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

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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.

Enticing Genius

Enticing Genius
By Joan Heartfield, Ph.D.

Liz Gilbert inspired me in her talk at the TED conference. She spoke about the root of genius not being something we are or aren’t—but something more ethereal.  When I looked up the word genius on the Online Etymology Dictionary, sure enough, the late 14th century Latin translation of genius is a “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation, with talent,” If we use this definition, we see that even if we don’t think of ourselves as a genius, we may be able to entice a genius into our lives.

This is an exciting possibility since I know we all have experienced moments of genius when a new thought, new idea, new possibility has suddenly seem to come out of nowhere. Literally jump into our awareness. But what if we could cultivate, entice or romance more of those moments?

Often those fleeting moments seem to come when my mind has been relatively empty (like upon awakening). It would emerge before one of my repetitive thought patterns would seize me. Before a habit pattern would just jump in and start the day in some automatic way.  In those moments of serenity when I would be thought-less, almost empty, new thoughts would emerge. Thoughts I’d never thunk before. I’d feel a rush in those moments; creative moments, exciting moments, moments where I would seize a pen to write down the words and ideas that were forming in my mind.

I’d always received this as a gift, but never knew how to bring it about more of the time. Now I know it’s my genius at work bringing jewels of new thoughts that seem to come from the creative part of me. I’m beginning to watch for them in those moments where my mind is empty of it’s usual drivel of endless to do lists and chatter about anything and everything past, present and future. Perhaps because I am recognizing, appreciating and asking for it, these moments of insight and brilliance come more frequently.

Getting grounded, which happens when we are barefoot on the ground, seems to help. Interestingly, we can also get grounded where we are in the bath or shower. This is because, as David Wolfe points out, the plumbing is connected to the earth, which provides instant grounding.  I’ve noticed Tomas frequently gets creative downloads the moment he steps into our nighttime shared bath.

Genius downloads seem to come in cycles.  When your genius knows you are paying attention, more material may come whizzing through. As you begin to get these random snippets, write them down in a genius notebook to find what they are pointing to.  Who knows? You may be on the edge of writing a new book, creating solutions for world peace, or inventing the next free energy technology!

This appears to be a particularly good time to ask for and receive New Awareness. Goddess knows, we need it. And because of that, it is coming in from all sides. Beautiful, powerful, uplifting, supportive information is streaming in from all over the world. Genius at work!

I am convinced Genius is here with us all the time just waiting to be called in. Try it. “Come sweet genius, come and think me. Lift my mind from the mundane. Give me thoughts that can support not only my highest options, but can support my connection to effortless creativity.”

May you feed your genius well, and reap the sublime fruits of inspiration, imagination and vision.

Boosting a Flagging Sex Life After Birth

Boosting a Flagging Sex Life After Birth
By Joan Heartfield, Ph.D. and Tomas Heartfield, Certified Tantric Educator.

What can be done to give a couple’s love life a lift after having a baby?

The most important thing a couple can do to enhance their desire for one another post birth is to treat each other with respect and understanding.

The father needs to understand it is natural for the mother to need rest for a while after giving birth.  Although it is completely natural it takes a great deal of energy to grow a baby, go through the intensity of labor and delivery, and then care for the infant after it is born.

When a woman feels understood and honored, she feels cherished. Hug her and let her know how precious she is to you; touch her body with healing intention; massage her and help her relax deeply into her true nature; see the beauty of the Divine Mother radiating through her and beam that beauty back to her through your own eyes; show your  appreciation for her in your thoughts, words and deeds.

When you do make love the first time after the birth, create a sacred ceremony. Be conscious and conscientious in the way you re-establish your sexual relationship. Know that her yoni, her sacred space, needs to be touched slowly and tenderly. Make this a precious time to remember!

The mother needs to understand that the father of her child wants to know he is loved. Caring for a baby is so absorbing that a woman sometimes forgets her man needs quality time and attention from her.

When a man feels deeply respected and appreciated for what he is able to give, he relaxes. Men need to know they are needed and valued, not only for the protection and support they give, but also for their sexual energy. Touch him and tell him how sexy he is; thank him for understanding your need to take a break and let him know that as soon as you feel up to it, you want to make love again; realize that this child will be with you for a relatively brief time while your husband is your lifetime companion; give him the time and attention he needs, and let him know how special he is to you.

Energy runs differently in men and women. A man feels love through his lingam, his “wand of light”. A woman feels love through her heart. When a man communicates his love in a way that opens a woman’s heart, it opens her to the possibility of a sexual connection. When a woman lets her desire for her man show through her touch and her smile, she endears him to her.

A communication technology such as Compassionate Communication, developed by Marshall Rosenberg, is a wonderful tool to help bring the passion back. The more simply we can communicate our feelings and needs, without blame or judgment, the easier and more joyful life becomes.

Learning to listen with empathy is the other side of communication. Being heard and understood is a turn on for both men and women.

It all boils down to consideration. When we really care about another, we want to understand their feelings and needs, and we want to be understood as well. When we feel understood, we can relax. Sexual energy flows best when we are in a peaceful state. Plus, you will be healthier, happier and passionately harmonious!

Cultivating our sexual energy

 Cultivating our sexual energy

 Is there a practical reason to cultivate our sexual energy other than to have sex?

Absolutely, I mean definitely cultivating our sexual energy in order to, let’s say, enjoy more of that sexual energy in all of the ways in which we use it because, sexual energy is a life energy, it is a life force energy, and so all the ways in which we might use our life-force energy, in our creative endeavors, in our conversations with people when we really feel passionate about something.

Passion is an energy, we want to be able to bring it up and be able to use it in the world to get things done, whatever it is we want to get done and to feel loved, being able to bring passion into the way which we love so that we can, really make a difference in the world in a way which we communicate, to have a passionate communication, to have a passionate understanding or awareness, to have a passionate connection with the Divine.

So the more of this life-force energy that we have, the more we can bring to all aspects of our life including of course having maybe more fun making love.

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