In 2020, while most people were in quarantine, carefully watching the news, or in the shock of lockdown, I was boarding a plane to Costa Rica to meet a guy from London who’d been romancing me the entire year. He had been sending me gifts, spending time with me on Zoom dates, and chatting with me for two hours a night. It was so exciting - I would meet my international lover for the first time!
Not only that, but our love was tantric! We sent each other tantra articles and read them together, talked openly about our sexual desires and preferences, and shared ahem…a lot…over the phone. Beautiful, intimate moments, silent moments, vocal moments. Or just breathing together for long stretches of time.
So when I boarded the plane with my suitcase full of lingerie, feathers, and yoni eggs, I chuckled to myself - I was a tantric woman! Embarking on a true lovers’ adventure! Nevermind the pandemic. Nevermind the economy. I was too busy daydreaming…imagining myself living in London, wearing chic fashion, going to hip restaurants with my new London friends, gaining admiration from folks back home.
Turbulence shook me out of my fantasy. It was mild compared to the shock and plot twist I was about to face, but had no idea was coming.
Let me backtrack to how I discovered tantra.
Tantra first entered my world in 2008 when I signed up for a subtle yoga teacher training in Asheville NC, not realizing the teacher’s background was in tantra. She invited us to chant a lot of mantra, which was done sweetly and with real purity, and she led us through a special tantric ceremony at the end. It was magical and left a lasting impact.
Then in 2017, tantra appeared in my life again, through another woman - a sacred sexuality coach. This woman happened to be Russian and her confidence, beauty, and naturalness captivated me. I did her main program for women and started doing the practices, noticing soon after that men seemed more drawn to me. They offered favors, attention, or guidance and I was able to receive from these men without guilt - a huge game changer for me!
So it turned out my London lover happened to be following the same teacher on Instagram and we started bonding over her content. Now here we were, a year later, manifesting it all in the 3D! Plane tickets, two Airbnbs - one in the jungle with a pool, another with a view of a volcano with its own private trails, garden, and waterfall. Sloths, monkeys, beaches, hiking, hot springs, amazing food, and tantric sex - all waiting for us!
Soon the big moment arrived and we greeted each other at the airport in our masked awkwardness.Then we jumped in the rental jeep and headed into the unknown…
Several hours later it was night and we were still in the unknown - lost among Costa Rica back roads. I faintly remembered a coworker’s warning a few days earlier when I had told him the details of my trip: “That’s cowboy country. Better getcha’ one.” Luckily, the locals were out at 10pm, incredibly kind, and willing to help show us the way.
We finally got to the Airbnb, feeling tired and unsexy.
The next four days were glorious and I’ll always cherish them. But they quickly faded into the background. On the fifth day, things took a turn for the worse. My London lover was suddenly ill and as much as I tried to deny it, he had come down with the one thing we feared the most - COVID.
From there, it was all kind of a blur. I remember a lot of napping, laying around, and feeling miserable. Somehow we managed to make it to the next Airbnb. By that time he was on the upswing and now I was on the downturn.
The low point was sitting alone in my bikini poolside in the jungle with a fever and chills, crying and bored, trying to feel glamorous while he slept all day inside.
The high point was when we took a bunch of Tylenol and danced around naked in the Airbnb to disco music, trying to make the most of it.
Ultimately, you learn a lot about a person by how they handle hardship. You find out the truth of who they are and if their core values match yours. We parted ways after the journey. As rocky as it was and for personal reasons, it felt right to end it with him romantically.
What started out as a tantric fantasy ended as a huge reality check that shed light on what I thought tantra was vs. what it really is.
Tantra is a spiritual path of embracing reality intimately. Not just when things are going well. Not just when things are sexy. Not just when you’re on a high or in a bliss state. The true grit of tantra is to say YES to life in all its totality - even when it’s hard, when there’s suffering, when you feel low emotionally, and when your body feels sick. Tantra means opening to ALL the human experiences and, rather than being the cold observer or the quiet witness, being the engaging lover - communing with these gritty experiences as sacred. It’s a deep path, a radically embodied one, and an earthy intimate one.
After this epic failure of a romantic getaway, it occurred to me that the real love story here was with the Divine. A bigger Love had held me on that trip. Afterwards, I integrated that Love into my body and nervous system. The whole thing was a huge upgrade - an immune system upgrade, a spiritual upgrade, a wisdom upgrade, a truth upgrade, and a self-esteem upgrade.