Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Reflection on Love & Life

A recent string of emails on one of the sites I cruise started with this:

“Sir, I could live my life with your rules as long as it was for life. I would want to have nothing more than you as my Lord and Master.” As usual I checked the guy’s profile and found he already had a master so I wrote back: “So who is the man you now call master?”

“Sir,” he answered. “He is a master I love very much but I know I will never be more than a part-time slave to him. I am OK with that most of the time. Then there are times when I long to really belong and know my place with a master, one who will never let me forget my place in life. The problem is I have fallen in love with master and still want more, not just part-time slavery.”

I gave him my response: “I am certainly willing to consider enslaving you but only with the consent of your present master. I am not one to steal another's slave.”

And he replied “Thanks but it was stupid of me to think about it anyway. I care too much for my master. I was feeling pretty lonely and wanting more than just part time slavery. I am lucky to have what he gives me.”

There are several principles here that affect negotiations and our decisions as to how and what we negotiate. As I see it, they are holism, authenticity, honesty, the role of love, and the place of emotion in what it is that we do.

Holism

I am a strong advocate of moderation, balance, and centeredness. In order to maintain those qualities it’s important that we live holistic lives, which means that we need to  keep the many factors of our humanity in mind as we evaluate how we will act. Too often we make decisions based on one or two criteria, unfortunately being mindless about other factors that may be equally important, albeit neglected.

For instance we might decide to do something based on short-term benefits, neglecting the long-term impact of our decision.


Authenticity


There are many courses of action that are open to each of us. One of the most important and difficult ones is “To thine own self be true.” I say this because knowing oneself is not an easy proposition. It takes wisdom and maturity to know who and what we are. Both of those qualities, unfortunately, take time, and lots of it, often measured in years and in mistakes.

Yet true happiness, it seems to me, demands that we be authentic, i.e., faithful to the selfhood found in and defined by our most inner selves, our essential selves.


Honesty

Having found that self, we then must live that selfhood honestly. First, we must be honest with ourselves, neither denying who and what we are nor trying to be someone we are not.

That, too, is difficult because society, in all its facets, usually has other plans for us. My parents, for instance, expected me to be happily married until death parted my ex-wife and me. My brother expects that I should better support myself, perhaps by writing about a subject that would be more lucrative than kink. My Dad always wanted me to find a better job, even though writing and teaching satisfied my real self much more than any other careers I could imagine for myself.

We live in a world that accepts pretense, masks, and white lies. Honesty often bears the price of estrangement, ostracism, ridicule, and isolation.


The role of love


My friend quoted above (the emails are edited for clarity) speaks about love.


I need to take care here, since I am struck by his use of the term and by the idea that love is a poorly-used word. Is it love that he feels or is it infatuation? Are his feelings for his master honest? If so, then why does he feel “pretty lonely and wanting more?” Why doesn’t love bring him joy and satisfaction? If nothing else why does he tell me about his dis-satisfaction when he should speak to the one he loves about it?

Ah, there’s the rub. Can he not be honest with his master? Does the relationship lack authenticity in some way? Does he settle for second best because getting what he thinks he wants is unattainable or too difficult?

Of course, the infatuation may not be with the master but with the idea of slavery. Perhaps he fools himself into thinking that full-time slavery will solve his problems. I can’t answer any of these questions but each of has the responsibility to consider such kinds of questions when and if they arise in our lives.


The place of emotion


Lastly, as my friends know, I can be an emotional person. I feel things strongly and am quick to acknowledge the emotions that I feel. Emotions bring us a whole different set of values and ways to perceive what is happening. I strongly feel that the emotional aspect of our lives have much value and need to be recognized.


Still I have to return to the idea of holism. Too often we make decisions that reflect our feelings at the time. When our feelings change, we are then left with decisions that are no longer acceptable. I am certainly susceptible to that, as my feelings can easily put me on a real roller-coasting ride.


I have found that recognizing the emotions I feel at a given time helps me to put my current feelings into their proper perspective. It is a matter of having a dialogue with oneself about the feelings of the moment and recognizing that it is a feeling of the moment and therefore one that can well change in another moment.


One of the things I often suggest is that in time of critical decision-making we keep a journal and in it note our feelings about the topic under consideration on a daily basis. As we document those feelings over the course of a month or so we can then go back and review the highs and lows of those feelings and arrive at a more balanced knowledge of how we actually feel about a situation, rather than how we might feel about it in a given moment.


In conclusion

It’s important that we reflect upon our thoughts and feelings, especially as they affect our actions. In doing so our lives become more balanced, more authentic, and therefore more satisfying. In any case, this process is meant to create in our kinky lives the one characteristic that is most important: fun. If it’s not fun, then we need to charge of our decision-making process so that we get the results we will enjoy, not the second-rate ones we think we have to settle for.

Have a great week, that is one where your life is authentic and your face has a smile on it. Jack


You can send me email at mrjackr@leathermail.com or visit my website at http://www.LeatherViews.com. You can also subscribe to my blog at LeatherMusings.blogspot.com. Copyright 2011 by Jack Rinella, all rights reserved.

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