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Insecurity and the privilege of not knowing (2020)

You can listen to this musing here, or read it below.

This week I want to share one of my most valued things in life. That is insecurity. Or the idea of not having to know. Or to be sure. And it is reflected everywhere. It is the fundamental pillar of my life philosophy. Maybe and maybe not, says the businessman that turned into a Buddhist monk. I find it funny that I, a person that makes my living from teaching about polarities, put such a value of being in between them. Why is this? Maybe because of the mystery. To allow life to be a mystery. To be exciting.

I often preach that my rope bondage is more about listening than doing. I see it this way because listening is a state of not knowing. I get to experience the situation unfolding instead of building it in a particular structure. Don’t get me wrong; it is still essential to learn things and be good at them because it helps me to understand what I’m listening to, and it gives me more options to react. For example, if I notice that my partner has a hard time finding surrender in the discomfort than maybe I must tie them tighter to make it easier, and then I must know a more restrictive tie.

In a recent workshop, I guided a meditation called from zero to a hundred and back to zero again. The numbers describe the level of activation, and the choreography moves from total passivity to total activity, and back again. Zero and hundred are the polarities, and participants often describe them as most comfortable and safe. And in between, is the insecurity. When everything is at a hundred, at maximum activation, then there is chaos. To exist in chaos, one must be brave. And to be brave, one must be safe enough. Safe enough to be brave. That is a golden rule.

To be insecure is a privilege because it means that I have enough resources to handle my situation, and then some extra in saving. If I don’t have the resources, the same experience becomes potentially traumatic and forces me into a fight, flight or freeze. This concept is easy to understand in rope bondage, movement and play. But I believe that it is applicable everywhere in life. Look at my language, for example, how I prefer to speak and write. There are lots of maybes and could bes. When the world is becoming more serious, it also becomes more polarized, and it becomes hard to be an in-betweener. My surroundings often demand of me to know, or even worse to have an opinion about something that I don’t know.

But isn’t it contradictory to not know when playing the dominant role in a power dynamic? To understand this, I think, one first must think about knowing in relationship to time. If I try to know something ahead of time, then I’m planning a possible future. And if I try to know what happened in the past, then I’m analyzing a memory. In the present, I’m experiencing. Being dominant for me means that my preference gets to suggest the motion forward. Preferably, I do this based on what I’m feeling in the present – what I hear, in myself, my partner, and the space around me. I have written about this in-depth in the text Listening, the first step to domination. Sometimes I need to plan and analyze, but my preference is to be in the present, in the not knowing, and therefore it is a privilege to be there. And maybe this is the ultimate surrender, to the not knowing.

As a funny side note, I’m writing this on the 19th of November, the International Men’s Day, and it makes me think about my involvement in the European Men’s Gathering. -How masculine is it not to know?