A deeper sense of service

Peter Munthe-Kaas
5 min readApr 28, 2023

One night a few years ago I was sitting on a beach with a friend, feeling completely amazed by seeing her in her power. As we were sitting there it was as if I could see mythical world around us and her as a magical being. It felt very new for me. I felt humbled sitting there. And stupid in a good way. As all the deep and meaningful answers that I have worked hard to get to were completely obvious to her.

My friend has been struggling a lot with mental health and I found myself feeling surprised and amazed with this sudden change from depression and anxiety into magic and power. We have been friends for years and have had a quite close relationship, but I had never before seen her in this way, where I felt humbled by her being.

I asked: why have I never seen this part of you before?

The answer: you never asked.

This meeting made me think about how much I am missing out on in my self-absorbed everyday life and of how rarely I dare to ask the people I care to see their souls. I think it is because I am afraid. Because to ask that question I must be in a space so intimate that it frightens and overwhelms me.

Through my life I have almost only dared to go this deep in connection with the women I have been in relationships with. And mostly it has been connected to sexuality. Through various relational practices such as circling I have begun to build a capacity to be more intimate with myself and others, but I now see how much more potential there is.

Towards deeper intimacy

This experience has helped me to see how the roles I play out and hold on to; being one who helps, being good, being knowledgeable and so on, are getting in the way. I am usually not very fond of using masculine/feminine as a framework, but in this case it feels very much like me holding on to the masculine knowing is preventing me from seeing and being with the larger unknown of the feminine, which is the gateway to intimacy.

It feels like I am starting to see a potential to bow to something that is much bigger than me. And that the women around me has better access to that something than I have.

When I look back at my life the last couple of years, I have had many experiences recently of women around me calling for more depth (from men) and being frustrated of not getting it. I have also been seeing how many men, myself included, who are trying really hard all the time, are becoming frustrated with this call as it is often experienced as not being good enough.

I now more clearly see that what is said is not that there is something wrong with me and the things that I am doing and I see the outline of how I can navigate and act in the world far more proficiently if I answer the call for deeper intimacy.

It is not just a house

I had come to Jutland to help my friend build a tiny house. I came with a wish to help her build it based on an idea that that it was important to get her basic living conditions in order. What I realized on this day however, was that really helping meant something much more significant. It meant helping to build a home that would enable my friend to bring soul into the world.

I have had a similar experience with another friend who has been struggling with the material aspects of life. I have tried to help her with finding a place to stay but every time we have ended up in conflict as she didn’t feel seen when I tried to help and became frustrated when I looked for just about anything that could “solve the problem” of not having a place to stay. I now think I have a deeper understanding of what was going on. I was only trying to help with the material needs, but I wasn’t seeing how her soul needed nourishment to be able to grow and be in the world.

It seems to me that this is also how most societal institutions work. They provide the basic material conditions but does not see the souls of the people it is set in place to help. Our public welfare systems are amazing in many ways but are also very dehumanizing when they instrumentalize the needs of people.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
In other writing I have referenced to the quote above from Jiddu Krishnamurti and now it feels relevant again. I realize how the people I have around me who are struggling with life are often more in contact with the deeper levels of life and feel alienated from living in our society. I also see how many people are taking this experience personally, as if there is something wrong with them because they struggle to adjust. This “making oneself wrong” makes it even harder to be with the experience of discomfort.

I am now curious of how I can support people around me to bring their discomfort as something that can bring healing to the world. And also how it requires me to relate to their souls rather than their trauma.

For quite a long time now I have been doubting my “project” which has been based on a dissatisfaction with the world as it is and a wish to bring more depth and connection. It has felt as if the container I built had become too small and had broken apart — which has had me doubt if it made sense at all.

What I am realizing now is that I am being called into something new. A deeper sense of service to the needs of people around me. A potential to really see what people need to bring themselves into their full power. It makes me think that maybe I am a gardener — and that I can become a lot better at seeing what people around me needs to grow.



Peter Munthe-Kaas

I am a Copenhagen based researcher of urban development, workshop facilitator and body therapist. In all my work I focus on sensitivity and relating.