Life lessons from a Tantra experience

The education I wish I would have had much earlier in life

Most people think tantra is about sex, but it is actually a total re-eduction about life. It teaches you how to get rid of limiting beliefs & old patterns that don’t serve you anymore, how to balance your masculine and feminine energy, how to deal with & process emotions and also, but not primarily, how to heal or revitalize your healthy sexuality.

My Tantra experience: I came from very far

When I first joined a Tantra retreat in 2015, I had no idea what I got myself into. I wrote a blog about the experience: Tantra with a control freak. I came from so far; my life up to that point had been completely lived in my ‘masculine’ energy: productivity, doing, and being in control. I hardly knew that there was a feminine side to life, too; that it could be fun and playful. Surrender was a word I did not even know and I saw emotions as useless, a distraction, and even a weakness. During the tantra retreat, I was so impressed with the world that just opened up for me – even though I did not get it at all yet – that I got a tattoo to remind myself to explore this further: Tantra and tattoos in Japan.

In 2019, after a shocking relationship breakup – I decided I needed to learn more and joined the Embodied Awakening Academy, where I learned about ‘mastering the human experience’. I even dedicated an entire Inspiration shot to this.

Last year I decided I needed to dive deeper and I signed up with a school that everybody is very mysterious about: ISTA: International School of Temple Arts, where you can learn about spiritual, sexual and shamanic experiences. Hesitantly but determined I dove in. It was shocking to find out how blocked my feminine energy was.

When I was guided through an MDMA trip a few months later, it turned out that I somehow held many women’s bad experiences (seen as witches, others are afraid of their power, always alert, not stepping into your power, no clear boundaries etc). Now at least I had an understanding of why I always stayed away from this feminine energy: they reminded me of feeling weak and vulnerable.

After a year of processing these experiences, I found another ISTA event in Argentina, exactly when I planned to be there. So I signed up. Already knowing more or less what to expect from the retreat, I could lean into it more and explore more. This time I discovered the power of feminine energy. Kali, the destructor, is also a creator. And she is not somebody to be messed with! I also experienced the ‘holding space’ part of the masculine energy. So now my experience of both masculine and feminine energy is more balanced.

In this blog, I will share some of my learnings. In order not to spoil the experience of any of you who may want to join ISTA, I cannot describe the rituals and practices. That is something you have to experience if you dare. Can you be curious, vulnerable, and brave enough to step into your power and own your desires? Then ISTA is for you. If you want to ‘try it out first’, I would recommend another school, like Embodied Awakening. But I will share some of the ‘life lessons’ that I learned, which can be useful to anybody, right away.

My amazing friend Lucia (a famous Mexican actress, featured in two Netflix series) whom I met at the ISTA retreat, allowed me to use her beautiful drawings as illustrations,


My entire life I thought that the goal of life was to avoid (emotional) pain. Every time I got hurt, I blamed myself: I had obviously done something wrong and next time I should perfect my strategy to avoid this. So I was completely focused on avoiding pain. And you know what happens when you focus on something? It becomes your reality.

Only recently I learned to apply the tantra philosophy: if you learn how to deal with something, you don’t have to be afraid of it anymore. You don’t have to be afraid of pain or other emotions if you can process them (tantra uses breath, sound and movement to do that). It is not the pain in our life that makes us suffer, but our resistance to it.

In the drawing, the figure welcomes their shadow: “hello shadow, thanks for showing up”, which is a much healthier strategy than to ignore or try to avoid it.

Pain is there to be felt. And then it passes on or transforms into something else. It is not that scary. It does not need to be avoided at all costs. Without pain, there is no pleasure. Without dark there is no light. It all sounds like a cliche, but I think I finally starting to understand it now, on a deeper level, on a somatic level. This gives a completely new perspective on life. It is all part of it. Just trust that your body will be able to deal with it, take it as it presents itself, be with it, and let it pass on.

Emotional release

We learned 11 ways of releasing emotions:


Weird enough, boundaries give freedom; freedom to explore within those boundaries. Children on a playground without a fence stay in the centre to feel safe: they don’t use and explore all the available space. However, if there is a fence surrounding the playground, they feel safe enough to use the entire space and hang out at the boundary, the fence.

In business, relationships and intimate encounters, boundaries are very important. How can I trust your ‘yes’ if your ‘no’ is not clear?

After the retreat I met Frank, a fellow member of the Dynamite Circle (my tribe of successful location independent Entrepreneurs), who has a tattoo on his arm, saying: “Hell yes! or no”. He explained that this is his reminder that if he does not feel a “Hell yes!” for something, anything, he says ‘no’ to it.

Wheel of consent

The Wheel of Consent is a conceptual framework designed to help individuals navigate and understand the dynamics of giving and receiving in interpersonal interactions, especially in the context of touch and personal boundaries. It distinguishes between four quadrants based on two key questions: “Who is doing?” and “Who is it for?”

  • Giving – Actively doing something for someone else’s benefit.
  • Taking – Initiating an action for your own benefit, with the other’s consent.
  • Receiving – Allowing someone else to do something that benefits you.
  • Allowing – Permitting someone else to do something for their own benefit, with your consent.

Staying within the agreements of the Wheel of Consent builds trust, and allows individuals to relax, feel safe, enjoy, and focus on the present moment, facilitating healthier and more conscious interactions.

Seeing this framework again, I realized why I was still so upset by the betrayal in my previous relationship. We had such clear boundaries and agreements, resulting in complete trust and safety. Having him break the agreements was one thing; but trying to switch roles and manoeuvre me into a different position without my knowing/agreement and even trying to deny we had those agreements, really broke me. He did not understand why I was so angry, and he downplayed everything. Realizing what happened in the framework of the wheel of consent, gives me some insight and acknowledges my feelings of outrage and deep hurt.

Ask your 4 voices

I am so used to using my brain for anything, all the time, that it was a great exercise to practice asking your other ‘voices’ how they feel about certain situations or decisions.

  • Your brain uses ratios and likes to talk about facts.
  • Your heart feels into situations.
  • Your gut uses its instinct and wants to make sure you stay on the right track, following your inner compass.
  • Your sex centre (lower chakras) chases pleasure and wants to make sure you have fun, stay grounded and use all your senses.

What do each of these voices have to say about your relationship dilemma? Your business or career choice? Or about the food choices you make today? It’s fun to try it out and actually give them a minute to speak up. You can also do this exercise together with others and have each be a different voice to help you decide on a dilemma in your life.


We did a very simple, yet effective and important exercise, in which two random people were designated as my parents. I had to tell them what I would have liked to hear from my parents as a child. So, I could give very precise instructions on how they should treat me as a child. And then they did exactly that. There was also a moment in the exercise when all the parents let all the grown-up children go, and the children started to play with each other. And what I appreciated was seeing my parents standing arm in arm on the side, being able to wave at them and they waved back at me, showing their attention was still with me. When I was a teenager, my parents were in the midst of a divorce and, understandably, their attention was elsewhere. Reliving this time frame consciously, with my own instructions, it provided a sort of reprogramming, feeling of liberation. Instead of my previous experience, I now had an experience of safe attachment and a healthy letting go. So, by reenacting this, cheesy as it may sound, you can truly heal a part of yourself.

These important life lessons are not only understood rationally. It is important to understand these things, but it is even more important to integrate them and to incorporate them, literally, into your body, your somatic experience.

These are the things I learned at the Tantra retreats. And as everybody else is releasing and relearning and opening up, it creates an incredible energy and a beautiful loving bond.