The women's heart-core retreat-a journey into the divine feminine
Updated: Jul 24, 2019
I attended The New Tantra's (TNT) Women's Heart Core Retreat. TNT is a spiritual school founded by tantra teacher Alex Vartman in the lineage of Crazy Wisdom. In this radical approach, the teacher directly challenges the student's egos, and shows them where they are "off'", so that they can see themselves more clearly and hence grow spiritually.
We challenge our contractions by leaning into our fears by practicing to do the opposite of what our ego mind is telling us to do. We surrender ourselves to something that is bigger than the mini-me, in the desire to live open as love. We practice devotion and pray to serve when we are stuck in a so-called 'mindfuck'-when our minds create suffering by keeping us in compulsive destructive thinking.
The beginning of Friday night was a bit chaotic, and we learned what happens when we are totally in our feminine without any masculine structure. But as we gathered again in the circle, magic started to happen. As I gazed into the space, my mind went quiet, and suddenly I saw Jesus and Mother Mary spreading roses all over the floor. At first I couldn't believe what I saw, but then I remembered to trust my intuition and let go.
Suddenly I was very awake. As we were supposed to connect with a sister, a dear friend of mine turned to face me. Just holding my hand over her heart cracked her open and released something old and dark that she no longer needed. An enlightened being taking over one's own body to serve in such a manner is called transmission. It was not me that opened her heart, it was Mary working through me. I was just allowing it to happen. That night I went to sleep feeling grateful, wide open and at deeply at peace.
The following day was no less intense. After heart-opening confessions and holding and supporting each other in going deeper, by lunchtime I felt rather light-headed. Since the energy in the room was so high, I did my best to stay grounded. We explored different flavours or archetypes of the feminine, from light to dark, from the innocent virgin to the whore.
All of these are aspects of the Divine Feminine, or the Big SHE, and if we deny any of them, we’re denying parts of ourselves. We explored each of these energies through dance and music. The virgin, the bimbo, the mother, the witch, the wild woman, Kali and the divine slut (a woman who is totally free and empowered in all aspects of her sexuality). There’s no judgment over any of these aspects. All are useful and important and need to be acknowledged as parts of our feminine core.
We went on to do an exercise that was to help us heal the relationship with our mothers. One sister was to take on the role of the mother, while the other one could rest in her arms and ask for what she needed to heal and release old trauma. In my case, it turned out that I could not allow myself to be held by my sister, as there is a part of me that still feels afraid of being smothered by my mother's love which most often feels somewhat infused with a neediness.
There was a sadness in me over this resistance-my inner girl was grieving over the fact that she could not fully allow herself to receive her mother's love. As I lay there crying in her arms, my dear sister just held space for me, without trying to help me, fix me, or comfort me. She just sat there, totally still, transmitting the divine mother’s loving presence. That is all that was needed. Her undoing was the biggest gift she could give me in this moment.
After dinner, we held a release ceremony by the fire, where we burnt and left behind all lies and things we felt ashamed of so they would no longer hold us back. As we went back in, we dressed up in sexy lingerie for the evening. Dressing up as a service to each other is a deep feminine practice that should not be confused with vanity. Once we stop hiding in shame for who we really are, we can let our light shine and give our beauty as a gift to the world.
There’s so much competition between women in the world that many of us constantly go around afraid of being judged by other women. To heal this insecurity, we did an exercise where one woman would come to the front of the group and just stand there, showing herself, while her sisters opened their hearts to her, loving her and admiring her beauty. I was one of the women who dared to step up. I have a tendency to hide, so I wanted to do the opposite and move slightly outside my comfort zone. It worked. I was met with genuine appreciation and love, which felt empowering and healing.
The following morning I felt pretty tired as we partied long into the night. As we were sharing where we are in our process with the circle, one women suddenly stepped up and said she got a picture in her mind that she wanted to share. She delivered some deep truths. She spoke about the vulnerable heart and why it feels so painful and scary to open our hearts.
When we were young children, we were open and innocent, living fully in our hearts. This is where the Big SHE or spirit lives inside of us, it is our true nature as awareness. As we grew up, we started to live more and more outside the heart. We built walls around it to protect ourselves as we learned that it was not safe to be innocent, free and unconditionally loving.
We moved from living in spirit/love to living in fear/ego.
Since we were not connected to our true nature as love anymore, we started to seek love from outside of ourselves, mostly from our intimate partners. But no matter how much love they would give us, it would never be enough, since the hole of need is so big it can never be filled. Hence we start blaming our partners for not giving us enough love anymore, and the drama cycle begins.
So we’ve built all these walls around our hearts to protect ourselves from hurt. If an arrow then hits our heart, it’s painful, but it only hurts on the surface, since it never really meets the deepest heart. Immediately, it bounces back, we project or defend ourselves and want to hurt the other back, rather than feeling our own hurt fully. Then we try to make the wall even thicker, to avoid future hurt.
This is what keeps us in fear and isolation. If we for once could allow ourselves to let the arrow go into and through the heart, the pain would tear down the walls we have built around our hearts, and we could become the phoenix rising from the ashes. Pain and love are the same thing, she explained: “Love the pain and it will heal you.”
Adding on to this, one of the female teachers shared her deep insights and learnings about living spiritual relationships with us. From her own experience, she saw how much romantic dreaming we project on our (potential) partners. We’re always looking for “the One” to give us everything and make us happy and fulfilled forever. Obviously, this is not possible, for as long as we live outside of our hearts, in fear and ego, not even all the love in the world can fill our inner hole. Inevitably, this dream will always lead to disappointment.
In opposition to this "romantic dream relationship" stands the "spiritual relationship." This is where we get when we stop projecting our longings onto another person and start to bring ourselves home again. We use the relationship as a tool for spiritual growth, rather than expecting it to make us happy. We challenge each other to stretch our comfort zones and thereby serve our mutual growth. When hurt arises, instead of throwing it back to where it came from, we can be with it, letting it burn through the walls we have built around our hearts and thereby becoming more loving and open.
During the last exercise on Sunday, we were working in groups of four. One sister would lie in the middle with the others tuning into her body to feel what she needs and how they could best serve her. As it was my turn to lie down, I felt all the love and care from my sisters streaming through my body in a warm flow of energy. My whole being was softening, opening, becoming more gentle and vulnerable. Afterwards, I felt completely melted open. And then it dawned on me: this is what I long for with my partner as well, this is all we long for in our hearts-to melt into softness and oneness.
The feeling of separation from source is so painful for our being that we over and over device strategies to either not feel the pain or find ways to escape it. The most popular strategy, certainly amongst women, is the romantic dream. Realizing this, I want to practice melting itself. Going directly into the longing without using a strategy. Praying for opening, melting with my sisters, the trees in nature, the ocean, while making love. The possibilities are endless, and we do not need one particular person to do this with.
By now, you can probably imagine what space I was in by the end of the weekend. Before closing the circle, we did one last exercise, maybe the most powerful exercise of the weekend. We were arranged in the space so that our bodies would form a statue or mandala, creating living art together. I was placed in the middle, facing a very powerful sister whom I just before shared a very deep meeting with.
As we were gazing into each other's left eye, I tried to practice feeling and opening the right side of my heart, which is according to Indian guru Ramana Maharshi the true, spiritual heart. As I felt my heart expanding, I noticed a strong physical sensation in the right side of my chest. It felt as if it was about to explode. Suddenly, I had the same feeling in my womb, and
I realized the deeper meaning of the saying "the womb is a woman's second heart". My breathing became heavier. At times it was hard to conduct these strong sensations, but I never let go of my sister's left eye.
We were giving energy to each other as we opened our hearts and bodies in one big, blissful full-body orgasm. I had no idea how long it lasted, but as I looked around me, I could see all our sisters surrounding us. Their faces looked angelic. I felt deep love and heart-connection with all of them.
The Big She was in the room, and in the eyes of each sister. We have come home to ourselves, and remembered what true sisterhood was really all about. Together, we surrendered to the mystery of love.
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