As of autumn 2022, I’m restructuring my workshop and retreat descriptions because I’ve realized that there are a few topics that I repeatedly teach. Each time under a different name, while the content remains roughly the same. Small exercises and rituals come and go, but the general structure remains. And I find this confusing, and I hope this will make more sense.
To surrender is to let go and fall, trusting that one will be caught, by life, by love, by wonder, by another. Surrendering brings great pleasure when one learns to let go of controlling the body, the emotions, and the ego and devote oneself to something greater. It’s applicable in lovemaking as well as in life in general. But unfortunately, there is an overvaluation of power in today’s society, and everyone is fighting for it, while surrender is undervalued.
Moreover, surrender touches upon masochism, physically enjoying endorphins rushing through the body and emotionally letting go of shameful limiting beliefs. The basic idea I learnt from Zen Buddhism is that bliss emerges when we stop fighting and accept life as it is, and then there is no suffering. Before psychology considered masochism a disease, religion thought it to be the cure. And I think there is something to that when it’s conscious and consensual. In my experience, anyone can enjoy it, or at least find it meaningful when it’s slow enough and well-balanced between safety and bravery.
Surrender belongs to the feminine aspect of the neo-tantric polarity. Still, I believe it’s essential for everyone of any (and no) gender to incorporate it into themselves as self-development and passion for lovemaking. While teaching surrender, I also indirectly teach how to hold space for anothers’ process of letting go. Participants describe it as intimate, vulnerable and trusting. And it makes them more resilient to the hardships of life.
60% ROPE BONDAGE
10% PLAY PARTY
Being dominant is vulnerable because one has to expose their desire. The more deviant and taboo, the scarier it is, but still, both mainstream media and the BDSM subculture overflow with caricatures of emotionless masters and mistresses hiding behind their cruelty. Instead, I think one should blossom in their raw self-expression. Learning to wield power consciously and consensually requires a great understanding of one’s boundaries and being safe and brave enough to reject anyone overstepping them. At the same time, one should be humble and have humour; anyone that has to assert their power with violence doesn’t own it.
Power is given to someone that deserves it because of their deviant creativity, rocksteady presence, and ability to create magical spaces. Discovering one’s very personal dominant persona is a journey which will significantly affect what kind of submissives they will attract. Luckily BDSM overflows with expressions of power, and there are several rituals to practice and embody. And learning the symbolism of fetish items is a priceless tool for this transformation. Being dominant is a paradoxical balance between holding space and being selfish. Holding space is learning how to create a safe container for oneself and others to play with power while being selfish is expressing desire.
But eventually, one realizes that the real key is to stop “the doing” and simply be dominant and do as one pleases as if it is the most natural thing in the world. As dominance belongs to the masculine aspects of the neo-tantric polarity, mastering it beyond gender becomes a way to simultaneously make a parody of existing power structures while reclaiming a more healthy relationship to masculinity. So playing with hierarchies in the “bedroom” and play parties makes one more resilient to them in everyday life.
20% PLAY PARTY
10% ROPE BONDAGE
The most deviant nightly desires are precisely the same things we rebel against during the day. Yes and no is closer to each other than feeling nothing. This is why we need contained rituals and conscious and consensual play parties. I believe that desire is like a seed buried deep in the subconscious; while it grows, it shapes our creativity and eros. If desire remains repressed, it will manifest itself in the most unexpected places. That’s why most people feel safer in a BDSM club than in a nightclub or even at the office.
Exploring desire is a layered process. When one layer peels away, another one appears. And there is an opportunity to deconstruct almost anything, like sexual orientation, gender, fetishes and kinks. It’s an empowering process of rediscovering oneself. However, desires are rarely a solo activity; if they were, they are likely to have been explored already. So exploring desire is a group process through interactions and witnessing. Seeing each other’s desires validates them, giving them life, and that makes us all both braver and safer because the shadows are out in the open.
Playing with desire borrows a lot of modalities from theatre, like mask possession, character creation, and ritualized scenes. And it teaches how one person’s desires can co-exist and even enhance the desires of another or a group of others in a sort of wordless negotiation. Play parties are often the arena of these fantasies, birthing endless, dream-like explorations into experiences that would be unimaginable in everyday life. The following morning, everything is slow; it’s like the world is readjusting itself back to normal again while the tribe is celebrating and integrating their wounds and victories, knowing that the results will revibrate far into the outside world.
30% PLAY PARTY
10% ROPE BONDAGE