Vortex Poem, Or: What I learned these last 15 years of studying embodiment

Most of the time, my body has the answer. My own body, this vessel, this corporeal flesh with pulses and nerves and bone, these muscles that move me around and enable me to jump and reach and grasp and squat and pump. This unexplainable, inimitable machine that lets me experience the world through my senses, that gives my brain input about taste and smell and texture.

I’ve learned that there are many more senses than the five we tend to focus on: taste touch smell sight sound. There’s also thermoception, the ability to tell temperature. And magnetoception to sense the magnetic fields around us. And nociception—how our bodies sense pain.

If I can just find silence deep enough so that I can listen to what the synapses and blood cells are saying, I have found that my body has the answer. Sit still, she sometimes whispers to me. Or, Get up and move and move and move. Don’t stop. Keep going. Or, Goddamn, you need more root vegetables in your mouth. Make it happen.

The process of transformation is so minute, and so slow. I want it on a time-lapse like an bud opening into a huge white lily and then wilting to drip pollen all over the table. Maybe then we’d actually see how the light inside starts to seep through all the cracks, we’d see the ways that lightening strikes the same place over and over. Maybe it would make me laugh and laugh. Maybe I would feel that itch in my bones like when I am too tired to sleep but my body is overspun and needs dreams to recharge.

So I don’t really know how to explain to you what happened when I went into my first 3-day long weekend workshop when I was twenty, and how that paved a way to the path I’m on right now. I don’t know how to explain how hard it was to save $300 from my $60-week personal assistant job that usually covered my groceries but barely, and that I saved it anyway, and saved up every year after that, to make sure that I got to go back to that space. That space where there were women of all ages (these were all-women’s workshops, before there were queer options offered) took their clothes off and talked about their relationships to their bodies, the trauma and pleasure and amazing things that they have done, like birth and nurse babies, or how they create transcendent orgasmic experiences. I found a circle of women, and while I dabbled in studying wicca and feminism, and I knew hypothetically intellectually the power of women’s circles, I hadn’t actually experienced them until then.

And now I still go back. I crave the clarity that comes in circle, that feeling like I am sitting on top of a volcano and it is filling me from the bottom up, spilling out of the crown of my head and I am part of all that is. I crave the power that is generated by a group—so different and impossible to recreate when alone. We have so much energy in our bodies, so much power and potential that only needs the right outlet to plug into so it can be released, so it can be used to light up an entire city block.

I don’t just go back, though—now I spend a significant amount of my time studying how these circles work and how to lead and how to create the circumstance where the container of the circle is strong. I don’t just show up as a facilitator or an assistant, I create it for days before and close it for days after, spending time in meditation and in masturbation gathering and cultivating my own energy to try to form some temple out of thin air.

Maybe it’s hard to believe, from this point of view, but I have not always been able to ask for what I want. I have not always been able to take and allow and accept and give and receive in the beautiful ways that felt soul-nourishing like diving into the perfect clear mountain lake with shiny colorful soft pebbles at the bottom. At first it was just murky cloudy water, grey like the color of a sky when it can’t decide whether or not to rain. But everything got clearer as my connection to my body got stronger. I can feel more, I can tell what I want, I can tell when I’m hungry or when I’m thirsty, I can tell when I need touch and what kind of touch would be the most satisfying, I can tell when my arms get thick and my shoulders get tight that I just want to bust out my flogger and wail on someone for as long as they’ll let me. I can tell when I crave piercing skin or sliding in slow or being filled as thick and swollen as I can take.

The transformation, that’s the part that’s hard to put my finger on. I can tell you about the before and after, though. I can tell you how scary it used to be to tell a lover that I wanted something else, more, different, in bed. I remember listening to women in workshops talk about what they wanted and who they were and their growing edges, and I wanted what they had, I wanted to be that, to know what they knew. I didn’t know how to become someone who knew what I wanted, but I saw the next stone, the next step in the path, the next light down the way, and I followed and listened and followed, and when a sign post came up that said, Pssst, something useful is down that way, I took it seriously. I invested time and money and energy. I carved out the space, because I needed it, I needed a new way to be me in the world, a way that was less apologetic and desperate, that was more whole and holy and aligned and attuned.

Maybe that’s what I wanted most of all: the state of being so attuned to someone else that I’d feel psychic, or transparent, like all my thoughts were swirling around me in some sort of deconstructed vortex poem. That kind of physical attunement when our cells know each other, where our pulses swell and release at the same rhythm, where our blood pressure matches because we spent so much time with our hearts pumping next to each other. And I wanted that skill, that ability to dive so deep into someone else’s body.

I wanted to learn trust my body to tell me secrets like a conch shell. It’s not like that’s ever done, check, figured it out, it’s more like a work in progress, a pathway I strengthen every day. But at least now, I know what it is, what it possibly could be.

New workshop in Albuquerque July 21: Pleasure Lab

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling toward the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?”

That’s the beginning of the description for my new workshop, Pleasure Lab, co-taught with Amy Butcher. It’s an “embodiment” workshop—meaning, feeling deeper into one’s own body, expanding the senses, getting in touch with desires and pleasure, and encouraging more aliveness. We will spend quite a bit of time creating a safe circle to play within, exploring our own boundaries, and really feeling into our yesses and nos before we build to offering some supportive, healing touch to each other.

That sounds less fun than it’s actually going to be, though. We’re going to offer all sorts of experiments that are juicy and thought-provoking and heart-centered and we’re going to take risks and dive deep into ourselves and learn all sorts of embodiment concepts that we can take home with us, to our partners or friends or lovers or whomever.

It’s a half-day workshop, from 12-5pm, Sunday, July 21st in Albuquerque, New Mexico. $50 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Details below.

pleasurelab

PLEASURE LAB: An embodiment workshop with Amy Butcher & Sinclair Sexsmith
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
12-5 pm in Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $50 donation requested (no one turned away for lack of funds; please contact Kat at [email protected] to discuss) space is limited; pre-registration is encouraged.

Pre-registration available at: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6909818453# or contact Kat.

What is the Pleasure Lab?

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling into the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?

Come explore with us.

Come to this master workshop and begin to harvest the erotic knowledge in your body. Through experimentation, we’ll learn tools to be deeply present in our bodies, to feel the powerful connection between genitals, heart, and mind.

This program will help you tap into the nutrient rich soil of erotic play which will help fuel your erotic self-discovery, compassion, and self-confidence. Explore a variety of playful experiential exercises to increase embodiment while respecting everyone’s boundaries. Learn some simple games and tools to feel erotic energy, build connection to your desires, and feel more alive and at home in your body, and experience the taboo power of sharing this exploration within community. All exercises will be clothes-on, and any touch is optional and always consensual.

When completing this workshop, participants wishing for more will have a grasp on the skills used in the Celebrating the Body Erotic workshops offered by the Body Electric School (thebodyelectricschool.com).

The Pleasure Lab workshop is open to women, trans, and genderqueer identified people, regardless of ability, ethnicity, class, or experience. The Source is fully accessible. Food will not be provided but we will have breaks; bring a snack if you may need one. Please wear comfortable clothes that are easy for you to move in, and bring a water bottle and a journal.

About the Facilitators:

Amy Butcher (amybutcher.com) and Sinclair Sexsmith (mrsexsmith.com) met at a tantra retreat in 2009 and have worked together for deeper embodiment and gender liberation ever since. They both work with the Body Electric School, study erotic energy, and write smut.

About the coordinator:

Kat Heatherington is poet, artist, polyamorous ecofeminist pagan, with a background in literature, who lives in a sustainable intentional community south of Albuquerque, Sunflower River. She has been studying with the Body Electric School since 2010.

Transformational experiences and why I’m not in New York this weekend

So, I put this big call for support out there, and you responded—you responded! Thank you! My paypal account is still pinging me occasionally! I am working on a dirty dirty story to send some of you as additional thanks—and then I have barely written this week. That’s because I’ve been eyeball deep in another job of mine, which is coordinating workshops for the Body Electric School.

I’ve been working hard to get the Celebrating the Body Erotic for women workshop in New York City off the ground. It starts tonight and runs through the weekend. The coordinator of these workshops, in addition to being the contact point and the marketer and the one who does all the recruiting to get the workshop to fill up, is also the person who makes sure the space is all set up with the right supplies and objects for the staff and the facilitator to come in and do their jobs of holding the circle strong and bringing the participants through the healing journey.

I’ve done a lot of these workshops by now. I can recite the order of events and what supplies are needed for each ritual off the top of my head, can give alternatives if things are missing, I know the storage locker combination by heart. Also, I like this job. It doesn’t pay much—it barely covers expenses, really. But a big part of the “payment” of this job is attending the workshop as a staff person, being one of the people who holds the container for participants to come into and have a transformational experience.

I love guiding people through transformational experiences. This is probably one of the biggest reasons I’m a top, and feels like a deep calling in me. To encourage releasing trauma, releasing pain, healing wounds, letting things go, and moving forward with more clarity is perhaps what I am most interested in, for myself and for others.

So I won’t be at the CBE this coming weekend. I’m really torn and sad about that. It was my choice to hightail it out to the west coast in April, and I am so glad that I did; I couldn’t stay just to make sure to be there for this workshop, I needed to leave. But I feel guilty that I didn’t finish my commitment, that I am relying on other people to do the work I was supposed to do. My job with Body Electric is changing, in part because I left New York, and in part because I’m getting burnt out. Coordinating is a somewhat endless job done out of love of the work, not out of motivation for compensation. If it was my only volunteer job, that’d be one thing, but my other two main jobs (Sugarbutch and BUTCH Voices) are mostly volunteer as well. I’m trying to figure out how to do these jobs that I love, this work that I love and that I think is so valuable to contribute to this world, and still be able to afford to live.

In some ways, though, I’m relieved to not be visiting New York. From my own personal emotional standpoint, I don’t know if I’m ready to go back there. There are some friends I miss and adore and want very much to catch up with, but for now I’m going to have to do that via Skype and phone calls. It’s hard not to see that city as just full of heartbreak right now, as accosting me at every corner with memories of happier times and being with someone I still love deeply and have so much pain around.

And I’m glad to be focusing on the future, focusing on the west coast, focusing on making friends here, focusing on how to get my work fluid and, well, working.

But I’m still sad to miss the transformational experience that is CBE. It’s such a beautiful process, and I coordinate because I love to be inside of that process, not because I actually get paid. And I coordinate because I get to have those blissful minutes at the center of an energetic vortex, where I can really relax into it and ask the universe or the earth or god or whatever it is to take away a chunk of the pain that I’m still holding on to in my body, to dislodge it and carry it away, back out to sea or out to the stars or out to wherever it goes. I have pursued healing in a lot of different ways, but still, there’s nothing else like this experience.

So I’ll be breathing deep for the circle and the CBE all weekend.

To go back to the thank you at the beginning for a moment, I want to tell you that from the donations that you’ve given, I have:

  • Paid my hosting bill for the next two years
  • Paid an editor to look over an ebook compilation of 16 short smut stories that I’m working on getting together
  • Paid one of the staff folks to take over for the Body Electric workshop this weekend
  • Bought an e-course package I’ve had my eye on about utilizing your online business (except way more fun than that sounds) and taking your work to the next level

Thank you for making that possible. I’m really excited to keep writing for you, to keep elevating the work I’m doing. Donations = more smut for you to read, I promise. Thank you.