Posts Tagged ‘balance’

A Small Add to Poetry Challenge: Environment II

November 16, 2010

"European Eagle Owl", janekohut-bartels, 2003, watercolor

“You are so fierce!”

Yeah, I get like that.  I heard from a number of residents who happened to read my blog.  Usually the blog readers are writers, poets, etc.  This time, I was surprised at the local readers.

Apparently, I struck a nerve.  There seems to be a lot of anxiety out there….people losing their jobs, their houses, having to relocate for jobs or just to be closer to family in these unstable economic times.  But some of the anxiety is over some deeper and more intangible issues.

I talked over the weekend  to a number of friends  in this part of Atlanta.  They expressed some of the same issues I did in this previous blog entry.  Whether it’s a concern for developing their creative abilities in the bigger and longer picture of life, or concern as to where that support for such comes from, well, we all seem to have something of the same issues.

One thing was consistent:  Developing  individual creative abilities needs focus, isolation, a lot of concentrated energy.  When you are in a community that constantly calls for your energies to be applied to broader social and economic issues, you can put your creative abilities on the back burner.  When you do this, you can , over time….lose the drive to produce.

I heard a lot of comments, questions, relating to time, energy and guilt!  Guilt is easily manufactured by self-doubt and listening to other agendas.  I think it’s a balance we need to strike here, but I think our own creative impulses, abilities, talents, whatever you want to call it, need to be in the forefront of our minds when we make any outside commitment.

I had breakfast with a friend and neighbor, Julie, yesterday.  She is about the same age and has lead a very interesting life.  She listened to my concerns and simply said  ‘life must have a balance: there must be a net gain for what is put out.’  Something like this.

And she’s right.  We can’t consistently deplete ourselves in the service of  the ‘ other’.

I found over the weekend that community I was seeking.  Not that we are a local, collectively gathered group of active artists: we are scattered, fried and united by guilt and questions.   But we are supported by knowing that others here feel the same.  Knowing this, we feel less isolation.  We have less confusion as to those gnawing  questions we face.

We can get to work knowing someone has our back.

Lady Nyo

A Woman’s Blessing and this issue of Submission.

August 15, 2009

Talking to a good friend this morning who just went through a major surgery, we were exchanging garden observations.  Her zucchinis and cukes are in overabundance and I have none.  We both have tomatoes but none too red.  The point of this is just that we both, being women, enjoy the gardening and all the issues of keeping our families fed, our houses bearable, and the summer canning and usage of good things from the garden.

We both went through this issue of “submission” and what it means for women.  At least women either interested or influenced in some way by D/s.  We found a lot of holes in the doing, and especially from the lips of men.

Distilled down, we thought it an  issue that could be good and very bad.  It could be something that cleaved us more to our husbands or it could curtail our creativity, our growth.  I’ve seen it both ways.  Some men are so insecure, especially from what I have seen in the hard-line ‘Gorean’ species,  (which is why when you base your philosophies on fairy tales, you could end up counting angels on the heads of pins…) and in the bdsm scene a lot….well, somethings are just stupid.

My friend and I have talked a lot about these issues:  what defines us as women?  Well, it’s in the day to day…and we don’t need no stinky bdsm philosophies to ‘tell’ us what we are.

I am blessed to have the freedom to work at home.   My dear Husband does not need me to work outside the home to supplant the home finances, he thinks in his German- Catholic upbringing that women should be ‘allowed’ to keep the home fires burning.

To that end I think my responsibilities are to constantly feed that home fire.  I do teach belly dancing, and that doesn’t bring in much money, but he has great hope I will become that elusive “famous author” someday  and make money this way.

Hah!  He knows nothing of publishing, literary fiction, what is happening in the publishing world especially right now, and he doesn’t know the competition.  But he loves to read my novels and stories and he foots all the bills for  publishing and promotion.   He thinks that is part of his role, to be supportive in all my endeavors.

He’s a wonderful man.  Secure in himself, with what he already is, he is a wonderful example of a decent and compassionate man.  His wiring is good.

After a recent period of some strange influences, we have come to a balance within our marriage.  I have all the freedoms to do as I want and this makes it imperative that I expend this freedom in the best ways possible. I know now what it is that makes me  happy and it’s a simple connection with what makes this marriage and family run in the best ways.  Or something like that.

Today I have been repairing linens, cutting out the pieces for a white, cotton kimono to wear as I dash from the shower in the garden to the house. I’ve made 4 pints of grape  and 10 pints of kudzu jelly.  I am planning on making loaves of french bread for this evening to go with the basil pesto.  I’ve collected eggs from our hens and checked on the growth of the tomatoes and grapes (this last is rather screwy. First year for grapes so we don’t know what we should be looking for, but they are tiny purple/black things and very bitter.)

These chores, which are really blessings, I account for the responsibilities I have to this marriage and family.  I don’t know where these issues of submission come in anymore, because what we have found out is this:

There is a balance within the ‘nature’ of both the man and woman in this house.  We are settled into the natural routine that pleases us both and gives the greatest amount of comfort and security.  If this is submission, I  embrace it, but it certainly is not what I have observed in many cases.

Yes, yes, I know about this issue of ‘power-exchange’.  We are ignoring it.  Or at least tending to it.  We both know our roles and there is peace.

As to his ‘dominance’, it’s a natural flow from his character as a man. He knows his duties and leads by doing.  He is a fine example to our only child, a son.  He has no rattling ego to dodge or to fear.  He is a naturally manly man whose only bad habit is to goose the wife when she is bent over the oven with hot things in her hands.

Overall, blessings to stroke and to cherish.

KUDZU JELLY… a Southern jelly.   That weed from Japan.

4 cups of kudzu flowers (those purple/lavender blooms that look like wisteria blooms under the leaves)

4 cups of boiling water.

Seep overnight in the fridge.  A gray liquid results when you strain the flowers from the bowl.  Throw flowers away, and keep the gray liquid.  Heat up in high pan and put 1 lemon of fresh juice into the gray liquid and it become purple!  Boil for a few minutes with 6 cups of sugar and throw in one packet of liquid pectin (or powdered).

Boil for one minute.

IF you boil your lids for a few minutes, you can usually decant the jelly into the CLEAN glass jars and screw down lids, turn over for 30 minutes or so, and you don’t have to seal in a pressure cooker.

Kudzu jelly is a beautiful clear jelly that tastes like a cross of grape and strawberry.  Keeps forever, but we give them away as holiday gifts.

Lady Nyo

avatara speaks, and good words too! I am moving this comment

September 26, 2008

to the face of the blog because I find her opinions add greatly to Rose’s points in the interview. I also find that both Rose and avatara, while two intelligent women who come from seemingly opposite sides of the spectrum, meet in the middle, so to speak and also have great commonality in argument. I agree with both of them, as different as they might be in practice. Both of them have been heavy hitters with me, and also very attentive to my own growth.

At a time when I was  confused about this issue of submission, and realizing that there was also dominance within my nature, I turned to both of them for further explanation. What their loving and attentive answers gave me was the beginning insight to my own nature and it was complex not a ‘simple’ issue. A woman did not just ‘fall to the feet of a man’, nor was I a woman who was looking for a man to take care of me, absolve me of my responsibilities, or punish me to ‘make’ me feel submissive.

I am a deeply submissive woman with  pieces of dominance in the mix. That doesn’t make me ‘not a true submissive’ as some would claim.

There are those who would try to strain that mixture into a bottle and cap it and label it, but I would still be a genii in a bottle and watch out if I ever got free of that cap. As both Rose and avatara have said here, we are much more complex creatures than that and this add beautifully to the end result.

That balance is there, and it is Imbalance when those parts, that make up the whole, are denied.  We are not totally one or the other, we are a delightful mixture.

Deal with it.

avatara: You all had to know I would chime in here (laughs)

Submission is something that is such a deep part of us, as deep as DNA and history, that It doesn’t have to be, nor should it be driven by external constructs….pressure from anyone, or anything.

Rather, it should be, as it was at one time, natural…We have lost sight of that…the nature part. In so many areas of life we have stepped aside from what is natural and accepted what (and my apologies to Rose here) our society and culture have tried to make us believe is the appropriate path. When I was growing up, the norm was that Mom was home taking care of the family while Dad was working to support the family. Perhaps the fact that my mother worked as well made me more aware of what I considered a “lack” at home. I don’t know. My father was a domineering man, harsh, angry in his reactions, and yet, his heart was soft and tender. He had been brought up in an environment where he had to be tough and unfeeling, unfair, in order to survive. He did support his family and mother was submissive to his decisions. The fact that she would never step in and speak to him when he was being domineering irritated me no end. It put me on a path that led me to be more dominant and controlling than I really wanted to be throughout my life. It also led me not to trust him.

As I have said to Jane often lately, nature abhors imbalance, it requires equality (shock), as Rose has pointed out. There is no totally submissive, nor is there totally dominant. There is a balance. The fact that nature intended for the male to be dominant, in his behavior, and to care for the submissive female and their offspring, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for balance between the two ends of the spectrum within an individual. Every human has a some of each within them. The key, and it is my passion to get this message out, is that a person figure out, for themselves, who and what they are and where the balance is for them. They have to understand themselves, accept who they are, and learn to love, and trust, who they are, before they ever look beyond themselves.

There should never be trust extended to someone else until one learns to trust themselves. I believe that “judgment” is a learned process, while tied to trusting oneself, which is developed over time, trial and error. The problem, as Rose mentioned is that we are social animals and there has to be trust within a group to function. The problem is, that there are no longer established social groups for us to grow into as we mature. At one time in this country, children grew up within a set community, with set standards and people that, over time, one knew they could trust. Now, that is seldom true unless one lives within a certain social status. We learn by trial and error how to recognize who to trust and who not to trust.

Another sad aspect is that we have been discouraged, on many levels, not to trust our innate intuition. Some people are afraid of that little voice that says “don’t go there, it isn’t safe, or that person isn’t a good person, or you are going to be in trouble”. So the one piece of equipment that might help us, is, in essence, disabled. So we go through life putting ourselves into situations, or with people, who end up hurting us. We stop trusting anyone and end up in a situation where we are somewhat cut off from people that we need in our lives.

As Rose said, Yin/Yang is everywhere in nature, within us, within the world we live in. Basically, in Chinese philosophy, it means the two fundamental principles, one negative, dark, passive, cold, wet, and feminine (yin) and the other (yang) positive, bright, active, dry, hot and masculine. The interactions and balance of these forces in people and nature influence their behavior. As I read that, I find it interesting that, as in so many things in nature, the masculine is the bright, active, positive influence. The male bird is the beautiful one, while the female is less bright. Perhaps it is because there are other, more fundamental, more important aspects to the female that should be focused on, rather than focusing on being “beautiful” by the world’s standards (sorry about the rabbit track) The reality is, there has to be balance in life, in an individual, and anyone who thinks they can judge capability by only one or two characteristics will be disappointed.

I agree with Rose, as well, that submission is not, or shouldn’t be, something you “feel”. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, or read, someone saying “he holds me in my submission”, or “if I am not punished from time to time, I can’t feel my submission”. I AM a submissive woman, and how I “express” that submission has less to do with who I am with than it does with how I understand and accept myself. If I had to be at a man’s feet, or anywhere for that matter, in order to “feel” submitted or submissive, I would consider myself in need of deep introspection and maybe professional help. (smiles)

Where I differ with Rose is that, my submission is the same no matter where I am or who I am with. The “expression” of that submission will definitely differ, however, when I am faced with blatant ignorance, or some idiot on the interstate (smiles). Although I consider myself to be a Gorean woman because I studied the philosophies thereof, and slave, because I have given my complete submission to a Gorean man, I am still a very expressive, thinking, intelligent woman who doesn’t tolerate certain things. That doesn’t change my submission in any way, merely the expression of it. It doesn’t change the way I behave with my Master, nor the way I know I am to behave within certain groups. The difference is, I know how to express deference and respect, while still holding an opinion.

Someone once asked me what I would do if something were to happen to my Master and I wasn’t at his feet anymore, would I need to find another man to accept my submission? The answer to that is no, heartily no. It isn’t the man who makes me submissive, it is my inherent nature. Being able to express that nature to the extent I do today, requires a man, but I can express my nature just as well within other environments.

Where Rose is very right, and everyone should be aware of this, is that we don’t give up our rights, or responsibilities because we are submissive or at the feet of a man. Again, I don’t know how many times over the years I have seen women trolling through Gorean environments looking for a man to rescue them from whatever negative they perceive in their life. “I just can’t support myself, my boyfriend doesn’t love me, he doesn’t do what I want, he doesn’t this, or that, I don’t want to make decisions”. There is no more responsible person, no woman with more strength and determination than the truly submissive woman, whether she be slave Gorean, D/S, or not. We, as people, have to be the best, most honest, responsible, and realistic people in the world, Otherwise we won’t survive in a world that values unruly, bitchy women (smiles)

I might add to Rose’s point that you have the right to change your mind and leave…Not only do you have the right, you owe it to yourself, when you realize that you are in a relationship, or situation, that is hindering your growth, your understanding, or your fulfillment as a person, to move on. It may be the hardest choice you ever make, but one of my long time mantras has been “You can’t be good for someone else if you aren’t good for yourself”. I learned that the hard way and it is true. There should never be guilt for taking care of yourself, for searching for yourself, or for removing yourself from a bad situation. That should be one of the first things we are taught in life, that we, as human beings, are worthy and deserving of being ourselves, and we owe it to ourselves to learn who those selves are, and love them.

That is my passion…helping others to realize that they are vitally important people, who deserve to love and be loved, by themselves first. If that is in place, the rest of it will be so much easier…trusting others becomes easier if you know and trust yourself first.

Thank you Rose, for sharing so much of your life and thoughts here.

Om namah shivaya…….

September 19, 2008

I honor the divinity that resides within me.

For a while, I have been looking for something unknown in me, something elusive. I thought it was power, feeling rather powerless in the face of many things. Some were small frustrations, but mostly they were interrelationships. Dealing with people.

I turned to outside forces, and some questionable. It was not an issue of ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ but I had, in the doing, lost my way. I had given over my own self to such an extent I had lost my vision of myself. I was floundering. When you flounder in the sea, you attract sharks, those who would eat you up. Perhaps that is why you have to be ‘still’, to go inward to something more essential than what is being offered outside. To try to remember the bedrock of who and what you are. That inner strength that got you through marriage-divorce-marriage and keeps you alive and creative in life.

Yesterday I acted the crazy woman to get away from a rather foolish fellow. It worked. But I wonder in the end how much truth there was in the craziness. I touched something raw and uncomfortable, a piece that I wasn’t so ‘disconnected’ as I thought. I had become needy. And this was because I had denied or covered over my own strength, that stuff, whatever you call it, that got me from one year to another. I had given over too easily my own power, and I suffered the consequences.

I was denying part of my true nature, which is full of flaws but also of strengths. I was denying my full creativity, the stuff that colors and is a part of what makes life worth living.

That perfection was in there, I just was just hell bent on denying it. And, I was casting my pearls before a swine herd.

In looking for something outside myself, some foreign answers, I had denied what was always right there. I went a far distance, tripping and falling, looking for answers when the inner journey would have been closer, faster and more satisfactory.

Had I embraced that divinity inside, that perfection already in place that was waiting for me to notice it, I would have come home.

What I had done wrong here was to believe that my limited little ego constituted my whole nature. Somewhere within us is that balance, which is that we bear God within and don’t know it.

Om namah shivaya.

Lady Nyo

I got this message this morning from Brady Sutton, who posts here on occasion.  He is a firm friend and his words go from hysterically funny to profoundly comforting.

Sweet Jane, I’m heartened by your discoveries. We are all a part of God, thus we are all a part of one another. Each of us has perfection inside, because God resides within us. Some of us search for paths (the road less traveled?) that deliver us to a temporary tranquillity, and then the search resumes. Others are content to take a seat alongside their particular path and watch the wanderers pass by.

Some of us wander because we were made to wander. God likes variety and gives some of us a bit extra of whatever it is that makes us see things differently. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse. And sometimes misleading. We can’t always see things clearly. God’s variety, as we see every day, is not always made of happiness. But happiness is there to be found, inside us.

Look inside, sweet Jane. You’ll see that, for whatever it’s worth, you have my love. You have my brotherhood. I am always available. You aren’t alone, although, as I’ve experienced, it sometimes feels that way, no matter who stands by your side.

Peace and love, sweet Jane. Be happy. You DO have the choice.

BS…Brady, I choose you every time. Jane

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