Monday, January 30, 2012

Band-Aid D/s

I have been thinking much of this life’s journey. Some of my trains of thought include: conditioning, growth, issues, character, traits, and identification. Quite the mish mash of thought and I spend a lot of time trying to link it all together to make sense out of what I observe in myself and others. A lot of my thought process comes from contemplating nature vs. nurture philosophy. Understanding how we are made, who we are, how we are influenced, and what we believe, along with our hierarchy of needs, is of paramount importance, in my opinion. These are the things which determine our priorities, our paths, and our interfaces with all of life.

I abhor condemnation, however I think that judgment is critical to making strides toward understanding these complex concepts. I must be able to perceive, assess, and evaluate myself and, yes, even others in situations where I am a part. Starting deep within, moving outward to my immediate family, then to my social circle, then the larger circle of community, I must be cognizant of the things that are the threads of our humanity which make us the whole of who we are as individuals and as a community. The importance of this is relative, I suppose, but for me this understanding is what defines the next right act in my life, or how I respond.

I have found myself perplexed lately by a paradigm which I call Band-Aid D/s. My own belief is that we each bring our own baggage through life; we all have ideals, issues, beliefs, and perceptions which essentially dictate how we move through our day to day reality. I have experienced disappointment and disillusionment in observing that in some cases, people (who are just like every other person) get involved and enter into the lifestyle. They have their own mix of baggage and, like everyone else, are trying to find happiness and success. These people enter into the lifestyle and find seeming approval, validation, value, and satisfaction merely by joining together in community or even more personally in a household. But it seems that is where the journey ends. It mystifies me. Somehow some people are content to show up and say the words, give and receive a promise and this genesis of power exchange provides the balm to their soul which we all need so dearly. The idea of D/s seemingly heals hurts, insecurities, appetites, and fears and gives them what they seek.

Sadly, a lot more hurt can result, and people may find themselves in a cycle or loop, and like a tornado they wreak havoc in their own lives and in the lives of others. I believe that it is only the idea of D/s which they have grasped. In reality they do not actually practice Dominance or submission. They do not use any of the tools or concepts widely discussed in most educational venues, in fact their behavior may be quite the opposite of what We as a community define in a general sense as D/s.

So the dilemma which I find myself considering is how do *I* conduct myself particularly with those individuals who practice Band-Aid D/s. First of all, it is ludicrous to judge what is going on with a person unless you specifically know them, at least enough to measure their actions vs. their words. Additionally, I believe it is essential to be open minded and loving, knowing that we each are all on our own journey. Those Band-Aid D/sers might be somewhere along the way to realization, and I would rather be an instrument of edification. One way to see it is that maybe I am the one sowing seeds, or watering planted seeds, helping to cultivate something undiscovered. So HOW do I conduct myself and still maintain and preserve that sanctity and integrity of my D/s?

Well, it all boils down to a few simple things: first and foremost – it never fails to be true to myself. This means allowing my character, my core values, and even my baggage and growth to determine how I act and speak. It means to think things through and don’t indulge in destructive thinking or enabling it in others. It means to be gently and painfully honest and open, being vulnerable, trusting that in the end Truth always wins. And one silly ideal I have always indulged is ‘trouble always eliminates itself’. It’s true to a point, but the “defender-of-the-helpless” in me, wants to righteously pursue justice and protect myself and the community from those who wreak havoc and who seem committed to their path of selfish self centered parasitic involvement in the community. Fortunately, I have a strong family who is my sounding board and support, and I have a strong community who like me are committed to RESPECT, HONOR, ACCEPTANCE, and TOLERANCE, who also make their stand on what is true. I find myself, in the end, balancing everything out, coping, and continuing to grow into a better submissive and human being. I believe without a doubt that the key is understanding.

And with that I am reminded of one of my favorite poems/songs:
Divine, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Divine, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Desiderata - Inspiration for 2012

Desiderata (Latin: "desired things") is a 1927 prose poem by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). Largely unknown in the author's lifetime, the text became widely known after its use in a devotional, after subsequently being found at Adlai Stevenson's deathbed in 1965, and after spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972. [...] Some time around the year 1959, Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, included Desiderata in a compilation of devotional materials for his congregation. The compilation included the church's foundation date: "Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore, A.D. 1692." The date of the text's authorship is widely mistaken as 1692, the year of the church's foundation.
(source: Wikipedia)

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. 
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. 
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, 
even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. 
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; 
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. 
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; 
many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. 
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. 
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, 
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. 
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. 
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Pesky Nature of (non)Acceptance defines acceptance as: favorable reception, approval. Therein lies the problem, favorable reception. Approval. APPROVAL.

As a community we battle for acceptance in the vanilla world. Many of us may hide who we are from most people because we fear their reaction, the consequence, because we are so certain they will not accept us or our lifestyle or our choices. In response, the community is almost forced to draw tighter upon itself. Since almost all of us share this communal lack of acceptance from the vanilla world, one would expect a more accepting community to form.

Is it not somewhat hypocritical to see those who take part in the lifestyle, a lifestyle that has struggled with acceptance from the vanilla world, turn around and practice the same behavior of judging others? It's so hard for me to wrap my head around hating someone, disliking someone, or turning someone away because of something they like, practice or believe in. A community that faces a common judgment from mainstream society should be expected not to repeat the behavior. This needs to change. We need to support each other because we are not likely to find the same kind of support out side of our community. Who do we have if we don't have each other?

What does it matter if someone enjoys something you don't? A lot of the hate, shunning, and judging comes from ignorance. If you don't understand something it must be bad; it must make that person a really bad person, right? That's some of the most dangerous kind of thinking. A lot of the need to hide what we do comes from the history of BDSM when sadomasochism was considered a mental illness and private groups had to protect themselves from intensely opposing outsiders. However, as outside acceptance and tolerance grew, acceptance within the community should have grown as well.

Why do we lack the tolerance for others, be it a kink, or a sexual preference or a lifestyle preference? There are many many times it's been preached that all views are welcome, that you are surrounded by a safe group of people. Yet people are still attacked for sharing an opposing viewpoint, sometimes in public, sometimes in a more underhanded way. What's the point? Why do people feel the need to bring others down? Shouldn't we practice what we preach and try to unite our community as much as possible?

We will never all believe in the same thing and that's the beauty of this lifestyle - the rich, diverse, spectrum of desires and kinks, practices and beliefs. Where the hell do we get the right to judge others based on what they do? The only people I've seen forcing their beliefs on others are those who seem to be the most intolerant to difference. We risk losing the chance to get to know really spectacular people simply by making decisions about people and who they are before we actually get to know them.

We don't have to agree with everything people say; opinions are something we're all entitled to, but not obligated to follow. It doesn't hurt to listen. It doesn't hurt to think, reevaluate and discover. We accomplish nothing if we drive away people from the community because of a difference in opinion. Now is the time to embrace our community members. Now is the time to welcome new thoughts and growth, fresh ideas and people. Acceptance doesn't mean agreeing, acceptance means giving everyone the right to use their voice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Intimacy, Submission and Compliance (by Meadow)

Again, I share my musings about my experience, in the hope that others might find them useful or at least entertaining! Your personal mileage on this topic may vary.

I have mused before on the nature of submission, on my experience of submission as a positive, active state rather than an absence of reactance - or absence of anything else, for that matter. Thinking more deeply - what is at the core of submission (and kink) for me? And I find that it is the same thing that is at the core of a primary relationship: intimacy.

For me, sex, kink and D/s are vehicles for intimacy. That state of committed, connected, loving vulnerability is what holds the erotic/energetic/spiritual charge required both for sexual arousal and for the gratification of being controlled. And for me, that intimacy is equivalent to (and reserved for) life partnership. It’s all facets of the same jewel.

Compliance, on the other hand, is either unrelated or opposed to intimacy. When I use the c and q system in a discussion, I am not in an intimate relationship. On the contrary, I am engaging my adult self in collaboration with (hopefully) other adults to maintain a social consensus that allows us all to speak and be heard. When I choose to be polite to the nice police officer to avoid the consequences of saying what I really think, that is the opposite of intimacy. Following hierarchy or laws does bring up the ethical issue of when one decides that a custom or law is too unjust to obey; I think this is related to, but not equivalent to, a Dom/me, sub or slave’s need to evaluate the health and sanity of commands.

Because of the above, I share the feelings that someone expressed during a recent discussion. Equating my submission to my Master with my complying with hierarchy or law feels both inaccurate and disrespectful.

When I was a City girl in the Gorean town of Herlit, I was not in a submitted relationship. Herlit’s City collar gave me a place to belong, a place to contribute, the felt protection of a group, a recognized role in an established social context. My complying with the “rules” of that role was something I did with joy because it reinforced the belonging, but, for me, it was not submission. I think that sense of belonging is completely valid and valuable, and that many SL D/s households offer exactly that to their members, both in Gor and in D/s.

I believe that the experience of community and power exchange is multifaceted, and that different people get qualitatively different things, at different times, from a number of separate activities that are all labeled “submission.” We need more words. We need better ways to respect each other. Respecting each others’ kink or family structure is too superficial. We need to respect each others’ emotional, energetic and spiritual reality, and recognize the limitations of our language.

Ryn’s kajira

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

D/s Council of Inquisitions Formed (by Ryn and Meadow)

Our motto: “All we need to know is . . . where THEY are!”

In the Cult of the Duck (COTD)**, the safety and well-being of submissives is never far from our hearts. Eager to protect our community, we have benefited by the lessons of history and the paths of those who have gone before, and in a grand Old Tradition we introduce the justice arm of our organisation: the COTD D/s Council of Inquisitions. The Council’s motto is borrowed without permission from the ever-thoughtful Vasquez, of Aliens fame.

First we honor the Duck, Duckus Maximus, The One True Leader of our Cult. His titles within the Council: “Le Petite Inquisitore,” more formally “Le Inquisitore Canard,” or, in His most fearsome role, “Duckquemada.” Then to facilitators and sim owners in the Council we provide the title of “Inquisitore,” which tag must be worn during all official and unofficial questionings and spreadings of rumor. We reserve the title “Le Grande Inquisitore” for those few who can demonstrate extensive experience initiating and directing Witch Hunts. For the general public, we provide the more direct title of “Bloodsport Fan.”

Our reference in the Council of Inquisitions is the Duckeus Mallificarum. This venerable judicial handbook outlines the three elements necessary for predation: the presence of a Dominant, the implication of power exchange, and the dissatisfaction of a submissive. Based on the presence of these three elements, the Duckeus lays out how to disseminate accusations, encourage ostracizing behavior and even formally charge the guilty party while the Inquisitore skillfully avoids any personal consequence or the need for messy face to face confrontations.

The D/s Council of Inquisitions is standing by to provide inquisitions in the wake of YOUR relationship disappointments . . . or for those of friends, acquaintances or total strangers that you heard about at a random munch. Call at the first vague hint of displeasure, there is no need for proof or even that the accusation be plausible. Remember, there is One True Way to perform effective character assassination. Our anatidine Inquisitors have earned their Feathers. Don’t try your inquisition at home . . . call COTD, shiver as you watch our trained professionals whip friends, acquaintances and uninvolved bystanders into a blood-seeking frenzy!

**The Cult of the Duck was founded by Ryn Hax and Meadow Theas, and is The One True D/s Self-Mocking Cult. Unlike other, inferior cults, COTD does not rely on mocking from outside the organization, but provides mocking from within as our primary Cult activity. COTD was hatched in the nest of recent flaps regarding such hot topics as cults and witch hunts.