we once though we would. We followed our own sense of what we needed to do, and for the person that expected we would keep our word to them, that meant we broke trust.
The truth is we may at times break trust, and others may break trust with us.
What can we do in the face of this fact? First and foremost, we can begin to discover how to trust our self. If we don’t trust our self, we can never trust anyone else. We project that lack of trust onto those around us.
How can I learn to trust myself? What can I trust in myself?
- I can trust in the goodness of my own heart.
- I can trust the voice of my heart, intuition, and guidance.
- I can trust my body’s wisdom.
- I can trust that my feelings are giving me valuable information, and that I can tune in and discover the reason for my feelings.
- I can trust that I know when my energy or chi goes up or down, and use this as a barometer of moving in a direction, or not.
- I can trust that I can be aware of my thoughts and take them into consideration.
- I know my thoughts are a part of my conditioning, and I trust that I can be guided by my deeper truth, not by my conditioning.
- I can trust myself in that I know what feels good, and what does not.
- I can trust that if a thought or feeling makes me contract, I can find a better feeling energy to move toward.
- And I can trust that when I take the time to track my body, emotions, thoughts and energy, and ask my heart for spiritual guidance, that my heart will guide me to my highest options.
- I can trust that I am being guided, and in that guidance, is love.
by Joan Heartfield, PhD
Every Spring and Fall for 3 years, I spent 2 amazing weeks with Dr. Stanislav Grof and a host of luminaries in retreat centers around the world ranging from Hollyhock on Cortes Island, Canada, to Findhorn in Scotland.
Stan Grof was one of the first researchers in LSD therapy and the founder of Holotropic Breathwork. He is one of the greatest minds I’ve ever known, and his work in discovering the healing that can be done in non-ordinary states changed my understanding of psychology forever.
Stan discovered that LSD, and later Holotropic Breathwork, opened the gateways to healing our emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds. In working with thousands of people from all walks of life from clergy, to students, to deeply disturbed inmates in institutions, he observed people moving through emotional suffering, birth trauma, past life awareness, and profound spiritual experiences into a more balanced and healthy place in themselves.
My own experiences in Holotropic Breathwork opened me first to an array of past life experiences that eventually took me into a vision of a jungle where I saw myself as a toothless female shaman, rattling and dancing an incantation in a ceremony. Years later, I found myself drawn to the jungles of Ecuador, where I had a variety of shamanic experiences that felt so very familiar. And it is where I met Tomas. This deepened my understanding of the vastness of consciousness and how to navigate consciously within it.
Every Holotropic Breathwork 3 hour process took me somewhere different, but it always left me aware of something profound and important for my understanding of others and myself. I was clearly shown where many of my feelings and fears came from that didn’t seem to have their roots in this life, and some that did. I was able to release rage I didn’t know I had, sadness from incidents in my past that I had repressed, and I was taken into spheres of mystical grandeur and overwhelming love, that I knew was my true nature.
I even healed a chronic pain in my back through reliving a past life experience where I was raped and killed. In that life I froze instead of fought. In one breathwork session, I let my body act out the feelings of rage I had blocked. I fought for my life with my sitter and others making sure I was safe to “let is all out”. I thrashed and punched. My back went through contortions, my spine cracked, and I released primal howls. When I walked away from that session, the pain in my back was gone, and never came back.
Stan was my favorite therapist ever. He taught me, by example, that acceptance and love is what heals. I saw him hold people, sometimes for hours, as they unwound their terror or grief. I learned to do this too with my clients, when needed. Loving safe touch and deep acceptance is what we all need, but particularly if we are “wound tight” from experiences that have deeply scared or scarred us.
So much of who I am now comes from my three years with Stan, and the years of Holotropic Breathwork and therapy I’ve done with students and clients. I have learned to understand what we need to come home to ourselves and heal. Once enveloped in this healing container of love and consciousness, we can all help each other to wholeness.
If you don’t know of his work, please Google Stanislav or Stan Grof, and watch every u-tube you can of him. If this work speaks to you, please join us for our offering at Hale Akua April 7. View Event Details.
The Art of Transformation
2017 was a year of challenges and transformation for the world. Middle earth and all her occupants seemed to be awash with some kind of category 5 weirdness. And, although it may sound strange, my own Gemini/Scorpio polarity, found me often entertained and even rolling in the aisles, or howling at the moon in response to some of the absurdities that we all witnessed.
I resisted the temptation to be offended when the White House and her cast of characters became ground zero for the “new adventures in weirdness”. I am sure the need for self-medication amongst the population was enhanced significantly. Perhaps it was no coincidence that more states legalized, or at least moved along the process of legalizing weed to stabilize the sanity of the residents. With many of us having adrenalin spikes every time the news aired, who didn’t need some kind of support? Imagine having a president who actually uses the White House as a real-estate office and openly profits from it. That must really piss off the other politicians who spend time and money disguising their shady operations. If the company you keep is any indication where this dark comedy is going, we should be giving away “medications” to all taxpaying citizens!
And then things got weirder as the Dotard and Rocket Man actually invaded my normally peaceful dreams one night. I saw them sitting in a barber shop in Waikiki, trading hair stylist secrets. Kim says to Donald, “You know I could nuke this dump and you could rebuild it, solve the homeless problem and split the profits.” Donald scrunches up his impish face scratching his chin and replies, “My boys down at the NSA are creating a new currency called HUUUGE coin. Now’s the time to get in! You want in?” Then we’ll talk nukes!
But I digress…
Transformation is a congruent theme because it’s something everyone is doing, consciously or unconsciously. Falling apart is necessary at times so that we can come together in a new way. We see it almost daily with our friends and clients. We’ve done it more than once ourselves (LOL). Both are necessary for change to occur. It seems many of our clients were “falling apart” earlier in the year, and the year finished with many clients consciously “coming together” by identifying shadows and using the reclaimed energy to transform.
I have been working more with young men and families. This has been an enjoyable evolution for me as I am now officially in myCapricorn elder phase of life! Supporting young men in get getting their lives together is something that uses my coaching skills with Heart Intelligence as an integral piece, and touches me deeply. My great joy in this is watching someone I am working with transform by discovering how to own their ability to handle the stresses of life, find their purpose, and develop creative solutions to challenges, thereby enhancing the quality of their lives.
Our Heart Intelligence groups rocked this year! Earl South showed up solidly with Ayurvedic lunches to fuel our circles! We created new themes for these day-longs, and watched our community grow and mature. We are grateful to Christian Pankhurst for tuning us up on how to embrace real change, and create Heart Intelligence circles where everyone can work together and energetically do some amazing transformational work with each other. A friend in Denmark remarked how impressed she was in seeing the photos of beautiful people with radiant smiles, every month for the last five years… in the middle of the Pacific ocean!There were so many blessings in the swirling images of the year. On a personal level, I deepened my self-love. I allowed myself to be celebrated in a new way at my Heart Intelligence birthday event on Dec 16. Wow! This was amazing! Since the room was full of seasoned circle veterans, I was comfortable in taking space around my PTSD from Viet Nam. I moved closer to healing a huge betrayal by some of the men in my squadron. I let myself be vulnerable with my brothers who supported my process, Jayanti, Earl, Frazer, Rick, Dave, and Balu. I felt the bond that comes with opening my heart at a deeper level. I did a challenging gestalt process that opened my heart wider and helped me release some trauma trapped in my power chakra. Then I took in so much love from everyone. And the tears, they did flow! I had a chance to recognize the ways everyone in the circle had grown and the value they had brought to my life! Something deep inside has shifted for me, and my gratitude is immense for all who participated. There is nothing like people that know how to hold space in circle! The evening ended with the most delicious feast and dj dancing. Thank you everyone!
And…so much joy in seeing Naima and Jayanti down the wedding aisle as well as Kylie and Baluejia was over the top yum for us. And Seeing Terrie Huber find her beloved and move to Seattle totally tickled our joy button. Part of our personal transformation of 2017 was creating a stronger foundation. Joan and I let go of things we no longer use, and saw what needed to be improved. We cleaned and cleared our closets, drawers and cabinets. We built a carport and put in a new shed so we’d have room to organize tools, garden stuff, and storage. In the process, hurting my back when I stretched beyond what I felt was right for me, taught me not to do anything that I don’t feel 100% about. I have to be in integrity with myself in all areas, or what I do just doesn’t work.
On the health front, with the help of Jessica Quinn, Joan and I committed to an Ayurvedic diet and lifestyle. Joan has transformed her relationship with food, spices, and cooking. From a reluctant cook, Joan became an enthusiastic chef, preparing daily gourmet meals. I once did most of the cooking, because frankly, my cooking was tastier. That has now shifted as Joan has mastered the art of delicious/nutritious food preparation. Ayurveda is much more than just recipes. It’s a lifestyle that incorporates specific practices and balances the whole being.
Things like: daily meditation, tongue scraping, oil pulling, neti use, breath practices and being mindful of the way(slowly) we eat are some of the daily ways we committed to proactively supporting our health and well being. We very quickly felt more grounded, balanced and centered.
We also started working out 3 times a week at the Fusion Fit gym, because at this “ageless” time of our lives, we realize the need for strength training. My trainer Elijah, is also a physical therapist. While he coaches me, I get to coach him and we have established a solid relationship of mutuality.
Joan and I took our first real vacation in years, and spent time in Europe. Part of it was under the night sky learning more about Shamanic Astrology. We saw how our transits clearly show the patterns we are currently dancing with. This has deepened our 30-year relationship with Daniel Giamario, along with learning more about astrology, which is seen as “the highest of the lower mysteries.” We are finding this helpful in our personal lives and in working with our clients.
We also created a Romancing The Beloved Ceremony for the “healing of the genders” with Donny Regalmuto and Heather Salmon. The feedback we received from many of the eighty some participants was, “more, please!” We are looking at doing more community oriented events this coming year at the Temple of Peace. We feel new energy moving through, so stay tuned! We have so much we want to give to the younger generation, as well as to our friends and clients. We are grateful to be “in the love” with you all.
Joan continues to show up and reveal daily why I married her. She will be offering more of her embodied wisdom in creative and juicy ways. She is going through her own version of awakening and I am riding the rails daily with her. Her energy continues to rise to levels that at times makes me wonder if she has discovered some secret she hasn’t shared with me. I mean, really, where does she come from? I have known a lot of amazing beings in my life and I am still amazed that I married the most amazing one! Even at the level of intimacy I share with her, she continues to zap me daily with her ever-present devotion to love and awakening.
If you got this far, please give us some feedback on what your needs are, and what you’d like to see us offer that could support both you personally, and our community!
Love and Magical Blessings,
Tomas and Joan
By Tomas Heartfield
I don’t always feel grateful when I should. Gratitude is a way I measure how open my heart is to life. I feel guilty when I can’t feel gratitude. I have so much, and yet, there are times when I’ve irrationally felt dissatisfied, and other times, small things evoke fear. Why is there a lack of appreciation for what I have? Why don’t I let love in easily when it comes toward me? Why am I, at times, afraid? Why? Why? Why?
After all, my current identity depends on me being able to show up with my heart beams a blazin….
Ask and ye shall receive. After perseverating on this question, I stumbled on the Hawaiian teaching of Kala and The Bowl Of Light, and a shadow of pain I had held down for 40 years, was suddenly staring in my face. Gulp!!
Here’s the short story; I was a twenty-year-old draftee back in the days when cannon fodder was plucked from the young men in the population. I had been made squadron leader, and trying to do “my job.” I had unwittingly made enemies in my platoon. One night I woke up to a blanket party. A blanket was thrown over me in the middle of the night and I was brutally beaten, by my own men.
I have been carrying symptoms of P.T.S.D most of my life, and see how I have held myself back a lot in my life. This memory, along with childhood stuff, helped me see why I have been so self-protective.
In my childhood I’d had many painful experiences, including being beaten by my dad, and being abandoned by my mom. I’d had painful experiences in school with both teachers and fellow students, but somehow that experience of being beaten by my own squadron, men that were supposed to ‘have my back’, undermined my basic ability to trust, and gave me a hyper alertness to anything or anyone that might be a physical or emotional ‘threat’.
A Hawaiian story says that when we are born, we are as a bowl of light, empty yet full. As we mature we “collect” resentments and guilt like so many stones. As our bowl fills with stones, our light begins to dim, and our vibrancy wanes. Soon relationships become strained. Our life force (or mana) is lowered, and our ability to recognize and enjoy the beauty of life diminishes.
Here’s the key. Our ability to give and receive gratitude is lessened because our psyches are polluted with heavy emotions we don’t know how to release.
Each time we sweep our pain under the carpet, and have no place to express our authentic self, we diminish our power, and our beautiful emotional river loses its vibrancy. The more unexpressed “rocks” (pain, anger, disappointment, fear, resentment) there are in our bowl, the less we are able to feel appreciation for what we have. So we mouth gratitude, without really feeling it.
Among the many definitions of Kala, are the concepts of releasing, letting go, freeing, pardoning and forgiving. Kala is key to our understanding of health and well-being. For us to be free to feel the goodness around us, we must let go of emotions and stories that no longer serve us. We have to empty our bowl of the stones, or turn the stones into gems.
What was I to do, once I recognized the heaviness of the ‘stone’ of that ‘blanket party’? I began to empty my bowl, first by sharing the memory with Joan, and then by writing about it. I saw how many times I had moved away from people and opportunities, because of the fear I was unconsciously carrying in my body from that experience.
I am now intentionally tracking fear; asking myself if the emotion I feel is real, or if it might be F.alse E.motions A.ppearing as R.eal.
I feel pretty vulnerable with this realization right now. I am open to see what magic might occur in our Gratitude Heart Intelligence Circle on November 18. One thing I know for sure is that I am willing to let go of anything that blocks the light in my bowl. These circles are here to help anyone else that is ready to do the same!
The time is right for this releasing with the Scorpio New Moon coming in strong right on Nov 18th, the day of our HIQ Circle. With the energy of Jupiter supporting us, we are fully locked and loaded to turn up the energy on letting go of stones in our basket. We can let the amplified field clear old stories and emotions, and restore us to the light we were born to be.
By Tomas Heartfield
In some way, we’re always falling apart and coming together. Dying to old ways of being, and something new rising from the ashes.
Happy New Year and Joyous New Possibilities!
I find that writing this letter to you all is not as easy as I thought it would be. There is so much I want to share, I don’t know where to begin. I’m probably going to have to resort to Facebook live or something just to satisfy myself! So many people are feeling angry at the sudden wake up call that 2016 left at our doorstep, and then feeling frustrated at how to express it.
Anger is a hyper level of disappointment that appears when a basic human need disappears. We need to clear the energy in our bodies in order to find more effective ways of getting our needs met. Anger can clear the way to get back to love. Loving what is has a lot to do with our ability to add our caring to the soup. As Caroline Casey likes to say Dangerous times requires powerful magic. When the rug is pulled out from under our expectations we must roll gracefully to our feet and find our feet improvising new steps. This is Middle Earth after all and our assignments (if we choose to accept them) sometimes only give us a little peek at what we are to do to make the world a little better. The rest is all improv!
I don’t know about you, but sometimes my personal life seems to echo what is going on in the outer world at large. 2016 was all about things falling apart as I went through a wicked astrological Pluto cycle that started with broken and sprained toes from an ill timed jump off a waterfall in Waipio valley. Pluto cycles happen periodically for everyone and when they happen you will find yourself with not much working or moving in your life in a consistent way despite how much effort you put into it. As Daniel Giamario, founder of Shamanic Astrology Mystery School tells us, it’s a time when the underworld has you by the shorthairs and shit happens unexpectedly regardless of what you do. It’s not personal. It’s all about bowing to what is and appreciating how powerless you are to change it!
I was grateful that I had this information to help me understand that this was an ‘initiation into surrender’. I was still hobbling around when I got really sick with a series of nasty colds. This led to an encapsulated pneumonia in my left lung that further inspired me to just stop and feel the miracle of breathing. Any time I tried to “get shit done”, something would happen that blocked my efforts. I could have written a book about how not to get things done, and of course I wouldn’t have finished it!
It felt like ‘death by a thousand cuts’. At some point, amidst all the challenges and illnesses, my jing (sexual energy) seemed to just leave the room with me sitting there wondering where did I go? After six months of so many things ‘going south’, I let go of expecting anything to go right, and I adopted a gratitude practice to focus on what was working. I was witnessing constant transformation in our packed Heart Circles and Integral Loving trainings after all. I was still showing up.
As I became present to myself in a new way, I started to soften. I started to become more acutely aware of what was working in my life, rather than focusing on the many things that I judged as not working. I was grateful for Joan at a deeper level. The way she massaged my healing toes every night. The hot tea she brought me every morning. The soups she made when I was so ill. I appreciated the smallest things, like a parking space, a kind word, and the many colors of green in the sodden landscape of a rainy winter. Even the sound of a coconut hitting the ground. (150 died after all from falling nuts last year!) It reminded me I am alive!
My 18-month Pluto cycle is complete now. I’m healthy again, and starting to feel more energy and creative juice. The ‘coming apart’ that I experienced during this time invited me to breathe and observe myself and surrender in a conscious way.
I’ve become more accepting of myself, others, and even ‘life itself’, and I’m more thankful to be alive. I’m ready for 2017, and deeply grateful for the strong support of my beloved Joan, my friends, and the community of conscious hearts who loved and supported me through a most challenging year.
It appears, too, that as a result of the insane political environment, many people are rising up with new energy and creative ideas that are sorely needed at this time. It feels good to see how many want to upgrade the way we care for life and each other.
The upshot of my visitation to the underworld is that I have more empathy and appreciation for those around me. My heart is open and soft. And I want to support my Ohana in a deeper way. My inner Phoenix has risen again! And so must the world’s!
Creating Space for Inner Knowing
By Tomas Heartfield
We’re doing the “out with the old” dance.
It feels good to be complete with things that once supported us and gave us pleasure, but that we no longer need. We are saying goodbye to them with gratitude for what they have given us over the past twenty years.
As we load up bins with ‘things’ we are moving on, we are seeing a lifetime of memories in the form of dead computers, old iphones, broken telephones, electronic gizmos, pictures of people we don’t remember very well, statues, piles of papers, contracts, old financial records, mementos from friends, picture frames, over three feet of Divine Feminine, Romancing the Beloved teaching notes and programs, along with dozens of CD’s, DVD’s, VCR’s, and boxes of cassette tapes (no kidding)–of interviews Joan and I have done over the years. We realized we would rather be creating something new than read, watch or listen to something we did from the past.
We are cleaning, clearing, sifting, sorting and improving everything in our lives. As we examine and select the physical ‘stuff’ we are keeping (and what we are releasing), we’re also tracking what is going on in us. What we are noticing is this: we feel more spacious inside. We are more tuned into our hearts. We have more energy than we’ve had in a while.
Then we come across a stack of responses from our last Integral Loving Crew. We sit and read them and feel the sincerity in each one. Wow! We feel grateful for all the little (and not so little), expansions that each person made toward more self-love and discovery. Wow really says it!
Our time is interspersed in getting immersed in the past, (appreciating all that we have been able to co-create), and getting excited about the space we are opening up for the future.
As we are willing to let go of what we no longer need, we are twinkling at each other, a lot. We are re-noticing the foreplay in everything we do. When we do something well together, and have a feeling of accomplishment, we find ourselves getting turned on. Really!
We are entering a new cycle of refinement in our lives. We can better see and feel the dreams and visions that want to manifest through us at this time. Our hearts are open, and we are feeling the flow of our lives. The supreme blessing of every moment is giving every breath more gratitude. This moment is everything. Yup. We’ve been zapped.
Or as I like to say in cosmic moments: We are lit by starlight from within, destined to glow. Why not now!
May this holiday season test your limits for gratitude and celebration.
Love and Blessings Unlimited from the Heart Land,
Tomas and Joan
PS–I’m grateful to be celebrating yet another birthday with my Beloved Joan and our beyond wonderful community of conspirators of the heart. Thank you friends for loving me, (and thank you Mom for being the portal to get me here).
The Heart of Love
by Tomas Heartfield
I was remembering my first journey into love at 14 when I felt l something much deeper than affection. It was a completely saturating feeling that demanded recognition. It felt like a force that reached into the core of my being. Was this love? I was trying to tell my first girlfriend that I loved her. I remember trying to say the words, and finding that my tongue felt like it was frozen when I tried to say ‘I llloove you’. A classic stretch moment.
At that time, I was so invested in my early masculine persona, that to actually love someone felt like a limitation that would hold me back from other possibilities. It was seen as a betrayal by my buddies, who had not yet felt that experience, and made fun of anyone who said they had.
I finally decided that feeling love was more important than what my teenage pals thought of me. For years, I reveled in ‘being in love’, but it was always tied to how a person looked, or how they saw me. The first time I was invited to look past the outer shell of a person, and even past the personality, I remember being astounded at the beauty I saw in the ‘plainest’ person. Timothy Freke calls this recognition of ‘love recognizing itself’, Big Love.
Now, it is easy to see the beauty inherent in each person. Beauty is not skin deep. True beauty is soul deep. It is the sunlight that removes all judgment. It is a soulful look, past our perceived differences, into the heart of one another.
The most beautiful people are the ones that can see the beauty in everyone. It’s actually a spiritual practice called tresspasso. We start all our ceremonies with it and it is the heart of Sacred Sexuality.
My deepest spiritual teacher taught me that the soul connects to the body through the back of the heart, and from there receives the over-soul light of the I Am presence. The light we see in another’s eyes originates in the heart! Seeing through the lens of our heart is an excellent way to remember and feel who we are, past our own personality preferences.
As we head into this holiday season with all its gifts and challenges, here’s a practice I want to share with you that I’m doing for my own spiritual growth. When I’m out and about, I am giving myself the gift of spontaneous recognition. Whenever I see a twinkle in someone’s eyes, I’m twinkling back, and see what happens. I am looking past every personality I see, and recognizing the oneness that wants to know itself.
So this beautiful holiday season, when the emphasis is on giving, give the gift of looking past the personalities of those you come into contact with. See their essence, and reflect that back to them. Seeing another’s heart makes them felt seen, and that’s the greatest gift you can give. It costs you nothing, other than your willingness to be present to the goodness of your own heart, and the goodness of their heart.
As Rumi says:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
For men and women giving a sexual healing session
What works best for a man giving is for him to hold a very clear space for the feminine so she can feel safe and relax. The man holds the riverbanks so the feminine can flow. His clear boundaries allow her to open up even more. He gets to see her goddess self and she gets to see and feel his divine masculine
What works best for a woman giving is for her to be in her juicy creative playful erotic feminine. She thus claims her feminine power and gives the man a glimpse of the goddess while she gets to feel the mans deep surrender.
When a woman trusts a man to give to her, he feels that trust and he can show up in his most present and loving self, all the while enjoying the feminine tremendously, and worshiping the goddess and delighting in his giving to her
When a woman is with a man she knows she can trust, she can unleash the goddess in her on him. She can let him see and feel Shakti moving through her.
The masculine maintains presence. The feminine maintains the flow.
How a Broken Toe Awakened me to More Joy by Tomas Heartfield
What moves you enough to respond to life? Pain is what grabs my attention the most; my own pain, others pain and the pain of animals being treated harshly. As creatures needing to survive, awareness of pain is hard wired into us.I don’t know anyone personally that wants to see other people or critters suffer. I know that when I feel another person in pain, I respond. When I hear the cry of an animal in pain, I cringe inside. It appears that I am not alone.
This became personally clear to me when I broke my toe diving through a waterfall in Waipio Valley.
As a friend happened to capture the ‘oops’ moment with the ever-present camera, I shared it on Facebook. I received pages of loving responses and suggestions on how to heal faster. I felt my tribe flocking to help me from wherever they were in the world. I felt my friends caring about me. Feeling seen, wanted and cared for, is one of our deepest needs. Our deepest fear and pain is to feel alone, outcast and disconnected. When we are included and felt, we feel safe. When we feel safe, we can relax, and that is crucial for our physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
Have you ever felt rejected, put down or made fun of by a parent, sibling, teacher, friend or lover? If so, you know the searing pain that comes from this feeling of being cast out. It harkens back to the fear of being cut off from family or tribe, which, in very real terms for a very long part of our history could mean death. The truth is, we need each other on many levels to survive, and to thrive.
WHAT HELPS US THRIVE?
As important as healthy food, water and air is to our body, connection to others is vital to our emotional health. We need to feel related to a family or tribe who care about us. Facebook is a kind of digital tribe. We use this technology as a way to connect. It lights up the pleasure centers of our brain with each “like” or comment we receive (if it is positive). We choreograph who we want to share pieces of our life with, via words and images. This way of digitally connecting has become a part of one billion peoples lives. Even if it’s people you may or may not know beyond their words and images, connecting digitally answers a need we all have; to be seen, felt and acknowledged. But by itself it is not enough if there are no real live people in our life. We need faces we can touch to help dry their tears. We need bodies we can hug, in support and in celebration. We need to physically feel loved and cared for. We need real connection.
WHAT HELPS US FEEL CONNECTED?
I feel connected when I am with others who are willing to share authentically. My heart particularly goes out to those in pain. I want those who are in emotional and spiritual pain or numbness to discover what can help them move energetically towards what is true for them, and in a direction that feels better. That may be a good cry as they get in touch with their tenderness or vulnerability. It may be getting in touch with their power and saying “no” to something in their life that feels oppressive or wrong for them. It could be getting in touch with their hearts desire, and saying “yes” to what is authentic for them, rather than following some idea of what they thought they “should do”.
I feel this amplified when I sit in circle with others who agree to be completely present, to hold in confidence what others say, and who agree to speak from what is real for them. This creates a feeling of safety and inclusion. As we get still, we ask the question: What’s moving in you right now? As we explore that question, we help one other discover more clarity. We discern what is real for us, and what we want; our true hearts desire. The energy created by the circle connects us, and we each feel internally guided toward a more embodied and heart directed place. There is a lot more nuance to this experience, but this is the basic focus. The process is embodied and alive and in the moment, and it often feels magical. It helps us remember why we are alive, and shows us the power we have within us to create a joyful and meaningful life.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY JOY?
I’m not talking about joy as a state of happiness dependent on what happens to you. I’m talking about a state that is available when you are totally connected to what you are present and awake to, and what you are feeling in any given moment.
What I mean by awakening, is doing what it takes to be completely present to your authentic self. For me, awakening is always coming and going. There are moments when I am more or less present to myself and others in this way. I am (and think we are) here to awaken as much as possible. When I am awake, even the hard stuff (like sadness, disconnection and even helplessness) can feel joyful (when I let myself have it before doing anything about it). So for me, joy is the full deck of emotional content. It is me being real with where I am in my life, and being willing to experience life as it lives itself through me. It is also feeling into what I need in the moment to feel better.
Even after spending twenty years becoming an expert on what brings people joy, I am still expanding into a deeper understanding of how important joy is to my ability to open my heart to my full self and the world. Joy comes when I can accept whatever I feel and relax into the love that holds it all together. Joy is simply an invitation to pause without judgment and feel whatever is alive in me, in any moment.
From this perspective, i feel joy is my natural state. It is where my life energy is most real and alive. That’s why it feels so good. Conceptually it sounds simple, but I have found that in practice, it takes a tribe.
It seems to me we’ve gotten disconnected from our joy mostly from our programming as little ones; seeing others live from judgment and shame projected on us, and or seeing it in action around us. It’s endemic in our language of definitions that construct our way of being as good or bad.
In a circle of loving hearts, the awareness of each person as a field of energy connected to others becomes palpable. As the connection and trust builds, a field of energy is created by everyone that is amplified and helps everyone to feel more……joy! .
Historically shame, guilt and blame mask the goodness that we are in our core. My personal work and purpose is to reveal and live from this core, and help others do the same. Once we let go of the wrong assumptions about who we are, and feel into the juicy sweetness of who we really are inside, it’s a done deal.
We loved getting comments like these last month.
Dear Joan & Tomas, I just want to say thank you again for yesterday. The circle helped me to see how much closer I am to the internal wholeness I have been seeking than I thought I was! The incredible beings there and the way you both held the space all made for a powerful day. Stefan Malecek PhD
What a magical day! Thank you again Joan and Tomas for your powerful gifts to support us all and to all of you for your support and courage to heal and grow with an open heart! The space you hold is so clear and dare I say…divine? Patricia
Many of the processes we do were evolved with the help of Christian Pankhurst, founder of the Heart IQ Network.
The sexual realm is one fraught with delight and frustration. For some it is the one of life’s highlights. For others it can be ho-hum or worse. Even those who start with “hot sex” complain that it does not stay that way. And what if you are dealing with pain and trauma from sex that was unconscious, forced on you, or in some way degrading? What if the idea of sex is wired with shame, quilt, anger and pain?
What do we need to know in order to heal from trauma (if we have some), and cultivate and nurture our passionate sexual self?
Sex, like every aspect of relationship, is an invitation to reveal who we are in the moment, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our body knows what it feels and needs. But are we listening to this wisdom, or are we in a habit pattern of sex (or not having sex) that keeps us functioning in a repetitive way?
Whether we are healing from trauma, or simply want to juice a flagging sex life, the process is similar. We need to tune into the body and ask it what it needs in this moment to feel safe and loved, so it can open to the feelings that are stored in the body. We need a willingness to feel what is there, in our physical and emotional body, and let our body have a voice. We must learn to trust our body’s wisdom to guide us to what it needs to heal, and also to feel most alive.
Sex can be driven by many impulses from the physical/dna levels, to the emotional need for nurturance, to using it to worship the divine through union.
It is only recently that sex is now being explored and its secrets revealed to an ever-growing classroom of adults who have not learned the arts of the bedroom. Finally a way to achieve wholeness through awareness of this core human experience is available to anyone who is willing to learn. We can all become conscious and feel our maximum aliveness for increased health and deep and fulfilling relationships with those we love.
Just as we read self-help books, go to counselors or take classes to learn to communicate more effectively, for sex to become all it can be, we must bring more awareness into our bedrooms. How do we do this?
Here are seven satisfaction-sustaining secrets:
1. Create a clean, uncluttered, beautiful sacred space and dedicate it as your Temple of Love. It takes just a few things to ‘set the stage’ for a superior experience. Put a scarf or sarong over a plain lamp to create a great effect. Light a candle or two or three for ambience. Burn some incense by the bed or spray some aromatherapy on the sheets. Even a single flower can add a magic touch from the natural world.
2. Nurture one another. Begin your lovemaking sessions with nurturing touch. Take a warm bath or shower together. As you lather one another up, pay attention to the feeling of the soap on the skin. Enjoy the silky feel. After the bath, give and receive even ten minutes of massage. Put love into your touch. Feel your gratitude for having someone with whom you can exchange loving touch and intimacy.
3. Open you eyes. We’re not talking about staring. And there will be times to close your eyes as you relish the touch, taste and feel of your partner. But start by gazing softly into the left eye of your partner. Look past the personality into their heart and soul. With your eyes open, you can become more aware of their emotions and of their responses to your touch.
4. Breath. Connect with your partner’s breathing rhythm and try breathing at the same time. Harmonizing your breath in this way harmonizes your moods as well. This helps you get in synch with your partner. He/she will feel more connected with you as you do this. Slow your breath at times. This will help you tune in even more. To bring passion higher, try a reciprocal or alternating breath where one person breaths in while the other breaths out. Holding the awareness of your own breath connects you to yourself.
5. Go slow. Take your time and savor each moment. Too often sex is rushed and over before you know it. Enjoy getting to know one another’s body. Linger so your loving lasts longer. Take pleasure in this sacred moment that you get to give and receive loving touch.
6. Explore erotic innocence. Come to your partner with beginners mind. What if this were your first time with this person? How conscious and caring can you be? How tuned into THIS moment? Be like children playing. Give your wonder and curiosity free reign. Try new things. Let your heart lead. Play. When sex becomes the same every time, it loses something. We must continue to explore and discover our sexuality so that this wonderful aspect of our relationship can grow along with the rest of us.
7. Communicate. Communication is foundational in helping you discover what turns you and your partner on. Talk about how you like to be touched, how you like to kiss—where you like to be kissed–and what is most satisfying to you. Make suggestions. Be open. Be willing to experiment and explore. When our minds and hearts are open, new possibilities come to us and we can relax into receiving the gift of our natural sexual self.
This is important. Passion waxes and wanes with most couples. To keep a relationship “juicy” you must first keep yourself stimulated and happy. Are you doing things for yourself that make you interesting? Are you growing and learning new things? Are you happy with your body, mind and soul? Are you fascinated by something in life that makes your spirit sing? If you are not happy with yourself or life, your partner will sense this and mirror it back to you.
In addition to keeping yourself happy, make sure you plan fun things that bring you together. Passion is more likely to show itself when you are sharing ideas and activities that inspire you both. Plan some things together that juice you and keep you stimulated and excited about life. Make sure you do things to keep yourself healthy and fit while cultivating creativity and joy.
If passion is absent for too long a time, communicate. Don’t complain—but do say that you miss the ardor between you. Ask your partner to tell you frankly what he/she needs in order to bring back the passion. Unacknowledged and unexpressed feelings of anger, sadness or fear can put a big damper on sexual expression. Communicating authentically with compassion clears the air. This cannot be emphasized enough. Listen with respect to your partner’s feelings and needs—and share your own.
It is wonderful to feel the thrill of juicy hormonal interaction. To feel the rush of “yes!” when someone kisses us is a big attraction. However it is also true that chemistry has a shelf life of around two years, tops. Much of chemistry is the effect of a new and different person. Once the body gets used to the interaction, the thrill starts to diminish.
What you may wish to entertain is the possibility for creating alchemy. Sexual alchemy is a process where you both agree to let go of expectation and simply show up with an erotic innocence of playfulness that asks, “How can I please you?” Imagine that you are kids who have just discovered you have these magical places that give you pleasure.
You then practice the art of giving to and receiving from each other by seeing what brings each of you enjoyment. Pay attention to your needs, and guide your partner into what ignites your passion. Likewise, notice what he/she enjoys and amp it up. Bring your love and willingness to find passion in the practice of making love. Feel the joy you naturally have when you see your partner in pleasure, and see his/her delight in bringing you satisfaction.
Alchemy happens when you:
1. Shift your attitude from “what is happening to me?” to: “how can I create some fire here?”
2. Allow your lover to give to you without expectation.
3. Call on God/Goddess to assist you in awakening the passion in yourself and in your lover.
4. Cultivate an attitude of curiosity and playfulness
5. Look into each other’s eyes while making love.
6. Experiment with breathing together.
7. Encourage your partner to relax and simply take in your love.
Enjoy the gift and see what happens when you shift your attitude and release yourself from goals and expectation. This frees up a hidden reservoir of energy you will find quite refreshing.
Sexual interaction can be experienced as completely mundane. It can also be experienced as a high art form and even a spiritual path. If you want to soar in the heavens, be willing to practice with all your heart, soul and awareness. Mastery takes time, but practice is fun. Allow this spiritual art to engage your total being and gift you with a high orgasmic awakening.