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Meetings Without Masks

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by Ian Marshall (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and yogi living in Tepoztlan, Mexico where I'm running www.casadelcorazon.mx with my girlfriend. You can keep up with my other writing on www.bollocks2thewellingtons.com/ or www.spiritualheartjourney.com
Published April 24th 2014
Conscious coupling with Jan Day

"Conscious Uncoupling" came into the news recently with news of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow splitting in a suitably "new-age" fashion.

Many people found this way of expressing rather impenetrable or pretentious but it kind of made sense to me.

I've gone through a similar process at the end of last year and while the international press were not as interested in my break-up, being fully aware as we split was important.

Perhaps more interesting to me though is the idea of "conscious coupling". Coming together in a way that is done with complete awareness is much more juicy than the alternative of coming apart.

This is what Meetings Without Masks is all about.



When I was invited to join a workshop with Jan Day called Meetings Without Masks I didn't really think of it as a dating event. That lasted up until the introduction when Jan made it pretty clear that everyone in the gender balanced group was single and searching for something.

Jan is a tantra teacher, bringing a very accessible form of spirituality by focusing on relating to others rather than anything more esoteric.

This is done in a gentle, nurturing way but is also challenging as we are there to drop the pretense, let go of our stories and feel into our bodies.

I suppose looking at the website, and even the name "Meetings Without Masks should have given it away but I hadn't fully admitted to myself that I was going to a dating event, I was more interested in the "spiritual" side.

Jan definitely puts relationships into the spotlight but this is a conscious form of dating, allowing your higher self and energy to interact rather than the mind getting too involved.

The exercises include ice-breaker nonsense speak and small group sharing to more physical dancing, touch and boundary setting. We discussed things important to us and imagined our perfect relationship in small groups.

Unfortunately it wasn't strawberry season which meant I missed out on the sensuous devouring of the fruit but there was more than enough juiciness on offer during the day.

The Yes/No boundary setting exercise was interesting and powerful. Standing opposite a partner of the opposite sex we took it in turns to step closer to each other. The static partner offered their hands open as an invitation to come nearer and when feeling the distance was close enough raised hands in a "no" position. This was not meant to be the end of the exercise but just a pause to indicate that, right now, that distance is OK and then shortly things can recalibrate. In fact we were told that we had to offer "no" at least once to allow our partners to see and feel it. As Jan pointed out, if you can trust someone's "no" then it becomes a lot easier to trust their "yes".

To fully embrace this exercise we needed to sink into our bodies and feel our way into it. Otherwise, the mind gets in the way with stories and it was interesting afterwards to hear the way that my different partners had seen how their "no" and "yes" in everyday life might have been tinted by conditioning rather than them allowing to really feel their truth.

Jan Day
Jan and Frieder

Jan herself has been on a spiritual journey since her early twenties, studying with various teachers including Osho Rajneesh.

The relationship workshops, of which Meetings without Masks is the gateway to deeper work, started in 2009 and she runs them every couple of months.

Meetings without Masks is the most gentle and least challenging of the courses she runs, opening this journey into consciousness and turning sexuality from the habitual into a deeper alignment of body with mental, spiritual and emotional togetherness.

Her more advanced courses include an 18 month tantra training where her students meet every few months in a closed group for residential weekends and really dig deep into the energetic work that is just touched upon here.

Her work at its core is about being in friendship with ourselves and through that truth inviting intimacy both physically and emotionally.

Have a look at the video here to see what you will be getting involved in.
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Why? For Conscious Relationship
When: Sundays, Bi Monthly - 25th May (London) 6th July (London) 28th September (London) 16th November (London)
Phone: 020 8123 9831
Where: Near Victoria, London
Cost: 72 if booked online 82 full price 36 Standby rate (plus lunch 15)
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