Being single is tough at any time of the year when you yearn to be connected, but being single during the holiday season is even tougher. It's even more tough if you have recently gone through a separation. It seems that holiday rituals are meant for couples, but it doesn't have to be that way.
A friend broke up with her partner recently and she's been having a tough time. She asked me "how can Tantra help me be single again, especially around these festive times" ?
These were my tips for being single, after a tough separation, and enduring the festivities without that having that special person by your side...
1. Focus on Doing You- This sounds like such a cliche and it's almost insulting when someone says this to you, but it's the most important step right now. If this means taking it easy and slothing on the lounge, then do that. If doing you means hanging out with friends, then embrace that. Cry, laugh, eat ice cream, whatever it is that soothes your soul - do that. Your friends and family love you dearly in whatever state you are in so reach out and let their warmth soothe you. The pain of separation will pass so don't be shy to lean on the people that love you the most to get you through this toughest step - the initial break up phase. Use this time of pain to pick up that book you have been meaning to finish and catch up on that project you have been putting off. Completing a task that you have been meaning to finish will give your brain a hit of the neurotransmitter dopamine which will help you to feel good.
2. Re-establish Your Own Rituals - While the couples around you are sleeping in and scheduling extra couples activities together, it's easy to feel left out. This is particularly painful during the holidays when you don't have your own special someone to hang out with. Use this time to re-discover the rituals that you love, that bring you most joy. Whether it's taking a bath or going for a gentle walk, spending loads of time exploring your favourite market, lighting a candle or cooking your favourite meal, this is the time to remember what lights you up. And if there's nothing that comes to mind, then here's some ideas... start a journal, buy a canvas and start painting, check out some new classes at your gym, join that yoga class. There is no silver bullet - but rather a series of steps to help you get you out of the rut of feeling alone - and the best series of steps is to get into your body and out of your head. Your body doesn't feel alone - that feeling of aloneness only lives in our heads. So be active - even if it means having to push yourself a little or asking a friend to help motivate you by asking them to be your walking or yoga buddy. Getting back into your body and doing something active will also release endorphins which will elevate your feeling of wellbeing.
3. Breathing - Again, this is another one of those annoying things that people say to you " just breathe", but it's so much more than that. In Tantra we cycle our breath so that it moves from top to toe and connects everything in between - this helps us to feel more "embodied". We dive into this breathing method in the webinar “Tantra for Couples Webinar” which is filled with tips and tricks for both couples and singles. Tantric Breathing is also the perfect way to recycle your sexual energy when you are not with a partner - this helps to utilise your sexual energy as mental or emotional energy rather than feeling sexually frustrated
4. Keep an Open Heart - The easiest thing to do would be to be hard and bitter towards your ex-partner. To shut down. To close your heart. Even if the break up was not a conscious one, and perhaps a little (or alot) complicated, you can still use this time to keep your heart open. By this I mean sending loving thoughts to your partner, not nasty ones. By keeping your heart open and joyful, you are practicing to be more embodied and positive for your next relationship. If Tantra is all about a heart centred approach to relationships, this means being Tantric in between partners as well. So when there is a fork in the road, and you have a choice between being bitter or better, choose better. Take the high moral ground as you are working things out, maintain your dignity and be true to your own integrity. Even if your ex has done the wrong thing by you, make a consious choice to choose an open, joyful heart as opposed to being hard or cynical
5. Be Gentle with the Pain - A catscan of a human brain that is in love has been shown to be the same as a catscan of a brain on cocaine, so being in love is the same feeling as being high. This is why love is so highly addictive ! Conversely, separating from your partner can feel as painful as withdrawing from drugs. So it's a natural reaction to want to shut down the pain and ignore that it exists, or worse, avalanch into using drugs and alcohol to self medicate. However all of these pathways just suppress our emotions, numb the pain temporarily, only to resurface later, sometimes as anger or sickness. A more positive pathway is to be present with the pain of separation, sit with it, let it be there, breathe through it, be curious about it, and have an enquiring approach of " what is my pain telling me" ? Talk to a friend or a therapist and allow what you are feeling to bubble up. Pain is the gateway to a new beginning, so as you see one door closing, trust that another door will open. Acknowledge the pain that is there today and let the pain guide you to your next best steps. Sometimes pain allows us to hit "rock bottom" which is often a great catalyst for us to change the things in our lives that we are not happy with. Know that the pain will not consume you - even though it feels that way sometimes - and trust that you will come out the other side a better person having learnt more about yourself
6. Discover Solo Connection - Connection doesn't only mean to another person. Shared experiences are of course incredibly delicious, but connection to yourself is a vital building block to being able to connect with another person in a safe and deeply divine way. Being single or newly separated is the time to discover what Connection means to you. If Connection means Touch, then have a massage. If Connection means talking or sharing secrets, then call a friend. Just because you are single, it does not mean that you can not enjoy Connection. Connection might mean taking a walk in Nature and breathing in the fresh air and allowing the sounds of the birds and rustling in the trees to wash over you - allowing Sensory Inputs to reach you in other ways that are non sexual but still highly sensual. To me Connection also means putting on my favourite music and simply being with the beat, rhythm and lyrics. Dancing is another wonderful way that I experience Connection. I particularly love Swing Dancing and Latin - both soothe me and make me feel connected to by body and soul in a highly ethereal way.
7. Deepen Your Relaxation - Reignite what deeply relaxes you. Whether it's sitting on the beach and watching the waves crashing before you, or sitting in your favourite spot in a garden holding a warm cuppa and favouring every sip, rediscover the ways that relax you and lighten your vibration. Meditation is also a good way to relax, as is taking a long shower or paddling in the sea or a pool. Relaxation opens the door to deeper insights which may yield answers to help you rebuild your new life in a more satisfying way
8. Visualisation - Visualising where you will be in a year's time is often a great way to comfort the pain of a break up. It's very comforting when a friend tells you that everything is going to be okay, but we can also learn to soothe ourselves with some positive self talk. Imagine your new partner, your new self, perhaps even your new home or new job. Whatever it is in your life that you need to change and improve - imagine that. Visualising a positive outcome in the future also helps you to bridge the gap between your current pain and that sense of hopelessness that you may never find love again. This is not the case - there is someone for everyone. It's just a matter of being very clear about the qualities and values that you want in a partner, so that when they do come along, you are clear enough to recognise them as a suitable partner. Compatibility is one of the main reasons why two people break up, so visualising the characteristics that you want in a person is the first step to finding that special someone that is a better match for you.
9. Touch - It's sometimes a bit hard to access touch when you don't have a partner but touch can be experienced in lots of non sexual ways without the need for a partner. HUGS are amazing for all humans and can be experienced between friends. I've mentioned massages above - also a great way to receive touch when you don't have a partner. Holding hands or linking arms is also a great way to feel connected and experience touch - it's just nice to feel the warmth of another human - our brains are wired neurologically to be social creatures so don't feel bad if you are missing the touch connection - that is totally normal. Touch also releases oxytocin into the brain so be sure to hug, touch, massage and hold hands as often as you can.
10. Trust - I think this is the hardest step - trusting that everything is going to be okay. I am pretty sure that almost everyone struggles with this. Trusting that all will be okay is not necessarily a religious mindset, it's important for everybody to feel a sense of safety and the easiest way to achieve that is to trust. Take the time to find your Pathway to Trust, be it Meditation or Prayer, or simply throwing out the control of what's going to happen next to some higher power. Letting go and trusting is vital to relaxing and finding a deeper sense of flow in your life.
11. Take it Slow - Tantra is about taking it slow, not just slow epic lovemaking, but intimacy with yourself, with life, with your own journey. Being single is in fact an extra special time to practice taking it slow with whatever you do - slow eating, slow walking, slow talking. Take the time to be present with everything you do, to be mindful of all your actions, to be aware of how you think and feel, not rushing from one activity to the next. Having a slow approach to life in general is the foundation to taking it slowly with intimacy
12. Practice Resilience - The Practice of Tantra starts with the practice of Connection to Yourself. You can't have a Safe Connection with another person, until there is a Safe Connection to Your own Soul. All of the steps above will help you to build Emotional Resilience within yourself. After a breakup, enjoy the Solitude and take this Space and Time to Re-discover Rituals, Connection, Being Gentle, Open heartedness, Conscious Breathing, Relaxation, Touch, Trust, Visualisation, Slowing Down and Doing You - these are all the elements of building a foundation of Resilience within your own Being.
And remember that you are Worthy of Love. Everyone deserves to be Happy. So if it didn't work out with your last Partner, then know that there are better things to come. Right now, just focus on being the best version of you so that when the right person does show up, you are happier, more joyful, more connected and more fun to be around. For your next relationship you want to be more generous, more abundant, clearer, calmer and more connected to yourself so that the time that you share with your next partner is more functional, safer and more fulfilling.
If you want to dive deeper into yourself and discover the ways that Tantra can help you feel more connected, to yourself and to your partner, here's a number of ways that we can support you..
At Sparkle Tantra, we offer the trusted wisdom of Tantra three ways...
- At Home... try our “Tantra for Couples Webinar” . This step-by-step online course allows you to discover skills and a pathway for more intimacy in the privacy of your own home
- On Retreat... check out our personalised “Tantra for Couples” and "Tantra for Singles” Personal Retreat Courses offered at the very beautiful SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay in NSW Australia. Take a break from the busy-ness of life and enjoy your own private spa-cottage to relax in for a few days in a pristine rainforest setting. These personal retreats include private sessions with your instructor who will teach you Tantra, step-by-step, in the privacy of your own cabin every day. These courses are for absolute beginners so no experience is needed.
- 1-on-1... if you would prefer your own private sessions, work with Francesca one-on-one and she will guide you with customised sessions to suit your own personal needs. These one-on-one sessions are available over Zoom, over the phone or in person. Reach out to Francesca for a chat about how she can help you at [email protected]
We look forward to connecting with you at Sparkle Tantra soon