I often wander in my memories of Berlin. They are dream-like seedlings in my subconscious. The city was pivotal in the development of my eros. The epicentre for me was a place called Schwelle 7. It’s hard for me to put words on exactly what that place was. An art installation? A dance studio? It was the kind of space one is lucky to encounter once in a lifetime, a space curated by choreographer Felix Ruckert where bodywork and modern dance met esoteric eroticism and sadomasochism. It attracted dancers, artists, bodyworkers, yoga instructors and sex workers – all people with intimate levels of embodiment. Despite esoteric eroticism becoming more mainstream nowadays, this coming together of people with such deep connections to their physical selves still feels rare.
Schwelle 7 was where I learned to listen to my body and other bodies around me rather than to my mind. This dramatically contrasted with my everyday life working for a multinational telecom company. In my professional life, I practised enslaving my body to the will of my mind for the benefit of the company. Entering Schwelle 7, I had to be brave because I had to let go of my past. I had to tell my mind to stop speaking and to listen to the world around me.
A recurring theme there was insecurity (the word itself was even printed on T-shirts worn by helpers who worked there). I think about insecurity as moving away from safety on an analogue scale. If I continue in that direction, I end up in anxiety, fear and panic, and that’s too far. So I’m curious about the first tiny steps.
The Privilege Of Not Having To Know
Insecurity remains a fundamental pillar of my life philosophy. The idea of not having to know. Or to be sure. It is reflected everywhere. I find it funny that I, someone who makes his living from teaching about polarities, put such a value on being in between them. To allow life to be a mystery and that is a privilege not available to all.
What exactly did I let go of in Berlin? Mainly the future and the past. The past had been my favourite place. It contained all of my knowledge. What I liked and disliked, my judgements about people around me, and my ideas about who I was. In it were my strategies for success. It worked out to a great degree and led me to a top career lasting fifteen years. But it was also safe, boring and predictable and made me very disconnected from the present. I also had to let go of the future that held my wishes and dreams. Or the ideas about what I thought I desired. What I needed was to listen more to the present mystery.
So Schwelle 7 offered me a unique space at the right time of my life to practise embracing insecurity in the presence of like-minded people curious about the same. The pinnacle of these years was the rituals, the ceremonial gathering of people who wanted to simply ‘play’ in the word’s broadest meaning. It didn’t matter if the idea of dedicating ourselves to playing in the present was right or wrong. What matters is that we dared to be brave and created the space for this together.