What would it mean to feel truly safe in our bodies? To begin receiving joy from the inside-out?
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Tara Teng, an Embodiment Coach who works in the intersections of spirituality and sexuality. She helps people find their way back to their bodies, overcome shame, heal trauma and dismantle purity culture in a way that is in alignment with their values and beliefs so that they can build a healthy sexual ethic and thrive in freedom and wholeness.
Tara just released Your Body is a Revolution: Healing Our Relationships with Our Bodies, Each Other and the Earth, and comes to this work after witnessing her generation struggle under the oppressive confines of 90s and 2000s purity culture, bringing with it the religious trauma, broken relationships, sexual dysfunctions, auto-immune disorders and sexual violence that ensued as a result of abstinence-only teaching that left us with an unhealthy obsession with virginity and lack of sexual ethics in our relationships.
Tara has spent over a decade advancing the socio-economic status of women, diminishing sexual violence and ending human trafficking alongside collaborative work with community stakeholders, lawmakers, and some amazing organizations. Beyond her work, Tara is a former Miss Canada and was named Canada’s “Woman of the Year” in 2011. She received an International Heroes award from the Joy Smith Foundation, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her vast human rights work.
In our dialogue, we discuss Exploring Embodied Sexual Safety.
Sexual safety and enjoyment begin in our bodies, Tara explains. By connecting to the wisdom of our bodies through the healing power of somatic expression, Tara helps us process and release trapped emotions in our bodies, heal trauma and regulate our nervous systems. Through this experience we will get out of our heads and into our whole bodies, remembering them as wise, awakened guides to authentic ease and pleasure.
If this conversation inspires you to thaw out your eros and find fresh congruence with your faith, I want to invite you to two opportunities to deepen this exploration.
First, Wisdom Camp, a contemplative day-retreat that’s happening next week.
For many, sexuality has been a place of taboo and restriction — what we avoid, rather than what we embrace.
Many of us come from religious backgrounds that neglect bodies, vilify desire, and shun sexual and relational orientations outside of the cis-hetero nuclear family, depositing shame on everyone who doesn’t fit within very specific sexual norms. We’re told these norms are a part of both sacred scripture and common decency, all the while abusive sexual coercions are often happening behind the scenes.
Too often, the result is shame, shut-down, trauma, and confusion – in short, purity culture. Many justifiably turn away in our spiritual and embodied journeys.
But still we’re left asking: We’re deconstructing purity culture…now what?
If we’re honest, many of us haven’t found our sexual ethics, insight and direction we seek from the culture at-large, either. The polish, performance, and profit motive of marketplace $exuality is hardly an improvement over high-control religion.
Real role models are hard to find. Wise voices seem scarce. And we’re not sure how to develop a more trusting relationship with ourselves!
Whether queer or straight, kinky or vanilla, trans or cis or nonbinary, asexual or hypersexual, monogamous or polyamorous or still questioning, how can we discover, deepen, and celebrate who we are, in ways that are resonant with our deepest spiritual values, including Jesus’ own orientation to feasting, joy, and lavish love?
The Wild Goose Festival is a space where people of diverse backgrounds bravely ask many of life’s most pressing questions, playing and listening to a symphony of responses.
Wisdom Camp: Sexuality offers a facilitated container inviting curiosity, courage, and collaboration into specific questions with a cohort of fellow learners, before the Festival officially kicks off.
We still have a few spots left for this unique day-retreat this tomorrow (Thursday), July 13th. If you’re already coming to Wild Goose, please join us. If you’re not coming to the Goose but live within a day’s drive of Harmony, North Carolina (near Statesville), you can come in just for this without participating in the wider festival.
Wisdom Camp: Sexuality invites us to reflect on and activate our own sacred sexuality, moving out of the shadows and into joyful play, featuring Aline Defiglia, Jon Carl Lewis, Ishka Shir, Rev. Alba Onofrio, Jennifer C. Martin, Mike Clawson, and myself.
Like I said, you can participate in Wisdom Camp this Thursday whether or not you’re at the larger Wild Goose Festival for the rest of the weekend. And if you are wanting to come to the Goose and haven’t gotten your ticket yet, use my discount code MIKE and you’ll save $50 off the price of an adult weekend ticket!
If next week is understandably short notice and you’d like more time to plan, I also want to let you know about The WholeHEART Awakening Experience: Energy and Eros taking place September 22-25 in the Pacific Northwest.
Hosts Anna and Jared DuPree invite participants to embody bliss, sensuality and open hearts through a series of practices integrating classical tantra, neo-tantra, sacred sexuality, and spirituality. This unique container is designed to progressively deepen intimacy and conscious connection within ourselves and others in ways that enliven our hearts and transform our lives.
You’re invited to lean into your gifts and edges as you continue to discover your authentic “you” to bring more synergy to your whole being: soul, mind, heart, and body.
You’re invited to more fully embody your desires, to know your “yes’s” and “no’s”, to speak boldly to pleasure and consent, and invite deep connection on all levels.
You’re invited to create a community of deep intimate connection within yourself; to gain courage and bravery to speak your truth with love, care and honor to both yourself and others so that we may lift up all of humanity.
To learn more about this unique Autumn gathering, go here.