Category Archives: Spirituality

I Lost My Post

I had one written, I swear.

A decent one.

I was actually proud of myself because I have been so behind, I haven’t commented or responded to comments, I’m a bad person, and I had actually written a post.

I’ve been so busy with Bluegrass and I will be for another three weeks, I’m behind everywhere.

I had it ready, I hit publish.

Usually I cut and paste it to be sure, but I didn’t, of course.

And it’s gone, and I can’t find it and there’s no draft for it and I logged in so I shouldn’t have lost it, but I somehow did.

I might go cry.

Nothing is Wasted

I spent some time today going through an old hard drive.

I found several things I’d been looking for, including, hallelujah, that story about the cat named Stiletto.

It needs a bit of reworking, the place it ended up was a bit different than the place it began and I want to work on it a bit, but I am much happier to have found it.

I found some other things, too, some bits and pieces of writing, some things that I was glad to find, some I’d forgotten, some I’d remembered but given up on.

One of the things I found was something I’d written about advice, and one part of it in particular struck me.

Someone a long time ago gave me a lot of good advice, but one of the ones I had mostly forgotten was, “Nothing is wasted.”

Everything prepares us for the next thing.

Our lives are linear; we cannot get from one point to the next without passing through all the stages in between.

Nothing is wasted.

We learn from it, we gain insight and understanding, we develop scars to remind us of the lessons.  Every experience has value.

Nothing is wasted.

It isn’t always pleasant.  It often isn’t, in fact.  Life isn’t always gentle in the ways in which it handles us.

Sometimes it feels like we stumble along, tripping over our own feet.  Or at least I do, and I doubt I’m alone.

But even when we stumble, it teaches us something, I think, if only to look where we are placing our own feet.

I also like the cosmic message there.  Nothing is wasted.

Time isn’t wasted, not really.  Sometimes what feels like time wasted is really a lesson in patience.  It is a lesson, sometimes, in learning what we can, and can’t, control, and how much, or little, that control matters.

Love isn’t wasted, even if it’s not returned.  We are, I think, transformed not by the love that we receive as much as the love we give.  Receiving is nice, and it gives us validation and a lot of other things, for sure, but it is the live we give that teaches us, the transforms us.

Pain isn’t wasted.  It forges us, it makes us better, or stronger, or it breaks us, and sometimes we have to be broken before we can be remade.  The pot that can’t stand the kiln may shatter, but the pieces can be used to form a mosaic, too, another pattern that is not what we imagined at first, but something valuable nonetheless.

Paralysis isn’t wasted.  I think the inability to move forward, or what feels like that, is often really the lesson in listening to oneself, that small, still voice that is so often drowned out, when the world is too much with us, late and soon.

As little as I like lack of productivity, I need to remind myself that that is also not wasted, that sometimes what we need to move forward is the time to rest and gather energy.

Nothing is wasted.

Capitals

No, not capitals as in the capital of a state, although I will tell you that there are four state capitals with the word “City” in their names.  Think about it.  I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

In any case, no, what I mean is capital letters.  While that might seem like an odd choice for a subject, it’s really not and it actually ties in with my recent speculations on BDSM and spirituality.

I have had a computer of some kind for literally 30 years or so now.  My first computer was an Atari, one of the high-end ones that had a word-processing program.  You saved the file to a tape in a special tape recorder.

It sounds almost ludicrous now.  It was a lot like an old VCR where there was no random access, it was linear, basically.  On the other hand, I was taking a creative writing course in college and my ex-girlfriend, who typed far better than I did then typed up all my work from longhand pages I physically wrote.

If you are old like me, you might remember what it was like when a mistake or two on a page of typed work meant that you had to re-type the whole thing.  The concept of being able to reload the file and simply correct or edit what was there was nearly earthshattering.

That also means I had one of the early 2400 baud modems.  If you don’t remember, let me just say that it was nearly faster to send something via USPS.  And if the page you were looking at had photos, forget it.

I say this only as preface to the fact that I used to use a BBS (bulletin-board system) to connect to something called the Undernet.  This was in the early mid-1990’s.  I spent, not surprisingly, a lot of time on channels with names like #surrender and #submission.

In that world, capitals were actually very useful shorthand to know who was a Top and who was a bottom.  Notice I capped Top.  It’s still habit, though I often agonize over it.  Should I cap Top?  Dominant?  Master?  What about Leather?

Those of you who know me know I am a bit of a grammar nazi.  It annoys me when someone uses a numeral less than ten in a sentence, because the rule is, numbers of ten or less you spell out, 11 and over you use numerals.  Unless, of course, the first word of the sentence is a number, in which case you spell it out.  So: “Seventeen million people were affected by the storms.”

So it’s a conundrum for me.  But, I still capitalize Master.  It’s also almost impossible for me to type my own slave’s names, drew and thomas, with capitals.  It feels weird.  They are slaves, so they are small letters.  Not because they are less, no, but, harking back to that same spirituality discussion, when we refer to God, the name is capitalized.

It is convention and convenience, both.  If you see me type that “drew will be coming with me,” or “thomas is coming for a visit,” and you have a basic understanding of those capitalization norms within the BDSM community, you know they are “small letter people,” or bottoms.

It’s hard for me with other people sometimes.  You have no idea how many times I start to type a greeting in a letter and then have to scroll down and see how the person signs their own name.  If you use a small letter, I will, too.  If not, I will not.

Then there’s the issue of people like our own aisha.  I just looked at an email from her to me and because I know her somewhat in the vanilla world, and know her real name, she signs herself as “X/a.”  And no, her name isn’t Xavier, I’m using a made up first name because clearly, the first letter of her “real” first name would make her identifiable, obviously.  Yes, I’m being facetious, but still.

So, isn’t it interesting that in her vanilla life, she is a capital, but to those of us who know the other side of her, she uses a small letter?  If you read her blog, she uses capitals to refer to her Master, and caps references to him, as in, “i went to a party with Him last night…”

I’m not that much of a purist, I don’t remember to cap pronouns.  But doesn’t it make it easier?  And isn’t that little trick of punctuation interesting, in the way it reinforces hierarchy.

Let me say this very clearly.  I do not believe that one person within a D/s relationship is more important than another.  they have equal value, but they do not have equal status.  I cannot be dominant if someone else is not submissive.

And isn’t that interesting, without thinking about it, I didn’t cap dominant when it is a verb, when it doesn’t refer to a specific person.

In any case, back to my thought.  Isn’t it interesting that that one little trick tells us so much.  When you cap a word within the middle of a sentence, particularly one that is not traditionally capitalized, doesn’t it draw your attention?  Doesn’t it say, look, this is important, listen up?

So, let me say first that if my relatively arbitrary use of capitals drives you crazy, I agree.  The two things I do despise are the use of all caps, as in, “Will YOU be coming to the party with YOUR slave?”  It sounds like you’re being arch, emphasizing the “YOU” to make a point which escapes me.  I know you are not, but that’s how I read it.

The other thing I don’t like is the slash method.  You’ve seen it.  It might set your teeth on edge as much as it does mine.  “W/we hope that Y/you and Y/yours will join U/us at O/our party.”

Doesn’t that make your head hurt?  It does mine.

I know that what they are trying to do is include everyone, to try and keep the convention of caps for Tops and non-caps for bottoms, but I do think that sacrificing readability for that sort of inclusion is a mistake.  But then, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a bitch.

And while I seem to be on a kick, let me end with the word, “Domme.”  I find Domme to be a useful word in print, because it’s an easy way to indicate gender in a single word.  A male dominant is a Dom, a female dominant is a Domme.

Now, let’s be clear, this is a totally made up word.  It looks vaguely French, as in “pomme.”  However, in French “pomme” is a single-syllable word.  It is not “pom-may.”

Ergo, if we’re going to base our made-up word on that, it should be pronounced “dom.”

If I need to indicate, I will say “fem Domme,” so you know the gender.

Now, if you really love being a “dom-may,” and you want to call yourself that, or tell your slaves that you want to be called that, well, more power to you.  I do not.  Please do not use it to refer to me, it will make me crazy and I can barely contain my eye-rolling.

And yes, I know, I wasn’t even consistent in my capitalization in here.  It’s driving ME crazy, too, but grammar is a slippery slope, isn’t it?

BDSM and Spirituality, Part Two

Yesterday, I referenced a blog by one of my favorite people, aisha.  She talked about spirituality, and you can read her work here.  I talked about it and ended up not at all where I meant to be, so this is really a continuation of that.  Let’s see if I can stay on track today.

One of the common themes in a lot of cultures is the idea of using a physical ordeal to bring one closer to a higher being.  Walkabouts and vision quests and ghost dances and sweat lodges and all those other rituals and rites of passage that bring one closer to God, however you choose to perceive that, whatever name (or gender, or singularity) that you, or they, recognize.

Bear with me, I’m going to use that term, you just substitute whatever makes you feel more comfortable when you come across it.

So, we go through some kind of physical ordeal in order to better understand God and ourselves, or, perhaps, to catch a glimpse of another dimension or reality, to see ourselves and our place in that whole.

Master Skip Chasey is one of the people who often presents at events and he speaks quite often about spirituality.  He also wins my award for one of the best class names ever, Priests in Black Leather.

I’ve taken a weekend class/retreat from him twice, and both times I experienced something unique for me.  In one class, he did a single needle temporary piercing on each of us, over the third chakra, or basically in the center of the chest.  In another, I was flogged, by his slave, slave rick, and then by him.

I can’t say I really enjoyed either experience, nor would I at all imply it was the kind of ordeal that one might see as a vision quest.

On the other hand, I have always disliked needles, and it was surprisingly not that bad.  I have pricked myself with a needle when sewing a hem or a button and had it hurt much more, so that was a plus.  I also, I confess, like having done it.

The flogging was interesting, not something I’d choose to experience again, but an interesting perspective.  It was a fairly hard flogging, relatively speaking, and lasted about 20 minutes.

(I’m going to paraphrase Master Skip, and it’s possible I might misstate something – please don’t hold it against me.  I respect Master Skip enormously, but I am going by memory here, too.)

One of the things Master Skip talks about is his belief that we were, in fact, given S&M as a tool via which we can, in effect, see the face of God.  He also believes that kinky people are the next wave in the evolutionary process of humans.

We are, in other words, the pioneers in spirituality, in understanding the mysteries and intracacies of that God, and the means we have at hand is S&M.

Now, isn’t that an interesting concept?

Wouldn’t it just piss off the religious right, the ones that find us and what we do to be so sinful, so against God’s laws?

Wouldn’t it be wonderfully symetrical in some way, if it were true?

And, if S&M is the means, and I administer – no, I think orchestrate is the better word – if I orchestrate that experience, doesn’t that make me, in fact, some kind of priest?

I have always believed much of the similarities between the religeous or asthetic life and the life of a slave are not simply coincidence.

A slave sets aside his own wants and desires, turns his life over to what he feels is something greater.

He directs his efforts and his energy to serving, to asking himself constantly, does this serve the purpose my Master has for me?

He understands that he will not always enjoy the lessons he is required to learn, and that pain and sacrifice may well be an elemental part of his life.

He bows his head in supplication, and says, “As you want, Master.”

He recognizes that his life is no longer truly his own, not in the way it was before.

He may be required to change his appearance, his mode of dress, his diet, or his living arrangements.

He accepts that he may have rituals he is expected to complete, and forms of address he must learn to use.

He accepts the vision his Master has for him, recognizing that the goal is to burn away the dross, to leave what is purer behind.

Sound familiar?  Sound rather like a noviate nun or monk?  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

So perhaps I am a priest, or better yet, a priestess in a black leather corset.