Oceana’s Tantric Getaway
By Alys Titchener, author of poetry blog; Squashed Mosquito
Something old; something new. Or to be more specific: something ancient; something exciting. A tantric getaway sounded like the perfect outer wrapping for our honeymoon to indulge our senses and sensibilities. I sign us up, knowing we will be stimulating and absorbing an ancient wisdom into our lives in what must be the most pleasurable way I can think of.
We arrive at a retreat space in Uki and I find, before any workshopping begins, that the venue is working its tantric magic; as we walk down the path to the main hall, my ears tingle in response to the bamboo chimes and free form chatter of birds, octaves above the distant hum of quiet Uki. It feels like a bedroom dance as we nestle into the valley, sensing the green flora tuck us in. Mt Wollumbin is misty eyed, standing over us and reminding us of ancient wisdom to come. I feel protected, reverent and humbled to be here.
I’m a little open mouthed as to the amount of self pampering on offer – spas, sauna, steam room, massages, hammocks – and I silently thank Oceana for her abundant ability to find an environment so fully complementary of a tantric getaway. I have previously done a Sacred Woman’s circle with Oceana, with a backdrop of Uluru, and I acknowledge, again, what a perfect setting that was for the creation stories we were bringing into our lives back then. She has delivered once more!
We are given a day to settle in. An entire day devoted to relaxing in whatever manner we desire. And it takes me an entire day to realise we are the characters in this fairy tale setting. We swim under Buddah’s gaze, we spa under the cloud catcher mountain, we laze outside our room, giggling at how close our hammock comes to sweeping the path. And we eat, almost to the point of over indulgence on home-made Krishna food.
With our bodies nurtured, it comes time to nurture our spirit. I’m unsure what plays out at a tantric getaway. My friends speculate wildly as to our activities; you’ll be partner swapping and dancing round naked, they say, and while a hint of fear creeps in to the preparation for our honeymoon, I dispel them immediately as I take in Oceana. I feel safe in her hands. She is affirming, like a river running its course, gurgling, bantering, sparkling, and then receding with grace to show how gentle joy is, and how joyful it is to say Yes. I am willing.
Yes - Oceana embodies this word as she steps into the role of facilitator. After our first exercise, I am struck by how in one simple question, we have gone from furtive participants to bubbling, shining, Yes’es ourselves. We share from that place of tireless enthusiasm and joy. It feels like a welcome home for each of us. Our hearts open and dissolve what, at one stage, we would have called a comfort zone. Zones no longer exist.
Our quality of tone changes. I recognise excitement, recognition, suspense, delight, anticipation, surrender, surprise, relaxation and acceptance in everyone’s musings, each story carrying a benevolent thread of fate – throwing (my) love into (your) love. Resting in this space, we become the spontaneous children of life. We sing, perhaps a little rigidly at first, but soon we are dancing and watching our voices spin off the octagon roof of the retreat’s temple. It is a delight to sing in here. As our notes snake their way to the top, it sounds like a hundred angels are joining in. We are encouraged.
We are clearly, as a couple, moving closer together, yet there is no ‘doing’ in this process. We simply have moved into a space of deeper sensitivity and love. While here, we remember what its like to be swimming in that great ocean of potential; anything’s possible. That’s what life was like when we fell in love. This is what we taste again on this retreat.
For me, this tantric retreat maps the beginning of mine and my new husband’s life together. If I could choose only one day that is to express my life, it would be one of these days on retreat; we are dedicating our time and energy to each other, mind, body and spirit. We are becoming acquainted with intimacy on a levelled playing field. In this new awareness, we notice how we had already developed roles and patterns for our particular dynamic, which for the most part had gone unspoken. Delicate and vulnerable ideas and behaviours are addressed in what I can only call the softest mood lighting ever.
We both count it as a huge blessing to be so gently pushed out of this patterning so as to bring a fresh touch to our love making. It is after the retreat that we are able to talk about some of these patterns and ask each other if we can start again without the packaging and baggage we’d carried in. And we find, when we meet each other in such an honest space, all the prescribed ‘homework’ of the weekend flows into the most natural of unions. Yes, It is such an innocent journey, to be tantric.
So while there was no dancing naked, there is a shedding of layers. At its most elementary, the layers that I talk of are the layers that speak of me being separate from you. I recognise and fully appreciate the man in front of me. He is a man greater than my desire. He will not tuck me up in bed, safe, rather, he frees the birds caged within my chest and lets the lion roar between my thighs. Slowness and urgency blur in time. Sighing and stillness bound out of our lungs in our new practice of breathing. This is fun.
I leave the retreat, somewhat sad it is ending, yet so happy to be fostering a dedication to my lover and best friend. The infusion of these ideas and practices take time. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, love making is best enjoyed slowly. Time enough for every sense to have a turn, to be aroused into full awareness, so as to live life – and love making – at the widest stretch of an open heart.
And as I meditate on what I have learnt from the weekend, I realise this presence, this dedication to each other, this shared expression, is our playing field for something more vast. What we taste in a weekend retreat reminds some small spark of us of our union with the eternal and with our highest self. I see heaven touching earth in the form of love, grace, joy, acceptance and peace. In the form of you. I see the divine in us all.
I find there is ancient wisdom and awareness waiting behind anything newly experienced.
And what an experience too!
I whole-heartedly recommend the Tantra Retreat with Oceana. Let it be, for you and your partner, an expression to share. It will be whatever it needs to be; something new; something ancient, something wise, or something tender. And in every instance, it will be something expressed by you, for you and to you, and so gladly received.
» Article by Alys Titchener ~ Poet, New Zealand
» Painting by Billy McGrath ~ Artist, New Zealand