Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I’m something of a philosopher. I have always been about the Why even more so than the How.
How is easy. Floggings and spankings and fucking and bringing a plate of food and a cup of tea and Yes, Master and doing my best to help him through a rough day, knowing what he needs to distract and offering myself for play whenever the opportunity <ahem> arises. This stuff has always been easy for me.
WHY can be much more difficult. Why is fraught with guilt and uncertainty, second-guessing and is this right or is it not? and should I be doing this?, am I this or am I that and?…Groups here are stuffed to the gills with the various questions of the Why.
Though the concept is not new to humanity, I learned of the 12 Lessons of Taoism through my x husband and David Carradine’s Spirit of Shaolin book.
Going through some papers on my desk, a fold with red ink inside fell in front of me. The handwritten list of the 12 Lessons I’d jotted down a long time ago and had kept in my wallet for several years after I moved here.
Reading them over, I realized how readily they applied to BDSM as practiced in the really realz world. As always, cyberplayers need not apply.
These are MY interpretations.
If you don’t like them, go make your own.
1. There are no secrets.
There are only questions and puzzles to which you do not yet know the answers.
I don’t mean you have to go ask questions in group threads and a zillion people will give you a zillion different answers and maybe have a fight over them. Not at all. You can’t trust that what you are told is truth and told by people who have real and practical experience.
I mean this stuff isn’t as mystical and magical as some might have you believe.
Anyone who has the inclination can learn and do any of this stuff, and it means for you what it means for you. Quite a large number of us have figured out for ourselves that we’re dom, we’re sub, we’re a little of both, we’re sadist or masochist…or both. Some of us find great spiritual satisfaction in what we do and others know it purely as physical pleasure and there’s nothing spiritual about it.
It is for you what it is for you. It is for you whatever it needs to be to fulfill you – THAT is the great secret.
There is no super secret society one must first join in order to learn how to flog or how to tie rope. There’s no super secret society everyone must fulfill all the requirements of before they can be called a proper submissive. That is the stuff of fiction novels.
Reality is that there is no one standard for anything. My House is run differently from your house, each according to its own needs and desires.
That is as it should be.
2. Follow the Heart
Let your mind have its say, of course. You cannot lose your head while pursuing this. But for a great many of us, being sub or dom resides in our heart. For a great many of us, it’s not something we consciously chose but what we evolved into as a natural course of becoming a mature adult. It is our essence and not something we’ve struggled with much.
Our heart has said “this is what you are.” We listened and accepted our innermost nature.
If it is who you are, then go with it.
3. Laugh at the cleverness of the Beast and the Beast will defeat itself.
I love this one. I employ it every time someone tries to insult me. I call myself a cunt, the cunt from hell, meanest bitch they’ll ever meet, thus rendering the words impotent when someone else tries to hurl them at me. I laugh at the words and the person. I laugh at myself. I mock them and I mock myself.
Those people have zero power over me and I make sure they know it.
4. Love, in the pain of its loss, is finally realized for the first time.
Over and over we see it. How do you get over the loss of the relationship? I can never replace the dom I had.
We rarely realize what we have until we’re about to lose it. I went through this personally when EW fell on the ice at Bryant Park in November of 2011. A little harder of an impact and I’d have been a widow. Then he was diagnosed with skin cancer in several spots on his face and shoulder and went through numerous surgeries – two of them quite dramatic.
Fortunately the cancer had not spread to the point that it needed chemical intervention. But what would I have done if he’d hit so hard that he had died? What would I have done if one of the cancers had spread to his brain and he had died?
Open your eyes and see the good thing you have and balance the good and the bad before you go chucking it out the window over a minor tiff.
5. Death Means Nothing to One Who Does Not Fear It
I’ve stood toe to toe and eye to eye with Death. Death backed down and I’m still alive. I don’t fear many things and I fear no person.
But I do prefer NOT to tempt Fate. You never know when she’s going to take you up on your offer.
I will never say I’m no limits. I absolutely have limits, and quite a long list of them. lol Some are there because “that’s just gross, man” and others are there because I’m not insane. But I’m not afraid to lie back for EW to do whatever it is that he feels like doing to me. I’m not afraid for him to take me wherever it is that he’s going to take me during that session.
Will it mean my death? No, of course not. No sane person is going to WANT to kill their submissive during play and no sane submissive WANTS to be killed during play.
It means I do not hesitate to put my life into his hands.
I don’t have to negotiate every time we play. I don’t have to put on a thousand conditions and limits in order to feel safe and know nothing outside of my immediate sphere of acceptability will ever be done.
Evel Knievel broke nearly every bone in his body but it didn’t stop him from getting back on the bike and jumping the next big whatever.
So a little wraparound doesn’t bother us. We go back for more beating. A little rope burn is no big deal. Next chance we get, we’re all trussed up again and loving it. The lingering sting from a quirt well-laid is a comfort we relish.
This is BDSM, people. What a lot of us do IS NOT SAFE! We are mindful of the dangers inherent in the activities in which we engage, but those dangers do not stop us.
6. You are your own greatest teacher.
So many ways this can be applied.
You can have ten people standing around you, teaching you how to use the flogger. In the end, you have to figure it out for yourself.
You can have a dozen people telling you that you need to do this or that in order to be a good sub or a good dom, a good whip artist, a good rope artist. In the end, you have to do the work and figure out how it works BEST for you.
You can have 100 people telling you that you’re supposed to like doing this and that and the other in order to be a valid bdsm participant. But if you don’t like this and that, then you don’t HAVE to learn it. You don’t HAVE to learn to like anything. Like what you like and learn everything you want to and everything you CAN learn about it. Blaze your own path, as EW and I have with how we go about our clothespin play.
If you’re sub and you don’t have anyone to do all those fun pleasurable things with, you can DO THEM TO YOURSELF! Teach yourself about your own body and what it likes and what it doesn’t like. There’s no need to wait around for some dom to finally show interest enough to teach you stuff. You can learn to beat your own backside, to apply the clothespins to yourself, to whip your own thighs with a quirt. To do needles on yourself and make your own designs on your own thigh.
There is this erroneous belief that everything bdsm must be a team or partner sport when that simply is not true. Let go your need to have that special One. You already HAVE that special one and he/she resides inside your own head. Let THAT VOICE be your Master and direct your hands and drive you insane with teasing and denial.
I assure you that the Master in Your Head is likely to be far more cruel than most you’ll ever meet face to face. lol
7. Kindness is cruelty. Cruelty is kindness.
There are a great many people around these cyberland parts who like to hold the hands of the newbies and make it all gentle and nice.
Then those people get into a real play situation and FUCK ME! It’s NOT gentle! It’s NOT nice! Damn it all to hell that paddle fucking HURTS! This is not the role playing game I thought it was.
“Butbutbut…I’m supposed to dictate everything and call it hard limits and he’s supposed to strictly stay within those lines, but he laughed at me.”
It is a cruelty to hold the hands and make it all gentle and palatable. It is cruelty to let a brand-new-never-done-a-thing-but-think-I’m-so-slave think they will have everything exactly how they want it at all times.
And it is kindness when a sadist delivers a most cruel and excruciating pleasure to the one craving that touch.
It is kindness to tell someone they’re dreaming an unrealistic and unobtainable fantasy that doesn’t happen in real life. They may not think so at the time, but eventually they come around and realize how blinded they’ve been by the ardent desires they’ve allowed to run completely unchecked. And they’ll go forth with a bit more caution and a little more wisdom.
It is kindness to inform a brand-new-never-done-a-thing-but-think-I’m-so-sub that, no, they will NOT get everything they want. Submissives do not get everything their way because theirs is a position of GIVING OF THEMSELVES to another person’s pleasures and authority.
That is the definition of “submissive” – to give authority to SOMEONE ELSE.
8. The Universe unfolds as it should – as it cannot help but do.
You cannot force an outcome in your favor and preferences. It doesn’t matter how hard you want something to work out. If you’re not on the same page as your partner, it’s not going to work out at all.
The Universe has its own ideas of how things should be and you can fight it all you want and not be able to change a thing.
People still get cancer. Lovers outgrow each other. New subs outgrow their first Masters. Students outgrow their first teachers.
It cannot be helped. It is as it must be.
9. Stop for charity, no matter the cost, and there will be benefit instead of cost. It does not matter for whom.
Define charity as you will. Issues of personal safety demand I not pull over in the middle of the night to help the guy on the road with a flat tire.
However, I would not consider all the people I’ve helped to be charity…but helping is helping whether it’s making sure someone gets on the right train or off at the right stop or donating a few bucks to the medical fund or helping them to accept the deepest, darkest reaches of their soul.
10. There are no prizes worth having
I find it most dismaying, this notion that a collar is a goal to be coveted. That being slave, the lowest member of any society around planet Earth, is a lofty goal to reach above all other ways of being.
If you make the collar a prize, which is more valued? The accessory or the person wearing it?
If the prize is being slave regardless of personal inclination and talent and low societal stature, then where is the value in the person as an individual?
11. Tie two birds together and they can fly – if they become one.
If you want to succeed in a d/s relationship (in ANY relationship, regardless of kink or d/s level), you have to both have the same goals, want the same things in life and out of your relationship.
You have to operate as one cohesive unit rather than factions fighting against each other for supremacy.
Both have to know and understand their place within the relationship and fulfill the requirements of their role. If you are d/s or m/s, one of you is the authority and the other is not. If you think the s side of that slash is the authority in the relationship and holds all the power, then you have more relationship and perspective problems than anyone here can help you with.
If the two in the relationship do not work together in harmony, if they only struggle against each other in a mini war, then both will fall.
12. The Ultimate Journey has no end – which is what gives it ultimate value.
Just because you’ve gotten into your most coveted and long-sought relationship does not mean that is the end of who you are and shall ever be and the end of what you will ever do.
Having obtained the relationship does not mean you can now sit back and do nothing. You both have to WORK to keep it. Work to please Master. Work to keep the sub feeling secure enough and happy enough that she doesn’t want to go off and find another Master.
We are forever in evolution. We are forever learning, whether we realize it or not. Who you are now is not who you will be in five years, is not who you were five years ago.
We take on new interests. We explore new pleasures. No relationship ever remains exactly the same from start to finish.
Neither does a person.
Excerpt from my 69 Shades of Crimson: The ANTI-Primer of Dominance and Submission, available on Amazon.