Updated: Jan 24
What is valuable about power exchange journeys and why do we seek them?
I have always been tirelessly curious about the deeper meaning of things. When I was a child, I wanted to understand the truth about everything, but I wasn’t sure what that meant. I’d ask abstractly “what is life?” and then I would stand still to wait for the answer, trusting it to emerge somehow. There would come a split second where I’d have a subtle shift of perception that defies verbal description or practical meaning, but I’d still look for it, again and again. I have come to realize that I am blessed to have been gifted with this curiosity for deeper knowledge, which not only stayed with me, but also became a potent tool for my transformation.
When it came to my BDsM practices, I was initially busy with surviving, fitting in, becoming empowered. Me, a little immigrant girl in a big city in a huge country. I’d ask myself “why am I doing this, what is it for?” And I’d feel for the answer, as I did in my childhood. “For freedom,” the answer came. My clients and I were seeking freedom, each in our own way, but it could have been generalized as - freedom from the uncertainty and pressures of the outside world.
My power exchange explorations have certainly evolved since then, but the answer “for freedom” is still true for them. Only now I recognize that the freedom we all look for is an internal one. In our experiences of surrender, we are looking for the freedom within ourselves. But freedom from whom, or from what?
This question is an opportunity to zoom into the quantum mechanics of our inner wiring, and I can think of no better way to answer it than to describe my own such journey inwards.
In the ropes of a skillful shibari artist, I’m invited to go within myself. I feel his power, confidence, skill, as well as the purity of his intention. He is doing all this for me, and yet he is overpowering me with his ruthless fire. All of my defenses against his force become quickly exhausted as my last fully formed thought screams “why am I doing this to myself!” just before it dies. No more thoughts. No more barriers. No choice but to dive in.
As I surrender, I explore my inner landscape. To expose more of what’s inside me, he keeps moving things, keeps shifting energies, keeps pushing my limits, keeps finding ways to intentionally trigger me, keeps burning all the barriers that prevent me from seeing me.
I’m floating within myself and I’m aware. The root of my awareness jumps from one part of me into another; and they are very different. One part of me is so ashamed that I’m exposed, another loves the freedom of not needing to be anyone anymore. One part of me is furious and wants to kill him. Another one adores him to the point of falling in love. One is confused and uncomfortable in not knowing anything at the moment. Another is determined to make some sense out of it and bring some semblance of control. One is in pain and just hates it. Another craves more pain. It even craves total destruction - don’t stop until you kill me!
Total chaos and I don’t know who I am in all this, I’m lost in the confusion and feel like I’m going mad. I’m crying. I’m raging. I feel a little child within me who is desperate. I want a way out, a freedom from this mess, a tranquilizer, a happy pill, but I can’t escape from myself. He feels my struggles. This is when he pulls me closer, looks right into my eyes, and says: “I see nothing in you that I don’t love.”
This is when time stops. I feel what he said was sincere. He sees me, all the light and dark bits, all the contradictory feelings and all of my confusion. He sees and totally accepts my raw humanness. The phrase “I love you” would not have had such a powerful impact as his “there is nothing in you that I don’t love.” This one confirms that he took time to see all of me before he concluded that he loves it all. Had I only exposed my pretty sides and heard “you’re so sweet/pretty/kind and I love you” it would have been one thing. But I feel a whole new level of love when someone sees the whole of my shadow and finds that all of it is lovable. Nothing denied, nothing rejected.
When I hear it, my awareness shifts from the realms of thoughts and feelings into the more expansive realm of awareness and compassion. I am a sea of blissful compassion in which everything is welcomed and embraced. This is true freedom.
This freedom is how I can welcome the entirety of my inner mystery and rejoice in the beauty and variety of my humanness. This is the freedom in which I learn to love myself unconditionally, to love the world unconditionally. The master is using his power in the service of love, in order to break me open and break me free from limited ideas of what I must be like in order to be lovable. Just like life itself. Life breaks us open all the time. We get hurt, we are humiliated, we become helpless, our expectations are broken and our trust is betrayed. All of this is done with divine precision, in order to break our shell, built on fear and shame, so that we can come out of it and face the world in our own divine glory.
Inspired by the shibari healing journey with Bodhi Zapha.