My good friend, Rigger Jay recently posted this about a class he wishes he has the skills to teach. The post has, not surprisingly, caused a bit of a stir. Go ahead and read the comments - you should find them interesting.
<insert Jeopardy theme>
Now that you're back, and probably have some ideas of your own, I'd like to suggest something to you.
The skills we teach in classes on negotiation, interpersonal communications, and the like are in a different class than skills we teach on SM techniques. Not better or more difficult, but different. You business types might recognize the skills Jay discusses in his post as soft skills...
Soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, emotional *wholeness*, ability to resolve conflicts, how skillful one is at interacting with others, are critical to one's health in my opinion and experience. Actually, these are skills that are critical to the health of societies. Yes, I'm a pacifist.
The problem, as I see it, is that most people don't learn such things ever, much less when/if one starts to explore BDSM.
This isn't the fault of our community - it's the fault of our society. Think about what you learn in school - where is the NVC class for kids? Or how to manage one's own stress so you don't freak out at your class-mates? They are around, yes - but not inherent.
So we get into these situations where we start to explore our shadow (which is what a lot of BDSM is and does), and we shine a light on parts of our selves we've known but not known. This, my friends, is the process of enlightenment - to shine a light - to expose that which is hidden. Oh, what power and freedom there is in this!
However, people who are attracted to vulnerability see targets. Vulnerability that isn't tempered with personal power becomes threatened, and shit happens. Hell, even *with* vulnerability tempered with personal power, shit can happen.
To suggest that a person who can't recognize a douchenozzle isn't ready to explore BDSM is akin to saying a person who can't recognize a douchenozzle isn't ready to explore ANY relationship, and the truth of the matter is this isn't how things happen.
We are all growing and exploring - learning new things and finding out about our selves. Some of us have more awareness of self than others. So what? Some of us have a broader skill set than others. So what?
The opportunity our community has is that the contexts we are in are inherently set up to cultivate the very kinds of dialogue Jay is suggesting.
A class is just one way of cultivating this dialogue. Workshops are another. The difference between the two, as I see it, is lecture vs. participation. Silverdreams and I will be writing a workshop.
yet another way to cultivate this dialogue is through groups, such as with the Boston SRT or the Greater Boston Trauma Survivors and Supporters Munch. Others may elect to be in private dialogue with a therapist, minister or other teacher. Still others may hike in nature.
I'm a teacher and a hub. It's what I do - what I've always done, so I write classes, workshops, and create and facilitate groups. Maybe you're a writer or an artist. I don't really care how you express around this stuff, but don't stay silent.
Be seen and heard. Be in dialogue. Be in your Truth. This is all you and I can do. We can't change others, but we can be the best selves we can be.
And please don't ever close a door to someone because you don't believe they are as enlightened or evolved as you. Doing that shows just how in the dark you are.