Despite how it may appear from my recent writings focused on sex, my own sexuality is not something that I normally think much about, especially as it relates to the rest of my life, all of humanity, and other women. That is, I didn’t think about it until last weekend. On a cold and snowy Saturday in Boulder, a group of ten women gathered to take part in a workshop on the unique tradition of MogaDao Sacred Daoist Sexuality, offered by Boulder based- teacher Sarah Byrden. Our ages spanned from the 20s to 60s and our relationship statuses, backgrounds, and sexual orientations were just as diverse– yet our voices joined together to tell a universal story.
It’s a story of a bottomless well of memories and emotions such as joy, pleasure, mystery, anger, shame, grief, and sadness. It’s the shared story of mishandling or downplaying the power and preciousness of our own sexuality, and the grief from having entered into and stayed in unhealthy situations. It’s the realization that we were never properly given the tools to explore and discover our own sexuality in healthy ways, or how to cultivate it.
Every woman I know has experienced some level of what they would consider sexual trauma, and this path gave me hope in the ability to recover and heal that trauma, and the ability to approach sexuality from a place of self-reverence, empowerment, and ownership.
Daoist Sexuality: The Energy Of Life
Daoist sexuality is the belief that sexuality is the underpinning of everything and is the most essential energy; it’s the driving force of all of creativity and life. Daoist sexuality believes that erotic energy is necessary for health and vitality. Chi is energy, and Daoism holds the belief that it takes energy to be creative, passionate, or patient. All of these energies come from our sexual reservoir, and we must build this energy and express it. Conversely, if that energy is not expressed we can become ill.
Sarah artfully illuminated how this sexual energy helps feed our intuition and propels us in life and keeps us in line with who we really are, vs. living a life based on expectation, story, cultural norms, or ancestry. If you are not on your path, illness sets in. The Daoist belief is that your destiny is bound to your very essence, which is bound to your sex and that a relationship exists between sexuality, spirit, heart, and life itself.
Zhenzan Dao, Sarah’s teacher and founder of the MogaDao Sacred Daoist Sexuality Tradition, believes that our destiny rests in how our personal code of being interfaces with the world, and that our jing (our most original and prenatal essence, which informs the way our qi moves in the world) is what we have to give. Since many of us do not regard this as a primary gift of existence, much pain in the world exists because we do not embody sexuality as sacred.
These teachings and the way Sarah spoke to all of these ideas, resonated with me and my current belief in the preciousness of my own sexuality, but in my 20’s and even early 30’s, I had little self-reverence and discernment when it came to decisions of sharing my sexual being. And I know I am not alone, throughout Sarah’s workshop, I kept returning to the thought “If only young people were taught this, a lot of us would suffer a lot less pain.”
It’s this connection to ourselves that allow us to connect with all the other women who have been through trauma or grief borne of their sexuality. These layers of connections- with ourselves, and with others, can help to create a new, stronger person, which in turn can create a chance to fully explore our relationships, our lives, and the sexuality that flows through both. In the next article, we’ll be taking a look at these connections, which are both spiritual and incredibly tangible.
If you want to learn more about how to participate in this beautiful body of work, please go to Sarah’s site.