Review Xplore Rome 2015
We enter a garden, a lush green scenery, trees, a forest in the distance surrounding an open space, a meadow. Tents are growing from the ground, people walk around, peacefully. Embracing each other, getting to know each other.
We greet the first ones, find a spot in the shade.
We hear the splashing of water in the pool, laughter from the roundhouse in the center. A few spaces we spot in the green, the houses for the workshops. More people arrive, unload their cars.
We have arrived at Xplore Rome, my first experience of this kind.
My friend, with whom I came here, dives into his first workshop immediately: Deconstructing the figure of the mother. I decide to arrive slowly, to take my time. I do some yoga, swim, observe people, see who they are, lie in the grass.
The people I see are very diverse, some have an obvious interest in fetish, others wear yoga clothing, most of them have an openness and curiosity about them.
They read the program for the next days, the workshop leaders, smoke a cigarette together, drink a coffee, have a snack.
I recognize some faces from Berlin, from play parties, reconnect with them, say hello.
I let this Italian sun penetrate my thoughts, my expectations, and then I let them go.
My heart is beating, as I enter the round space for the first time. I am excited for my first workshop. Ruby May: Conscious Kink.
The workshop starts with the beginning incitation of life itself: Breathing.
We sit or lie, in a circle, and we breathe. We become conscious of our breath, our body, and we relax. We become aware of ourselves, aware of our body, our needs, wishes, desires. Everyone is now part of this experience. We share it together.
We breathe, Ruby gives an introduction, dispels only a few words on what being conscious in kink means. She doesn’t say much, says, we should dive into play straight away, to experience.
We walk around the room, connect with the others by eye contact. When I encounter another, whoever it is, I try to step away from my conditioned behavior and allow myself to be right there, in this moment, with this person, and see where my instinct leads me.
What dynamic do I feel between us? Do I want to surrender to this person, do I want to dominate him or her? I follow my feeling, try to navigate within myself what feels right. Sometimes I just look at someone, sometimes I feel resistance within.
Sometimes I encounter a loving feeling, sometimes desire. Sometimes I bend down, and submit. Sometimes I hold. Sometimes I want to walk away.
We sit in two circles. We allow ourselves to experience our desire. We tell the other person what we desire, what we want them to do. But in the first stage, we must not act on it. We only tell them what we want them to do. Then we switch roles, and now it is time to act. This is not about sex, sexual encounter, about primal desires. These exercises are about becoming conscious about your self, your needs, about staying with yourself always, when giving, when taking.
And for the first time I experience a thing called “soft power”.
I realize that I don’t need to “do” anything to make another surrender to me, to get what I need. I ask my partner to stand in front of me, without touching me, to stand so very close, that we can share our breath. And then we breathe together, and simply feel the other. And I can feel the connection rising between us, intensifying, and with it comes desire and passion.
In this workshop, I also encounter my first epiphany. I connect with someone by eye contact. He looks at me, takes my hand, and kneels down before me. We hold the gaze, and then we both start crying. I can feel emotions rising like waves, and have no idea where they come from, and I realize: I have never experienced a man kneeling before me, cherishing me, worshipping me.
Later I go to find him, to thank him, and he thanks me back for this experience. He asks me about my relationships, and about my relationship to my father. And I realize: This festival, it is not about getting your kink on.
It is about finding your truth, aligning yourself with your true self. It is about healing the limiting perceptions that were put on us when we were children, it is about sharing our beauty, self, sexual self with others in a safe space. It is about becoming whole as a person, sexually, emotionally, mentally, physically, by connecting with other humans.
Time flies by when you Xplore... Everyday there are numerous beautiful workshops to choose from such as bondage, flogging, tickling, orgasmic celebration, polyamory, tantra, girls with cocks, rebirthing in water, shiatsu, the pack, body and bowl vibrations. You are free to do what you want to, you are free to be who you are. Get your kink on or not, go into the woods alone or join others in their orgasmic celebration.
The second day I join Felix Ruckert’s “Art of submission”.
The art of devotion, tenderness, handling your identity in domination or submission. This world is divided in underworld and upper world, two safe spaces to explore two sides of a coin. As an underworld creature I breathe, gnarl, howl, groan, I don’t use any of my body parts except for my legs, my genitals, my mouth. I embrace and form unions with other creatures, I sniff them, taste and bite them. And then again I rise and look down onto those underneath, I take them away, make them my subjects. And I realize the power of the gut, the instinct, the sexual raw self that is residing within me. And I realize the power of the mind, its images, dreams, wishes.
And I get clarity about my needs and desires. It makes me understand my self and connect with it.
I can let go of my impulses and really feel what is there in the moment.
What has been difficult before becomes a dance, I dance, I give, I surrender.
I am safe. Now I can start being honest with myself.
For the play party, we all bring forth our most beautiful kink costumes, our roles and masks, our playful side. We watch beautiful shibari in the middle of the room, wax play, submissives walking around in chains, people flowing from groups into individuals and back to groups, sexual and sensual plays, everything connected by music, glowing energy, emotions, breath. I connect with someone I had the desire to play with, and we shar everything we had learned the days before, and do not stop until the morning sun rises on the horizon, and the only thing I feel is: I am alive, and I am full.
On the last day, everything and everyone has become open, and the energy of the place feels light and playful and energizing. I join my friend, with whom I had come here, for the final workshop, a summer solstice ritual in the woods. We celebrate the elements, create a ritual for each other to make love to water, fire, earth and sky. We connect each other to this earth, and find ourselves whole, and fed, and nurtured, by this, and in the end, we let ourselves be fucked by the sun.
Thank you Xplore Rome, thank you to all the organizers for this transformative, beautiful and fulfilling experience. See you next year.