It was a dreary, mid-week morning when I answered my phone and found out OPRAH wanted me on her show….
I listened in disbelief as producers asked about coming on national television to share some of the ancient practices of Tantra and sacred loving which could help a couple rekindle their sex life.
Thirty-six hours later, my husband and I were on a plane to Chicago, still in a state of shock.
Although we felt strongly about offering others the elements of Tantra which had helped us transform things in the bedroom from stuck to stellar, we’d both still had “real” jobs and had only been teaching workshops on the side for less than two years.
We didn’t even have a website yet.
So during the few days between the taping of our teaching segment and the recording of the live show, we were busy trying to get a site live before the show aired just two weeks later.
At first, I was at a loss when asked what I wanted to name it. So I got quiet. I prayed. I slept on it….
And I then these words came to me very clearly:
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Shakti is a Sanskrit word which points to the universal life force energy which is feminine in nature... and unfortunately, frequently neglected and ignored in most cultures.
(And below you'll find guiding principles and practices for awakening this feminine life force energy.)
The “Oprah Experience” happened in 2003, and for the last 13 years, I’ve been living into those words, Awakening Shakti, as they’ve continued to guide, challenge and deepen me in ways I could never have in my wildest dreams imagined....
They’ve been a mantra that I used to hold myself together through the darkest days after my marriage fell apart.
They’ve been a personal declaration as I’ve learned to trust my own sexual blossoming and find my authentic feminine power.
They’ve been the inspiration and mission for leading other women into the messy beauty of what it means to embody the soul of being mothers, lovers and leaders.
And right now, Awakening Shakti, feels like a torch of hope, an illuminated pathway for us into greater sanity, love and balance in a world fraught with so much conflict, confusion and fear.
Here are 5 Awakening Shakti principles that continue to guide me, evolving and teaching me all the time, plus some practices so you can try them on for yourself:
1. Shakti is radically inclusive.
The path of Tantra says “Yes” to all of life, not just the attractive parts, the ugly parts too. It’s all part of the great weaving, every thread contributes to the ultimate wholeness of this tapestry of life. We practice embracing all and rejecting nothing. From this place of inclusivity, we take action, have preferences, speak our truth.
What are you pushing against right now in your life (the thing you most dislike about your body, global warming, someone who annoys you)? Imagine stepping to the side, taking a look at the situation is as it is even if you don’t like it or understand it, and see what feels available to you when you stop rejecting and reach for more acceptance.
2. Shakti is embodied.
Our sacred feminine essence is found not by rejecting the body, trying to meditate our way up, up and away from the earthy realm into heaven, but by coming down, down and in to the soul inhabiting our female form. Just as any plant must first have strong roots in order to grow and reach for the sky, we honor the body as the sacred foundation of our spirit.
Connect with the earth everyday, get your body or your feet on the ground, lean against a tree, draw three deep breaths up from the center of the earth into your lungs and on your exhale, imagine shooting your “roots” down into the planet.
3. Shakti cultivates pleasure as a portal to the Divine.
We were born sensual beings. We are designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Pleasure is critical for our health, wellbeing and wholeness. Somewhere along the way, we learned to be suspicious of pleasure, we got it cross wired that what feels good is somehow not good for us. Our ultimate joy is remembering our sacred union with wholeness, with the Divine.
Stop in this moment and connect with your pleasure: what do you see, smell or hear in your environment or feel in your body right now that pleases you. Note that on a scale of 1 to 10 and then see what you can do to bring that up a few points. As you increase the pleasure, allow it to be a healing balm in your body, connecting you to the Source of who you truly are.
4. Shakti embraces sexuality as sacred.
Our sexuality offers us access to the greatest power on Earth, the ability to create new life. The erotic union of masculine and feminine, yin and yang, together create wholeness, whether we are loving another or our own inner marriage within.
Whether we are creating a baby, a business, or birthing a new way of being, we are tapping into the Eros of life that delights in the holy miracle of creation. Orgasmic energy floods our body with the light and literally gives us the momentary experience of dissolving our illusion of separation and knowing “enlightenment.”
Practice: Close your eyes and feel into the part of you that came from your father, your own masculine or Shiva essence, and the part of you that came from your mother, your feminine or Shakti essence. Imagine these two aspects of yourself madly in love, adoring each other, and in passionate erotic coupling. Enjoy whatever energy arises and dedicate it, if you choose, to whatever you are wanting to manifest in your life.
5. Shakti is present by coming to her senses.
Our conditioning from a hyper masculine culture often keeps us trapped in the mind: thinking, improving, trying to figure everything out, planning, strategizing. Useful tools but also a recipe for insanity when out of balance. All meditation practices are designed to help us wake up to presence rather than being incessantly driven by our largely neurotic, fearful and habitual thoughts. Bringing attention to our breath, opening to the sensations of feeling, sound, taste, smell and sight, allows us to rest in the present moment, the only place where miracles live.
Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath, how it feels going in and out of your nose, your body. Staying connected to your breath, notice what tastes are lingering on your tongue, what you hear and smell right now. Then slowly open your eyes to simply receive whatever it is that they land on, textures, colors, shades of light. Notice how full awareness to your senses naturally guides you into presence and rest in the relaxation to be found there.
Yes, miracles do happen. That phone call many years ago from Oprah was certainly one of them.
The greater miracle though is the one I see everyday as I am blessed to work with women around the globe who are Awakening Shakti by learning to reclaim the sacredness of their sexuality, love their bodies, trust their hearts, and take action from a place of authentic feminine power.
Shakti is alive and well inside of each and everyone of us.
This is Her time of re-emergence as we bring the divine feminine energy back to her rightful place alongside our masculine.
In our wholeness, in our erotic union within ourselves and with our Beloveds, we are co-creating a new and more loving world.
PS - Enjoy the insights included above? If so, you're invited to download my free, hour-long audio, Advanced Practices for Awakening Your Shakti.