The night before last weekend’s Bodysex retreat began, I laid down on the rug in the centre of the circle — inhaling the smells of body oil and beeswax — and felt the familiar sensation of being home. If I don’t feel safe to be myself in a circle of women, where in the world would I feel safe?
Having just come off of a stressful and at the same time joy filled summer, I was nervous about what would come up for me over the weekend. The lessons from summer had taught me that in order to continue growing and learning, I need to take what I’ve discovered within myself, and apply it to growing and learning with others. I hold back a lot — afraid of my “more” that feels like “too much” — worrying that my “too much” will be uncomfortable for other people. Holding back myself can make me seem selfish, can mean that I don’t get my needs met or can result in me shining only half of my light. To trust that both myself and others will be accepting of the full expression of me, requires a whole new level of vulnerability. In all honesty I was scared. But with the feeling of home in my heart and the intention of being present in all that I am, I entered into the first day of the retreat.
No retreat is the same as another, as no circle of women is the same. There are always similarities but each group of women brings a unique collection of stories, gifts and way of being. Right from the start this group exuded a feeling of calm, gentle, sacredness. With trust in the women and trust in myself, I opened the circle.
These beads (handmade by women in Kenya) represent each of the women who have sat in my Bodysex circles.
Halfway through the first day we do the Genital Show and Tell, which is my favourite part of the whole weekend. The privilege of sitting beside each woman — close enough so that we can both see the same image of her vulva in the mirror between her legs — is not lost on me. Seeing, naming and acknowledging our vulvas, surrounded by the love and support of other women, is an essential step in the process of integrating our sexual selves with the rest of who we are. I see it as a bridge connecting two worlds. As each woman chose a wish for her vulva, I noticed that the wishes were representative of much more, and that I’m not the only one holding back. “To be brave” “To let go” “To feel love” “To fully expose myself” “To love my femininity” “To allow pleasure” “To claim the worthiness it takes to orgasm” and “The freedom to explore with no restrictions.”
On the second day of the retreat everyone seemed much more comfortable being naked and we all giggled when someone bent over in front of our face or when the first fart was let out. I noticed how the women’s bodies became a contradiction almost of softness and strength. Less protected and yet more upright. I saw it as the freedom of being who we are and owning it.
We began the erotic recess with a self touching meditation. As our pleasure built, the sounds of our moaning – mixed with the humming of the vibrators – filled the room until you couldn’t tell who was making what sound. I’ve never felt so safe to be loud in my life. It was like an orchestra of uninhibited pleasure. When the sounds died down I sat up and noticed two women on the other side of the circle holding their hands out in front of themselves — sending energy — to a woman who seemed to be struggling. Knowing without a doubt that it was the right thing to do, I did something that I’ve never done before, and went to her. Sitting down beside her head I could see the stress on her face and body as she struggled to bring herself to orgasm. Reaching my hand towards her I softly smoothed out the lines on her forehead and jaw while she opened her eyes — letting me know I was welcome to stay with her. Encouraging her with words, I placed my hand on her chest and drew her heart energy up her body which was flush from pleasure. Tears fell from her eyes as I felt her heart open and a complete absence of resistance to me.
Noticing tension in her legs I moved down alongside her body and sat in front of her bent knees. Looking at each other eye to eye I began to breathe deeply — exaggerating the sounds of my breath with the hope that she would connect to it and find a way out of the anxiety in her mind and into the sensations in her body. She followed my breathing until our breath became like a circle of energy looping between us. Our breath now in sync I could see that there was still tension in her body and, without thinking about it, my own body began to soften and sway in front of her. Like a reflection in a mirror her body followed mine and we breathed, eye to eye, softening and swaying while she pleasured herself in front of me.
Sensing that she needed more support I invited, with her permission, the other women to come over and join us. Surrounding her we connected to each other with our hands, our legs and our hearts, creating a beautiful web of sisterhood that weaved around and through her. I knew in that moment that what was happening was something much larger than any one of us and that women from centuries ago must have done this very thing. It was profoundly sacred.
“It feels like something is being birthed” one of the women said, as we sang our sweet sister through a birthing of her own.
I entered the retreat afraid of being too much, leaned into my too much, and through that was able to witness with awe the wonderful “muchness” in all of us.
Thank you for your web of sisterhood:
Fleur de Cala Lily