On Tantra, Permaculture,
& Erotic Ecology
Gaia Ma is a transformational facilitator who serves the evolution of personal and planetary potential by creating opportunities for both inward and outward journeys of growth and learning. Gaia is the founder of the Tantric Way Process, a world renowned personal and spiritual development practice that helps to shatter programmed patterns of the body mind, supporting people to step into love and freedom. She is also the co-founder of InanItah, an earth-based spiritual community on the island of Ometepe in Nicaragua. There she directs the InanItah fire season, during which she organizes and assists in teaching permaculture design certification courses alongside expert permaculture designers. Gaia is also a former stripper and exotic dancer. When she’s not busy teaching techniques of ecstasy and liveness, catalyzing growth, and steering her community towards a more regenerative lifestyle, Gaia is running the Ometepe Developent Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports programs for food security, economic development, and land preservation.
"Your eyes are an effort of the earth to see itself. You are made of Earth. We are all made of earth. And I think when we're connected to the elements of our nature, we realize that, and then when we connect with another we are able to feel and see them as a part of an expression of embodiment. What I like to cultivate for people is an innocence and a reclaiming of one's own authentic sexuality not to prove a point, and not because somebody told them that it was supposed to be that way."
Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger
Gaia: Your eyes are an effort of the earth to see itself. You are made of Earth. We are all made of earth. And I think when we're connected to the elements of our nature, we realize that, and then when we connect with another we are able to feel and see them as a part of an expression of embodiment. What I like to cultivate for people is an innocence and a reclaiming of one's own authentic sexuality not to prove a point, and not because somebody told them that it was supposed to be that way.
Lianne: I'm Lianne. Welcome to Strippers and Sages. Gaia: embodies the sacred, the sensual, and the ecological. She is a transformational facilitator who serves the evolution of personal and planetary potential by creating opportunities for both inward and outward journeys of growth and learning. Gaia is the founder of the Tantric Way Process, a world renowned personal and spiritual development practice that helps to shatter programmed patterns of the body-mind, supporting people to step into love and freedom. She is also the co founder of InanItah, an earth based spiritual community on the island of Omatepe in Nicaragua, where I had the pleasure of living and working several years ago. There she directs the InanItah fire season during which she organizes and assists in teaching permaculture design certification courses, alongside expert permaculture designers. Gaia is also a former stripper and erotic dancer. When she's not busy teaching techniques of ecstasy and lightness, catalyzing growth and steering her community towards a more regenerative lifestyle, Gaia is running the Omatepe Development Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports programs for food security, economic development and land preservation. In this conversation, we talked about the relationship between eroticism and ecology. Gaia also discusses how to reconnect with our animal nature to awaken our sexual vitality. She offers techniques for increasing pleasure and shares an exhilarating sex story. Seriously, I was fantasizing about airplanes for weeks. Gaia is a firecracker of a woman and this is a fascinating and provocative conversation. Gaia it is both a pleasure and an honor to have you on the podcast. As a spiritual, sensual and environmental leader, your work is really at the intersection of the disciplines that are of central interest to the show. So I'd like to start by asking you what the predominant influence in your life are that lead you to each of these disciplines - sexuality, spirituality and ecology, and how you see them maybe intersecting?
Gaia: Hi Lianne. That's an interesting question. And the minute you asked the question, actually, I had a vision of myself as a five or six year old girl I wanted to be a nun. And I wanted to be in Playboy magazine. And I really, really, really liked AP Food. So I think it goes that far back, to be honest with you. I think it's more of a dharmic kind of calling, then my lives tracked between those things and we can go into maybe some more real world applications of how and why those things showed up for me, but honestly, I think it's just part of my core.
Lianne: So you're a permaculture design teacher, as well as a Tantra teacher. So could you discuss some of the key tenets of each of these disciplines, Tantra and permaculture and maybe just ideate a little about how they may inform one another, or some other similarities between them.
Gaia: I can't remember the name of it, but there's a woman out there who has a quote and she says something to the effect of if regular, agriculture is rape of the earth, and organic gardening is consensual sex with the earth, then Tantra is ecstatic union with the earth, or permaculture is Tantra and is in ecstatic union with the earth. And I think that that kind of surmises it to some degree. But I actually taught a course for a while, I haven't done it in a while you re-inspiring me to it, called the tantra of permaculture, and one of the things... tantra as a philosophical precept is something that I know in our culture today, it's actually very deeply associated with sexuality because there are sexual practices in Tantra. But the revolution that Tantra was to the Vedic principles is that rather than see the body as something to transcend, and move beyond the tantric thinkers, were saying, Wait a minute, why are we trying to transcend this thing? Maybe we need to bring spirit back into it. So a tantric perspective is really very much in alignment with today's new age perspective that wants us to be here of service in the body. And permaculture is basically... it's a form of making love to or bringing consciousness to how we create culture, permaculture, permanent culture, permanent agriculture. One of the ways that I was using them intertwined is that they're both effectively... philosophically, tantra and permaculture are very much the same thing. We want to bring our divine consciousness of which humans seem to have more of or less, depending on who you ask. But basically, we have this frontal lobe when we have the we have the capacity to really think far-future and far-past. That is a divine gift given to us, and permaculture asks us to use that consciousness to serve a regenerative lifestyle that we're living. Tantric philosophy is the personal level of that, permaculture being the more planetary, and it says let's be Bodhisattvas. Let's be awake, fully awakened to the fact that we live in an absolute reality, which could create an existential angst. Or one could say, well, now that I've reached that awareness, where do I need to do it back through into the universe, to share my gift to give my service to something bigger than the small I if the small I is awake to the fact that everything's connected, one cannot not understand that one needs to then expand the concept of I, so that service comes to the whole of the planet, to the whole of humanity. So that's where they're similar. So they're both philosophical precepts, but they also both contain certain maps. Most people have probably heard of the chakras - so the chakras are part of a yogic map which are also part of a tantric map. And there are seven chakras in the yoga tradition. There are five bodies in the yogic and tantric tradition. And if you look at permaculture it's got all this talk about zones, sectors. And all of these things that are also a map, a map of the collective consciousness, if you will, as embodied by Gaia, no pun intended, or maybe pun intended, embodied. Map structures, those maps have a lot of similarities. And they're overlapping, one because one is mapping the internal landscape, the other is mapping the external landscape. And so effectively they are very similar practices. Tantra obviously, is a much more ancient word than permaculture. There's where I see the intersection. Yeah.
Lianne: Yeah, that's really fascinating, both in the overlap in terms of the blueprint, and that idea of union, right? Permaculture is all about that union and that harmony with the earth, as of course is our sensuality or sexuality. So permaculture design is inspired by a whole system's thinking that utilizes the patterns and resilient features of natural ecosystems. So how might observing natural ecosystems enrich our erotic lives. How might cultivating a deeper connection with the earth, enhance our sexuality? And in turn, how might a heightened connection to our sexual selves turn us into better stewards of the earth?
Gaia: It's a complex question. I'll try to follow the threads of the question of layers A and B. Hmm. First off, you ask how could being connected to the earth awaken more or bring more consciousness to sexuality? I'll answer that first. Sexuality is very much a sensuality taken to a certain specific direction. When I get my hands and I touch the mud and I touch the earth, and I live in a way that is connected to nature, I feel my animal. My sexual energy is a very animalistic kind of energy. I used to live in Manhattan. I didn't always live in the jungle. Living in the concrete jungle, for example, there's this dehumanization, almost. And when we live in city environments we don't feel our human in the same way - we're much more in the head. And so when we come into a connection with the elements, the actual raw elements, not acrylic paint that's made of all these elements, but the actual raw elements of earth, water, fire, air - there's more, but we'll leave it at that simplicity for now - something awakens in the body, something in the nervous system that I see awakened in people, it's something in a connection to their own body. You know, your eyes are an effort of the earth to see itself. You are made of earth; or, we are all made of earth. And I think when we're connected to the elements, when we're in nature, we realize that then when we connect with another we are able to feel and see them as a part of an expression of embodiment, not just mind meeting mind or ego trip meeting ego trip to create in sort of codependent hooks. I'm not saying that doesn't happen when we live in nature, but I'm saying that the connection to the embodied is more profound. No, the reverse of that. How can our sexuality bring us more in touch with our nature, that goes to the animal side of sexuality. There are a lot of different ways of thinking about Tantra, some people would have a tantric sexual act, be very sort of, up here, kind of the yoga of sex kind of act words, I've got a bit of a rigidity to it and, and a bit of containment to it. And I think that those are valuable practices. However, in order to fully practice that type of a practice, I perceive that it's much healthier to really unstrip all the layers of sexuality that are put on by society. Come back into the animal and then learn to contain the more animalistic energies. And I'm not talking about the pornographic animalistic energies that we actually see on porn or in even in magazines, I'm talking about something a little bit more rootsy just that that raw kind of primal you know, you know when you're feeling kind of sexy, and just the lust for connection... The work of tantric practices does ask us to bring consciousness to that and bring containment to it. But what I often see happening is that people are trying to put the cart before the horse, they're trying to contain energy that hasn't even been felt in it's rawness. What's been felt is a dark, sinister kind-of contracted, Christian version of that rawness that's still sitting with a lot of sexual wounding. And so what about sexuality can get us closer to nature is just honoring the body you know the the humaneness, and then seeing the next time, you know, when a woman is bent over in front of me showing me her sexual organs for example, and then all of a sudden I'm out in nature and I see these animals that are also like so shamelessly prancing in the way that their tail is up in the air, and just getting in touch with that. Right? I am a living, breathing, fucking, shitting, pissing animal like every other animal in the forest. I think that that piece... I think that it might even be wise people who live in cities tend to there tends to be a lot of sexual energy around cities probably lust to be more raw, you know, a longing to be more in the animal.
Lianne: Do you mean because they live in these concrete jungle, we're disconnected otherwise from the animal kingdom?
Gaia: Exactly. Yeah. That is a way to connect with my, my animal is to be sexual because if I'm not connecting with my animal, kind of getting my toes dirty every once in a while, then that's going to be a place where I can connect with them.
Lianne: So in the work that you do, I know this is work about helping people reprogram and break out of certain patterning. And I'm curious about a couple things. First, just as you're talking about the animal, is that part of the focus of some of the works and what are the technologies that you give people to help them access that rawness? And I'm also curious about what some of the more common inhibitions are that you encounter in your work - what is it that you see, having worked so intimately with people - be it the factors in society, peoples own family constellations - what are some recurring themes that prevent us from connecting with that animality?
Gaia: One of the biggest trips and one of the most the biggest growing trips that I see is actually the body dysmorphia that's brought in by the powers that be that want to keep us feeling insecure. You know, marketers are very good at that. Because they want to sell a product and an easy way to sell a product is to prove there's a problem, and then you sell us a way to fix it. And I think that we saw a lot of women really initially disempowered by the body image thing. But more and more I see men now with the dawning of the metrosexual and just some things also around genital anatomy, I see a lot of body dysmorphia. And so we work to create a healthy relationship with our own body, because as long as there's shame in the body, there's no way to meet in a sexual way that doesn't - not to say that we won't always have triggers - but that doesn't really allow us to rest in our you know, our lazy lion out in the Savanna kind of chilling out, just being comfy, being all naked. Yeah. So that's, I think one of the big trips and then another trip that's in the body that I see often - and it's not just about inhibitions, I mentioned inhibitions - but I see more and more, because tantra's become more popular. And I actually used to wear a shirt that said Pussy Possee, and I used to like when I was a stripper, there was something about my journey that was like, I needed to reclaim myself as a sexual being, because this society didn't have a safe place for me to be sexual and in my rebellion, if you will, to this story that as a woman, I should be more demure about my sexuality or there was something objectified or, or shamed around me as a woman I couldn't. I wanted to really stand out and say: I'm a sexual being. I want to be a sexual being. I am not an object because I'm a sexual being. I am powerful in my sexuality. And there was a bit of a rebellion. We stay tied to things either by completely yessing to them - yes I will be a good girl, yes I will always cover my shoulders, yes I will not show my cleavage, yes I will keep my sexuality in a box until my wedding night,. and then somebody opens a bedroom doors and I'm supposed to turn into some animal who knows exactly what I'm doing - that would be conforming to the Neo-Christian or Christian, Judaic, Judeo-Christian kind of trip. The other thing that it leaves us tied to, is the need to rebel. So I see in my work with people, I see one or the other side of it. More and more, I see people trying to prove a point, which is a step in a different direction. Because in order to come out of this "yes, yes, I will be your obedient, socialized being", we do need to find what they call the lion in the work I do. They talk about the camel, the camel being the Yes man, or the Yes woman, and the lion. But people are usually stuck in one way or the other, some kind of dogma, "okay if monogamy is what the church taught me I must be polyamorous. I must be a polyamorous agent in this world because that is more evolved because it is away from what once was." And so what I like to cultivate for people is an innocence and a reclaiming of one's own authentic sexuality not to prove a point, and not because somebody told them that it was supposed to be that way. But I don't just see one trip going on there. I see this kind of sexual shame piece, the kind of inexperienced or you know, like not wanting to overstep bounds and therefore staying inexperienced and then having a double layer of shame, because our society actually tells us - you should not be sexual that's the Judeo-Christian thing -
Lianne: The puritanical.
Gaia: The puritanical. And that's deep in basically, as much of the culture as I've seen on the planet as I can see, they've got some different trips, but they've adopted something very similar. And then the other kind of conditioning that we have from the marketing and from the, the sexual revolution is, "you must be a sexual being. If you're not having three orgasms a day, and you don't have 100 polyamorous lovers," this is an extreme, but it's part of a collective consciousness that's out there, "then you're also less than". That's what we've got to stop. That's what's gonna stop. And that's what, you asked me which are the most common trips, those are some of the most common things I see.
Lianne: Right, reclaiming authenticity as the foundation of erotic empowerment. I think that's really incredible and necessary. And you know, you're talking about Judeo-Christianity, and part of that is the duality between the body and the spirit, right?
Gaia: Or the Virgin and the whore.
Lianne: Right, all of this duality, the sacred and profane. And it's that same sort of ideology that also separates us from the earth, right? Life after death. So therefore, you know, there's a heaven waiting for us, we can treat this earth in a certain way. So this idea of sex and the sacred, and I'll just, you know, that's a loaded term, but talking about sexuality and spirituality. You know, we've been conditioned to at best disassociate these two things, and at worst, polarize them entirely. What is your understanding? I guess, if somebody has never really thought about sexuality, in terms of having any connection to the sacred - and right now I'll just use that term to mean this idea that our sex lives can be connected to our spiritual development and our personal development, and can even serve as a catalyst for that growth or a point of access to what might feel like sacred territory in an embodied sense... Whatever terminology you want to use to explore that connection, I'd love to hear when you think about quote unquote sacred sexuality or sex and spirituality, so much of your work does go beyond the sexual into this realm of personal growth. How do you think about, you know, sex and the sacred?
Gaia: Well, as I said, at the beginning, I wanted to be a nun. And in the Playboy magazines, there must be some connection.
Lianne: I'm sure that's the Halloween costume
Gaia: Oh, no, now where was I, what was I just gonna say, Halloween costume got me. One of the things I noticed that, where was it? Where the heck was it? I remember... Oh, yeah! I made a comparison early on. Some of my first work with people, some women wanted to do a workshop on stripping because they found out there was a stripper that lived in this area with all these self development workshops coming out. So I did this inquiry about what could my previous line of work, and my study in Gender Studies and my studying yoga bring together to make up because I wasn't going to teach people how to shake their breasts. That wasn't exactly how I saw the work. But one of the things I noticed was if you look at the Buddha, the Buddha's got his eyes half closed and he's got these big pouty lips, right? You see this big Patty lips. And if you look at a Playboy magazine, the woman's got her eyes half closed and she's got these big pouty lips. That was one of my first things I noticed. I was like, No, there's got to be a connection here. It sounds light but actually, erotic intoxication. Like, think of real erotic intoxication. Don't think of just fucking, right? But think of like when, when they're in that moment of rapture with somebody and you having that deep, deep, deep sexual connection that seems to go beyond anything pornographic. Yeah, just feel into that, like that rapture, and think about how your eyes kind of roll back in your head, yeah? And think about everything and your jaw softens, right? What's every meditation teacher been teaching you roll your eyes up and up in your head? Look at your third eye point and relax your jaw. There's gotta be a connection, right? Just in the embodiment is a connection. But beyond that, to really answer your question, that does but I'm the best, but first off I want to make a plug for a book - I don't even know the author of the book, but there was a book called Aphrodite's Daughters. It's a collection of short stories about women and their sexual journey and how it's connected to their spiritual journey. So if you want to read a series of possibly 20 or 30 - I don't remember how many are in the book. I read it years ago, but it's one of my most recommended - I would say she does a great job at taking a bunch of different women through that journey. It's like spiritual Vagina Monologues.
Lianne: I remember seeing that book in the library, so I can check in your recommendations.
Gaia: Threadbare are the pages... Our sexual energy at its purest... think about what sex does, at its most base animal level, anywhere in the animal kingdom. Sex is about procreation. Okay. Now, I don't mean to say sex should only be used for procreation, but there is no other energy on the planet that we as beings understand that has the capacity to create life, except sexual procreation. Up until cloning, you know we're getting there but for right now, it's the only energy we've known so far to be able to do that. Therefore it is the most potent creative energy that we can imagine. What our sexual energy allows us to do is it allows us to stand as one with the divine and co-creating reality. Our sexual energy can be harnessed for that more base need to keep the species alive, which is the will to live is embedded in there. And it can also be harnessed to bring awareness to our mind, to increase and activate prana and to create other things in the universe, and therefore just the nature of it being creative energy makes it sacred. In my opinion, there's a lot of fluff and puff around making sex religious. I actually have some hesitation around making sex religious, you know, how many, not that they're not valuable and rituals can be very, very beautiful and ceremonies are very, very beautiful, but what happens when people take ceremony and make it an everyday occurrence is that it becomes religious and it loses its meaning. And so sacred sexuality as I see it often presented in tantra, as I see them often presented, are actually... there's a bit of sadness for me about that, because it seems to have been almost made religious rather than spiritual.
Lianne: And with religion, you're kind of referring to it becoming routinized in some way.
Gaia: Routinized. Exactly. That's what I mean by religious. Well, and having a dogma put around it. If it's not done in this way, this is our way to have sacred sexuality. Or this is what's sacred, to be a fully awake human being is to have sexuality in this way. That's what makes it sacred... that's what I have a hard time with. It's the routine. It's the you do what I do. It's the inauthenticity in the moment.
Lianne: Yeah, and I think that kind of thing can also really add to an already existing inferiority complex for people around their sexuality because there's this feeling of Okay, well, there's this whole other realm that I certainly don't feel that I have access to, because I haven't experienced, you know, soaring into outer space with my orgasms, and communing with the angels or in which is my impression of Tantra, why I came to InanItah in the first place. And then, you know, again, it returns to that idea of authenticity and authenticity being the bedrock of...
Gaia: And now that you bring it up, it's like, self love, and I don't mean self love in the really, like, I don't know, it's almost become such a cheesy kind of way, but you know, loving the part of yourself that even the part of yourself that doesn't love yourself, you know, loving the judge inside yourself that hates you, or like the loving like and when I say loving it don't mean covering it with pretty smells and making it look pretty. That's not what I mean. It's like, really you know if sexuality is a place in which I struggle like raw sexuality and if it's hard for me to move sexual energy, that does not make me less sacred or less amazing a person. Because sex is one part of life, it's moving so much sexual energies moving so much, but the actual act of intercourse or touch of what we consider to be the genital regions is just the icing on the cake of what sexuality really is. You know, we're here together at a transformational festival. These artists on these stages inspiring hundreds of people at a time, are effectively engaging in penetrating their audience, if they're penetrating with their loving light, that is an act of tantric sexual energy exchange. And I think so often we get myopic around sex. Now, that's not to say we don't want the animal to have its space. But if I, who was very much as a young woman, very much driven by a very primal raw, like, lots of pussy and lots of cock, and lots of you know, it was a yummy time for me. And it's still I mean, I'm still that kind of a yummy person, but less and less... you mentioned something about aging, less and less, am I drawn to that, but I see young people who feel like they should experience sexuality in that way, because that's the way it's presented us. To be a fully sexual being means you need to be, you know, like sex has to be one of those really important things in your life. And that's just not true for everyone.
Lianne: Well, you're referencing your early life, or those earlier yummy years, which I would love to know all about. So, let's let's talk a little bit about, you know, I like to ask guests first of all, just how did sex even come into your consciousness? Did your parents sit you down with the birds and the bees? Did you see an image, read something in a book? Like, where did even the idea of sex first come to you and how might it have impacted your sort of sexual journey?
Gaia: I started masturbating as young as I can remember, but I used masturbation in a way that was more about stress relief, I think than it was actually about anything that I understood to be sexual, but because I had that connection to my genitals as a place that would help me create a safe zone. I think that was really strong for me.
My upbringing had some challenges in it. But, everybody's parents are imperfect. You can't get out of the parenting gig without having excelled in some things and not excelled in others - what my parents excelled in was giving me the understanding that sexuality was a natural part of life. I think both my parents, they were raised Catholic, but I do believe... Yeah, I was allowed to look at playboy when I was young. There was nothing pornographic of Playboy, pretty mild, you know, but this nudity piece was really... a bit of my childhood to spend in Germany nudity was okay. In the family home walking bedroom, two bathrooms, all chill. Mom and Dad are sexual creatures. Sex is a part of human nature. Don't masturbate onto the couch, go to your bedroom.
Lianne: Sounds really confining, like to see the ergonomics of that.
Gaia: A 1970s couch... Bless my mother was great, because I could see this woman, I could feel it, like this desire... She must have read somewhere it was really good to teach your kids healthy things about sex, you know? And I could see this desire in her to really give me the space to be in that way. But at the same time here was this clamp down around it, this kind of Catholic conditioning, like, "but not in front of other people. And maybe maybe if you do it too much, you might hurt yourself". But it was such a beautiful moment of like, really, I could see like, the message I got was, the highest part of me wants you to feel like this is safe and healthy. There are other parts of me that are clamping down around that. But the highest part of my mother when I was a young girl definitely wanted me to meet my sexuality with a loving embrace and not shame. And I think that sure, that affected a lot of who and how I can be the way I am around sexuality. Um, As a matter of fact, I found it quite confusing for myself. I ended up going to high school in a Mormon High School. Like I mean in Utah, like after having traveled all over Europe and met with my parents in different places, and all of a sudden I found myself in Utah with all these Mormon kids. And I was actually a very good girl, I wasn't sexual till I was 17, out of high school. But still, I felt comfortable in topics of sexuality and exposing the fact that I was a sexual being, you know, not exposing as in taking all of my clothes off, but just being comfortable. Anyway, come to think of it, that may have been the birth of the rebel that needed to prove something. Because I didn't need to rebel against my parents as a sexual being, but then getting cast into this culture. So that was formative. Um, what else? You asked about childhood - my first memories of sexual masturbating when I was young, for sure.
Lianne: And is that something that you just found in your own body exploration?
Gaia: Dude, I don't even remember finding it. Like it exists as long as I remember existing. Right? It was just like, as there were some parts of my childhood that didn't feel safe to me, there was a lot of conflict in the household. And I think sex was my safe place. It was where I could go. I mean, sometimes I would have, I don't know, eight, nine orgasms in a night, it was my sleeping pill. And I've had to unwind that actually, I developed some very unhealthy sexual habits from that as in terms of reaching for orgasms, not allowing orgasms to come but reaching for them, developing a very Yang kind of sexual expression, which, you know, I've enjoyed. I enjoyed my young hunting years and there's nothing wrong with that Yang part of me, but I had to cultivate the more passive sides of my sexuality.
Lianne: The surrender.
Gaia: The surrender, the letting go. Because I could make myself orgasm and I used to, oh god, right hand left hand, legs closer together or further apart. And could I do anything? Yeah. It was a whole sport for me.
Lianne: Well, I have follow up questions about your earliest encounters, but just on that note, because it's actually a theme I've spoken to a lot of women about, that idea of chasing the orgasm versus letting it come to you. When you are... not that you necessarily facilitate, you know, that sort of work hands on, but just what would you say to people who have a similar struggle around that, and what are the benefits of surrendering and letting it come to you, and what are some practices that can help with that?
Gaia: I mean, part of it's just self discipline. So in the Taoist speak about Mantak Chia where he talks about the point of no return, for a man, I think it's clear that Mantak Chia wasn't living in a woman's body, he had this idea that women should have as many orgasms as they could. I don't think he really quite got that there are women who will reach for orgasms in a very Yang way to facilitate that. That said, what can I say about discipline? Reaching? One of the practices I teach for people is, first of all, there's breath techniques and you've heard of kegles. There's a technique that we use also in sexual magic work. You can ask me about that at some point, also, but toning the muscles of the pelvic floor. Whether you're going to do that with a jade egg, whether you're going to do with Chinese Ben wobbles or whether you're going to do it just with Kegel exercises, cultivating more mastery of the genital organs. And the genital musculature will support you to bring consciousness to your sexual regions. Most people can move their genital muscles about like you can move, you know, one of your toes individually. It's something that has to be trained. Okay, so staying healthy. Part of what we do when we do these kinds of exercises, we're contracting, and then relaxing, contracting and relaxing. What I often see happen in people's sexual bodies in terms of this thing that you're talking about when we're reaching, is that the sexual body stays contracted. Some people need more focus on the toning of this strength. But actually, sometimes people will get to a place where they tighten, and then they can't actually ever relax again. So really cultivating the ability to relax the whole pelvic floor. There's a lot particularly for women about having a tight pussy. And so women will stay with their vaginas tight as ever, it's really hard to feel pleasure when you're completely using your muscles to activate at all times. That's not to say that can't that's a great way to draw the energy up and in, we want to have that capacity. But we also actually want to have the capacity to relax and that goes to training that... And one of the biggest psychological barriers there is being enough, right? So if I don't feel like I'm enough the way I am, it's gonna be hard to relax. Or, if I'm afraid of being seen in a certain light, you know, sexual expressions aren't always the pretty face I see that a lot. You know, you've asked me, you like to work with women a lot so we focus a little bit on the female... some of the things I see as female trip ups, but you know, when the face is coming towards an orgasm it's often not pretty. And a lot of women really have a hard time not being seen as pretty, you know, with the makeup off with the body and the lights on during sex and all of this, because there's so much going back to the first question you asked me, the body dysmorphia is such a barrier. So getting into the place where you can find a partner. One of the ways to soften that at the beginning. She had a lover do this, woman, I have lovers who are men and women, and this woman who was really insistent on getting into bed with me, finally, she convinced me, what was I gonna do? Anyway, when that moment came, she took off all her clothes. She had a very voluptuous, sweet, but juicy, round, you know, the kind of body that is beautiful, but the women don't see it because of the body norms. Super juicy, super round, voluptuous creature, and with a tiny waist, and I was like, Huh, what body, this beauty in front of me. Anyway, she took off all her clothes, she told me all the things she enjoyed about her body. And she told me all the things she didn't like about her body. And that is a practice that you'll find in many books of, quote, unquote, sacred sexuality is to do this in front of a partner. This is what I've where I feel shame. This is where I feel really insecure when this happens, I feel secure about this, and so on. And just bringing that conversation to light in advance, can all of a sudden drop a whole bunch of stuff away because now I've named. It's like, now you know it. Yeah, I'm really uncomfortable with my aging breasts. So now that I've said that we can both know, I'm uncomfortable with my aging breasts, and nobody has to be like, you know, then then when I feel a little twinge of shame, I can either laugh about it, or at least I know this person is on board with me. You know? Well, I've always had this insecurity about the size of my penis with classic kind of male dysmorphic. And then when I know that, I can say, Well, yeah, it's not the biggest one I've ever seen, but it still works. And I don't have to, like I don't have to pretend. Nobody has to pretend.
Lianne: There's so much power in naming, and I think that's one of the biggest things that I've learned, as I've, you know, matured and learned how to communicate with people. And I think it's so simple. And I think one of the major barriers and the major things lacking in sexual education, which there's really none of even when you were speaking before about all of this work that we can do with the pelvic floor - people don't think about sexism. thing that you need to learn about in detail, and study, and work on and tone for. Right? We think that, and to some extent, of course, it's innate. We have our own sexual energy and like, like you were saying, the more that we can rid ourselves of shame and look at our shadow and step into our authenticity, the more in contact, we come with our erotic blueprint. And part of that is also being able to be in touch with ourselves in the presence of a partner. And if that running list of insecurities is there, then we don't get to connect, we don't get to surrender. So I think that is a really foundational practice and one that it's amazing to me how, how hard it can be, also.
Gaia: Well, you know, it's really interesting you bring this up, because it's something that I'm very busy with, the sacred sexuality business, if you will, when I started in it was a very, very limited group of people. And it is growing very, very quickly and I'm grateful for that to some degree, and I'm a little bit nervous about it because sexuality is a humongous, huge power. And when the tantric temples of your existing people would be selected. And there were people that worked with sexuality as a sacred tool for awakening and enlightenment. And then some people were just left to have, you know, plebeian garden variety, sex, you could call it. But it's not like there was ever a time when everybody was studying it. And one of the things that I actually found, I was meditating a lot, I had a period of time when I was in this really big Sato trip and I was meditating a lot and doing a lot of yoga, and I'd come out of the stripper world and into the world of Yogi's and then I sort of was breaching these things back together by getting involved in these sacred sexual practices. And the ultimate pinnacle of tantric meditative sexual union is two people sitting in a very static position with their backs nice and straight, with nearly no genital friction, with their eyes and their mouths locked together, so they're basically. effectively asphyxiating one another from oxygen, while they're deeply in this meditative transcendental state. That takes years to master. Okay, and I think most people would be really content with a healthy sexual education that brought them some more health and more awareness and more vitality, in their sexuality and then that's where the dance between are we practicing... is this a sacred sexology? Or is it you know, tantric sex that people are trying to practice? And I think it's, it would be really healthy at this point now that that work is being mainstreamed more and more that we started to get more clear about these things because I think what I've often seen is people also try to hurt themselves, for example, men that are trying to practice orgasmic or ejaculatory mastery, because it's to be a good tantric lover. I must never ejaculate, because that is the root of all losing all of my lifeforce energy, and I did not want to waste my seed, and suddenly have I not just gone back into the sort of Christian paradigm that's making something about my animal self shameful? And it's almost like the Aura Boris, it's a snake can bite it's own tail. So beware, basically, is what I'm saying that yes, it's great. Learn more about sex, but not everybody needs to spend... I decided that my whole life was not going to be about mastering tantric sexual meditation because I thought, you know, building communities and building buildings and using my sexual energy for manifesting kick ass shit on the planet might be a more fun way to use it. I don't want to turn anybody away if your Dharma is to spend 15 years in a temple with a tantric lover and, you know, heal the world through creating galactic union in the most still and maintained and crystallized ways, please do that. I just noticed that I didn't have to perfect that practice to have sexuality be an important part of my creative process.
Lianne: Absolutely. What I think that these traditions offer to us who are not, you know, buying our passport to the cave. Curious to know where the tickets are, just in case my other plans don't work out... You know, for me coming into this, there was just a huge exhale that there were traditions around sexuality at all, that there were conversations that were addressing this ubiquitously and fundamentally human art, as an art, and you know, I hear you and I really appreciate that distinction about you know, if you elevate it too much to become something that you must master again, that's just actually alienating us from our and the authentic sexuality. But because it just so happens, because maybe there haven't been, or are still emerging more contemporary traditions around sexuality, the tantric traditions, the Taoist traditions, these other schools are some of the only places that you can go to even explore with a teacher in a community, the many layers of sexuality. So I'm curious, you know, coming back to childhood and education, what do you see in an ideal world as being the kind of sexual discourse and education that young people receive, and at what age do you think that it should start?
Gaia: I mean, you know, I'm not a child education expert of any kind. However, if you ask me that question, I think it would probably... it's clear to me that when a child expresses interest in sexuality for the first time, they need to be met in that. Period, full stop. And they need to be met in a really honest, grounded, simple way. My niece came to me when I was what was it? She was maybe 12. Yeah. And obviously, it wasn't her first sexual question, but this is just an example of how you might come to somebody in a grounded way. She asked me so how does sex work? Because mom told me about how it works for, how it works for straight people. And I was dating a woman at the time and so she's like, how does that work and this young woman had not yet been described the pleasure of sexuality or explained how orgasm works or anything like this. It was basically
Lianne: Pure mechanics.
Gaia: I don't know, I wasn't in the conversation. I love my sister. I'm sure it was more than pure mechanics. I'm sure it had something to do with love. But no, I don't think it focused on erotic pleasure. And I think that that needs to be included in the conversation because I think that clinical teaching and that sort of animal teaching, I think as soon as there's interest, and then if there's not interest, by the time that the peers are expressing clear interest, then maybe it's time for mom and dad to jump in and say, I see your friends are talking about XYZ. Here's a little bit about XYZ in steps and in pieces. I don't think it needs to be like a sit down in an ideal world, but how... I mean, parenting. Wow. But yeah, I would say young. Tthe younger the better. So as not to get confused children. One of the things I do know is there's already a sexual awakening happening in children in the toddler years. And so I think that leaving it much beyond that is a bit, would be, is not cool, basically. And it's levels and it's an understanding, but I think I see so much of the people that I'm working with that a lot of the sexual wounding does have to do with the toddler age. This is counter-mingled with the potty training piece. Because potty training will often in the body armoring, we talked about body armoring, which is basically how the body holds emotional trauma that it wasn't allowed to release in short form. There's a lot of body armoring stuff that comes up for people when they look into the sexuality. It triggers puberty stuff and triggers potty training stuff. I mean not puberty, toddlerhood. Lots of confused memories around potential violation or unsafe spaces that comes up around that age, both for boys and girls. And I think those are co-commitant. So, you know, look, if you're going to be tempted, this thing that the pee is coming out of, is also kind of a thing that you're going to use for something else. Like, already. And earlier I mentioned, you know, we are, I hate to use it again, but we are shitting, fucking, pissing beings, you know, when we die, that is a very tantric thing that is it. That's sex and death. Things we don't teach children about. And we need to be teaching children about sex and death. You know, like your hamster went to a hamster heaven and got flushed down the toilet? Like, because they're topics we're afraid of, as a society and as a collective. Yeah. But I see that I live in Nicaragua on the side of a volcano next to neighbors who, you know, still have kind of brick and stick ish houses and their kids are so clued in about sex like because you know, the cows are having sex in front of them. The ducks are having sex in front of them, and animals are dying, and it's all happening right there. And they don't think that they grew up with a healthy sexuality because they've got this Christian thing. But as far as the embodied aspect of it, they're much more clued on then like young, metropolitan kids, absolutely.
Lianne: Right, that goes back to the access to the animal kingdom. And yeah, that is very interesting about the potty training, since it's a time in which there's so much attention in that area. And in some ways, it's like very glaring omission. Not to maybe address what else that's good for it because of course, you know, you see, there's that's where you also observe toddlers fondling themselves a lot when they're in that process of potty training and where a lot of the shaming occurs, right? Where, okay, well, here we are dealing with this one very natural body function that you're forcing me to regulate.
Gaia: Your brain universe is forcing me to regulate, right? I gotcha.
Lianne: In the potty training process. And yet, and those are the moments when it's like, oh, but don't, don't touch they're not you know, that's not appropriate. This is. So I think that's an important link that you're making there.
Gaia: And, as you mentioned, what you're reminding me too - regulate maybe isn't the right word, but it's another part of the body that in order to meet in a social way, we're going to have to learn tools for.
Gaia: You know, every time it gets aroused you don't jump on the next person next to you. Right, like every time you need to pitch you don't just suddenly piss everywhere you kind of wait until you're in the right place.
Lianne: Right so it's where the conversation around self control begins and how to be and to borrow your academic phrase, shitting, fucking soon to die humans on this planet, you know, how can we be our animal selves and our civilized selves in relation with one another?
Gaia: We can create spaces for the animal to live. I do a lot of work with cathartic release work, I think, oh God, I hope I don't quote misquote or misattribute Peter Levine here, but he wrote Waking the Tiger, and is the founder of somatic experiencing. And he talks about the animal that gets hit by the car. And if an animal gets hit by a car it kind of jumps up, and it shakes everything off, you know, we get hit by something or like, let's say you're in the supermarket in the United States. And this happened to me the other day, the shopping cart hits you know, and you want to be like, oh, it's fine. And the person is like, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And you pull everything together and your like, it's fine! it's fine! And your foot is throbbing, you know, and you're putting on this mask, that I'm just fine. This is one of the ways that we don't, as humans, because we live in a socialized world, we're not allowed to express everything in every moment. So when sometimes we need to create spaces for the wild animal to come out. Okay, and that's where we can create healthy spaces for raw and super wild and super yummy sexuality. And there are those bases that happen and so much of what we used to ritualize is now ritualized in our own way, like when you walk into the strip club, when I was a dancer, some guy would pay out and depend on the club, or you have 20 or 40 bucks to get in the door. But this is the money he's paying. And that is the ritual he's making to say, I'm going to witness a bunch of women in a place where I know I need to sit on my hands. And this is basically the art of the professional tease, if you will, or the place where the Goddess is going to express your sexual energy. And all I'm allowed to do is witness that, and that contract is written with the dollar or back in my younger years, you said you're gonna ask me about the mat drop in a few notes right now. I delved into the whole s&m world in New York. There was a guy named Lucifer at the front steps of a club and he would walk down into the basement, and you knew when you walk past Lucifer's door that you were entering a particular kind of different realm. It was a realm of power, and a realm of playing with power, and the sexuality that was happening there was so much more about power dynamics and it was about sex. It was erotic. But the erotic expression was really used as a way to explore power. And so those are just two examples of like, I don't know modern day real world places. But in a tantric ritual, if you were to do a tantric love banking ritual with somebody, you can just... I teach him about groups, I try to teach people how to do them in these very kind of solemn sacred oming kind of touch foreheads together kind of ways. But I also know for myself, that it's really rare that you feel confident enough with a brand new lover to say, hey... Unless you're in particular social circles, it works. But in a lot of social circles, it doesn't work. Would you like to sit cross legged with me and share a conscious communication practice when I touch your heart and offer you a blessing? It's a little contrived. Space holders dp that in groups and it's great that that can help. But I try to teach people real world tools for how they can create sacred space for themselves for this animal to come alive. It's just like, okay, so we met two weeks ago. And it is where, you know, it's obviously, we're leaving somebody's bedroom and close the doors. And you might just say to somebody, you know, I want to explore this too, as full as it feels like we're going to explore this. But if I say the word, no, I really need to honor that, to make those things explicit. And, or, I'm interested in meeting you in erotic energy, but I'm not interested in crossing the boundary into sexual intercourse, unless we communicate about it. So please, don't or I am really interested in taking you to heaven and I want you to lay back and not touch a thing. And would you be willing to just lay there and receive me, whatever the case may be creating a communicated strategy so that two adults are meeting in a place they actually understand what it is. Because we have such mixed messaging around sexuality that for one person- I was in a sexual encounter with somebody. And I didn't you know, I was at a festival, whatever, and I but I chose not to use my own tools that I use it and next thing you know, I had this guy's got his fingers down my throat and I'm like, he's trying to like, trying to like to play with my jaw and I'm like "What is this weirdness?" And I found myself in a situation where he was exploring a whole different realm of sexual engagement than I was prepared for with him. And if I had been a little more clear, I mean, I spoke up and I said, What the hell are we doing here? And he was like, da, da, da, da, da. And it was like, I could meet you there, but I'm not gonna meet you there tonight. Anyway, I'm setting safe spaces for the animal. Right. And that doesn't have to just be about sex. You know, it's like sometimes, you ever just need to scream?
Gaia: Often? Yeah.
Lianne: That's what cars are definitely okay.
Gaia: Yeah, I don't live in a world that has many cars. But yes.
Lianne: Or mountains
Gaia: Or mountains and volcanoes and going out into nature but the finding places to let your nature be free and setting them up because our social constraints don't... and rightfully so, I mean, if I, I don't know, if everybody ran around doing exactly what they wanted all the time, some people think it would work out great. Some people don't. I'm not sure. But for now, I'm probably not going to scream at the top of my lungs in front of everybody for no reason. It might scare them, so I go do my thing. Same with fucking.
Lianne: Right. To bring back the BDSM community, that is what seems really useful for a lot of people who also dabble in that world and maybe don't share the same kind of... aren't even so interested in the bondage or some of the more aesthetic elements of BDSM, but what that world does is create a container. And it's almost like the more adventurous you're going to plan to be, the more necessary communication is. And so again, it almost falls into the same realm that we were saying, well, there's Tantra, there's Taoism, like, at least what it's doing is providing this system. And it's a community of people who-
Gaia: There's nothing that I've experienced in the world of Tantra that will allow people to address the issues of power as much as a BDSM environment would. Um, I don't dabble in that world as much as I used to. But I've seen so, so much around power be healed to that work, because we all have issues with power. I mean, that's one of the three human things: greed, lust and power are in the lower chakras. They're the shadow of those sides, but they're also the gift in the light of those sides. But that's the trinity for sure.
Lianne: Can you speak a little more about the kind of healing that might be available to people, both men and women in the BDSM community, even though that's not where you are spending your time right now?
Gaia: I think one of the things is, is it's a very inclusive community. Which I think is really beautiful - people that would normally feel maybe more sexually isolated due to their appearance are very welcome in that community, which is one of the things that I champion about that community. The awkward... you know, people that are attracted to more bizarre and darker sides of things can be met there. The other thing I've seen somebody really heal their - healing of the voice, we're using the art of submission to receive pain to come out of stories of abuse by parents by actually being able to speak up for the first time, to be able to scream at the pain that was inflicted, rather than swallow it. I've seen people and understand for the first time that leadership is about service. So people that step into Dom rules suddenly go from being dominant in the way of dominant and abusive, but it's transferring dominance into dominance in service. Because in order to be a really healthy, good DOM, you're actually almost the sub. And it's this understanding of where polarities meet that's a big teaching that I've seen also come from S&M, or BDSM. I've also seen, and I've seen this in Tantra groups, and I've seen this in those sexual healing pieces, like I said, it's powerful energy... I've also seen a lot of damage in that world.
Gaia: You know, he's to talk about stripping as being a place where you just turn up the volume on everything, the light and the shadow and the light of seeing a person express their sexual energy in a very safe way and be adored for that is beautiful, right? But then the darkness of watching somebody try to buy somebody with money or the darkness of abuse that I've seen in the S&M world that's happened. Or you people that are people pray... I did some professional dom work. I didn't last long in it - there was a client who came in and I was really clear that what he was doing was actually perpetuating a negative story in his life. So he was reliving the humiliation he received from his mother as a child through every, every session, and he was paying for it. So, none of these tools are pure, pure, pure light, and none of them are pure, pure, pure dark. It's really, really ultimately what we bring to them. And if we can filter and not get sucked in by powerful people who have a big story to sell us around sex, or around power, that we always be critical thinkers in these realms, because when you're dealing with things of high power, you're also dealing with tons of potential healing. Also, tons of potential retraumatization.
Lianne: Thank you. We keep mentioning your background as a stripper and I would love to hear more both just what your experience was, how you got into that work, and also what you think it is about stripping and more generally the realm of erotic dance - I think there's a bit of a resurgence of... there's a lot of women turning to erotic dance as a form of reclaiming some sort of power or sexual agency. So I'm curious, both about your personal experience as a professional in those worlds, and that world, getting again into the light and the shadow, and then as a facilitator, and you know, somebody who really has such a profound understanding of embodiment, how does embodying central movement, how can that be healing empowering? Or what is it that is serving women and men in their sexual journeys,
Gaia: I'd actually like to see more men doing it. And that'll come in time. For me how I got into it - I went, I was in a corporate New York environment and I went to go see a show a Joan Jett show, and I got turned on to a bar where there were a bunch of strippers, and three weeks later, I was on stage. I was fascinated like, because recall one of my fantasies was to be in Playboy as a child, right? So, I was like-
Lianne: Did you ever do the nun costume on stage?
Gaia: No, I did do the naughty nurse a couple of times. But anyway, these women I met took me in, and I quit my corporate job almost immediately. I was in love with it. I think stripping's a job like any other job, some people love their job. Some people are doing it until they find a better job. And some people hate their job. You know, I loved it. Why is it healthy for women? I mean, it's super, like you said, it's an empowering thing. Back in the 90s when I started in the very early 90s, when I started it was definitely still very underground. Think you know, Motley Crew, Girls, Girls Girls had come out a few years before, it was definitely on the mark in a way... and there was this big story, I was a feminist who studied feminist theory - for me it was like empowering. I'm like, I'm standing three feet above these guys in the air and they're throwing money at me - how, what could be objectifying or negative about this? I mean for me, because I felt like I was in a power position. Some of the men didn't always want to treat me that way. But for me, it was just so clear that I was in a position where I was doing something I loved doing. If it had been something I hadn't loved doing, I think the shadow would have been more apparent to me, right? So again, it comes back to the person's authenticity. So what did you ask, you asked, why is it so empowering? It's natural for women or all bodies to move in erotic ways. It is healthy for bodies to move in erotic ways. Talk to any craniosacral therapist - having a pelvic - you know, the pelvic thrust, which is something else that I would suggest for overall sexual health to do a lot of rounding, cat cow and yoga, all this rounding and contracting of the spine goes with the activation of the pelvic floor muscles. It's something you can learn from a lot of different teachers. There's a few different modalities, but they're all pointing to basically having flexibility in the spine and having, you know, activation of the sexual body, or what do erotic movements in dance to that's what they're doing. They're healthy for us. The only thing we've got going on right now is, if you dance sexy, you're going to get raped, and it's going to be your fault. That's what we're pushing against by creating safe spaces for erotic dancers because it's actually very, very natural look, you know, you look at salsa, it's kind of this container around, you know, it's like this tightened versions of super sexy movements and even the flamenco and belly dancing back in the day, all these really healthy expressions and then, you know, flip forward to the 60s, and then even the 60s, like the first sexual revolution, right, quote, unquote, this sexual revolution. You know, all the hippies with their fingers in the air, and all these upper body were rising up... I'm still not really addressing the core of the animal. You know, look to Africa, look to you know, this, everything down in the pelvis, the mumulah, the creative juice, yeah, our bodies want to get there for health! Simply! And if we don't have a safe space to do it, how are we supposed to do that? Because there's nowhere safe except behind closed doors while you're fucking. And so then what happens is the body has not toned, the body is not available to move that energy, and it all gets tightened up around, and the only time it's allowed to live is in those moments and by that time it's quite like, retracted.
Lianne: And then we wonder, why are we disconnected from our sexual bodies or were right why is this not available to me?
Gaia: Right - there's nowhere to play with them outside of you know, close to our environments.
Lianne: So, what do you think it is about having collective spaces to explore not only erotic dance, but eroticism, sexuality, conscious orgy spaces, you know, what is it? Why is it important? Or rather, what are some of the values and of course, the complications as well. But I'm really interested, you know, I think it's easier to think about what could go wrong, and maybe less obvious what could be healing or is important for us to maybe step into that exploration as a collective or as a community. Because what you're saying is, you know, you're talking about creating a sacred space for that exploration and you're not just talking about me in my bathroom by myself in front of my mirror, twerking.
Gaia: I've got that image ingrained in my brain now? Okay, let's see. Um, first of all, I actually just want to challenge you a bit. I now can see more of the potential pitfalls of group containers without people that are ready. When I was younger, I could only see the benefit of them. So just going to challenge that for some of us actually, the benefit's easier to see, or at one time was easier to see the benefit. First of all, I don't think all shared central places need to be sexual places. Just as we're talking about the containment of the adult, the toddler, learning that sexuality is something that needs to be... consciousness needs to be brought to it. When just being naked together in a non sexual context, is one of hugely most healing things for this body dysmorphic thing that I was talking about before. When that is safe for people, then there's the potential to evolve further. Back in the day, sacred sexual orgies or united places were reserved for a very select group of people. That's a negative and a positive. But what's good about being together in a sensual union is, first of all, that it creates permission to be a sensual being in the public space. Yeah. It can bring communities together. If communities are already existing, it can definitely build literally brain chemicals between them, it can start to trigger oxytocin and dopamine and healing things. The problem is that most people today are not clear enough about how to communicate to support these safe spaces. You can sign a thing that says okay, what happens here stays here. It's like Vegas, you know, this is beyond all space and time, we're in a transpersonal space, this isn't you doing this, this is your identification is something much greater... What I see in those spaces is that still sometimes people aren't ready. I think people need to be really ready. And really, if if somebody feels really comfortable communicating about sexuality and all the pitfalls and all the, you know, all the joys and all the pitfalls of how they experience their sexuality, somebody really clearly knows their yes and knows their no, and they're healthy, then they're ready for these kinds of spaces. And when that's not there, in my opinion, they don't belong in those kinds of spaces. Other kinds of spaces can be created, where there's more of a hand holding and a more of a slow going. But once that space is set, then there is the potential for I had a group of friends in my 20s, we were all super sexual together, it was super, super lovely. I don't know how and I don't know why, to be really honest. But there was, there wasn't a jealousy story. It wasn't about who was trying to steal who from who. It was just eight friends who were just really raw, playing with sexuality over the course of a couple of years. There were all sorts of mad things going on. And we weathered it really, really well and I've had that a couple times in my life. And the key was definitely everybody really trusting each other based on everybody really, really being there in an authentic way. Some of the ways in which I've seen it destroyed is people that are afraid to speak up - I'm no longer interested in you, or I find this person more interesting. Those things that are hard things to say. Swallowing those things for so long that then jealousy arises because the other person doesn't know what's happening. There's a story that's not being told. And that story is being felt and everything's confusing. And for whatever reason, in my past, I was able to meet with some people who were so pure in our connection, and mind you, it was a group of strippers, people that worked in a sex toy store. And basically that was it strippers and people that worked in a sex toy store. So we were people who were really chilled with the topic of sex. And I think until you're basically chill with the topic of sex, it might be a dangerous space.
Lianne: Right. And of course, we're talking about different tiers of this.
Gaia: Right, exactly.
Lianne: There's the sort of conscious orgy that maybe is the pinnacle of, you know, actual group sex experiences. But even as we're speaking, I mean, your work creates a container for group exploration of individual and collective traumas around sexuality.
Gaia: And we do things that are called the life dance, which is basically a space where people are allowed to follow their instincts. When we create a safe enough space. It's a held space, where people are coming up against some of the things that are triggered when they're in group space. You know, sometimes in this process, sexuality, sexual energy comes up as a very erotic sexual energy, and sometimes it comes up as play and sometimes it comes up as music. But in this space, those things are triggered and we have the tools to work with them. I held spaces for this exploration for me - if people do not feel safe in them, they are absolutely a way to move forward into it. And those spaces, those space holders should be setting boundaries.
Gaia: You know in this life dance when it's offered in the workshop, there's no fucking and there's no hitting each other. Hitting each other might be something you do in a BDSM environment. Like there's you can show aggression, but no violence, and no fucking. No intercourse. That's just because that's a healthy space that I think is what we need in that. And then if it were a different group of people intercourse might be allowed, or if it wasn't in a group, and sometimes who might just have a cuddle puddle.
Lianne: Right, it all comes back to communication and, you know, clear boundaries, I think create the space for flourishing. I mean, it's sort of exactly the same in creativity, where if you put certain parameters around your creative process, you're going to actually encounter tremendous freedom and expansion in your work. So similarly, when there's a strong boundary around your sexuality, you know that there's a limit and therefore you can really explore and expand within the container.
Gaia: Well, I'll go to a, because we're trying to weave this piece back into the ecological, this is a really great way that we can see that. You know, if a river has no banks, it becomes a swamp. Right? So we put the banks of the river on there so the river can flow. Oftentimes, I'll see people you know, talking about, "oh, we don't need boundaries, we just want to flow!" Well, with no boundaries, there's actually no fucking river. There's nothing to flow with no boundaries. There's only like, you know, muddy swamp land. Brought back to like, I don't know who saw the neverending story. You know, when the poor kids got to through the land of the darkness, where his boots sinking into the quicksand mud - that's what we create without boundaries.
Lianne: That's really wonderful. Yeah. It's a wonderful analogy. And yeah, to your point that it's not just about being naked in public, right? Again, I think that it's a somatic practice in being witnessed. And I think that is the same with erotic dancing and having a witness for that. It's an embodied practice of being sensual beings in public and public doesn't mean the public at large, in a train station, but it means in front of and in community with another human. It's being in your authentic, sensual body in the presence of other humans. And that in some ways-
Gaia: And then being accepted and being witnessed, and more than witnessed, but be fully accepted, fully shared, fully seen in that, so that, you know, as the other is a mirror right, and then when the mirror sees me in that, then I am set free in that when they see me in a loving, accepting way, I'm set free in that I can give that to myself, sure, but we live on an interdependent planet.
Lianne: Absolutely. And that enabled us to then go to our lovers and our partners, right, because what we're talking about isn't necessarily with a lover or a partner, we're talking about these group exploration places, and have already had that in embodied experience that we can bring to those relationships. On the on the topic of embodiment, I'm curious, you know, trauma, as we know, lodges itself in the body. I witnessed in some of your work, you know, you were able to identify a ball of tension in someone's Yoni and their being, you know, okay - what were the childhood events or the conversations that could have led to that - brings back like the armoring that we were talking about earlier. So what are some techniques of de-armoring that you're exploring in your work? We can start with that.
Gaia: Okay. One of the things I want to say is I generally try not to lead with super specific chords about what do you remember. Sometimes the body will bring up memories and that will bring in that kind of line of questioning. But I'm not generally always leading with that, although the child's development is a huge part of how we become who we are, and the ego development is super important to address. Sometimes we can resolve stories that the body is telling us without having to go directly into detailed memory, because the memory is tricky space. Some of the stuff that I do to work with de-armoring in general is that, forms of holotropic breath, there are a lot of modalities out there. I learned these techniques in the Osho school called Tantric Pulsation some years ago, and I've dabbled with a lot of other teachers who are doing the holotropic breathwork. They're proving more and more how wonderful that is for us. Basically, it's anything from a very light to very intensive forms of cathartic release based on a hyper oxygenation of the body. That is absolutely super powerful way to release body armoring. One of the things that's beautiful about it is, I often talk about letting the life force itself heal you. Inasmuch as prana is lifeforce and Wilhem Reich talked about orgone or orgasmic energy, but he was also really effectively talking about the breath. Whoever had an orgasm breathing through their nose in a very contained way. You know what that basically was, what we're doing is we're opening this very ecstatic breath. And this kind of unwinding the the work of yoga is very much containing and clear and being, you know, directing, focusing chopping away, and that is all really important work. The other work that's very important is to allow the body so when we hyper oxygenate the body, and what happens is it triggers things in the body that we may have been holding on to and that lets that space come. And then whether that's tears with a story, tears without a story, whether it's a rage, whether it's just a bit of a stuckness in the body, the body armory starts to unwind, giving the body just different... Yeah, another technique for that is just shaking. The Kundalini shaking, they call it oftentimes actually standing up with the knees bent and just shaking can do a lot to release body armor. And then there's obviously because we're talking about sexuality - does trigger point massage, or any kind of restructuring massages like rolfing and stuff, they are all moving in this direction. But we're releasing the things at the deeper core level so we can do hands on pelvic work where we do is activated breath. With the activated breath, we then begin to go into the pelvic floor and the pelvic muscles and there are trigger points in the pelvic floor for men and for women. And then there are trigger points inside the vagina and inside of the anus at the ways that there's some different muscle groups. And we actively press on these muscle groups while allowing this open mouth breathing to happen. And that can facilitate or release sometimes in the form of memory, I often like to work with people about the memories as if anybody has past life memories, current life memories, I try to build an analogy for - how is that showing up in your life today? Because usually the reason that that memory came up is maybe because that's showing up in life today. Let's use a very harsh example. Um, my God, I'm having a memory of how my father molested me. Really, what are we going to do about something that happened 30 or 40 years ago, you're gonna have somebody go, and we don't even know how the memories working. We don't even know if it's real. There's all these stories about how false memories can come. You want to be doing body de-armoring and trauma work. So what are the ways in which you're letting your sexual boundaries be violated today? What are the ways you're not creating a container for your needs to be met in your sexual life today? Is the way. So not that we don't ever go into the past and not that there's never any stuff to to heal or to resolve from the past and meet from the past. But it is the past, so it's hard for us to know exactly. So really, there's one thing that might come out of this as if you're having stories about your past, ask yourself and that past lives past this life. Ask yourself, how is that showing up for me today and see what what you can work with on how it's showing up today. Because the body will tell us stories and those stories have a lot of meaning. That meaning maybe doesn't even have to be expanded way back or way forward. It's just like, oh, I'm having a memory of how ecstatic this sexual experience with this person was, and I wasn't even letting my full ecstasy run free. And it's like, well, where are you not allowing yourself to be joyful today?
Lianne: I think that is a really wonderful aspect of your work, which is that you know, you speak about years on the couch versus, you know, we can go down these dark rabbit holes of just getting stuck and stuck and stuck in the past and your work is really forward thinking, right? We can look to the past to see how it can serve us. But you know what I remember from some of your workshops is doing a bit of family constellation work, and what I'll call role play or reenactment. And in fact, I remember going into one of the exercises thinking this feels really fake, like this is not gonna help me because I know it's fake. Or like, I'm not actually having a conversation with my father right now. Like, this is this dude Jim, like, what? Not my dad. I'm not really angry at Jim, and in fact, you know, I was really shocked to find just in my case and playing out a certain scene, the ways that it could actually help me break through certain things. So how does embodiment, and reenactment, and roleplay help people again, returning to reprogram and repattern in ways that can serve them?
Gaia: Well they pick up from the past is the things that didn't work for us. So if we allow ourselves to go into places where we're removing some body armoring, and we see what's been held in there we face it, we say, oh, I don't want to do that again. Right? Not so good. Or not so good, yeah, that didn't serve me. And one of the one of my adages is, is that as long as I keep repeating the same behavior, I'm going to end up in the same place. So even if I change anything, even if it's absolutely bloody fucking wrong, it's at least a step in the right direction. Because by changing my behavior, I'm at least giving myself an opportunity to learn a different lesson this next time. So what I will often do with people is, there's one thing about resolving the past and I think all good therapy is trying to resolve things from the past, but also, we need a way forward. And an example might be that somebody needs to share with a partner... I'll bring a woman, an example comes to mind. She was a woman who was in the latter part of a marriage. And they've been married for 30 years or something like that. And she'd always been financially dependent and now her children were grown. And she really wanted to say to her husband that she wanted to split bank accounts, and she needed a little more independence and a little more freedom. And she's very clear that this past of being the housewife who had that kind of dominant male figure in the household was something that actually she'd been putting up with for a number of years. But it honestly at this point, she was, with the kids grown, she was really ready for some independence. Anyway, what the opportunity to give her to allow her to roleplay this new way, because it's one thing to know this in my head, okay, I need to address this in a new way. But if I don't have a safe space to - I call it trying it on, just playing the role to try it on so that there's a little more comfort, or I'm a guy who's really awkward around women. So you know, I might have him in the workshop go try on approaching five or six different women in the group because those things that we've never got taught, that you were talking about harkening back to earlier in our conversation. It's a way to allow people to embody and just like the first time you get on a bike, it's really complicated. But when you get on a bike for the 10th time, it's much easier. So these roleplay ideas of letting people try on new parts of themselves. I've seen it be superduper effective, because it's just a way to break out of the shell. It's one thing to go I commit to myself that I am going to stand up for myself, and I'm going to be a more assertive person. But if you've never tried on being assertive in a safe space to get feedback about how that was, did I get met as assertive, or did I get met, you know, did I overshoot the mark and become bossy? So in the container the idea is to allow... some people learn kinesthetically. Some people learn auditorily. Some people learn visually. This gives people an image bodied kinesthetic experience of stepping beyond their fears into a new sense of who they are, and allows them to commit to that. Because once you've done that you can't undertake the pill. Right? You cannot undertake the pill. So if you face a fear in the context of a bunch of people or groups - my groups are small, intimate groups, but where everybody is really fully present to each other. And once you've been, you can't help but be held accountable from that point forward because you done it to yourself and to others.
Lianne: I would love for you to talk about InanItah, where you host these workshops, how you came to found it - my time there was really extraordinary. I had the fortune of spending nearly two months, and I'll say that it was, for me, a real immersion in what it means to live in harmony with the earth. I remember certain details like having to cut up my trash and put it in a plastic bottle. There were no big trash cans - that was to help us become more aware of our waste. Of course, there was a composting toilet. You know, these are things that for many Americans, that is not something that we're encountering unless we're really living in these permaculture communities. So I think it's a great service. I just want to say that what you've done with your ecotourism is really such an education for both the local community that you've engaged in InanItah and for the people who visit so I'd love for you to talk both about the vision behind it, and how you came to found InanItah, and some of the ethical principles that inform how it's run.
Gaia: I came to found InanItah because I've probably always been a bit of a utopian person. Yeah, I wanted to create utopia on the planet. I lived in New York, as I mentioned before, that's where I was a stripper and actually, prior to going through a major transformation myself, I was actually phobic of insects, and I moved to New York because I did not want to be anywhere near nature. I figured the more concrete I could surround myself in, the safer I'd be, because I had this deep psychological wound that brought up this phobia. Anyway, psychedelics helped me get through that, then a trip to the Caribbean. And from that time on, that I've been more connected to and living with nature, it really transformed how I could be with myself more than anything. I mean, I'm a very driven woman still, but my need to achieve or receive external validation diminished greatly after I started connecting with nature. And so I was driven by a dream to basically create utopia. It's a short form. But I wanted to be in a place there that I could be nurtured by the Mother Earth, and the only way to do that that I knew was to live closer to her. I wanted to create a place where healing was possible. So I got sent to this magical healing, epic island made of two volcanoes full of fire and water. And I wasn't even, at the beginning, I wasn't even sure whether it would be a small place, a big place, and it's nothing like I envisioned it to be in many ways. And it's everything I visioned it to be in other ways. It is a very healing space. When I'm in there in the fire season, I work very... there's some very rigid boundaries there, as you mentioned, and this goes to that banks of the river, I wanted to create a seed for what's possible in terms of living with the earth. People often talk about scaling things up, or people often make green compromises. They talk about green versus really raw. And I wanted to see - how close could I get to creating something that was absolutely sustained by its surroundings? Not that everybody needs to make that decision and not that I will make that decision for every project that I'm ever involved in, although I tend to lean in the more radical direction, but I think the template of showing that there's a seed of possibility, that we can live in comfort with Mother Nature and that her limits can serve us... You know, by limitation, the kitchen at any time in the fire season, the food is all grown on the island. And by limitation, it's gluten free kitchen. So whenever anybody emails me and says, is it possible to eat gluten free there? I'm like, no gluten grows on the island, you're good to go, you can come on down. And it's created a wealth of creativity in the kitchen. And so I had this, I don't know, vision to create utopia. You know, what can I say?
Lianne: Right, and utopia, really, meaning that you're, again in harmony with the earth. I think what you said earlier about how your own time in nature, sort of, we could say tonified your ambition. I think I've had similar experiences where it's not about taking away that fundamental drive and passion but it goes back to the not enough-ness. And again, what connects time and nature? How does that help and inform our sexual lives? When I think most many people have these profound experiences of feeling part of nature and a little bit of a dropping of the ego at least by being humbled by nature, and when we recognize our own interconnectivity and connection to nature as a source, we can also develop that sense of enoughness which we can then bring into our erotic lives.
Gaia: Well, I think everything if, if and when I'm really immersed in nature, when I say we have Wi Fi, but really, if I'm just out sitting there in nature, it becomes apparent. The tantric principle that we are living inside of a love making process becomes absolutely apparent. I the earth with eyes seeing itself am bearing witness to energy unfolding in front of me. The hummingbirds, the butterflies, you know, we got a pretty good down there, or the boa constrictor, or even the crazy tropical hurricane passing through, you know, this awe and wonder of Shakti, lifeforce dancing in front of me - of course I want to penetrate it with my consciousness, you know? And it's like the awe at... what is sexual passion other than awe, right? It's like, you know that moment, and you're just like, ah, immersion, ecstatic immersion into someone else or I melt into something bigger than myself right, and so the earth has that capacity, and I think that draws us to that. That's why that erotic, eco-erotic, there's a eco-sexuality it's the universe effectively, by tantric definition, is designed of consciousness witnessing energy. That is the ultimate lovemaking. That's the lovemaking that's really happening, I mean, all of our yummy juicy animal raw mmm is also fun. But the bigger cosmic fuck is the fact that we're here watching this thing unfold and we don't even... we can't even make sense of it.
Lianne: I love that the cosmic fuck. I think is a perfect segue into my next question, which is about sex magic, which are two of my favorite things put together. And I would love for you to speak about that for people who maybe have never considered what sex magic might be or how to use it.
Gaia: Sex magic is basically the art of creative visualization mixed with sexual energy. Shakti Gawain wrote the book Creative Visualization in the 60s, I think, but basically, it's really super common stuff that's coming through the mainstream right now that we can visualize, or imagine kinesthetically, a future that has not yet happened yet. And that power of our imagination is where we're co creating reality with our visions, a vision of an image says 1000 words. For thousands of years, humanity has used two main forms of manifestation or magic work. One is the work of writing something, when something becomes written, it's like we kind of, you know, writing in blood is a hardcore one. No, but just writing something down and burning it in a fire. Very common ritual that you'll even see non pagan or non Neo, witchy types do, because that's a way that we can release things. And the one is to write them down in the form of words. The other is to create what are called sigils, sigil magic, and this is when we make an image. It's basically logos or sigils. The whole marketing industry is basically involved in some relatively magical realms. And I don't mean that as magical. I'm just saying they're using some of the tools from magic. Magic as far as I can tell is either some really esoteric, spiritual, deep, connected truth untruth, or it's actually just learning how to play with our psyches and play tricks on our psyches so that they do what we want them to do. I don't get too hung up about it. But in sex magic, basically what we do and I've heard it, I think I heard it come through another body of work as breath-merged manifestation work, or something, because they didn't want to tap on to the sexual terminology. I won't name the school, I'll spare them. But basically, what we do is we start to imprint a sigil or a sigil as a symbol. Let's say I want to create more self love. I'm going to use something really benign, if you will. I might use a heart and it might put a person in the middle of a heart. A sigil is a really simple symbol that represents something else. Now, what I will do is I will draw that image. And I will put that image in a circle and I will memorize that image. And the simpler the better, for most of our purposes. And then I will start to imagine placing that image at my pelvic floor and mixing it with my sexual energy. Having done these practices that I mentioned before of activating the pelvic floor, of mastering how to move the energy from the pelvic floor up through the body. We do the same but we add the power visualization. So effectively what I'm creating with my sexual energy is not a child, but I am creating my creative children on the planet. One thing that's very interesting about any kind of quote unquote magic or manifestation work. Generally, it's a kind of pointing. I'm pointing in a direction. I'm saying, I am God. I'm an aspect of God. Every cell on the planet is aspect of God, I who have consciousness am an aspect of God. And I'm willing that this should happen. Pointing finger towards will. That means three fingers are pointing back at me. One of the reasons that this is often associated with the word black, black magic, or black Tantra is because it's a very, very, very powerful tool that needs to be wielded very, very, very wisely. Because we can create a whole hell of a lot of unnecessary karma by willing things. That is why I gave the example of willing self love. It's kind of hard to fuck that up. When I teach it I often teach about what are some of the things people want to heal in themselves? What do they want to empower than themselves, they want to empower voice, or they want to empower direction, or they want to step deeper into the masculine, or deeper into the feminine. But things that are really self tools. I think that's always a safe way to go with manifestation work. I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm just saying, be mindful and be careful and come from a place of value, and a place of integrity. One of the things I think we've lost on the planet more than anything is a sense of value, where our values? We don't value the lives, the moral lives that we live come from values. And it is a powerful tool. I've seen it work, magic and wonders. I've seen people get impregnated with this tool, like just by willing themselves to be pregnant. Well, of course, there was two people involved, seeing people heal big parts of themselves. I healed a thyroid condition. I've seen other people manifest places that made some errors and I'm this way I give the caution of the three fingers pointing back. Be like your mother. Do as I say not as I do. Kind of terminology, but yeah, it's not a costless thing to do. And yet it is super powerful and super beautiful. And you know, the more we can envision a reality that's good for all of us, and the more we know In our hearts that our intentions are win-win, and that we're not really trying to create something that anybody else would lose from I champion the use of it, I just have to give the caveat as dangerous stuff.
Lianne: Thank you. Listeners, be warned. Wield it with integrity. You spoke before about how, you know marketing using sigils. And I'm reminded that you were a gender and sexuality and economics major at NYU. And, you know, there's a lot of talk about those two disciplines and their relationship to one another most often in terms of gender equality. But what are some of the ways in which perhaps our economic systems are influencing our eroticism, which we can say in a broader sense, including but not limited to our sexuality, that maybe we might not be so aware of? So you've chosen to leave living in America which is, you know, an extremely developed, industrialized, capitalist place - you were in the heart of it in New York - you moved to Nicaragua where your lifestyle is not quite so dominated by like the nine to five per se. So I'm just curious, when you think about economics, and economic systems in relation to sexuality, what comes up for you?
Gaia: Well, when I think about economic systems, and gender, the first thing I do think about is sex work, actually, and it is a gender game there, it's a gender and money game. One of the things to see is it by and large for the history of humanity as long as we understand it, or as we know it, male people have been those in control of the power of money. And the power of a woman's sexuality and the power that has with men is profound. One of those energies has been put in high regard, money, and the other has been shamed and shadowed, sexuality. I think that's a key piece that I was speaking to. I saw, you know, I saw a degree in economics I saw a young sexy body and I saw dollar signs. So that's one of the stripping things, you know, supply and demand. It was like, here's a great way to make a bunch of money, I can use the power I have as a sexual being to capitalize and get some of the money from these guys who have all this money in the New York Stock Market and they're making money and they had, you know, it was barely post recession, there was still a lot of money flowing through these men that would come to these kinds of places and I saw it as a way to transmute the money and sure enough, I transmuted it into service for the earth. So I think if I could say anything about it, I have to say, still the challenge is that a we don't acknowledge erotic power. There was one woman who wrote a book about erotic capital, which I mentioned. We don't acknowledge erotic capital as a healthy expression of capital. And both men and women might have erotic capital. I think that conversation needs to come into the fold because we've, I think, some of the new age economic movements now talk about eight forms of capital - don't make me list them I don't remember them all - but you know, we have intellectual capital, we have cultural capital, there's a lot of forms capital. Very few people are talking about erotic capital as a valid form of capital. That would be key. Women do tend on the on the whole to carry more erotic capital and they're ashamed to use it. And what happens when they're ashamed to use erotic capital or all of us is, is that it becomes then manipulative and it becomes shadowy, and there is a lot of that and I feel really... I feel challenged. I feel for the men who are quote, unquote, I'm gonna use this word lightly, victims of that, you know, this gender war that we have. I have some issues with you know, the... I'm a feminist. I'm gonna claim that I'm a feminist. I'm still a feminist. I was always a fuckin feminist. I don't know why people don't want to be feminists. I don't get it. Feminism was just the idea that the genders could be equal. And actually, if the feminist ideology seeps into the world, what's going to happen is all these guys feel like oh, my God, I can't take care of my wife. I can't take care of my children, all this pressure that they have to be, do they get that they get off the hook for that? You know, it's not it's not just a one way street that women get all this or women have to get equal pay and women have it but that what that also means is, you know, more manipulating men with your pussy. Now, that doesn't mean however, that we can't use our erotic capital as a way to inspire each other. Martin Luther King had a lot of erotic capital. He was a very erotic man. There were a lot of women who found him sexy. He was not my kind of cup of tea, but you know, in his strength, and in his power, and in his conviction, that was Eros and there were people attracted to that Eros and he changed a culture with that. That's that is economic because he deeply and erotic because he deeply shifted the economy of an entire race by captivating an audience with his love.
Lianne: Right. His eroticism, his charisma, his intensity.
Gaia: Yes. And it's not just that... we have to expand our concept of what is erotic to really deeply understand where Eros fits into the bigger picture of things like economy, because if we keep this the the concept of sexuality myopic, then it does become just about, you know, the media's fishbowl lens on somebody's bum cheeks making her more valuable and she can exchange that for money. That's not what I'm talking about. But there is a place where the erotic and the economic do overlap in it.
Lianne: And it's not always pernicious.
Gaia: Right, pernicious. Good SAT word darling.
Lianne: Before we go to our bonus round, and then we'll be done. I just, earlier, you know, we were speaking about body dysmorphia. And one of the exercises that I remember from my time at InanItah with you, was in which you had us play out a conversation between our hearts and our genitals. And so I would love to know what is behind that exercise and you know why you find it valuable and what sort of impact you've seen.
Gaia: Did you find it valuable?
Lianne: I did. I'm not doubting it.
Gaia: I'm just curious. I'm like, before I answer the question, did you find it valuable? As I say this I want it to be very, very clear that I don't have a certification in Gestalt therapy. I've studied many, many, many forms of therapy, some as an based on personal interest, and some has formal studies. But informally, I've studied some about Gestalt therapy. And it is a Gestalt practice. Gestalt basically is a kind of, to bring it into sort of more new age, psychedelic kind of terminology, it's kind of like turning ourselves into fractals, or honoring our schizophrenic counsel that's in our mind and understanding that there are different parts of ourselves.
Lianne: I was gonna say and what would be the mainstream terminology for it, but I think,
Gaia: Does that hit?
Lianne: Yeah. Integration
Gaia: Integration. And so you know, there's a part of each of us that's, you know, I have a business woman in me and she really doesn't always like what the idealist in me does, because they don't always get along so well. They have some very different views. And I'm sure you know parts of yourself that have views to other parts. And so we do these kind of Gestalt practices - what we do is we identify aspects of ourselves that are involved in a particular conversation. So in the story of love and sexuality, what are two of the key players? Right, the heart and the genitals, right? They're key players. And oftentimes, in that Gestalt, there's some conflict. The sexual bits are more animal like, more driven by the body, or driven by hormones, more driven by shame about all those processes, as well as the power of those processes. And the hearts got a different story, you know, the hearts got a little bit of the mind involved, and it's got the ego involved in there. And it's also got its needs, you know, the hearts needs are a little different than the needs of the sexual body the heart needs to be cared for. The heart needs to be felt. The heart needs to be fully experienced in a different way. It needs touch, it needs love, it needs care, the genitals need touch, need love, need care, but they crave things a little bit differently. And so there's oftentimes a divide between a person's desire - their heart's desire and their sexuality desires. One of the ways I see that show up the most, because you do focus a lot of work on women, is there's this value of women as erotic beings and men as economic beings. Women will often use their sexual bodies to get the needs of their heart met, unwittingly or unconsciously giving away sex. Not actually having sex because they want to, but giving away sex in exchange for some kind of TLC or tender loving care, or feeling of being met in the heart, and often get really confused. And so when you take a person and you identify for them, that one part of themselves is going to be looking at another part of themselves and have them. Basically what we do is we have them switch back and forth between different pillars. And they will have a conversation, these two parts of the being will have conversation with each other. And the idea is to first level is to create more understanding. Oftentimes, we don't even recognize we haven't taken the time to separate which parts of us want which things. So just that awareness can be a big step. And then oftentimes you'll find conflict between the sex and the heart, just like I was mentioning before, the idealist and the businesswoman and me have conflict. There's parts of us that are in conflict, see that conflict and it's like, oh my god, I didn't realize how much my heart was shaming my sexuality, like it's like, for all those things that you want look at what you've done to us, or all these internal dialogues that we're having with ourselves start coming into the light of day. And so when we bring the unconscious to the conscious already things start to change. If I tell you to bring attention to your breath, without changing anything, it'll almost be impossible because the minute you bring attention to it, you're breath's gonna start to deepen. In the same way, if I become aware that my heart has been giving my sex a bad time, it's probably going to start changing just by the awareness. Then we can also start to create agreements, those two parts of the self can say, create really practical ways forward. Okay? I hear you, heart. I am you know, I'm Gaia's pussy, and I get you. I'm kind of running the show sometimes. And I've been using myself to get your needs met. I'm going to stop doing that. I'm gonna wait at least, like a few days after I meet someone before jumping in with them because it's probably good to know them. I'm not gonna let you put a shameful container around me as Gaia's pussy heart over there, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna slow down, I commit to slow down. Okay, commit to I'll open up and these two parts of themselves of a person have a chance.
Lianne: Beautiful, it's a beautiful exercise. Before we get to our bonus question, our very juicy bonus question. How can people find out more about your work and work with you? And once you know, are you doing speaking engagements right now? Are you traveling? How can we get in touch with you and have people benefit from the incredible work that you're doing on both an ecological and a sensual level?
Gaia: Each year between August 15 and February 15, you can find me at InanItah fire season in Nicaragua. The website for that is i n a n i t a h . com. There you can live in ecological community. You can live a sort of transformational experience light all the time. There's small classes and workshops happening and then I also give three day and three week intensive groups there. When I'm not there, I am traveling the world and teaching in different places. You can check my website, g a i a g a s m . com - Gaiagasm.com - that's for the earth orgasm. And there's a list of my upcoming events. I've been teaching a lot in Guatemala. I think that's going to be shifting this year. So stay tuned. Maybe Australia looks like later on the mark for this year. And you can also work with me privately. I do online sessions with people, take people through mentoring processes, so that's also available. If you want to learn about ongoing permaculture lifestyle, eco village design, those kinds of elements with my work, it's best to come to a InanItah.
Lianne: Wonderful, thank you so much.
Gaia: Oh, speaking engagements. I can't announce them yet. They're secret.
Lianne: But you are available for them, should - ?
Gaia: Yes, yes, yes.
Lianne: Inquiring minds like book you for their pages, and we'll put all of your information on our website to make this accessible. Okay.
Gaia: Great. Thank you.
Lianne: Thank you. So the bonus question-
Gaia: Wait, let me add one thing to that. I also offer a transformational facilitators course, which is designed to help people really develop their own work and working with people. I think there are a lot of people teaching models for how to be a coach or how to facilitate this particular TM'd body of work. My mission is really to support people to find their gift as a space holders. So if you're interested in working with trauma release, working with breathwork, if you're an artist or a theatre person, for example, who wants to see how they could use what they've already got as a skill as the modality to work with people and create transformational containers, that's a course for that kind of thing. And I'm really excited about that because I like not creating. I like supporting people to be authentic and yet teach at the same time.
Lianne: Wonderful. Thank you. So I would love to know, I'd love for you to share your most ecstatic, erotic, humorous, luminous disappointing or fulfilling sexual experience. And it doesn't have to check all of the boxes, it can check just one, but we will welcome any and all tales from any points in there.
Gaia: I have a favorite story that I always tell. And it really is my favorite story. It's long
Lianne: We got it, bring it home for us.
Gaia: There's so many really I should tell that could be more... but this takes the cake, I have to say. Okay, so I went for my birthday, I decided to go skydiving - have you heard the story? You've never heard this story. I tell it often. My 26th birthday present to myself was to go skydiving. I was visiting family, I didn't have my own cars. So somebody dropped me off at skydiving school. I was going to do a program called the accelerated freefall program so that you don't jump tandem but you get to jump by- two people hold your jumpsuit, you pull your own cord and you guide yourself down. Very exciting. I take some hours to prep you for this. I was a gymnast and a pole dancer so embodiment wasn't a strong barrier for me. Anyway, so I'm in this class throughout the day teaching, learning different body postures, and learning how to pack my parachute and do all these little things. And there's this man in the area, and he keeps looking at me and I keep looking at him. And there's eye contact that is happening, and it was kind of flirtatious eye contact, and maybe a couple of words. I don't remember it's 20 some odd years ago. And anyway at the end of the day it's like four o'clock or something like that, it was summer. Or it may have been five or six o'clock even. "Oh, we sorry we're not gonna let the last airplane go up. The clouds have come in. Don't you see the clouds? You can't jump today." I'm like "What? I took class all day, I can't sleep, but then jump out of this plane, it's already scary enough, oh no, no, no, no, no." And lo and behold, the man with the eyes comes over. And somehow we get in a conversation and it was, "Would you like to come to the hangars and smoke a Cuban cigar?" and I'm like, "okay, I'll come to the hangers and smoke a Cuban cigar with you." And this stranger, and I go together and have a couple of drinks. I wasn't, I wasn't drunk, but I, you know, I had two drinks. I had two drinks. And anyway, we went out to these hangars, had a couple of drinks, and then walked back up to the place, and I was going to make a phone call, get a ride and then come back the next day, and then I thing you know, I get taken into this room full of parachutes. And in this room full of parachutes that aren't folded, and they're all over the ground, I sort of get laid down and I started basically making out with this guy, and it was really nice and I was having a nice time feeling my body, very good looking stranger and charismatic stranger. And so things were getting a little more heated and expressive and nice and enjoyable. And suddenly, this man just stopped and I was like, what the fuck is going on, what? And he stood up. And he stood up and he put his hand out and he didn't say a word. I was like, Okay. And I decided, well, what the hell? And so I reached up for his hand and he lifted me up and he started to walk in front of me. It was very clear that no words was the way forward here. I was like, Okay, okay, it's a mystery.
Lianne: So much for communication so much.
Gaia: Right? Mystery world. I do believe but this time, it had been clear in conversations that I had a very rich sexual past, as did he, and that SMBD things had been experienced and played with. So there was some... there had been some communication about how deep we were involved in this world. It wasn't a completely blind scenario, but yes, true. And so the communication was no communication, it was mystery. So we go outside, we are walking, walking, walking, walking, what, where the hell are we going? We're going what felt like forever. And we're walking further and further. Finally, I see the airplanes and I'm like, oh my God, he's going to take me up in an airplane. What? What is going on? We're going up in an airplane. Like I did. My mind's going 100 miles an hour about what could be happening. Finally we get to an airplane. Small skydiving airplane. And he gets up in the airplane, and he helps me into the airplane. I'm like, well, this is nice. And he invites me to lay down on the floor of the airplane. In skydiving... small skydiving airplanes don't have seats. They just have seat belts that come out of the floor. He invites me to lie down in the airplane, at which point he reaches to the size of the airplane which is about as wide as my arm span, and begins to wrap the seat belts around my wrists and clip them back into the wall. And he does the same with my ankles. So now I am completely tied to the bottom of an airplane. I know.
Gaia: And so this man starts bringing my body into these beautifully erotic, pleasurable, delightful things and I being a very alpha kind of woman, I'm now strapped down in a very forced to surrender, oh, poor me, kind of way. Like there's nothing I can do. And this man was a very articulate, beautiful... he was very familiar with the territory of a woman's body. Let's just put it that way. There was no curiosity
Gaia: There wasn't a lot of fumbling, no, no fumbling happening here. And he kept taking me closer and closer to the edge of orgasm, but leaving me at the edge is pulling back. I was in this blissful torture for I don't know how long and then he proceeded to start to asphyxiate me slightly, which is something I'd explored before. It's something I actually enjoy. And if somebody knows how it's done, it can be very erotic and safe, but it's definitely edgy territory, cutting off somebody's breath. And so he's choking me, and then he entered me and we were having intercourse and he's choking me. He's fucking me and he's taking me to the edge of orgasm and he's choking me, and all of a sudden he comes in really strong and he starts to choke me really hard. And I'm like, my eyes pop out of my head. I was like, I'm with a complete bloody stranger on an airplane, tied to the airplane and he's choking me to death. What have I done? And the minute my eyes kind of popped out of my head, he said to me, "oh, it seems like we need to safe word now." Holyyyy. I mean, what a masterful articulation, just waiting until the moment where there was actual fear. And then knowing, in that moment, that that was the moment where we could lean into the place that we had discussed already that we were both familiar with S&M, you know, so he knew that I knew what that would mean. We both... that was a common language was shared and I was like a fabulous "Red!" you know, the most boring safe word you could possibly ever have. Oh thank God "Red"! Okay, back to enjoying this whole game, but the fear now is in my body, you know, and this guy's like, but he's met it in such a profound... like it was a master of mastery in this way, I have to give it to him. And finally, finally, finally, after taking me to the edge with all this choking business, taking me to the edge of orgasm multiple times finally and leaving, you know, I'm like, at this point I'm pulling on- I'm just like AH! I can't contain myself anymore. Finally, he allows me - it's effectively allowing was definitely a play of power going on here. It was the most pleasurable yummy power game I'd never played, but definitely a power game. And he took me to the edge and then he finally let me go over into an orgasmic release. At which point, he reached over to the side of the airplane, grabbed an oxygen mask, and shoved it on my mouth, at which point I'm having this epic, long awaited orgasm while inhaling-
Lianne: Doing a whip it?
Gaia: Oxygen not Nitrogen!
Lianne: Just the influx of air, that was the association.
Gaia: I was absolutely pretty epic experience. At which point I was like... speechless. And as far as I remember, he basically untied me and we fell asleep. And then all of a sudden in the morning, I feel this moving of my buddy, hey, they're coming. They're coming. And they're all these cars out in the distance in the desert coming to go skydiving, at which point I got ejected from the airplane. And he ejected himself from the airplane and we had to run inside at which point I was given a parachute and a jumpsuit. And about a half an hour later I was jumping out of the same airplane, while sitting in there flying into the air going, "I was just in this airplane getting like laid like I've never been laid before."
Lianne: Wow, you're a master of suspense because this whole time I'm just waiting for him to take off in the plane with you strapped to it! I was certain that's where this was going.
Lianne: Then you jump out together while like interpenetrating, it was pretty good. So I have to I have to question about the details on this.
Lianne: Unless there's one that you want to finish
Gaia: Well the only thing - I took his business card and I never called him and I get to remember this memory in this way. And I think it was probably really really beautiful that I did that. The part of me that was tempted to call him because it was so good... But then there's part of me that knows that once I got to know him... nobody could sustain that. No relating could have sustained that level of intensity and I would have been seeking it. Anyway, so I've never seen the person again.
Lianne: But if you're out there listening
Gaia: Trent, the skydiver, if you're out there listening guys, I do remember and you can contact me
Lianne: So one, what was that influx of oxygen like for you at that moment in your body? What was the sort of physiological-
Gaia: It was a very sort of just super high. Not high as in disorientingly, highly ecstatic, highly... I mean, remember, he'd been periodically depriving me of oxygen. So there was this buildup of a... yeah, yeah, it was just super-
Lianne: A master.
Gaia: He was super masterful.
Lianne: And then I just wanted to touch on something you said in the telling of the story where your body had been flooded with that fear and that was in you. And that sort of fear feels like a very different like, primal kind of fear versus, you know, when we talk about sex and how important it is to have a safe container where on the other hand in order for, I'll say women, because I can speak from my own experience, but anybody, to surrender in sex, right, there needs to be actually, to some extent an absence of fear. Fear creates that sort of tension. So I think there's these two different kinds of fear that we're talking about in some way. So, I would love to hear your thoughts on ironing out-
Gaia: I think you're hitting on a common what I perceived to be a common misconception about our psycho spiritual journey, which is, we're looking at the absence of mind, the absence of fear... fear exists for a reason. The reason I felt fear was because I was actually sitting on the edge of like, wait a minute, this might be a-
Lianne: You were strapped to a chair being choked by a stranger!
Gaia: It's true, I was taking I was going to places that maybe most people shouldn't wouldn't go I don't want to, you know, promote going off with strangers to be strapped to airplanes. I really did feel that I could trust this person, because of the prior conversation and what we knew before. But there's no getting rid of fear. It's about how we face fears. So creating a container in which my fear is welcome. And my fear can be met with reassurance. That is the container I think we need to create for sexuality, not a fear free container.
Lianne: That's wonderful. Thank you.
Lianne: Yeah, I think that's wonderful because it's also not something that we always have control over - fear is an emotion, right.
Gaia: It's also part of that elevated dogma about sexuality, because then it's going to be, "oh your fear, you're still stuck in your fear place." Fuck off. We're all fearful sometimes, you know, what creates a safe space is the right to be authentic in the space, not the necessity to be beyond fear to be there.
Lianne: Wonderful. And just lastly, you know, I would love to hear how your sexuality has evolved over the years.
Gaia: Why, as I told you as a very young child, I was masturbating all day every day to relieve stress. That hasn't changed much. No, it has changed,
Lianne: Still runs an eco village.
Gaia: But I still do use my sexual energy as an outlet in ways that maybe wouldn't be considered the most tantricly evolved ways. I choose to be honest about that, because I choose to make things accessible, and to be real, and not to highlight myself as a perfected being.
Now I'm in perimenopause, I do believe. Right now my sexual desire might be the least it's ever been in my whole life, and it's freaking me the fuck out. Actually, there's a part of me that thinks Oh my god, there's something wrong with me or there's nothing... no, no, no, no, no, no, no... But actually that's a really soft voice. paired to the voice that... I remember one of my teachers, Margot Anand, who was probably one of the founding - she wrote a book called The Art of Sexual Ecstasy, The Art of Everyday Ecstasy, The Art of Sexual Magic. She wrote those books and she was kind of, it's called the great grandmother of bringing sacred sexuality to the mainstream, that was done in the 80s. And her work is... I see it in every Tantra teacher's repertoire. Why did I bring her up?
Lianne: Talking about your own-
Gaia: Ah, and she I remember, when I met her, she was in her 60s, and she was talking about how she was so grateful that the sexual energy didn't have quite as much power over her anymore. And I could say the same. Actually, I'm grateful for some of that. Now, it doesn't mean I'm still not a sexual being it just means I don't actually feel like I'm needing to contain, as much, my sexual energy to keep it in a healthy way. I think it meets me. It's more balanced with everything else. It used to be probably a bit more out of balance when I was in my more fertile years and being... some people are more or less sexual. I think when I was younger, I was a bit hyper-sexual. And so I'm grateful that it's lessening. One of the other ways that sexualities evolved for me is that - I actually, my parents said... uh, Dad, Mom, Dad, I love you. Sorry to out you too much, if I am. But my parents had a monogamous, committed relationship. They were married in the Catholic Church, and both of them had throughout their marriage, other partners. And I saw this and my perception of it was that lies caused more grief between them than the actual sexual escapades, let's call it. And so, from that I developed this desire to have non monogamous relationships based on truth and connection, and authenticity and an ability to speak truth. One of the things that's changed me is I, because as I said, when I was raised by my parents, I was given a pretty healthy view on sexuality. So I just kind of had this adopted idea that anybody in a partnership would be able to say anything to their partner. That should be easy, right? You think I mean, I'm a teacher for years, but you know, what we do in our personal lives and what we teach can maybe be... over crouching... but I've become more cautious in terms of not just trusting everything I hear somebody say, even though I'm talking about communication being very, very important, not taking things as literally in those communication practices. Understanding that leaning more towards... I have less dogma about the fact that relationships shouldn't be monogamous. What I understand now is what I want to do is support truth and relationships as much as possible because again, what I do see is that the lies keep us more separated than any kind of sexual thing. But I'm more attuned now to how easy it is for us to lie to ourselves and how easy it is for people to lie to themselves, for us to take their lying to themselves as truth, and to act on that. And so where I'm growing my sexuality has a lot more to do with the voice and how unspoken things, and spoken things are all part of communication.
Lianne: Wonderful. Thank you guys so much for sharing your wisdom, your experience and your insights with us. It's really been wonderful to speak with you in this way.
Gaia: Thank you for having me here. I appreciate it.
Lianne: If this episode turns you on, please subscribe, rate, and review us - it makes a huge difference. Then head to strippersandsages.com to learn more about our guests, sign up for our mailing list, access special resources, and become a Patreon supporter, which would be very sexy of you. Special thanks to Ben Newfrat for scoring and mixing these episodes, and to Lilia Tam and John Wolfstone for their production support. Stay sexy folks.