Soul Full Sexual Satisfaction

carla's frescoThe 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.

adonislightIt 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.

statues hale akuaThis 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.

Love and Intimacy

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Tomas’ Journey into Vulnerability: The Challenge of Receiving Love

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!
Tomas

How is Spiritual Sexuality enhanced by Heart Intelligence, and what does dying have to do with it?

The purpose of life is not to transcend the body, but to embody the transcendent. H. H. Dalai Lama

HEART LOGO9 no shapes on face1

Aloha Friends,

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

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.

Realizing Our Full Potential – Part Two

Realizing Our Full Potential – Part Two
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 twelve things we have found helpful

1. Seek and desire to realize your full potential. Ask to be shown the highest options for your life.

2. Be present and aware, so that when opportunities do show up, you are ready to move towards them.

3. Ask that your every thought, word and act be for the highest good.  Orient toward the most positive possibilities.

4. Cultivate and hone your talents and skills. Be as good as you can be at whatever you do. Resource talent you would aspire to have yourself.

5. Believe in yourself and have faith that you are being guided.

6. Have goals and break them down into short and long term increments.

7. Persevere.  Keep moving toward your goals, one step at a time.

8. Take time to cultivate your connection to Divine Intelligence through meditation, prayer and study of the sacred.

9. Trust your visions and have the courage to follow them.

10. Balance study, work and focus with stillness, time in nature and play.

11. Have compassion and reverence for yourself and all life.

12. Know you are doing the best you can do at any moment in your life, and you can always make new choices.  Learn from your choices.  Relax and enjoy the process.

Unlived Love

Unlived Love
By Joan Heartfield. Ph.D.

A dear friend reminded me that we have all been wounded in some way by what he calls unlived love.  As we find those pockets within us, where we yearned to love, but were not able to give or receive it in the way we wished, we experience pain. It is the pain of love that was not freely given—or love that was not returned.  Most devastating of all, perhaps, is remembering how we ourselves could have given love, but held back because we did  not recognize what was needed in that moment.

We are not to blame—nor was anyone else. We have all given and received as much love as we could along the way. We have all been hurt, and pulled back and shut down the light of our love sometime in our lives. The challenge is, when we are in our personal drama (that comes from feeling pain), we sometimes forget why we came here. This is the time to begin to realize it is only through living our love that we will ever feel who we are and why we are here.

How do we do this? We turn our attention to what we want. It might begin with simply wanting ease and peace. We focus there, and let that desire pull us into finding harmony. At some point we realize we need and want connection. We begin to remember our purpose; that is, to give and receive as much love as we can. When we can finally focus on the truth of this, it is often a time for forgiveness, surrender, and celebration.

Love exists to remind us that when we let our hearts lead, we can better feel the sense that we are all in this together. When our hearts are open, we can more easily feel a sense of oneness. We are here to see and experience love in all its dimensions and allow it to penetrate into our deepest denial, so we can reclaim our essential self.

As we remember and retrieve our unlived and unexpressed love, and are willing to feel both the pain and the longing of it, we can allow that longing to illuminate our truth. The truth is, we all long to feel love. As we follow this longing, we see that we simply are the love in our hearts.

As we sink into this truth, we realize that this then, is the way to live our love. We want our heart to awaken to the love that we are. This love can then live in us and through us, enlivening us, and vitalizing those around us. Regardless then, of those who may come and go, we can forever and fully live our love.

The Art of Conscious Flirting: Playful Interactions in the Dance of Life

The Art of Conscious Flirting: Playful Interactions in the Dance of Life
By Joan Heartfield. Ph.D.

In our natural, loving state, we are turned on by select individuals and by life in general. As we encounter others, we recognize that each person has a unique quality that enlivens us. Learning a safe, elegant way to play with this enlivening attraction is part of putting conscious flirting into action. Let’s face it; it’s fun to flirt, especially when it serves to enhance others and ourselves!

When we are not in a primary relationship, we can follow our own intuition in how we express the juiciness we feel with another. However, what are our options if we are in a primary relationship? How can we express our delight and appreciation of another in a way that is respectful—both of the person with whom we are enjoying sharing our playful sensual energy—and our partner? How can we cultivate this playful exchange with others in a way that respects them fully, and then take it home to the one we love?  What makes flirting comfortable, easy and fun?

Honesty and truth are essential to cultivating trust and openness within the context of a committed relationship as we navigate through the art of flirting. Knowing our partner is telling us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth– as well as sharing our own truth– enables us to relax. Integrity with ourselves and with each other creates an atmosphere in which we can make agreements to heighten our emotional safety so that we can play fearlessly. In a partnership where we are committed to “flirt with integrity”, we can then relax into our more natural self and have fun. Flirting with integrity also allows us to feel safe as we watch our significant other playfully interact in ways that uplift and enchant those around them.

Conscious flirting is not a sexual come–on, nor is it manipulative. There is no agenda, no goal other than to playfully acknowledge and delight in one another’s innate nature with words, eyes, body language and respectful touch. Conscious flirting can be by fulfilling in and of itself and is deeply respectful of self and others. It is a safe way of interacting with our erotic innocence in a playful, nourishing way, and is a delightful way to honor the essence of another through acknowledging and appreciating another human being.

Flirting lights us up. It is liberating, invigorating and enriching. Conscious flirting is a way to keep the juice flowing in our lives, while freeing us from the dry way we have been conditioned to interact. Through the act of conscious flirting we have a way to “enlighten” people around us. It is energizing to see the delight on the face of another. Through accessing our inner glow as we skillfully exchange erotically innocent play, we become more beautiful and our immune system gets a boost. Conscious flirting is a form of positive reinforcement that promotes healthy social interaction.

There is an etiquette to conscious flirting that primarily is centered on our intention to be appropriate. Flirting romances the part of us that desires to be acknowledged through the conscious recognition of the dance of life meeting our visual awareness. Conscious flirting invites us to appreciate the beauty of the soul and spirit in another. If more of us knew how to flirt successfully, we would experience less sexual tension. The natural sexual energy we all embody would have a safe and easy way to express itself in our lives. When our sexual energy is blocked, it may express in sexual neurosis and inappropriate behaviors.

In its most transpersonal aspect we can explore who is actually doing the flirting? When we are in an awareness of The Oneness, our ‘small I’ steps aside and allow consciousness to flirt with itself. The way we see it, the name of this masterful game is to surprise, delight and love each other as perfectly as we can. We are no longer focused in the personal, but are now watching Radha and Krishna; Shiva and Shakti interacting in a timeless manner. We are dancing the dance of life in a way that enriches us personally through our cosmic awareness. As we conscientiously bring our loving juicy attention and positive spicy regard to each other, we help grow one another’s succulent aliveness, bright wit, and zesty intelligence. It’s fun to feel really alive, and what better way than to honor our natural flirtatious, playful, spiritual self?

Love as a Practice

Love As a Practice
By Tomas and Joan Heartfield. Ph.D.

Some time ago I was talking with a friend who had just returned from visiting her daughter’s family in California.  She commiserated with me that she used to enjoy being Grandma, but this time all she could see was a lack of love.  Her daughter and son-in-law never once expressed affection towards each other. As soon as her daughter entered the door from work she lit into her husband. The TV was always on. It was a battleground with screaming kids and parents trying to cope and make enough money to keep their beautiful house. She wanted to help and didn’t know how.  She felt she was seeing herself at her daughters age, in that same state, but felt helpless to “make it better”.

I shared with her I had heard this story a number of times. Her experience is all too common.  In a home where the feeling of love is absent it is difficult to feel comfortable. Many people were raised in homes where feelings of anger, sadness and pain obscured the love. It is easy to be overwhelmed and taken over by the frustrations relaionship, family, work and life bring to us on a regular basis.

I suggested she focus on giving love as a practice and have a heart-to-heart conversation with her daughter using a combination of telling the truth without blame or judgment and empathy. It might sound something like this.

“When I see you come in the door with so much tension and I feel the energy of frustration in your home, I feel sad. I’m aware that all of you need more positive energy.  I know you feel overwhelmed. I remember how I felt when I was where you are now. I was the same way with you, and I feel sad I didn’t know how to be a relaxed, loving mom.  I see how much you have to do and how little time you have to yourself. With all my heart I want to support you by learning from my past mistakes. I love you and want to make a difference in your life. May I share my awareness, and support you in finding a way to feel less stressed?”

She acknowledged it was challenging being the grandma who contributes her wisdom without meddling. I suggested she look beyond the drama of the situation and see where love was needed and give it as a healing for herself for all the times she didn’t know how to do it when her daughter was small. She could now choose to give it not from guilt for not giving it, but as a gift to the world she is helping to create. She imagined feeling love streaming out of her heart into theirs. She decided that even if she didn’t feel it coming back she would remember that this is her spiritual practice!

When I saw her next, she had returned from her Christmas visit. “It was a completely different experience. I shared my feelings and really was able to be empathetic. I just kept beaming everyone love and really listened to their needs. It was the nicest Christmas we’d had in a long time. The very best thing was how I felt about myself in doing this practice. I now trust I can show up as the loving person I really am. I know how to give love in the way it is needed.”

Love As a Force – The Unlimited Potential of Love

Love As a Force – The Unlimited Potential of Love
By Tomas and Joan Heartfield. Ph.D.

Though mysterious and highly unpredictable, being in love gives us access to the core of our beings. It opens us to our vulnerability, where we are able to feel the pulse of our own soul through our heart. From this place we are able to create the highest form of relationship: one with unlimited potential. Nurturing this potential is a constantly evolving art form.

                                                                                                                   – Tomas Heartfield

 

When Swami Satchitananda was in Maui, he spoke of loving.  He said, “For many of you love has been reduced to a business.  You give love when you have received something that makes you feel safe enough to give love.”  He laughed.  “In true loving, there can be no safety.  If you are to truly love, you must give up the self.  Anybody can love when they are receiving something for it.  But, can you love for no reason at all?”

 Love is a force that touches us all; it connects us to the universe and reduces the pain of separation. It is driven by desire and our need to connect with the energy of the absolute. Desire is the ignition or spark for all human activity. It touches all of our senses.

 When our desire includes our wish for all beings to know peace and well being, we have made a significant contribution reducing suffering in the world. It all starts with us. The quality of our desire determines the quality of the love.

When the energy of love as passion enters us, it can disrupt our carefully constructed lives. From the ego’s point of view, love is downright dangerous. Of all the things the ego (our patterned way of responding) finds threatening, it fears love the most.  It is love that dissolves our patterns. Love challenges our belief that the “self” that we think is who we are, is in charge. Physically it arises in the heart, which is really an organ of intelligence.  Its language is love.  What we crave is not an understanding of love, but an experience of love. Love comes in many flavors and is accessible to all

 To say we are in love means that we have surrendered to letting someone into the innermost sanctum of the heart. When we say, “I love you”, what are we saying?  We are saying, “I have feelings for you that open my heart to an energy in me that is precious. I can only call it love.” Love is an indication of deep feeling.  A more accurate statement might be:  “When you talk with me I open up and feel close to you. I feel happy”.

experience

We are all learning how to love and even though it is widely talked about in our world religions, love’s other companions of forgiveness, compassion and acceptance support love and enhance the quality of life.

Love in its more mature aspect is the practice of  deep connection. At our core, love is the universal language. What we can do is cultivate this precious elixir within us: our ability to “love for no reason”.

Is it safe to love?  Absolutely not. And in this is its gift.

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