The quiver of the heart.
A phenomenon that is rarely spoken of. Yet something very real, available, and life-affirming.
I truly believe that the body is a vessel of Love. And that Love is programmed into every cell. We all know that the heart area is where we feel love.
There's an expansion felt in the chest when we love. Or a heaviness felt in the chest when we grieve the loss of love. A stifled feeling or weight on our chest, when we can't express love. Or let it in.
After a recent Making Love Retreat, one of the female participants contacted me, concerned about developing heart palpitations a few weeks out. After having it checked, her heart was fine.
In my co-written book with Diana Richardson, Tantric Sex and Menopause, Practices for Spiritual and Sexual Renewal, we speak of the reasons why women in Peri-menopause and Post Menopause can experience heart palpitations. In brief, due to the drop in estrogen levels, the female body can undergo stress, as the brain scrambles for this hormone from other organs such as the kidneys/adrenals. The stress hormone cortisol is then released into the bloodstream. Therefore, it can cause a woman to feel more anxious than usual. And this is why a perimenopausal or menopausal woman, depending on her hormonal picture, can commonly have a propensity for anxiety and a thin tolerance for stress. She doesn't have the protection of her hormones as she once did as a younger woman.
So this must always be factored in, or out, as a cause for these symptoms and our book has some beautiful suggestions for how to support this.
Having ruled this out, prompted me to consider the phenomena that arise in the body and its potential.
In our linear, science-based thinking society where every experience must be proven to be 'real'. Or to have some certain biological reason for happening, for all its good, I do think it can also limit our scope of possibility when it comes to the body. And our experience within it.
More likely to me, what she experienced in the retreat a couple of weeks before, was this incredible opening of the heart, perhaps not experienced before. For her, there'd been a feeling of being stretched to challenge her past pattern of running away - a typical natural past response to stress or trauma that had prevented her from staying in previous relationships.
When there has been a lot of protectiveness, male or female, particularly in the heart area or it has been some time since such deep love has been felt, or perhaps never been felt before, the heart can be activated so powerfully, that the chest can erupt with a shuddering, a kind of subtle explosive shimmering. As if it can't contain the love that is being unleashed. Like the breaking of a dam.
This is not something to be afraid of. Or to chase as an experience. It is an unpredictable by-product of presence and quite simply, of pure undefended Love.
If one remains still and present to the moment unfolding and not 'do' anything with it, except to stay in the awareness and unknowing of it, not fabricating what will come next, the shudder in the chest area, the quiver of the heart, can unleash itself, almost like a release of tension or expression of the opening.
It can feel as if the chest is going to break. To crack. It's not, and it won't.
But it can feel a little scary as this may not have been felt before. It is not something to control but to allow. If you can relax and open with it, these shudders will run through you almost like orgasms. In fact, I had heard people speak of 'heart-gasms'. Well, I guess I was quite cynical about this term until I had actually experienced this vast opening of love myself.
This can only happen through the presence of 5 things. Safety, vulnerability, containment, innocence, and timelessness.
Safety - Feeling so safe with the other person that you can emotionally and physically open up.
Vulnerability - Allowing any kind of protection of the heart to fall away.
Containment - Having no goal for where something will go. Delaying the direction of movement to the genital area, by staying with the upper body with touch, kissing, caressing, hugging, holding. Feeling the sexual energy but not running away with it to take it anywhere. Not repressing either, expanding with it.
Innocence - Staying innocent to the moment. Not knowing or having any pre-conceived idea of where things are going.
Timelessness - Having no time restriction for togetherness. In the relaxation, a sense of timelessness opens up and a lifetime of love can be felt in each moment.
So if phenomena arise in the body during or after slowness and relaxation in lovemaking, it is more likely to be a release, an opening, and to be something positive. And sometimes these things have no explanation at all. Just observe, allow and keep loving. Trust that the body has a deep intelligence within it and when it is given the chance without being directed into something, it knows how to make love all on its own. You just remain present to it. It's the best medicine of all!
If you are ready to experience the medicine of love with your partner, I invite you to one of our Making Love Retreats this year. I'd love to see you there!
Sun 15th - Sat 21st MAY
Sun 16th - Sat 22nd OCTOBER
11th - 14th AUGUST
(Limited numbers -This retreat is already half-booked)