Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Never Been Collared

Greetings, gentle readers.  I've moved my base of operations from Seattle to Pittsburgh, to help care for my father.  I made the move by driving across the country on my own (something I highly recommend), and while  on the road, I had a great deal of time to contemplate.

One of the things I contemplated on my journey is my history with BDSM.

I started actively exploring kinky sex and D/S when I became sexually active at 13.  That was over 30 years ago now, and in that time I've explored myriad fetishes, perversions, power dynamics and relationship structures.  

But I've never been collared to anyone.  I identify as submissive - and have slave-like tendencies, and yet...  no collar.  

Ever.

Up until this last April, I thought it was because I hadn't ever been in an appropriate context to be collared, and in some ways this is very true - in others an impossibility.   Let me enumerate...

Distant Past...
My mother tells stories of me having lengthy conversations with imaginary friends as a child.  I'm sure I'm not the only person who spoke to imaginary friends.  The thing is - these weren't imaginary friends...  I was and still do 'speak to spirits'.  

I know that the skeptics in my readership will have immediate disagreements with the possibility of this, and that's OK.  It was, and has continued to be my experience, that a grouping of 7 - the archangels Michael and Gabriel (I was raised atheist and have never been a Christian), Kuan Yin (Buddhist dieity of compassion), my deceased Grandmother (she joined after her passing in the early 1980s), and 3 others whose language I cannot speak, but whose messaging I understand..  have been in communication with me since I was a kid.  I call them 'The Committee', and they are always right.

One way to think of this is that my 'gut feeling' has a voice - and it's The Committee.

The Committee has guided me since childhood, and when I listen to their words, things go better.  


Recent Past...
Last year, I considered my first Master ever.  He has a structured household with many people collard to him - some for over a decade.  What he has works, and since he's a magic man and a Dangerous man, and he clearly saw me from the moment I laid eyes on him...   I entered into a period of consideration. 

.....
Something you need to know about me - I am willing to challenge all of my stories of self.  Anywhere there is an "I am ____________" in my mind, I'm happy to put that statement under scrutiny and see what happens.  Sometimes major transformation occurs, such as my shift from monogamy to polyamory. Other times, I find that I've uncovered something core to my being, and it remains - like the way I place integrity above loyalty.
.....

Anyhoo, many of my stories of self were challenged in the consideration, and I'm A-OK with that.  Any inquiry of merit will be challenging - at least that's been my experience.  One of the stories that was challenged during my consideration of this Master (and yes - I was considering him as much - perhaps more so - as he was considering me), was that of 'I am submissive' - and transforming that to 'I am a slave'.  I've been owned in the past, and my 7-year Relationship with Percival du Chat Gris is evidence that relationship structures sometimes changes over time (Friends, Owner, and now Family)...

But I've never been in Relationship with a Master - hadn't ever even thought it possible.  Eric Pride had a lot to do with me being open to a Master (more on that in another post, perhaps.  Suffice to say that our conversations in the months leading to my move to Seattle were critical in opening my eyes to the fact that there are Masters in the world who see their roles in a way with which I can groove.   I will be forever grateful to and thankful for Eric's wisdom and generosity).


Right - so collars and why I've never worn one.  This particular Master, with whom I was exploring...   if he was a deep sea fisherman and I was swimming in the ocean - he got a hook in me and got me up onto his boat.  I have feelings towards him that I've never experienced before.  Definitely a kind of love - but not eros or fidelity..  and I'm not sure it's agape either. 

He has a hold on me even now..  one through which I draw strength and courage.  He's brilliant - walks his talk - is shamanic in a way that I get (I've been taught by shamans throughout my lifetime - I think it goes with The Committee somehow), and has kept every Word he has given me.  I Trust this man with my life.  I'm sexually attracted to him, and our play styles are well matched.

So why no collar?  Why did opt out?

One reason was that I noticed that I was getting small in the context of his household.  What I mean by that is I was silencing myself and not shining my brightest.  For me - I need to be growing, glowing, shining bright, and BIG in order to fulfill my dharma and to do my Work in the world.  In contexts where I show up small and quiet, I look for effects of big and bright elsewhere in my life. If that's the case, then then smallness is medicine and I will happily consume it, but when I don't glow and  I'm contracting (rather than expanding), that's something I look at seriously.

I was also under practically unbearable stress at the time of our consideration, and it would have been injurious for me to hand over my self in a collared sense.  He knew it - I knew it.   And yet, again and again, I was shrinking in the household context.  

Now, what's amazing and wonderful about this particular Master, is that he never - not once- pressured me to be any way other than what is authentically me.  He also never pressured me to be a part of his household.  He simply wants me in his life - and that, my friends, is delicious. I wish such freedom and commitment for all of you.

Right - so the collar.

In the spring, this master and I were playing, and while we were playing he said some things about ownership to which I responded viscerally.  It wasn't a positive or negative response - it was a response of "the words he says are True".  I then became aware of a very simple fact:  I can follow the words of The Committee (My gut - My will) or I can follow the words of The Master (His will) , but I can't do both.

The choice, for me, was simple.   Opt out of the consideration.

Now, here's where things got very amazing for me.   When I had the conversation with this man about opting out, he once again honored his Word.  No recourse - no bullshit - nothing but an open heart, open arms, and an open invitation to be in his life.

So while I don't wear his collar -and likely will never BE collared in an M/S dynamic, what I gained from the experience is immeasurable.  Aside from the insight into my own inner workings, which I can now share with new suitors, I gained a Committed Life-long Relationship that can clearly look any number of ways.

And with the hook still in me somewhere, should I choose to swim in his end of the ocean again, it will be a simple lifting up out of the water to get back in the boat.


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Monday, September 2, 2013

A Him-Shaped Space


You know how the story goes:

Girl attends a convention a couple of times – catches the eye of a sexy Him.  He catches hers back. Flirtation happens. He asks for a play date.  She gets permission from her owner and is OMGSoExcitedICanHardlyStandIt!!!!!


For months.

Play happens. A lot of play, and a lot of being together.  He even helps her in one of the workshops she’s teaching, and it’s magic.

The weekend completes and they both ride off into the sunset, going to their respective corners of the universe, complete with the time and space they shared. 

Simple, right?


Complexity:

This is most decidedly not how the story ended up being written, as you might imagine.


A good friend of mine asked at one point during the weekend “is this love? Are you starting something significant?”

“This is us having a great time for this weekend.  He’s made it clear he doesn’t have room in His life for another Relationship.  I’m 100% on board with the constraint.” 


Eventually both of us acknowledged that there was some sort of capitol “R” relationship-feeling thing between us.

We had fallen in love.



Proximity:
I later found myself in a context where I could see Him more than once or twice a year, and I did. The dates were hot and amazing and juicy and exciting, and I thought: “maybe some day there will be room at His table for me”. 

It was a good thought that brought upon good feelings.

Fast forward a bit, and as the Fates would allow, the complexities of poly dynamics (we both had several lines we were managing) came to a point where a choice was made.

He opted out.




Space:
Some months later, I saw Him at a friend’s birthday party and was very aware of my continued feelings of love for Him, and I had the thought “I wonder if He’ll call”.

Early the next morning I had a dream. In my dream He and I were talking. 

I remember Him saying, “You love me like you need to have at least one date night a week with me”

In my dream I declared, “I love you like if something happens to you, I’ll die”.

In that moment, I awoke to find myself making a motion as though pulling some thing from my heart (as one might pull a plug out of the bathtub drain) and sitting upright.


What followed was an outpouring of such profound love and devotion, I sobbed for hours.   

You know the kind of cry I’m referencing – the kind where you need to get a bath towel for all of the tears streaming from your eyes and the snot streaming from your nose, it’s coming out so fast and strong.


It was the kind of moment that leaves a space.



There’s a Him-shaped space in my heart now


An Invitation:
The following lines are from a highly influential piece called The Invitiation, written by Oriah, Mountain Dreamer:

I want to know
 if you have touched
 the centre of your own sorrow; 
if you have been opened 
by life’s betrayals
 or have become shrivelled and closed 
from fear of further pain.
I want to know 
if you can sit with pain
, mine or your own
, without moving to hide it 
or fade it
 or fix it.”


There are days and times when the sorrow and sad that sometimes accompanies the feelings of love I have for Him beckon me to fill the Him-shaped Space with any number of feelings:  hate, anger, resentment, etc…. 

Sometimes I think ‘I’ll just sew this up, and then it can heal’.

Here’s the thing, though.  My commitment is to live in love, for me love is about opening – it’s expansive.  Allowing for the Him-shaped space keeps my heart open and increases my capacity to show and share loving feelings.

So here’s my invitation to you, gentle reader.  The next time someone leaves a them-shaped space, be with it and let it be.


Namaste 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Integrity and Loyalty

Greetings, gentle readers.

Long time no write, eh?  It's been a few months, and while part of me thinks I should apologize for the space, the truth of the matter is I've been taking care of me, and that's taken precedence over sharing thoughts in public forums.  With the main areas of my (or anyone's) life moving towards much greater stability (income, awesome roommate, etc), I actually have some bandwidth to contemplate...

And you know what happens when I contemplate - I write.

I frequently teach about negotiation, and one of the concepts I use in those classes I borrowed from Midori.  That concept is of "core pillars". Midori teaches this a bit differently than I, and she deserves author credit for gifting me and her many students with the idea that can be oversimplifed thusly:

Your ego/identity is like a house on pillars.  Some of those pillars are required for the house to stand - they correlate to load-bearing walls.  Some of those pillars aren't required for the house to stand.  If you and/or your partner/s wish to challenge pillars, it's safest to do so with the ones that aren't load-bearing.

Structures that are integral to the integrity of your 'house' are core to the who of you.  They can be aspects such as identities around ethnicity, religion, intelligence, gender, etc., and what's integral for one person may or may not be integral for another.

Our core pillars are not only important, they are our strengths and are positive. Some people have core pillars around inclusion and activism, while others have core pillars around honesty and their sense of intelligence. 

I was thinking recently how my actions are frequently influenced...  no - determined by my core pillars, and there's one in particular that affects my
behavior.  That core pillar is one I call integrity.  Integrity as I understand and live it has two meanings.  One meaning is simple:  adherence to moral and
ethical principals.  Another meaning has to do with congruency:  that I'm walking my talk - it has to do with my Word.   Am I perfect in this?  Good gods, no.  I'm dishonest on occasion.  I sometimes slip deadlines. 

That said, if something is going to keep me up at night, it's most likely to be an awareness that I was out of integrity with someone or some thing. As an example:  I just went out to a retail store to get some household items.  I put a packet of AAA batteries in the upper section of the cart I was using, and neglected to put it on the checkout stand to be charged.  I didn't realize this until I was at my car, loading in the other items.

Free Batteries! you might say.  I mean, it's not like I *meant* to steel them, right?  Nobody saw me leave the store with them.  It's just one little packet of things..  no big deal.   

I could have taken the batteries easily.  The thing is, I know it would bother me to have done so, because, to be in integrity with the retail store, I need to pay for the items I remove from it. (a side note - I tried shoplifting once and thank gods I was caught).

I went back into the store with my receipt and paid.

Integrity.

One way this shows up for me most often is via my Word, as in - if I give you my Word, I will do what I can to honor it.  Again - I am in no way perfect at this, and, if I promise someone I will or won't do something, then that's what it is. 

Seems like a great way to live, right?  It is, until the core pillar of integrity comes up against an equally laudable and yet potentially conflicting pillar.  Loyalty is one that I but up against sometimes.

Loyalty has to do with allegiance to something or someone, and can also map to a group or a cause.  One who is loyal will do or not do something based on his/her perception of what would keep him/her in alignment with that something or someone towards whom they are loyal.  This is not the same as integrity, as the Word of the loyal is secondary to the Will of that to which s/he shows allegiance. 


I am and can be loyal, yes, and loyalty is not a core pillar of mine.  Some people who know me say I'm loyal, because I have relationships that span decades (longest running friendships are both entering their 41st year this year), but I don't see that as loyalty. I see that as commitment - and that has to do with my Word.

I've been around people for whom loyalty is core, and they will and have broken their Word to me due to the prevailing drive to remain loyal to someone or some thing.  

In the past, I've found this kind of behavior extremely challenging to be around, as I perceived that I couldn't trust folks for whom loyalty is more important than integrity (and of course there are myriad other core pillars - I'm just writing about these two for now).

What I came to realize is that expecting someone for whom loyalty is so much more important than integrity to act in accordance with my world view isn't compassionate, nor does it create the space for me to meet them where they are.

You'll know loyalty is important to someone when they use words like 'I know where my loyalty lies', 'honor' and 'duty'.  You'll know that integrity is important to someone when they use words like 'I have to do that thing, because I gave my Word' and 'I made a promise'.

I think there's an internal/external variable at play here.  Integrity has to do with ones self, whereas loyalty has to do with an other.  

I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

7 Simple Ways To Fuck Up Your Relationships


Good afternoon, Gentle Readers...

I often write and teach about things we can do to have an experience of more fulfillment and greater peace in our relationships.   Well, last night I asked myself "what about fucking them up?" Seeing as I, myself, have taken all of the actions at one point or another and learned from them, I figure this might be helpful for you or someone you know.

Here they are - 7 mistakes I've made that you probably have made as well, which will fuck things up....  

1. Be Controlling : Control in this context has to do with (not)taking actions in an effort to steer the ship and the behaviors of those on it because it helps you feel more secure.  I know some of you reading this are Tops/Doms/Masters and that as a part of your relationship structures you are in the lead.  This may be the case, and it's one thing to create a context for someone - it's a whole other ball of bullshit to force anyone into anything.  How this might show up is when your person (friend, partner, lover, whatever) is doing something (housework, bookkeeping, going out on a date with a new person), and you impose yourself in his/her space in an attempt to divert their attention or change their behavior because you're feeling insecure or jealous or out of control.  

2. Take on Projects rather than People : Have you ever heard someone say "s/he would be perfect if only s/he would do/change _____________"?  Um yeah. So you bring people into your life with the pre-supposition that there's something wrong with them?  How's that working for you?  In a heteronormative (boy-girl) context, this is classic girl behavior.  We meet a guy and want him to change how he dresses, or how he keeps his house, or the job he has, or the way he communicates, because when that happens, everything will be perfect.  Yes it's true that people change over time.  It's also been my experience that accepting people as they are right now is a far more empowered way to be in relationship with them.  Another way to think of this is "If you can't be with a person as they are, maybe you could go be somewhere else".    Even in D/s relationships, I would suggest it's favorable to hold people able and whole.

3. Expect Telepathy : We all do this one at times.  Expecting telepathy means expecting someone to know what you need just because they know you.  It can also mean making assumptions about someone's role in your relationship without talking about it.  For example, many folks assume someone is going to be the dishes person and someone is going to be the garbage person, but if you don't talk about it, and give your person an opportunity to agree - it's possible that there may be a breakdown somewhere. You might also be under the impression that 'just because s/he's with me, s/he will want to do X, or know that Y is important to me'. Rather than expect your partners to be mind-readers, perhaps you could try on using your words. Expecting telepathy isn't the same as anticipatory service, which can show up in D/s relationships.  THAT  has to do with learning a person's preferences and taking actions in support of those.  However, expecting someone to grok all of your desires and wishes without giving data can be a way to set someone up to fail.  

4. Make Your Problems about Them :  It's their fault the relationship is having problems, right?  They don't love you enough, or take you out on the right kind of dates.  They are selfish and uncaring.   Um, yeah.  See here's the thing; everywhere you see a problem in your relationships - YOU ARE THERE. And I mean everywhere.  You're the one seeing a problem, my friend.  You need to start taking responsibility for the ways that you're creating your life and experience.  When you do that, something magical happens.  Nothing changes, and yet everything is transformed, because you are in your power and you aren't making others responsible for your feelings.  I've blogged about this here. Certainly people make choices which have consequences.  One such choice might be having an affair.  That's a shitty thing to do, and you may find yourself in a situation where you are renegotiating and reconsidering your relationship.  Doesn't mean that you get to haul off and yell and scream and be shitty back to your person.  I mean, you could do that.  You could also be in a space of compassion and inquiry.  You still may choose to leave the relationship.  That would be your choice. 

5. Settle For Crumbs When What You Desire Is the Whole Cake :  Lookit.  Not every relationship is going to manifest in ways that you are fully satiated in the areas of what you want and need.   That said, if you are spending a great deal of energy and time with/on someone, and you have the experience of settling for crumbs - why are you staying?  Here's how this might play out.  You long for and need to have a certain kind of time spent with someone.  Maybe that's sex. Perhaps it's play.  Could also be them being present with you - so that when you're in a room together, they are paying attention to you rather than playing Xbox (as an example).  You express that as a need, and your person reflects back to you an understanding of that need and says that they will change behaviors to help you feel that your need is fulfilled.  Then nothing changes.  They are still playing Xbox (or working on their business, or spending time with other partners), and you are wanting and needing that certain kind of time.  If you stay in that context, despite not having your basic needs met, you are settling.  Now, I want to be very clear about something here.  The person whose behavior isn't changing is not wrong.  They are simply behaving in a certain way.  Where your power lies is in the choices you make around how to be with that.  You could leave the relationship.  You could pick up a hobby.  You could reframe your need, and if you are having the experience of accepting crumbs when what you want is the whole cake, then you are settling.  Have a little more self-respect and self-love.  Don't have it?  Do some work to cultivate it.

6. Act Out of Jealousy : Jealousy is an emotional state that arises when you want something from someone and have the fear that they are giving it to someone else.  In poly contexts, this might arise when one of your partners starts exploring with someone new, and you see the NRE (new relationship energy), or feel threatened by the areas in which they connect.  It can also show up in platonic contexts, such as when your co-worker gets the promotion rather than you.  They don't call it a green-eyed monster for nothing.  When you are jealous you are not in an emotionally mature space, and you might start saying and doing things that are, well, unkind.  For example.  You may gossip about your co-worker.  Perhaps you sabotage things around the new person so they are forced out.  What Jealousy is, really, is a gift to you.  It's a gift because it signals that you have an appetite which isn't being fulfilled, and/or you have expectations which haven't been stated and are not being met.  If you can get your head out of your ass long enough to take some responsibility for how you're feeling, and do some work around what's creating the jealousy in you, you will likely find yourself with some good information.  Here's an example from my life.  I had a partner (who remains Family to me) who is a rope god.  He can do so much amazing stuff with rope.  There came a time, that whenever a new person would come around to do rope with him, I'd feel jealous.  When I became aware of a pattern, I took a step back and did some inquiring as to the origin of that feeling, and what I ended up finding is that I was hungry for rope.  I think it had been about 6 months since I had rope with this guy.  Rather than make him wrong for doing rope with other people (this was well within our negotiated boundaries), I said "I'm noticing that I feel jealous when you do rope with other people, and I think it's because I'm hungry for your rope.  Can we find some time to do some bondage and suspension together and make it somewhat regular?"  He said yes, and we did.  Problem solved.  How do you think it would have turned out if I said 'you're spending all your time with that person doing bondage and you never do bondage with me?'....

7. Hold Grudges and Withhold Forgiveness :  I see grudges and forgiveness as so closely interrelated, I'm grouping them as a single item here.  In my POV, holding a grudge has to do with cultivating negative and hostile feelings towards someone for something they did or something you think they did.  Holding Grudges is a very tempting thing to do, because you get to have righteous indignation about someone.  You get to make them wrong, and, therefore, you get to be right.  You get to say things about how horrible that person is for what they did, so that you can look and feel better about yourself, and the way many people operate, you will attract supporters for your grudge.  All that does is create separation and make it so you are living in negativity and hostility, and you know what?  Your negative and hostile thoughts and feelings towards someone isn't about them.  It's about your own thoughts and feelings.  I posted a picture on Fetlife that stirred some interesting dialogue about this, if you'd like to read more. Now, Forgiveness has to do with releasing those negative and hostile feelings towards someone regardless of what they did or what you think they did.  Please understand that I'm talking about something very VERY powerful.  Here's the deal. Have you ever contemplated how holding onto hostility and negativity helps you?  I'll tell you a secret.  Holding onto hostility and negativity does not help you - it hurts you.  Whatever happened happened.  You don't have to change your mind that what the person did was right in order to forgive, and we become that which we habitually do.  If you practice holding grudges and being negative and hostile, that's what you're going to be - a grudge-holding angry and negative person.  Contrarily, if you practice forgiveness and releasing the hostility and negativity you hold towards people, know what you become?  You become free.  Here's some information from Harvard about the power of forgiveness. 

There you have it folks - 7 things you can do to fuck up your relationships.  7 mistakes I, myself have made.  7 things on which I work to correct.  7 

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading Motives

Gentle Readers,

I have had something on my mind for a while now - a teaching which was offered to me within the last couple of years, and I'm offering it to you here, as a reminder to myself, and because it created a paradigm shift for me.

The concept is really quite simple and goes something like this: "read nothing into his/her motives". 

Merriam-Webster defines motive as "something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act".  Motives are why we do what we do - they go to intent.  Now, I know some of you who have read my writing on Intent v Rules are thinking to yourselves "but Bendy, you're all about intent, aren't you?"  Well, yes and no - in the Intent v Rules post, I'm writing about the context of relationships.  In this post, I'm writing about the context of interpretation.

Linguistically, one of the ways you will know you're reading into motive is through the use of 'because', and this can happen explicitly as well as implicitly.

Explicit reading into motives (in your thinking and speech) sounds like 'Amanda doesn't care about my needs, because she didn't do that thing I wanted her to do ', or 'Gary's irresponsible,  because he's late'.  Note the use of the word 'because'.  That's what makes the reading explicit.

Implicit reading into motives (in your thinking and speech) sounds like 'Amanda doesn't care about my needs,' or 'Gary's irresponsible'.  The 'because' is still there- it's just not stated, and in that way it's implicit.

Motive-reading can get somewhat insidious.  If you say something like 'Gary's late' (which may be factually accurate), and then have the thought 'disrespectful asshole!', guess what?  You're reading into motive. 

If your mind is anything like mine, it's an expert at generating motive.  I am sometimes convinced that drivers are fuck-faced jerks with no regard to anyone around them - most of all me.  The motive I'm reading is the "jerk-faced-ness with ill regard", in case you're having difficulty tracking this. 

I repeat: I am an expert at reading motive.  

By the way - so are you. 


Have you ever heard someone say 'but he's my boyfriend.  He should want to do blah-dee-blah with me,'?  Oh really?  How's that working out for you?

Oh - or how about this one?  Your car battery is dead, and you kick the tires and say 'you fucking fuck!' Reading into motive.  What - are you seriously going to tell me you've never blamed an inanimate object for your upset?  Honestly??

Stuff happens.  People say things.  People take action. People don't take action.  All that happened is that something was said or (not)done.


I invite you to join me in becoming so completely unable to read motive, it might as well be the language of some distant planet that exploded 4,000,000,000 years ago.

People don't pressure you - they say and do things, and you read a motive that they are pressuring you.  

People aren't disrespectful - they say and do things, and you read a motive that they are disrespecting you.

People aren't uncaring, because they haven't met your expectation of them.  They are simply doing and saying what they are doing and saying.  


Now, why is reading into motive something of which to be aware?  I'm all about personal power; how to cultivate it, how to store it, contexts in which it can be exchanged, etc.. When you focus on the why of another's actions or words, you are disempowered, and PS - you're disempowering them.  

Empowered relating to people's behavior comes from neutrality.  

Gary was late. That's what happened.
Amanda didn't do what you hoped she would.  That's what happened.

Now, what are you going to do about it?  Are you going to get all up in someone else's business, or are you going to be in your power, and see that your reading of the events in your life are your business - and solely yours to change? 

You want punctuality? Ask for it.  You don't need to make someone disrespectful for it.  

You have a need that isn't being met?  Say what it is.  Simply. You don't need to make someone uncaring because of it.

You need to jump your car battery?  Get out your cables, flag someone down and jump the car battery. You don't need to make your car wrong for it.

If you want the world to be other than it is, start being other than you are, because I guarantee you.  Nobody is going to do it for you.

Namaste













Friday, January 4, 2013

It's not / It's all -- about you

Good morning, lovelies.  


I have news to share today: it's not about you.  It really isn't.  All the stuff people do to/ pull on you?  Not about you, and yet, it's ALL about you.  Yes, folks.  We live in a paradox.  Let me spell it out.




Someone cuts you off in traffic? - that's NOT about you
You stay with the anger that arises in response?  - that's ALL about you

Someone is late for a date? - that's NOT about you
You judge them as inconsiderate? - that's ALL about you

Someone breaks a promise to you? - that's NOT about you
You raise your voice and yell at them in response? - that's ALL about you

Someone tells you they love you? - that's NOT about you
You enjoy your loving feelings towards someone? - that's ALL about you

Someone confides in you? - that's NOT about you
You break/honor the confidence? - that's ALL about you

Someone crosses a boundary of yours? - that's NOT about you
You remain silent about the crossing? - that's ALL about you

Someone posts something? - that's NOT about you
You identify with the post?  - that's ALL about you

Someone is verbally hostile towards you? - that's NOT about you
You feel afraid in response? - that's ALL about you




Let me flip this so you can see the mirror:
You cut someone off in traffic? - that's ALL about you
Someone flips you the bird in response? - that's NOT about you

You're late for a date? - that's ALL about you
Your date says that you're inconsiderate? - that's NOT about you

You break a promise to someone? - that's ALL about you
Someone yells at you in response? - that's NOT about you

You tell someone you love them? - that's ALL about you
Someone expresses enjoying loving feelings toward you? - that's NOT about you

You confide in someone? - that's ALL about you
They break/honor the confidence? - that's NOT about you

And so on.....



Here's the thing, and this is a very VERY important thing.  

Nobody can take your peace without your consent.  
Nobody can make you feel one way or another without your consent.

You cannot love a person - only enjoy your loving feelings towards them.
You cannot hate a person - only enjoy your hatred towards them. 

Your feelings are solely in your power to change
Your actions are solely in your power to change
Your thoughts are solely in your power to change
Regardless of the cause.


Namaste,

Bendy