01: Surrendering Into Love (with Luna and Tris)Jan 20, 2023
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Welcome to the first official episode of the Sensual Artistry Podcast!
I'm joined by my partner Tristen as we talk about how our relationship developed, how we moved through a lot of resistance, fear, and stories into deeper layers of unconditional love and support.. and how the universe dommed us into submitting to this relationship!
In this episode, we chat about
- Going slow and intentional! Why we slowed way the f* down when our relationship began and why that worked for us.
- Safety, secure attachment and freedom
- What it means to unconditionally love someone -Releasing stories and fears to come into new depths of relating.
- How we got dommed by the universe and submitted again and again into love.
Tristen and I are running a course for couples called Awakening Through Intimacy.
Luna: Hey everyone, welcome to our first episode, first official episode of the Sensual Artistry podcast. I'm your host Luna here and today I'm joined by my partner, Tristen.
Tristen: Thanks for having me. (laughs) We live together.
Luna: Yeah, we live together. So we thought that we would have an episode just sort of sharing a bit about our relationship journey, doing a bit of storytelling about some of the kind of pivotal points in our relationship and how we've kind of learned and grown together, just for people that are curious because there's been some interesting things that have happened.
Luna: For people that want a bit of context, Tristen is an amazing human, born in Perth as well, like me. I didn't think I would ever meet a live partner in my hometown but I did. He lived in Sydney and Melbourne and has travelled around quite a bit. He's a burner. He used to do burners without borders, fun stuff. He now does the Alchemical Coach Academy. He helps me with my marketing and kind of getting my shit together. All my creative chaos, he is someone that helps me organize it so that things happen. He also helps me facilitate because he's also a tantric-er and loves doing the work. Anything else you want to say?
Tristen: I'm just stepping out into the facilitator space more and more these days, which is why it's great to work with you on projects like this podcast and all the other events and workshops and online courses you run and it's great.
Luna: Tristen and I met during COVID pandemic lockdowny times.
Tristen: Early days, it was all kicking off.
Luna: We met because I was meant to be just stopping off in Perth to meet my nephew and see my family. I was meant to be running a retreat in Bali and then everything got cancelled. I got kind of locked down in Australia and my friend Sanya, who I made the Tantric Kink with, we'd been in Koh Phangan together and she also was kind of stuck and didn't know where to go. So I was like, "Oh, come to Australia." and anyway, we were like on the beach checking out like a dating app being like, "Oh, if we're going to be here a while, are there any babes around?" and then she's like, "Hey, I know this guy. I'm pretty sure I know him from Melbourne. He's one of the Tantra guys and he used to date this hell-witchy chick." and I was like, "There's a guy in Perth that like just dated tantric bitches before?” Hook us up, let's meet him.
Tristen: Well, there was one.
Luna: We needed some assistance while we were filming the Art of Tantric Kink because it was really hard to do it when it's just you and the other person filming it so we asked him to come hang out.
Tristen: So I got this invitation to lovely humans to film their Art of Tantric Kink videos, I’m kindly obliged.
Luna: Hey cute guy, would you like to come film us while we vlog each other and get kinky?
Tristen: Yes, yes I do.
Luna: Him and I were chatting and flirting in bed and then I needed a place to stay because I didn't want to stay with my parents since the pandemic kept going and then he said that they needed a housemate so I moved in and then I was like, oh shit, I'm moving in with this hot guy and you don't bang housemates. So now I'm gonna have to like tone this down and I was really sexually frustrated by this point because it had been now a few months with no sex and then suddenly I'm living in a share house with this guy that I'm totally hot for but was putting personal boundaries because it's complicated when you bang your housemates as we discovered.
Tristen: Yeah but it was Armageddon time, we were apocalypse buddies so we're leaning on the edge while we're locked down so we're coming out of lockdown then. But anyway, it's still definitely a consideration.
Luna: There was a lot of sexual tension for a while and I had to also have the fun pleasure of watching your fuck buddies coming over and you having fun while I'm just like exploding from levels of horny and totally crushing. It wasn't just that he was a babe, also I was like, wow, we both really like drum and bass, we both like tantra and magic and weird shit, just super compatible.
Tristen: We bonded on many levels.
Luna: We eventually ended up crossing over into the lovers realm.
Tristen: Very hesitantly, though, we were both coming from very, I use the word consciously, but very considered perspectives on how we wanted to relate. We were on very same page as each other in terms of being very, I guess, overly cautious around not falling into the patterns that we had in previous relationships and not living them out in new ones. We dreaded very lightly, didn't we?
Luna: Yeah, especially like I had said that I was not going to get in a relationship for the next year. I had just got out of a four-year, very intense relationship and it was only January that I last had hooked up with my ex, even though we'd stopped dating a few months before. But you know, it was still very fresh. I still had a lot of heartbreak and woundings and stuff and I was still trying to reclaim who I was. My plan was just to casually date, which is also why I had resistance to him because I could tell straight away that I was joking about it, people, but I'm like, Oh, I'm totally in love with my housemate. When I would talk about him and stuff, he's not someone that I think I would just bang, I think he would be like relationship quality. So we tried really carefully. It was actually interesting because it was one of the first times that it was a while before we had sex, even after we first kissed and kind of started this kind of erotic energy flowing and romantic side. We actually had full talks first about what's the meaning, what's the intention, talking about all sexual history, SDIs, partners, doing the full spiel and taking it really slow, which was sexy as well as frustrating. I wanted to die right in there.
Tristen: Frustratingly sexy.
Luna: I think it really set a different tone for our relationship because it wasn't just like we’re diving in and letting ourselves just like go into that new relationship energy, bubble of hormonal, whatever. We were both really like, we've been burned by this kind of thing before. We want to come at it in a new conscious way. I found that really interesting and we both really had this intention of wanting healing. I remember that was something in our first talk that came up was we're not interested in just like sex for the sake of sex play. Well, sometimes, but not in this dynamic, and that we both were wanting to work on healing old stories and re-pathening and having that evolutionary kind of intention for our relationship.
Tristen: Yeah and when you get into new relationships like you said, all the chemistry is taking over your body and it can kind of hijack your brain a little bit. So I think my pathening had been that I jumped headfirst into relationships and got really caught up in that romantic period and it didn't often lead to the most, the deepest connection. What am I trying to say there? It was like I've ran away from me and my partners to the point you had to kind of stop and then catch up. Whereas this kind of leading with a little bit of the head, letting the heart follow a little bit in that early stages was really useful to re-pathening some of those.
Luna: Especially since we were living in the same house, so we're like, "Oh gosh, if we dive head in and then this all goes perishing then it's going to be really awkward and it's really hard to find a shared house in the middle of a pandemic.”, so there's a lot to consider. I know we kind of stepped carefully and I remember when we finally did admit that we were in love and stuff, we actually were doing an Istur online festival.
Tristen: Oh, you're skipping the good part. We finally, after all this talking, all this building up of the eros and not, and we finally got into it and we had some great sex. It was all the things we thought it would be and it was all more powerful because of this build up like you said really served us well. I had an amazing foundation already to kind of go from there and it was a bit more unbridled in a sense because we just had that clearing beforehand to just jump into it.
Luna: Oh yeah, that was some beautiful times. Even with a teenager living in the room next to us and us trying to be quiet. There was just such a powerful energy between us, even the first time that we were cuddling, the first night that we kind of connected, I felt myself being energetically penetrated without it being a tantric practice that we were doing. Even just being around each other, I was like, this is some serious stuff here. I don't know what the fuck this is, but it's powerful and that's what was putting me in resistance to but we eventually got there. Also there was a lot of resistance because I was wanting to go back to Europe and I was hoping to be getting on a flight at some point soon, so there was also this resistance to diving in. We just had to really surrender to it, it just kept coming up over and over that I was not wanting to fall in love and be in a long term relationship, I was not wanting to be with someone in Perth, I was not wanting to be staying in Perth longer, I was in so much resistance, but then like the power of the love and the connection between us I found was just so overwhelming that I just kept having to surrender to love, which I think is really different because a lot of people, they want to fall in love, they want to build a relationship and it was interesting to be on the other side of like I'm a bit cautious of this, I'm a bit wary, but the force of the connection was just so overwhelming that I couldn’t deny anymore and I just had to go for it and dive in, and I think I was in love with you. We did lots of tantric practices and had a little retreat weekend when we finally admitted that we're in love with each other, and it was some pretty interesting things.
Tristen: That was a beautiful weekend. We really created a beautiful space for us to kind of explore areas of each other we knew were very real and part of our own experiences leading up to that relationship but really bringing them out into that space.
Luna: That weekend was really interesting. We were doing this online festival, lots of different practices and we already had such a great erotic connection and we got along well with lots of great discussions and philosophy and diving into the nature of reality and all this stuff. But then we were both, really, we're kind of blocking our hearts and I remember doing a practice where we're going through like breathing into the base and into your root and then into the heart and into the mind and the three centers practice and just having some guidance around like, what is it that your heart isn't expressing or what is your heart holding back, and it was just so clear to me that I'm fucking in love with this guy. I want to be able to say I love you and I want to be able to show you but I had this story that he didn't want to receive that love and that love wasn't welcome because he'd said things previously about not being interested in a more committed relationship or anything. I started kind of having my heart crack open and some tears and then I finally kind of was like, "Oh my God, you idiot, I love you." because I think you had some story as well.
Tristen: There was some resistance there, like a lot of us have to letting love in and it was after that weekend of really kind of intentionally cracking open and connecting on so many levels and just kind of letting it be, it kind of just emerged in it naturally. It was a beautiful moment too when I was taken aback like, "Whoa!" I could feel that on multiple levels and that was when I knew it was real.
Luna: Yeah, because I think I'd been trying to telepathically let him know I was in love with him for ages and being like, "You know what I feel, right?" and then he's just like, "Eh."
Tristen: I need a clearer message.
Luna: I was like, "He must obviously know that I'm madly in love with him, right?" It was interesting to be like, okay, no, he's got his resistances too.
Tristen: I get this a lot, so, you know.
Luna: Not long after that was my car crash and that's where things got really more complicated, I guess. We had our kind of honeymoon opening and one day I was about to come home and I got hit by a drug driver and Tristen got to come out and witness me and dad and luckily it wasn't too bad, even though I'm still injured a year later, but I got like whiplash and a thumb injury and…
Tristen: Car written off.
Luna: Yeah, my car written off and Tristen had to move into a carer role and this is where both of us have a lot of trauma and where my last relationship broke down was around me being injured and sick and having to be taken care of. So this was an interesting, really rough time where we kind of went into a lot of our trauma, woundings, and some beautiful moments of care and love. But there was also feeling like a burden, not being able to contribute and give because I'm in recovery and all this kind of stuff and you had your kind of like mother carer pieces as well.
Tristen: It was a beautiful opportunity works through that and this is only what? Three, four months into our relationship.
Luna: Yeah, it was pretty early on. So that was very rough and we went away on holiday and it was really challenging as well because my nervous system was just getting completely destroyed. I was getting really sick from it all and I had this thumb injury so I couldn't help with any stuff, it just got super challenging and it was bringing us to a point where we actually almost broke up at one point, after the holiday. We were really finding this challenge between wanting a secure attach to both of us. We were getting to the point where we want commitment if we're going to get here. It was kind of getting past lover and into a point where it's like, “Are we primary partners? Is that what's real for us?”
Tristen: I think it's important for people listening to this to understand the context in which how we defined our relationship all through this and up to these points because there was as much as we spoke about the things that we wanted and didn't want and there was definitely this commitment pace in me and I'll speak to my experience around a bit of a resistance to committing and there was some some practical as well as, we don't know, but heartfelt reasons for me to need to just keep one foot out, which I think is an important point because we hit these points in our relationship which really called for us to lean in more and you know it was the car crash and then you know then how your health precipitated from there which led us to this point that we're talking about now. This dive into the underworld as if we kind of put it within the context of the hero's journey at this moment of challenge.
Luna: I was reading Poly Secure at the time as well because we're in some kind of fluid open dynamic, but we've been mostly just with each other for this time, but we still consider it an open dynamic, even if we're not actively dating all the time. There was just this real question of like is this a primary relationship? Are we lovers? and things were just getting a little bit confusing and blurry.
Tristen: There was a couple of key things I was missing at this point that later on really filled in a lot of the things that you were going through because I was not clued up on attachment theory and how trauma plays out in relationships as detailed as I do now, which is very, very powerful and useful things to understand.
Luna: Because a lot of the time our relationship, we were really defining it as just being totally in the present moment, no need for structures or definition, like just whatever is alive is there. I think that's a really beautiful thing to explore but then there also comes to this point where it's like, if you want to build a life together and if you're trying to kind of grow, then there does need to be a level of commitment. We were just trying to, I guess, figure out, are we actually committing to this? We went to have a talk on a beach when things were really confusing and sadly for me, I got the no at that point in time that it wasn't a full yes to going into a committed primary relationship. I was getting to that point where that's what I felt like I needed because I wanted this safety. I was having this internal kind of debate between the part of me that wants total freedom and like loving presence, acceptance in the moment, don't need definitions, don't need external things, like whatever's alive in my heart in this very moment is enough. But then also the understanding of attachment theory, attachment trauma, relationship dynamics, and the way that we create safety and commitment in relationships and those two parts can feel very conflicting. It's sort of like the spiritual side and then the embodied reality side it feels and sometimes they go together perfectly and sometimes they really conflict. So when Tristen was a no at that point in time, then it was difficult for me because I remember you were sort of like, oh, I wanted to go back to just kind of being lovers and keeping this a bit more like fluid and I was like I don't know if I can at this point in time, it kind of feels like an all or nothing almost now.
Tristen: Because of that attachment pace, because you feel that attachment had been created at a level such that, that's what you required to be in relating with me.
Luna: Yeah and because everything that I was reading at the time as well and the things that define a secure attachment I was like “but that's what we have, we're really good at this secure attachment thing” but then it just wasn't working.
Tristen: And I was like, “what's secure attachment?”
Luna: Yeah, and then we were kind of playing with that and I was getting a bit sad and looking at moving out because I was like, all right, this is just getting too hard to live together and it wasn't really working, and especially with me still being very injured and very sick. Tristen was ending up in a more caregiver role, which he didn't really sign up for and it was quite early in the relationship to be ending up in a caregiver role. So it was just bringing up a lot of trauma for both of us.
Tristen: Because my background is that I've had a lot of relationships on many levels in my life that have required me to take that carer role, which I've stepped up to and I'm quite proud of how I've handled it. But there's this point in my life that I was actually at this stage of my life is about me and I need to make me a focus for a change and so that was all up in the mix.
Luna: Yeah, which was triggering me like, this is the time where I need to be cared for because I've always like been independent even while I'm sick and I just want to be cared for so I can finally get past this thing. It was like both of our woundings were coming together and our intentions were opposite of how to deal with that, so, that was not a fun time. But then I was listening to this amazing book “The Deepest Acceptance”, it was saying, just a lot of deep acceptance of pain and life and love and all this kind of stuff. It's a really, really beautiful book that I highly recommend. I was just kind of having this moment of being my heart wanting to close off and close him away and be like, well, if you're not going to give me the secure attached relationship that I want, then I'm just going to like shut my heart to you and turn away and put it in a box and if you're not going to live up to my standards of what I need for safety, then fuck you pretty much. That was kind of a petty piece and then I was starting to recognize that and I was diving in and no matter what I do and no matter what happens with us, there is this huge love in my heart that just wants to overflow out to him. Ever since I've known him, I've just fucking loved the shit out of this guy, I don't know why but that love's there and why should I withhold it even if he doesn't want to be in a relationship with me? There's just a moment where I kind of shared that and even if you don't want to talk to me ever again or you don't want to be in a relationship with me, I still love you anyway. I'm not going to stop myself from loving you even if we're not in a relationship and that's fine, I'm just coming into acceptance around that.
Tristen: I can still feel that moment in my body. There's this so much contraction at this time around so many different things but when you told me this, I can feel it now that my heart just opened and expanded, it's like a heart explosion and everything opened up and it's hard to describe but it's just much more expansive open accepting space. I wasn't so contracted and closed and defensive when I kind of opened up into this like well oh it's okay, I can also enjoy what is here too and open up into that love which was profound. Totally profound.
Luna: It was a total game changer in our relationship and actually we did end up then going into a committed relationship after. Which is the kind of funny thing of reality where once I fully accept it and let go and was like okay I'm gonna step more into this unconditional love that isn't based on him aligning to any idea that I have around like how I should be loved or what love should look like or whatever and just acknowledging him being him and his essence and his soul. My heart loves it and that's all there is to know and everything else is relative.
Tristen: Such soothing, sweet soothing medicine I guess you could say. It was a healing to receive and allowed us to continue to be in this state of relating as we kind of reformed and allowed us to get to know each other again from that place. It was very clear what was there for us and the commitment that I was ready to make. I remember when we were having our usual relationship check-in in Adelaide and it was like we'd already been through so much and so much had been healing and moving through us and it was just an amazing space to be in. I was like, yes, I'm here for this. Yeah, been here for it since.
Luna: On our one year anniversary, we had a commitment ritual, which was really beautiful as well because it was really around that time where we were shifting into like we're gonna see what it's like to go all in and to really put both feet in for both of us. It's probably a year into our relationship. We really let go of all the old stories and called in what we were stepping into, and there was still resistance in me at this point because I'd had this idea that he wasn't there for commitment and he wasn't wanting to commit to me. So even then when he's showing up to commit, I was like, I don't know, this is different to what I've known. It's still like a bit of readjusting, but it's been really beautiful to just see also every time that we have had these really vulnerable, intense experiences and really admitted and accepted some of our inner child traumas or relational issues. Whenever we've had these raw conversations about it that are really edgy, it's always brought us deeper together and often there's been this really hot passionate eroticism energy that comes in as well, after we've shed a few tears and got really vulnerable, then suddenly it'll be like, "Woo! Hello!"
Tristen: That's what was hiding behind all that.
Luna: I guess it really taught me just how much going into those places and going into that truth and vulnerability, how much more love and passion and playfulness as well. It's often when we stop being playful with each other that there's some kind of lingering doom energy and once we clear that, then we're just total children again as well. It really brings that playfulness back, which is something that really connects us. We might seem serious to people in workshops and stuff but we're actually total idiots.
Tristen: Queerdo's. They call us queerdo's. It's a beautiful benchmark actually to know when things aren't or some things need to be addressed, then the play is gone. I think it's important to say that by the time we did our one year anniversary ritual, you'd moved out of that original place we were living into this beautiful place in the country and then I moved out from the place we were living into my own place, and then that situation got a little bit unstable. Now, we consciously made the decision to move in together, to live together. It's been a beautiful journey, but I think that is worth a whole another episode.
Luna: Oh yeah. moving in big.
Tristen: So many episodes.
Luna: We took some notes of a few of these like really big turning point things that we want to talk about. All of those are a kind of episode each.
Tristen: We've covered one.
Luna: We covered one big thing and there's always space for more.
Tristen: Unconditional love. The power of it.
Luna: Also just that surrendering into love, I think was a big theme for me here. What I’ve really noticed when I've talked to some other people with their big, deep love, conscious relationships is that a lot of us, we weren't going out there trying to fall in love and trying. Often when you are, I want to get married, I want a partner, I want this, then you project on your partner. But there were no projections here because neither of us were actively seeking a relationship, but then someone's popping up that just ticks all the boxes that you didn't actually make a list of.
Tristen: Surrendering to love or submitting to love. We got heavy-helmed a few times in there, didn't we?
Luna: Yeah, we were getting dumbed into it hard by the universe.
Luna: Just like, "Fucking admit it! You're in love! Just go for it! Okay, I'll stop resisting now."
Tristen: "Okay, I'll commit."
Luna: It's been beautiful and I really enjoy our relationship. The amount of stories we've been able to rewrite together even just in a year and a half, it feels like we've gone through years worth of processing compared to like a lot of other relationships I've been in and couples that I know.
Tristen: We were lucky that we'd both done a lot of work prior to meeting that point. We'd been through the fires of unhealthy, toxic, misaligned, relating and learned from those lessons. When we met each other, at that point, we were really ready to kind of pick out a lot of weeds from their garden, ready to start spending some of the energy to plant some beautiful flowers.
Luna: Yeah, absolutely and I was so grateful. One of my things after my last relationship was like, if I am going to get in a relationship again, I wanted to be someone that's already started doing the work. When we say the work, it's some kind of therapy, coaching, unwinding, workshopping, getting to know your demons, doing some shadow work integration. I want someone that's already been doing this so that I'm not having to guide it all. I was really grateful that Tristen had already done ISTA trainings and workshops, and had a lot of self-awareness. I’m obviously doing this professionally, I have a lot of tools and it's so nice having someone that's not in resistance to doing a communication thing where we set a timer and do a practice together. It's been so good to from the start be able to dive into actually using tools and practices because a lot of couples have so much resistance to that until things are falling apart and then they're like, okay, fine, I'll try setting a timer and doing that practice but I found like just doing that from the start really helped us set different kind of foundations and a different level of depth in our relationship which I really love.
Tristen: Me too.
Luna: Even now, even though our relationship's fucking rockin' we're still seeing a coach and taking it to even new levels.
Tristen: That was a beautiful opportunity to shout out to Shiana. Taking it to even greater heights and deeper depths.
Luna: Beautiful. Well, I guess that's enough for today. Is there anything else you want to share, babe?
Tristen: No. Loving this journey with you and loving life with you. So thanks for having me on your show.
Luna: Many more episodes to come with this babe. Also we're running a course for couples together as well. Oh my god, that's why we're even doing this episode is to plug it.
Tristen: Oh really? This is a good time.
Luna: It's a perfect time. So we are putting together a course called Awakening Through Intimacy, which is pretty much putting together all these tools and stuff that have helped us pull ourselves out of the nosedives, out of the trauma cycles and step into new levels of love, commitment, pleasure, passion and all that kind of stuff. I'm really excited that Tristen is going to be co-facilitating because he's a really good facilitator. He's not professionally branded as one, but he's been helping me with lots of workshops and he balances me out really well. The yin to my yang, yin to my yang, whatever. So if you're curious, then you can check that out and get some more information on it and come on a journey with us into exploring this kind of work.
Tristen: To find out the possibilities of your relationship in a way that is compassionate, loving, spacious and yeah that's an exciting proposition.
Luna: I'll put a link in the description so you can check it out if you're interested if you're in a relationship and you want to dive in. Also if any other coaches are listening and they want help with their marketing then you can also hit up Tristen because he's great. All right, much love everyone. Thank you.
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