Focus on spiritual living is more popular than ever, which is good for me, because that’s how I interface with the world.
The work I do (‘work’ already a word with not a lot of fun connotations) pulls together two seemingly disparate worlds—the spiritual and the sensual or seductive. There are a growing number of people offering this kind of healing approach (in a nutshell, sensuality as a spiritual practice) and I ‘coach’ people on how to do it, using methods from earth-based tradition to sexuality.
Broad topics, I know, but that’s the fun of it—anything goes.
However, when I look around at all this new spiritual focus, I see a lot of very serious work going on. I see reverent, spiritual practitioners, very seriously healing very earnest clients. Even the abundant ‘bliss’ experience seems to be experienced without a lot of buoyancy.
That’s right. I just used a Grumpy Cat meme to illustrate my point.
Oh, there’s a ‘bliss-face’—it’s about as common and manufactured as ‘duck face.’ Even I have bliss-face pictures. I’m not saying all bliss is manufactured, but there’s kind of a uniform that shamanic/healing practitioners and patrons wear, and it comes in the form of easily recognized facial expressions, healer’s jargon, and usually a lot of feathers, beads, and organic cottons.
There is not a lot of laughing in western healing ceremonies, and there aren’t a lot of jokes being cracked during one-on-one coaching. I see a lot of serious faces, deep in new-age concentration, a lot of sacred looking posturing, solemn expressions, the aforementioned benign bliss-face smile and lots of advice about how to be light-hearted and let go—but all with no hint of actual lightheartedness in the advice itself.
I hear ‘step into your power,’ ‘let go of what’s not serving you,’ ‘part of my process,’ ‘part of the journey,’ ‘coming from a place of,’ ‘going deep into,’ ‘discovering my shadow self’…and all the rest of the light worker lingo that we’ve heard often and that even I use in my every day life. I don’t need to tell you, it’s not full of comedy, this jargon.
It’s full of urgent, therapy vibeness that makes it seem like the journey to healing will never be finished.
I hate to burst the bubble, folks, but one day you will have to be healed. Not necessarily from everything, as we receive new wounds all the time. And, healing from karmic scars and the ancestral damage is…not easy. But eventually, all of the major healing has got to get somewhere near to done, or at least to a non-emotionally crippling place…or, hey, maybe what you’re doing isn’t the right thing for you.
So much neoshamanism is done with such careful and holy deliberateness. Everyone takes themselves and healing so seriously. It all reeks a little bit of self-importance and suggests, oh so subtly, that our journey is completely isolated from everyone else’s. It’s gets so personal and so introverted, that there’s almost no joy in the healing process at all- only pain and torment, with smatterings of relief here and there.
Not to mention, in order to take something so seriously, there has to be judgment accompanying it somewhere. It’s impossible not to have it.
Because if you can’t laugh at yourself, then there’s an implication that a thing must be a certain way, that there is no room for flubs, goofs, mistakes, looking ridiculous or snorting when you laugh. It also implies the presence of powerful ego. Laughter is spontaneous, it is indicative of being carefree.
Laughter does not care if you’re cool or talented or psychic or sexy. To be without care means, ideally, no self-consciousness; laughter is one of the most true and ‘in the moment’ actions a human can do when it comes from the heart (that is, not at someone else’s expense).
There is a place for reverence and respect in ceremony, there is also a place for silliness—real deal, child-like, heehee-ing.
In fact, sometimes when the spirit of Goddess or God or All That Is comes over you during prayer or meditation, one can become overwhelmed with a laughter that won’t stop. It’s divine, like speaking in tongues. You can be completely filled with the Divinity and ecstasy and the resultant gift is laughter. (If you ever do a Despacho Ceremony in Peru with Q’uero shamans), you will see, levity is divinity too.
On the side of sexuality, 80% of the offerings out there for development of sensuality/sexuality have a bit of a Zoolander-y ‘Blue Steel’ vibe—”Oh, I can never smile because I’m overwhelmed with how sexy everything is. I’m sexy! You’re sexy. Everyone will be sexy and aroused at the workshops we’re giving!” or, “I’m enjoying this cake with my senses and it’s so delicious that it’s similar to orgasm and therefore not funny!”
Adverts for these events lead me to believe that they’re just so erotic that laughing would probably seem entirely out of place. Instead, smoldering looks and climax-induced loss of motor function would be more appropriate.
Ha Ha Haaaaarousal! No.
Not there’s anything wrong with smoldering looks—I give a whole lecture on them! But as anyone who’s ever worked with me knows, I am equal parts hilarity/sexy-time.
A quick note: The other end of the spectrum in sex/sensuality workshops is an odd discussion and experience of sexuality that is almost ‘hokey-cartoonish’ in a ‘Skinemax-meets-adult-amusement-park’ kind of way. With so many feather boas and dildos flying around…well…there is such a thing as too much comedy in the sack.
Sexual tension and arousal has energy that’s more akin to aggression (which can be hot, indeed) than jubilance and light-heartedness. Not violence, mind you—but aggression.
The sexual force of arousal, does not leave a lot of room for giggles (in fact, I think a lot of people get freaked out if there’s any sort of laughing while they are nude). Arousal and eroticism can make you want to rip of clothes with your teeth and bite and scratch like an animal, yes, and that is one of my favorite things in life.
But somewhere in there, there has to be some playtime.
You’ve got to laugh…tease…joke…smile, at the very least.
And I don’t just mean ‘porn smiling’ during coitus like you’re getting f*cked with a guitar riff, either. I mean, genuinely smile.
There’s seriousness around sensuality. If not seriousness, then, at the very least, lack of funny. The word ‘sensuality’ alone makes you want to inhale through pouty lips and exhale in suggestive sighs, no? It doesn’t make you want to laugh your ass off. Healing sexual trauma, rekindling and discovering sensuality, patching old wounds around sexuality and love? Nope, not fun-thought inducing.
I am sexual. I do not laugh! I smolder.
Hi. Please, let me coach you on sensuality:
What? Having difficult taking me seriously?
True, there’s a lot of crying in healing—there’s a lot of sadness that can come up during therapy or energy work. There’s certainly a lot of pain that arises during the process of leaving sexual scars behind. People can get embarrassed discovering sensuality—even if it’s not sexual.
When I suggest mindfulness as part of a sensual practice, it becomes serious so fast that I have to remind clients that mindfulness doesn’t have to be gazing soulfully at the earth or the gentle, eyes-closedness that comes with deeply appreciating a melody. Those things are nice, but sometimes mindfulness is being lost in a huge, freaking guffaw.
It’s total absurdity that makes you almost wiz your pants with laughter.
Mindfulness is natural.
Listen, there are enough things to be upset about in the world—your spiritual evolution doesn’t need to be all furrowed-brow and cosmic enlightenment every freaking second.
Yes, go into the intense ceremony, into the sweat lodge, do the plant medicine in the jungle, pray to the Universe with your whole heart open and your focus on nothing else. Heal, cry, sob, weep, ponder, have your mind blown, seek God—but only after (and sometimes during) your processes, let yourself laugh about it.
Chuckle about how scared/proud/excited/unhinged/consumed with galactic love you were/are. Laugh about how much a dork you can be, or how self-righteous you sometimes are. Snicker at the not knowing.
And if no one gets your laughter—who cares?
For practitioners, I say—laugh with your clients. Allow them to relax and know that no matter how hard or powerful or awe-inspiring it may seem in the moment, they are human still and allowed to be so. Laugh at yourself. I laugh with my clients all the time, even in deeply serious moments. They come out of the story that is old pain and into the moment that is organic and real now. Fun is reassuring. It releases pent up ‘ick’ and sadness from deep inside us.
Know what else?
Laughing is sexy.
Smiling and laughing are some of the biggest aphrodisiacs on goddess’s green Earth. And it’s so super attractive to a potential partner/lover and so potent…I’m surprised it isn’t illegal already.
Ché Macguyver is an unorthodox life & whole beauty coach, shaman, and former sex worker. Her writing promotes deep healing, deep living, and intelligent cussing. You can find her at www.thewayofthecourtesan.com or contact her via email at [email protected]
Like elephant journal on Facebook.
Ed., T. Lemieux/B. Wise