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.
by Joan Heartfield, PhD
Love and intimacy are often linked with passion and romance. The question of how to keep all of this yummy stuff alive and juicy is one Tomas and I have enthusiastically researched. Here’s a few things we have discovered so far from our own experience.
- In order to keep any type of passion and romance alive, you have to have it to begin with. Tomas and I have worked with many couples where one or the other never felt sexual chemistry or passion, but kept trying to ‘make it happen’. What we observed was, if it was never there, it couldn’t be conjured up. If a well has no water, no matter how many times you put the bucket into the well, hoping that one day it will magically fill with water, it remains dry. Using this metaphor, it is wise to get a well that has water in it and choose someone with whom you have genuine passion.
- If you have felt passion with your partner at one time, but for some reason you have shut off this flow of energy and you want to recreate it, or breathe life into it again, then two things have to happen. First, you have to deal with why you shut off the energy in the fist place. Are there feelings you have stuffed that need to be expressed? Have you had an illness or emotional challenge where fear has paralyzed you? Or have you gotten into bad habits that undermine the love and passion? You have to deal with these issues before you can go on. Even as you are dealing with issues and clearing them up, you can begin to voice the appreciation you find in your heart for your partner. You start with that sense of “Who is this person? Why did I get together with them to begin with? What was it that drew me to them?” As I remember that, and I begin to communicate my gratitude for who they are and what they bring to the relationship, it makes them want to bring more of that into the relationship, and opens the door to invite that possibility again. When our partner feels safe, appreciated and respected, love, intimacy and passion can flourish.
- We treat our partners like we treat ourselves, and they treat us like we treat ourselves. So our responsibility is to ourselves, first and foremost. If we want our partners to treat us with respect, we have to honor ourselves, romance the beloved in us, and nurture our own passion. For instance, I know what makes me feel alive, juicy and deeply nourished. Yoga, swimming, walking and dancing are ways I keep my passion alive. These activities help me feel good. Whatever I am feeling, I bring to my partner. When I feel joy because I have cared for myself, our sexual juice is more likely to flow freely.
- Do what you love to do, and bring that to the relationship. Be committed to enjoying life. If you are not happy with some aspect of yourself or your life, take responsibility and get help so that you can be in alignment with your souls purpose and feel in integrity with yourself. If you are not happy, your partner cannot ‘make’ you happy. If you are happy, and your partner is as well, you can be happy together and have a lot of fun.
- Be continually curious about what is it that turns your partner on. Notice ruts and be aware that “new” wakes up the senses, whereas routine puts them to sleep. When our partner really feels seen, valued and loved, then he or she wants to show up in a way that also really nourishes us.
- Make sure the energy circulates. The energy goes out to your partner, comes back to you, goes out, comes back endlessly. In order to have the energy to give all that you can and want to give, be sure to put enough energy into yourself so that you have inner passion to share.
- Be willing to receive. Take in the energy your partner gifts to you, and recognize its value. If your partner has the same commitment to this endlessly creative endeavor, then what you bring to one another is the gift of a lifetime–a juicy, fulfilling and passionate everlasting love. If the pair bonding thing isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it.
The exchange of love is endlessly creative and commit to finding relationships that can accurately reflect who you are and challenge you in just the right way.
by Tomas Heartfield
What will 2014 bring us in the way of opportunities, challenges and connections? We never know what any given year or cycle will be until it’s complete, but we can know, going into it, what we want in this New Year. Getting what you want is a tricky thing. When you get what you want, can you fully receive it? Here’s how I ran up against my limits:
I just had a birthday. A perfect time to know what I wanted, or so I thought. When my friends Sandra and Matthew offered to put on a dinner party for me,I said yes. I assembled a handful of friends and sat around the Indian feast that was lovingly prepared with all my favorite foods in a home that had been beautifully decorated with the most loving care, for me. That in itself amazed me. It opened me to the mystery of friendship and touched my heart. What more could I want? In that moment I realized I wanted to open my heart even more. I wanted to feel the richness of life at a deeper level. I wanted my friends to know how they had made my life more wonderful. So I told them how they had enriched my life.
So far so good. When the tables were turned and they began to tell me how I had made their lives more wonderful, I found it harder to receive all the appreciation that came pouring out. Tears welled up in me and I found myself feeling self-conscious in hearing the various ways I had made their life more wonderful. Physically I could feel myself getting hot and clammy and I could feel a slight pressure in my temples. Charlie, a young man I’ve known for nine years, shared how much he admired me and saw me as “the” role model of his life. His eloquent description of how I had affected him cracked me wide open. Those around me were going “wow” “yes” and I could see tears flowing everywhere.
This outpouring from the depth of his being was more than I could take in. I felt myself begin to shut down. Thoughts about all the mistakes I’ve made flooded in. I remembered all the times I didn’t show up with people that needed me. I was wallowing in regrets from the past and harshly judging myself. I could see how my inner-critic began to block the love. I could feel the tears trying to push through, seeing how often I have not let love in. We seldom give another the unencumbered joy we have felt when they touch us in a way that is unique and powerful. I could feel the many times I had been ‘cool’ instead of genuinely present.
By the time Summer read to me a beautiful poem she had written about me, I was lost in my own swamp. Surely she must be referring to someone else! It was as though the savory goodness of life was being filtered out or blocked by my self-judgement. I could feel how my self-talk diminished my brightness. It was like I was at this beautiful banquet with the most delicious food and I couldn’t fully savor it. Where was all the work I’d done on radical self-acceptance when I needed it? I was lost in the labyrinth of my thoughts and feelings of unworthiness, and in that moment, I felt a growing knot in my solar plexus. I could feel the resistance of my heart opening fully. It was as though my heart was wearing a corset. Looking back, I realized the reason I found myself in this place was that I had reached my limit and simply could not take in any more. The truth is I had received what I had asked for, which was to open my heart more. And I got to see my limits!
What was fascinating to me was that no one seemed to notice that I had gone “off line”. This was all my inner process, which, I realized afterward, I could have shared. If I had, it would have taken me to a deeper opening of my heart. What I did notice is that once I was in my self-judgement, rather than my heart, the energy in the room changed. Without realizing it, I had entrained the group to go ‘up and out’. The sharing became more abstract and less personal.
In hindsight I could see that in wanting to feel others feeling me, I wanted to be confirmed that I was lovable, something I’ve been trying to prove to myself all my life.
To be lovable means to be “able” to be loved. Am I able? Of course I am. I know we all have the capacity to open to more love. To experience our upper limits to receive love, it sometimes takes a community to turn up the juice and give us more charge to feel more. This is what I experienced. As the love and recognition was turned up, I was able to experience where I needed to open. But as I opened, I begin to notice where I was closed.
In my heart of hearts I know my own goodness. I know I can be lovable. Witty. Intelligent. Funny. Kind. Even wise. But does this define all of who I am? NO! I can also be insensitive, self-centered and off-the-wall. I see my attachment or over-identification to the “golden aspects” of my being, and my aversion to my “less than radiant” qualities, creates a conundrum for me. In this, I stop myself from expressing when I feel closed, unworthy, and regretful of certain actions. In my own lack of self-acceptance of what I find distasteful in myself, I can see clearly now how I project that on those around me. Is it better to be sensitive than insensitive? ‘Insensitive’ has to exist for me to experience being ‘sensitive’. What I am beginning to see is that rather than judging ‘insensitive’ as bad and ‘sensitive’ as good, the truth is it just feels better to feel ”sensitive’ than ‘insensitive’.
When I am in self-judgement, I diminish my ability to allow my BEING to express what is coming through me as effectively as I can. As much as I want to appear ‘perfect’, I’m also human, after all, and perhaps even divinely so.
The mystery work with life and self is ongoing. Staying present to what is happening in me moment to moment and noticing what effect others have on me, and I have on them, is an awareness dance that enriches my connection to life. Everywhere I look I see an opportunity to practice. When I do it in circle, or intimately with someone I am open to, I accelerate my ability to know who I am.
The goodness of NOW is stalking me, and you . How much can I/will I let in? How much can you/will you let in?
If you want to find out who you are, let yourself be loved. And let me know what you find.
Love and Aloha to you!
The purpose of life is not to transcend the body, but to embody the transcendent. H. H. Dalai Lama
To write or not to write, that is the question. The unending and increasing amount of information streaming into all of our mailboxes shows no sign of letting up. More, more, more, faster, faster, faster! The evolutionary impulse seems to be fueling up at Starbucks with extra shots of espresso, pushing us to the edge of our ability to assimilate. The cultural trance, at first glance, seems to have everyone by the shorthairs, racing toward zero point, determined to know everything before it’s too late. Or is it?
As time is speeding up, we are slowing down, spending less time at our computers, and more time making dinner together, cuddling on the daybed, dancing tango, working in the garden, swimming, and doing yoga. We are finding more ways to savor the moment.
Being with good friends as they checked out during these past two years made us profoundly aware that we all will sooner or later be taking our last breaths. Through death we awoke more acutely to the preciousness of our time here on earth. We looked into our lives and saw aspects of how we were living that were not really feeding us. Choosing to be fully in alignment with our aliveness meant we had to make some changes.
How is Spiritual Sexuality enhanced by Heart Intelligence, and what does dying have to do with it?
Being with dear friends who were dying brought us up close and personal to our own fears of transition. Seeing how our friends did the big “let go” inspired us to dive more deeply into those shadowy places where we had closed our hearts to some aspect of life. We saw where we were not paying close enough attention to what brought us joy, and how we were spiritually bypassing emotions that we judged.
Heart Intelligence came to us right on time as we were grappling with our deepest fears, and gave us a way to track our conditioned thoughts, constricted emotions, and stagnant energy. We practiced connecting daily with our heart’s intelligence, which gave us a way to recognize what was truly alive in us. We cultivated more energy in our bodies by being conscious of what we did and said and thought, noticing how it expanded or contracted our energy.
We expanded our range of emotions. We stopped pushing away sadness and anger. We became more authentic. As we did this, we started feeling more alive. It became clear that the best way to feel at peace with death was to feel at peace with life as it was. We numb out to what we can feel in life because our relationship with death is diffused because of the defense mechanisms inherent in our ego structure. Hence there is a type of filtering in what happens in our lives that reduces our ability to respond authentically. It all comes down to this question. How would you live if you knew that at 12:53 tomorrow afternoon you were going to take your last breath? How much presence would you have in the next moments til then? These are theoretical questions we have all looked at. But the basis for true tantric explorations into the sacredness of life uses the reality of death as a source of fuel to take us deeper into life. It takes a bit of courage and a fair amount of work to live like there is no tomorrow. Being here now takes on a much bigger meaning filled with juicy possibilities.
We examined the work we had been teaching, and realized Heart Intelligence was a vital missing piece. Our twenty years in the sacred sexuality arena showed us how to raise our consciousness with Shakti, our sacred sexual energy. When Shakti is activated and we feel safe and open, we’re able to reprogram massive amounts of old conditioning. As you can imagine (or perhaps have experienced), this work is very powerful. It connects a woman (or man) to their creative juice. It also brings out things that are hidden in our unconscious.
What was needed (and missing) in the sacred sexuality arena, was an effective way to deal with residual shadow material. We also needed an integrated foundational practice that recognized and gave voice to the physical, spiritual, emotional, sexual and energetic realities that came with such powerful and rapid shifts. We needed a way to track what is happening moment to moment, so that we could identify and receive what we really wanted.
Two years ago we began to integrate the Heart Intelligence practices into our life and work. We stretched to learn close embrace tango. It felt like tango boot camp for over a year before we started to really get it going. We committed to taking our health to the next level with daily body centered exercise, be it swimming or yoga or Taoist practices or gardening. We committed to tracking and sharing our internal reality daily in addition to our sexual loving practice.
We started to see how we sometimes tried to push the river or hold back the flow, and relaxed more deeply into the truth in this moment. We started to feel and trust life itself moving through us, and guiding our moment to moment expression.
We love to do individual sessions, to help people recalibrate what is important in their life. From health and vitality issues, to sexuality and relationship challenges, to finding life purpose.
Because we are much more present to ourselves, the small groups we are working with have a new feeling in them. We love the juice that gets produced using the amplified field of group energy. When a safe container is created, and this energy is focused in the heart, it can take everyone into deeper connection with self and other. It is the fastest way we’ve found to produce shifts in consciousness: finding peace, where there was none; finding passion where there was numbness; moving through fear and pain and sorrow, into creative aliveness.
Now that we are no longer running an Institute, our focus is on creating Heart Intelligent community. We have a few small groups of people from all over the world we are coaching through go-to-meeting, as well as small events here on Maui. We are grateful to be connected to our aliveness and presence to life in new ways.
With expanding love,
Joan & Tomas
Realizing Our Full Potential – Part One
By Tomas and Joan Heartfield, Ph.D.
We realize our full potential by following what has heart and meaning in our lives, or by following our bliss as Joseph Campbell phrased it. This is no easy task when creating a life for one’s self in this day and age. To be able to listen to our inner voice is an art worth pursuing. The true voice is not a digitized recording, but a reservoir of information stored in the heart. It knows things the mind does not but the mind must give the heart permission to speak. Listen carefully. As you attune to the heart frequency ask the question, “What is alive in me right now? How can I show up and make a difference?”
Our full potential lies in our ability to use all our resources, even when we don’t have all the resources we think we need in any given situation. Itzhak Perlman, the great violinist, gave an extraordinary performance with a broken string. With only three strings, he expressed a level of creativity and genius never heard before. He saw the broken string as a call to rise above the limitation of the moment. It was quite possibly the best performance of his career.
Life often challenges us to improvise with what we have. Those who succeed in meeting the challenge rise above their perceived limitations. They touch the vast reservoir of their true potential, and they inspire us to try it for ourselves.
What does it take to tap into this place and nurture these seeds? Here are four things we have found helpful:
Know your purpose and the energy it holds for you.
1. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Have faith that you are being guided.
2. Break goals down into doable bytes and move toward them, one step at a time.
3. Cultivate your talents and skills. Resource talent you would aspire to have yourself. Learn from your choices. Relax and enjoy the process.