Monday, December 31, 2018

The end of the first decade

It's been over 10 years since I began this online journal. Thinking back, I think I was just so happy to be living in an authentic way - expressing overtly what I had held in for so long - that it was pure delight to share the journey with any potential reader.

These days, it's rare that I suddenly am motivated to share my thoughts in this way, but I am still here; still happy to have the journal in an online forum for any like minded soul who happens to come across it.

Over a ten year span none of us is the same person. I am certainly not that giddy person I was at the outset ten years ago. Age tends to mellow most of us and once we get into our 60s there is a tendency for most of us to take the long term view. We know a few things by then. We've started to identify patterns in ourselves, in others, in our long term relationships, in the world at large. If inclined towards the positive, we are happy for each new day. We delight in a bunch of roses, a grand baby's smile, a good night sleep.

Personally, it's been a ten year journey more intense than I had bargained for, yet one that I had no alternative but to pursue. Good times led to confronting times. I started to see things, to feel things, and I had to understand.

I have done the most enormous amount of reading. Until several years ago, I was a keen literature buff, but now I can barely read a novel a month. I simply had to get to the bottom of behaviors and feelings and to work out what had become so confusing for me. I have a small library of psychology and spiritual books now, all very well read.

There were times along the way when I felt I may have no choice but to exit from the lives of a person, or two. I was changing, growing, learning. Their presence in my life, triggering in me intensely difficult feelings, seemed untenable.

But, I am a fighter, not a quitter, not to mention that these same folk, I loved. So, I went on, trying to understand them, what it was they were inducing in me; why the Universe had transpired to put us together; why the Universe had insisted I walk this incredibly painful path.

I would have made a bad Nun, but I am drawn to a contemplative life. There is no doubt about that. It began when I was very young and I got something out of being in a Church; something more than the rest of my life offered me. So it went all my life and yet the material world was what was there before me. Family life kept me busy and it was not until the children were grown up that I had a chance to explore my sense of the spiritual; something deeper.

In these ways, psychology and the spiritual merged for me. I learned about abuse - more emotional abuse than physical - and what that does to a child's mind. I learned how to be whole in myself, how to carve out boundaries, to self-love and to self-soothe. I learned to practice unconditional love at the same time as I held onto some private hopes that I'd see progress in others too. It's not an expectation but rather just a little bit of hope; a little bit of swaying on my part towards good outcomes.

The biggest change of all? The past is not important nor is tomorrow nearly as interesting to me as it once was. It's this moment that fascinates me; the breath, the sensations, the possibility that the thoughts that wander in and out of my mind will be intriguing to me but in no way weigh me down.

I am aware of unwanted thoughts - an angry or resentful thought, a sense of disappointment or frustration - at the same time I am observing having the thought. It passes. I rarely get stuck on the thought. The thought passes and I return to a sense of quiet contemplation.

When life it too busy for my sensibilities, and by that I mean too busy to effectively direct my attention as I like, I suffer. I once thought I'd like to have a writer's life but all those thoughts demanding the attention of going down onto the page would exhaust me.

Instead, I write, sort of, meditative scripts that I can share with others, though so far the best scripts are those that come up quite naturally; a written script perhaps but then put aside. I speak of space, of connectedness, of presence, the present moment, the senses, of letting go of identities and roles; of awareness, an open heart.

When living in the present moment, as I aspire to do, one notices most of the little flaws; the little impatiences and frustrations. One aspires to do and to be better without making it a big time ME project these days. We're not robots. We're not perfect. I don't beat myself up about what I notice but I do note it and hope I do better.

I've explored kinkiness and mental illness. Where an excessive need for control is found - either giving to or taking from - so too is often some level of mental illness. Coming to know that, I needed to explore my own damaged being and to heal.

Well now, completely at peace with my level of mental health - my level of self-love, my boundaries, my functioning and state of mind - kinkiness prevails. It is perfectly possible to have both. I am certain of this.

I love to experience my submissive soul - to be held down, to be spanked, to have to speak certain words of reverence; to be turned on by all of it. I still revel in it, whenever it comes my way.

In this way, I enter into the next ten years of this journal hopeful for a long life. I've got the living of this life, my life, by the throat now. I am happy and content; not without joy, not at all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


From time to time, the conversation between my husband and myself will wander onto our early childhoods. His happy memories relate to the natural world. He spent considerable time watching the life of bugs. He loved to ride horses. He enjoyed being outside. Inside, he remembers baking with his mother.

Most of all, I think his happy memories are about a sense of freedom in the wide world; being on the farm and taking the cousins to hunt for rabbits, for example. Maybe, in those situations there was no worry or concern about his role in the family, about accomplishing much of anything; about the expectations of others. For those moments, I think he was in a state of Being.

Now that I have access to that feeling - to simply Be - my mind will sometimes try to return to any feelings I might have naturally experienced of Presence as a young child, before I made it a mission to find that freedom for myself in later life.

Unfortunately, I must come to the conclusion that that sort of freedom really did elude me. I remember certain moments; the pleasure of a meal made by an Italian woman who prepared me my meals; the relief of a cool change after a particularly hot day; getting off my school socks and shoes; soaking in the bath. I don't think I was especially open to the sensual world of the five senses, but nor was I closed to it.

But, that's not exactly the same thing. Sure, we can experience a state of Being through the senses, the natural world, but I am referring to a state of Knowing, where, regardless of how life plays out, there's a sense of peace that sits behind that. I didn't have that at all.

In fact, I think that it is more the case that there was an overwhelming and pervading sense of anxiety, of something not being quite right about me, that I didn't fit into the family; that I was being asked to live a lifestyle that didn't suit me at all, and when that was noted, that I felt shunned for noting it.

I'm not complaining here, what would be the point of that? Rather, I am making note of the fact that when I began 'the search', became a 'seeker', it was with a sense that there had to be more than I had experienced so far.

I don't mean travel, since I had done that already. I don't mean motherhood, which of course I had experienced in spades, or amazing sex, which I had also been privileged to experience many times. Rather, I wanted to know what it felt to be 'free', to feel at peace, to let go of expectations (which I had already gathered in my 20s was an important thing for me to accomplish).

In some respects, this was about my desire to let go of 'shoulds'. I should be more gregarious. I should be more ambitious. I should be more talkative. I should be more relaxed around strangers. I should always put others first. I should try harder to keep all the balls in the air, not relaxing for the great fear that I should drop one of them; that I should make a mistake; that I should let somebody down.

In an important way, the search was about learning to be comfortable with being me and presenting myself to the world just as I am; fallible and carrying shame about being Me.

In another important way, the search was about accepting my vulnerabilities - that I tend towards being overly empathic - and that I had somehow instinctively come to believe that someone else - a very special relationship - would enable me to live in peace, to finally experience the Freedom that had eluded me in childhood, and which I had erroneously believed all children were capable of experiencing. Perhaps the word for that state could be 'innocence'. I didn't have that.

The special moments of joy I have experienced cannot be forgotten. Sometimes they have been in BDSM spaces and sometimes not at all; sometimes out in nature with my husband; sometimes alone on a mountain top; sometimes in meditation. The joy fills every cell, radiates everywhere in my body. I call these experiences full body orgasms. It's like the sun has warmed me from the inside out.

I am happy to report that now, as well as those rare moments of pure joy, I often simply glide through my life, regardless of the days events, soaking in a quiet sense of Presence; a sense of all being well and as it should be which sits underneath the happenings of life; a sense of stillness and aliveness together with a sense of Isniss; no desire at all to make it more, or better, than it is. The word for that state could be 'acceptance'.

This settled sense of life, my life, has been hard won. It began as misery, agony; more emotional pain than I wondered if I could bare. It is said it often goes this way. This is how it starts. In this way, I have made sense of my life. It not only went the way it went. It could not have gone any other way.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Parent-child relationships, repeated

As I interact with my new grandson I find my mind going to the natural process of bonding of a helpless little being, completely dependent on the goodwill of those around him. The dear babe must develop a sense of trust in his caregivers that allows him to be vulnerable, to demand that his needs be met so that he can survive and have new bold experiences.

I like to send him on a space ship, made of my protective folded arms, hurling through the air. He loves the sensation and although technically he can't smile at a month, he certainly seems to be smiling. In the same way, I play slightly roughly with him at nappy changes. I blow kisses on his tummy and I roll him to one side and say something like, 'Well T what happens now?' On cue, he rolls back onto his back and I tell him what a clever little boy he is to have moved. I offer him new experiences and he goes with the flow because he has developed trust in me.

Imagine now a small child who very quickly comes to see that his protector is actually a source of danger, physically or emotionally, or in both ways. What option is there but to navigate himself or herself to a sense a safety? It's far too dangerous to blame the protector and so who else is there to blame but himself or herself? In anxious obedience, he or she must attach once again to the frightening adult as a survival mechanism.

As an adult, people who behave in rather frightening ways are sort of the norm to that poor wee child, now grown. Frightening people are not foreign to people who have gone through such a situation repeatedly in their childhood. In fact, it feels kinda 'right' to their minds, kinda comfortable, normal, at least for a time.

Of course, there is the reasoning rational mind that tells someone that relationships are not meant to be about fright, about a sense of discomfort. But, versed in the habit of blaming oneself or someone else, certainly not the loved one behaving badly, the 'victim' instinctively blames himself or herself for the lack of the control of the partner. It worked to keep them safe as an infant and throughout childhood, why not now?

I think this may be why some people remain in romantic relationships when those friends and family members who care about them beg them to go.

Of course, other factors are at play: their financial situation, their lifestyle, their self esteem issues, their place in their society without the relationship, keeping the family going. They can't see their way out. They can't imagine a better future. They make a decision about whether to stay or go based on the position of least resistance emotionally.

For these reasons, they bargain with their fate and organize their lives around pleasing that person who behaves badly to them, as only they know how to do.