In this beautiful article from our Winter 2018/19 issue, our resident Tantra expert Dawn Cartwright explored the inherent beauty of winter months, and how it can bring us closer to ourselves and to our beloved ones. Her suggested ceremony that you can perform at this time of year – Winter Lovers – is aimed at kindling Tantric energies and supporting lovers as they merge with themselves and one another.
Dawn Cartwright Tantra
In a world where it can sometimes be difficult to stand in our power and be assertive, Dawn Cartwright offers her advice on how we can clearly communicate ‘our true ‘yes’ and our honest ‘no”. This article appears in our Autumn 2018 issue – to pick up a copy, just check your nearest stockist or subscribe to the magazine today.
The Art of Assertiveness
When to say yes and how to say no
by Dawn Cartwright
According to researchers at Cornell University, we make 35,000 conscious decisions each day. That’s thirty-five thousand opportunities every single day to move closer to, or farther away from, our dreams. Our decisions create our future. The clearer we are about when to say ‘yes’ and how to say ‘no’, the more likely we are to be true to ourselves and create a life that reflects who we are.
In a world where there’s pressure to conform and fit in, decisions are often made based on expectations, rather than the truth we feel inside. We lose ourselves. We slide into accommodating others because it seems easier. We avoid the less familiar emotions, and the closeness and bonding that comes from facing and working through them, to maintain an illusion of peace. We feel our true ‘yes’ and our honest ‘no’ and we second guess them, or push them aside. Yet we long to be intimate. We long to be accepted. We long to be loved as we truly are.
How do we get in touch with our innermost feelings and thoughts? What does it mean to be someone who says ‘yes’ and ‘no’ honestly? How do we express ourselves truthfully, with kindness? How do we create a life filled with possibility, intimacy and freedom? How do we become who we are capable of being?
In 1943 Abraham Maslow introduced Positive Psychology, the scientific study of the positive and elevating aspects of human behaviour. Maslow believed that every human being has a strong desire to realise their full potential, to be who they are capable of being. He created a model called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, providing a map to becoming who we truly are. This map is useful in our quest to know when to say yes and how to say no.
When To Say Yes
- The Basics: Do you have shelter? Clothing? Food? Clean water? Are you meeting your sexual needs? If not, the stress of these unmet needs will interfere with your inner compass. Meet these needs and you’ll create a strong foundation. You’ll begin to recognise when you’re saying ‘yes’ because you’re depleted, cold, tired, hungry, thirsty or sexually unfulfilled, and when you’re saying yes because yes is what you truly feel.
- Safety: Our vigilant brain is the part of the brain that registers a threat and prompts us to say ‘yes’ to keep us from harm. Human beings have a natural desire for a predictable, orderly world. Having a daily routine like a morning walk or an evening meditation is a great way to create stability. Meet these needs and your ‘yes’ will be grounded in safety.
- Belonging: Humans are tribal beings. The need for togetherness is probably one of the most important and least met needs in the world today. Create healthy friendships. Engage in group activities that are meaningful to you. Meet this need and your yes will no longer come from a fear of being abandoned. Instead, yes will boost your feeling of belonging.
- Self-Esteem: A healthy sense of self is essential to being and becoming who we’re meant to be. When our self-esteem is low, we say ‘yes’ to gain approval. When self-esteem is high, we align with our core values no matter what. Know your core values, make a list.
- The Peak: Be truly you. That’s when your yes to others matches the yes you feel inside.
How To Say No
- The Basics: Fill your own cup. If you’ve had enough sleep, food, water and sex, chances are you’ll be more in touch with your natural generosity. You’ll be alert, relaxed, open and present, this in itself is a gift. Turn toward the person you’re saying no to, put both feet on the ground, relax your body, feel your generosity and say ‘no’.
- Safety: Pace yourself. Create a pace in all your relationships that makes it possible for you to maintain connection with yourself and with the other. Create emotional stability and safety for yourself and this will translate as emotional stability and safety for the other when you say ‘no’.
- Belonging: Be tribal. When we’re afraid to say no, we disappear and abandon the other person emotionally. Stay connected to your own heart. Stay emotionally connected to the other. Build a bridge of togetherness when you say ‘no’.
- Self-Esteem: Share your values. Believe in yourself. Believe in the other person. You are resilient! They are resilient! Self-acceptance makes you trustable and compassionate. Open your heart, be respectful, say ‘no’.
- The Peak: You are incredibly you. When you have fulfilled all your needs and you are consistently being and becoming who you are meant to be, your no is as positive as your yes.
Dawn Cartwright is a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bio-energetic Tantra fusion. You’re invited to join her in 2019 for The Red Tent: Women’s Sacred Sexuality, April 12th – 14th, Be Fully Alive: Level 1 Tantra Immersion, April 26th – 28th, in the Wicklow Mountains and Weaving the Beloveds: Couples Tantra Retreat, May 3rd – 6th, in Lower Rosses, Sligo.
How To Create A Daily Tantra Practice
Five practices for Tantra in everyday life
By Dawn Cartwright
Create a specific place in your home or in nature for your practice. As the days go by, this place will hold the energy of your practice and serve as a reminder of your focus. Clear the space of any distractions such as unfinished projects, computers, televisions and clutter.
Gather the items you’ll need; listed below along with the corresponding sense, element and location in the body for that particular practice. If you do not have access to any of the items, feel free to substitute or visualize.
Commit to the practice even if it seems at first as though nothing is happening. Let yourself become familiar with a new way of being, a new way of sensing. In a short time you’ll discover ecstatic pathways that were once hidden. Every day will carry with it some element of bliss.
Practice #1: The Gates of Ecstasy
Location in the Body: Base of the Spine
Our connection to the earth, at the base of the spine, is where the journey begins. Known as the gate of ecstasy, it’s the most primal part of the human body. The associated sense is our most primal sense, the sense of smell. Scent enters the limbic brain directly, connecting us to the euphoric feelings associated with bliss.
The Practice: Take a pinch of sandalwood powder in your hands and rub them together. Breathe in the fragrance, let it fill your senses. Then, find five words to describe the fragrance. When we discipline the mind to focus in order to describe, we open the gates of ecstasy with that focus. A sense we once believed to be limited to the nose, reveals sensations that fill the entire body with bliss.
Practice #2: The Sound of Your Name
Location in the Body: Throat
Just as the base of the spine is our connection to the earth, the throat is our gateway to the sky. Governed by the element of space, the throat is the bridge between etheric and earthy realms. When the voice is activated, we set in motion a cascading effect throughout the entire ecstatic channel.
The Practice: First, create a vibration at the base of the spine by humming through the spine, down to the base. Don’t effort, allow this to happen slowly. At first, you may feel vibration only as far as your chest. With time and relaxation, the vibrations will spread. Continue 2-3 minutes, then stop. Become aware of the sensations traveling up and down your body through this channel connecting the pelvis and throat.
Practice #3: The Song That Cannot Be Sung
Location in the Body: Heart
The smoke arising from incense touches everything, the same way that love touches everything it comes into contact with. Incense and the element of air are associated with the heart. We intuitively bring our hands to our heart whenever we are touched by something. Touch conveys feeling even more accurately than our words.
The Practice: Light a stick of incense. Follow the tendrils of smoke with your eyes. Notice how freely it moves, touching everything without constriction or fear. When we let go of inner tension, we connect from the heart. Acceptance of ourselves grows. We share our true feelings. We open to love.
Practice #4: I See You
Location in the Body: Navel
To see clearly, beyond the glossy images that constantly bombard us, is to be closer to the true essence of life. To see what is truly here. Candlelight and the element of fire are associated with the navel center, our inner sun. The light within us that illuminates everything without preference.
The Practice: Light a candle, then close your eyes. Place your palms over your eyes so that your eyes are completely covered and everything is totally dark. Relax. Your eyes are literally rejuvenating themselves. Then, when you feel ready, gently remove your palms and slowly open your eyes. See the candlelight, yourself and everything around you with new eyes.
Practice #5: Food for Your Soul
Location in the Body: Pleasure Centers
The pleasure centers in the body are connected to the element of water and the sense of taste. Pleasure is not just something we enjoy, it is literally food for our spirit. Water is fluid, it soothes and nourishes. Your sense of taste is one of the most pleasurable senses of all.
The Practice: Choose your favorite fruit. Could be an orange, strawberries or dates. Close your eyes, take a bite. Experience all the many sensations of pleasure. The fruit is food for your body. The pleasure is food for your soul.
Dawn Cartwright is a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bio- energetic Tantra fusion offering courses in Ireland and around the world.