May 3, 2014

Minimalist Approach


A few years ago I started to downsize as much as I could.  Part of my journey took me upon the path of minimalism and the study of what is important.  For those who are unaware of what this is, or do not know how to use a search engine, minimalism is the art of getting rid of the unimportant to allow more time and energy to focus upon that which is important.  Taken to the extreme, there are some who get their personal possessions under 100 items and do nothing but travel the world.  At this time, I must admit that my personal items are much greater in number than that and I doubt I will ever take the step to live basically as a gypsy.  But to each their own.

The point of this entire exercise, which is ongoing, is to maintain a sense of control over the things in my life.  In our society, it is easy to get caught up with the acquiring of stuff.  Everyone "needs" a new car, the name brand clothing, and to live in the "McMansion".  It is ironic that what is a "need" today was, not too long ago, something out of an episode of Star Trek.

 Connection

The problem with "stuff" is that we are forming a connection with an object.  It is not alive.  The item that we love, is it really worthy of that emotional connection.  Things are transitory.  My first car was a Ford Tempo.  I owned it for about 6 weeks before I totaled it.  After the insurance company did their thing, I am certain the car was mashed up, melted down, and turned into something else.  My Ford Tempo became coffee cans.  I wonder if I would have had the same emotional connection to a Folgers can as I did my car?  Probably not.

Life is about connections.  That is where the value is.  BDSM epitomizes this because, in keeping with my general view, it takes everything to a deeper level when allowed.  Without a connection, there is very little.  It is also where we find genuineness among people.  Those who are deeply connected  and where there is a forum of honesty, truth, and non-judging, find their relationships at a level few can comprehend.  That is because the majority operate at the most basic level.  People, in general, are shallow.  Overcoming this requires a great deal of personal effort but is well worth the practice.  However, before reaching that point, we need to clear away much of the "clutter".

Facade

If you watch television, you can understand the point I am about to make.  Madison Avenue, the location where the world's biggest advertising agencies reside, has one sole purpose: to make you believe you need whatever it is they are paid to promote.  That is why they exist.  When you look at the advertisements on television, you will notice how they make things look appealing and use emotions to make you want it.  Done correctly, it gets to the point where you will start to believe you cannot live without that item.  Of course, you do not have it now and have done well surviving all these years without it but that logical point is not relevant.

In short, we put on a facade.  People make purchases to present an image to the outside world.  Cars, houses, clothing, jewelery, etc...are all purchased with the thought of what others will think.  People will rationalize it with facts of good quality, security, safety, and a host of other characteristics that might apply.  However, the bottom line is that someone would not buy a blouse, for example, if she knew everyone would think it totally heinous no matter what the quality.

Of course, all this serves to remove us from the ability to go deep and puts us back at a shallow level.  Who really cares what kind of car you drive as long as it gets you where you need to go?  Isn't that what an automobile is for, to get you from point A to point B?  Yet people attribute a status symbol to it making that item more important that it really is.  It becomes a part of one's identity.  That is why you see people in occupations, such as attorneys, purchasing cars that match what their perceived image should be.  They think that the automobile they drive is a reflection of the value of the service they are capable of providing.

We see the same thing in the BDSM world.  As I mentioned, to me, BDSM is the most natural approach to life and is what allows us to really get deep within ourselves and to share with others.  However, there are few who have a similar outlook.  Most, like society, operate at a rather shallow level.  They believe "things" are very important while constantly maintaining that facade.

I often write that BDSM is not about whips and chains.  That is nothing more than imagery present by the porn industry.  Nevertheless, so many buy into this concept.  The depth a dominant or master is able to go becomes secondary.  Instead, it is more important to see what kind of toys he owns or what his dungeon looks like.  BDSM furniture is valued at a higher level than the quality of the person who is going to own one.  The idea is pretty absurd when you think about it but that exactly how many approach it.

We see this concept taken to the extreme if one attends lifestyle gatherings.  It is at this point that the egos come out full force.  The attire is chosen to reflect one's position within the lifestyle.  The dominants are dressed in their leather to show how strict and forceful they are.  Many of the subs/slaves are dressed to the hilt to show what wonderful possessions they are.  Their behavior mimics this idea especially in public (no self respecting slave wants to show up her master in front of others).  Of course, it is possible this is all in line with who they are and how their relationship is.  However, I assert that many of the people are operating this way when others are watching while their relationships are in the toilet. 

The Minimalist Approach

It is time that people look at things in a bit different light.  Why not take a minimalist approach to your BDSM life?  Cut out all the clutter and excess so that you can concentrate on what is truly important.  Simplify things in your mind (and life) so that you can delve into yourself in much greater detail.  Learn what is at your core and what you truly want.  Contrast that with what you are presently getting from the one you are with.  If they match, terrific.  However, if there is something missing, then you need to take steps to find what you need.  Remember, BDSM is an open slate so you can design aspects of your life however you see fit.  A lack of fulfillment is not something that we need to tolerate.  Operating at a level that allows us to find what we need places us ahead of most of society.  Their belief system tells them that they need to accept what they get in life.  They tend to buy into the concept that they continually have to make choices and sacrifice.  BDSM tells us that we can enjoy what we want if we are willing to put forth the effort to structure things properly.

Does this mean that you have to get rid of your whips and collars to enter into the state that I am mentioning?  Of course not.  BDSM accessories are very important.  Keep your BDSM furniture, in fact, buy more if you desire.  Just realize that it is not the whips, collars, or furniture that are important.  They are an adjunct to increasing the connection with your partner(s).  We all know that impact play is enhanced when the one we are involved with is someone we know well and are connected to.  It isn't the riding crop that is causing the increase in feelings but the connection between the two people.

The world is full of distractions which take us away from what is important.  BDSM is no different.  It is easy to get caught up in the imagery and other things that really play a minor part on the overall picture.  We need to remember, like my first car, things are transitory.  While nothing is permanent, the connection we make with another (others), carries a great deal more weight.  Marks fade away.  Bruises heal.  But the connection you have with the person who you are involved in that scene with goes on much longer.  The same holds true when you truly open up and connect with someone at your core.  This is much deeper than love.  It is also a great deal more powerful.  As I mentioned, few are able to burst through the fear and clear away enough of the "noise" to truly experience this.  However, those who do will tell you the bond created, and often very quickly, is like concrete.  It is almost unbreakable.  This connection resides at a level deep within us, below our gut.  Ancient sages calls this a sacred place where our true power resides.  I believe this to be true.  And when two people are able to align this up, the power is multiplied. 

So begin today to move your thoughts towards what is important.  Go through the process of clearing out the excess "clutter" whatever it might be.  Try to get the the true essence of what is going on both within yourself and with those around you.  Determine what is in alignment with your core and what goes against it.  This will give you a starting point to where you can make some decisions about what you truly need.  And yes, a new collar might be nice but it should not be the item which makes or breaks your relationship.  If it does, then you might want to look a bit deeper.

DN  

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