Memoirs of a Tantrika

The Official Blog for Charu, founder of Embody Tantra

She’s Come Undone…

A  few nights ago I experienced a very special evening with four other Tantric women.  There was dynamic conversation, shared history and transformational moments and then a sharing of a beautiful Tantric dance.  The dance and being in their presence totally changed me internally.  My body was on fire for several hours (I even ran through the sprinklers when I got home) and I felt an opening for my man in a new way.  I feel like it has been weeks since I have allowed myself to just be in my own loving, to allow that love to flow through me.

I periodically go through phases of being afraid that life is passing me by and feeling like I have to make some big change in order to live the life of my dreams.  I still have some of that ‘gotta MAKE it happen’ American spirit in me, even though I know that the most delicious gifts in my life have come to me through meeting the moment, and allowing.

The first time I remember feeling this way was when I was in high school, I felt totally trapped by my American suburban life and I had never been happy in school.  One day a girl, who I did not know, in my high school died.  I remember we had a moment of silence for her during chemistry class… during that moment I knew that I had to change my life, if I died tomorrow I would not be happy with how I had spent today.

That began my great journey of going from an honor student to dropping out of high school (with the support and blessing of my teachers).  I moved to New York to pursue my dream of studying and working as an actor.  More importantly, I finally experienced the freedom I was longing for my entire life.

I also had this feeling several times many years later when I was in Drama school in London.  The program was 12 hours a day and it was extremely emotionally draining.  The heart of the teaching was in many ways parallel to Tantra, about stripping away the layers that came between you and the essence of every human being.  However, the format was totally different.  Rather than a loving foundation and support system, the path that was taken felt manipulative… students ultimately went one of two ways, a few of us dove into our spiritual practice and most of the others became alcoholics and drug addicts.

In the intense fire of this program I remember several moments of sitting in the local cafe with my best friend and creating a plan of escape.  This was a dark and dingy life, we felt trapped in the program, trapped in rainy London… life was waiting, why didn’t we leave on a train right away and head to Spain to dance in the sun?  Why had we created this ‘stuckness’?

… in this moment in my life, even with the intense passion I had for breaking free, I decided to stay.  And it was the best choice ever.  The breakdowns and intensity made way for huge breakthroughs.  I spent my final year feeling absolutely loved and deeply seen by the very teachers I had once felt shamed by.  I realized with total certainty, that the intensity of the environment they provided for me was actually a gift of love.  They had loved me enough to allow me to hate them.  Through my hate, my loss of identity, my being stripped bare, I did touch something at the core of myself and it was beautiful.

There was an arc to the process that I was in and had I left when I was uncomfortable I might have missed the richness of the full experience.

And now, this moment in my life has been like none other that I can remember exactly.  I feel as though I am experiencing the repercussions of my saturn return.  28-30 were huge years of transition for me, but somehow the transitions did not feel extreme.  It is only now that I am living with all of the changes that have happened that I am feeling the intensity.

I feel like I have shared it many times already, but through this recent growth I have hit a real crisis point.  My business is finally growing to a point where I am actually bringing in more money than I ever have before.  I no longer have to be the ‘poor spiritual/artist type’.  I no longer get to have the luxury of complaining how hard it is to be passionate about something that people don’t understand the value of, and how this work has to be only a labor of love because it isn’t making any money.

I can see the place where I am becoming the woman I only knew in distant fantasies.  The one who is supporting herself and thriving being authentic and doing what she loves.

Only thing is, the way that I am creating it (perhaps there are other ways that I am not aware of) comes with so much responsibility.  It was uncomfortable not to have enough money, but there was something romantic about it.  I remember when I was traveling I thought about people who had recurring bills and I thought, ‘how stupid to do that, you become totally trapped by the system when you could simply be living in Thailand, with a beautiful hut on the beach, being who you are, doing what you love… why get involved in that system?’

And here I am, my monthly expenses piling up every month, each thing I add creates another opportunity to grow my business, creates more money, supports me in a new way, but I have been scared. Is this really who I want to be?

It is bringing up all of my issues around freedom. I once again begin to feel trapped.  I want to leave America, leave this crazy structure that I have created and I feel I am becoming a slave to… the feeling of being trapped and of panic even spreads into my relationship.  Everything that used to inspire me about partnership began to feel like an infringement on my life.  Rather than allowing myself to be supported by my relationship, I created exhausting conflict to prove to myself just how much better off I would be if I could be alone in a hut in Bali.

I found myself terrified that life would just go on and on like this and I would wake up one day never having what I most longed for, freedom and community.  I have been propelled by feeling like I need to ‘do’ something about this.

… and yet, somehow, some part of me knows that this is not real.  That I am growing into a new woman and I do have to let go of my old identity to step into her.  I didn’t mind doing that when the new identity seemed exciting and I got to play ‘entrepreneur Charu’… there is just so much more to it.

I feel like I am finally becoming an adult and I am afraid that I will fall into the same things that many of the adults in my life fell into, a reality that is relentless, with so much difficulty, and becoming resigned to so much less than you desired and dreamed of.

Some part of me has been afraid that if I allow myself to feel love and beauty in this space, that I will become comfortable just like they did, or everyone does and I will miss out on ‘the rest’… that magical fantasy world where I experience my most embodied self every moment of every day.

Where we all wake up together in the morning to my beloved friend Tony Kalife singing kirtan and Dawn Cartwright guiding us through a delicious meditation.  Where my sisters and friends support me when I can’t handle everything.  Where I can love and support them in ways that come naturally to me.  Where I can hear an intense conversation going on in the living area, someone having a snack in the kitchen, giggling in the backyard even as I sit at my computer.  Where I don’t feel so isolated, alone and like everything is on my shoulders.

… will the work that I am doing now ever lead me to that life?  Am I really pedaling in the opposite direction?  Or is this just a fantasy that keeps me from touching the reality?  Has this vision simply been my respite from my loneliness?

Am I supposed to be ‘doing’ something different to ‘make’ this vision happen?

Should I leave everything, head to Bali, get a hut big enough for several people, put out a shingle and see who joins me?  Would that be the brave thing to do?  Or would that be running away?

Or is the most difficult question to ask, even if I was free from my work, my relationship, my financial obligations… would I do that?

Although the questions are still very alive inside of me, last night gave me a taste of reality.  Through the fire in my body I gave myself permission to delight in what is happening and unhinge from my fantasy of what I would like to happen.  I felt a relaxation within myself, a felt a sweetness in my home, I felt my beloved and I met my life.

I woke up feeling overwhelmed, but happy.  I have a feeling in my belly of being undone.  I still don’t know what is ‘right’… I am still afraid of getting it ‘wrong’ and dying a fool.  Just another girl who got trapped by the system and didn’t live an extraordinary life.

But I am going to be brave and meet what is.  Feel my longing rather than try to satisfy it so it no longer haunts me.  Embrace my loneliness as one of my many guides on this journey… and see what unfolds.

in love,


P.S. are you longing to come undone?  Learn how Tantra can awaken and unwind you


  Priya Shah wrote @

When get the urge to chuck it all and go join a monastery in Ladakh, I ask myself, what it is I’m running away from. Usually it’s something in myself and I know that no matter where I go, I’ll take it with me. Running away doesn’t solve anything. Sitting with the problem works, hard as it is to do..

  Simply Shannon wrote @

Thank you Charu. I needed this today. I often wonder if I should run away or continue to face the demons in front of me. Right now I’m choosing to stand in the fire and have it burn away the old image of me. It’s painful at times but I’m choosing to believe I will come out of it as something extraordinary. As scary as it sounds, I like the idea of coming undone. That leaves room to be made whole again… as something entirely different.

  devacharu wrote @

Hi Priya,

Thank you so much for your comment.

In some strange way I believe the community I long for is right here, at the other end of these emails I send out. Our meetings come in cyber-form, but our bond is real.

in love,

  devacharu wrote @

Dear Shannon,

I am choosing to do the same at the moment, and just this morning things began to open up for me in new ways… I will share more in the next entry. I do feel this is the greatest learning for me right now.

in love,

  vaike wrote @

charu: you read my mind! and it’s funny, i had a sense that, that is what you’ve going through lately;

ironically, in the producing of our exciting tantric event with you in Sydney, i’ve had less time to actually practice tantra!

i had promised myself i wouldn’t take on any ‘extra projects’ this year, as i’d pretty much burnt out last year; i wanted to just do as much work as needed to pay the bills, and allow myself the keep the rest of my week to breathe, nurture and re-inspire, which is what i had been doing.

…and is what led me to explore tantra and find you!

then this idea to bring you to Australia just seemed to happen by itself – and now i find, between my job (s), my son and producing our event – i’m busy again!

but in reading your post above, i feel that it is a joyous next step in the process – i had indeed been finding peace and bliss in my freedom, but in a way that is just step 1: now, how to integrate that into a life with more responsibility…every time i remember to breathe, let the breathe massage my body from within like you taught me, and check in with my body, i feel better. and i realise that i have never been ‘busy’ before *AND* tried to integrate something like that – it’s new.

thank you for your post – i do indeed feel supported in your sisterhood, and offer the same to you.

the words i can offer back are to remember that when your mind bursts forth with limitless ideas that all seem worthwhile to do, well, they likely are…but they don’t all have to happen this very second. allowing some gestation, some breathing space can often mean many ideas seem to do themself with seemingly no effort and your to-do list gets done itself!

‘Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?’ (Tao)

  Caroline wrote @


I love this post, not only because I relate to so much of it, but also because I admire your choice to be transparent about your process as an entrepreneur. I was trained as an expressive arts therapist, so my grad school education sounds a lot like your acting school- lots of pressure to open up, but I then became a therapist where the rules said I had to hide myself away completely from my clients. This felt wrong. Now as a coach, I love having the chance to choose to show things that are tough and to be honest about what it is to be human, a coach, and an entrepreneur. Thank you so much for being an example of success under that philosophy as well.

  John John wrote @

Charu – I LOVE your latest post, and can totally relate. Ah, the duality of a modern life – its such a trap and yet it is hard not to at least examine it. I guess the secret lies in moving forward in a direction while carrying the intention and energy of the “middle way”.

  devacharu wrote @

I feel the same, it is such a relief to allow myself to be who I am and express my humanity even in my work. It was essential to me to create my business in this way because the teachers with whom I have totally transformed bravely showed their humanness as well. It was often in those moments that I learned the most from them.

in love,

  vaike wrote @

the other thing i thought of was that it is exactly your sharing of how you integrate tantra into your ‘normal, western-style’ lifestyle that is most useful to me! i would still love reading your words if they came from a hut in bali, but i would imagine they would be less easy for me to utilise!

  Priya Shah wrote @

Thanks, Charu. It makes us all feel a little less alone to be able to share so bravely and openly what we feel. I have had many teachers through the books I’ve read and was wondering if you’d read the Path of the Priestess. Your post reminded me a great deal of her journey.

  Kamali wrote @


How timely… this really resonated with me. Not just the running away part. But the responsibility part, the growing into something new that you hope is what you want but are not sure. I’m in the same boat actually, facing a whole new ball game as a content creator and not just a service provider. Diving into a whole new world of meetings, agents, and budgets, and wondering if life is sweeter in a simpler incarnation. But I think everyone is right, you have to sit with the fear, sit with the doubt, and meet the uncertainty. Because as tempting as it is, to run toward the simple pleasures… I think if I can find pleasure in these challenges, the capacity for sweetness everywhere expands!

  jc wrote @


Here’s a couple of quotes that might resonate with you:

“As far as your self-control goes, so goes your freedom” by, Maria Von Eschenbach.

“Adventure is not outside, it is within”
by David Grayson.

True Freedom implies the idea of False Freedoms. It manifests itself as a thirst for a broad range of experience. It is a worthwhile and rewarding pursuit. However, as soon as it infringes upon you from having a depth of experience, then you are no longer free.

You don’t have to lose your identity. Just modify your approach. You are more than the role that you play. The actors, not the roles that they play, are the real stars of the show.
This would require you to deepen your experience in ways in ways that continue to be exciting, by being creative and using variety.

Sounds like you are on the right track. I wish you the best.

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