Masters are those who by nature have suffered to get to where they are. They have experienced endless criticisms of their work, doubts about their progress, setbacks along the way. They know deep in their bones what is required to get to the creative phase and beyond. As mentors, they alone can gauge the extent of our progress, the weakness in our character, the ordeals we must go through to advance. In this day and age, you must get the sharpest dose of reality that is possible from your mentor. You must go in search of it and welcome it. If possible, choose a mentor who is known for supplying this form of tough love. If they shy away from giving it, force them to hold up the mirror that will reflect you as you are. Get them to give you the proper challenges that will reveal your strengths and weaknesses and allow you to gain as much feedback as possible, no matter how hard it might be to take. Accustom yourself to criticism. Confidence is important, but if it is not based on a realistic appraisal of who you are, it is mere grandiosity and smugness. Through the realistic feedback of your mentor you will eventually develop a confidence that is much more substantial and worth possessing.
~ Robert Greene / Mastery
the scenery is outstanding, but the path is what matters – Mastery
do you know where you’re going to?
I hope no one is disappointed reading the opening quote, only to learn that the excerpt from Robert Greene’s book wasn’t written about “mastery” in the BDSM sense. When it’s all said and done however, it does seem to me, that Greene’s quote applies to the kink/BDSM community about as well as it does any other.
You should know that BDSM and kink matter to me. They matter a lot. I can’t honestly say that BDSM is my only personal calling, as my profession is also a calling for me as well. One without the other could overwhelm Michael Samadhi, change him for the worse. Let me be clear though, BDSM truly is a calling. And, when done properly, it’s an art as well. I’m convinced that mastery of the “Art of BDSM” is as valid a pursuit as mastery of the nuances of painting with oils, or any other form of mastery we might meet in the vanilla world. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
So, I’m sure some folk reading this essay are wanting to ask, “Michael, are you serious? Comparing the wielding of a flogger with the wielding of a fine sable brush? You’ve either got to be kidding, or full of yourself. Are you really trying to make yourself out as some sort of DiVinci of the single tail whip or something?” Well, this essay isn’t about me. I’m not claiming to be Master of anything but Serafina. And, while I captivated her heart, she’s also a gift from the Creator, just as surely as her service is a gift from her heart. She’s not an example of my art, but instead that of God.
My art is more subtle and far more human. My art is found in making a woman’s breathing race out of control, then teaching her exercises to control it. By instructing her how to control her breathing, I’m starting her down the path to understanding how to better control her own body, and her mind. My art is in exploring limits, and at the same time learning that my partners and I have hidden depths of character, emotion, and passion we might never have otherwise imagined.
At it’s heart, BDSM is erotic theater, and it’s a performance art. It doesn’t take an audience to create erotic drama, it doesn’t even take two people. The solo bondage artist, practicing his craft in a carefully protected sanctum of privacy, is an erotic artist, performing a role no less dramatic than any other. Now once we’ve embraced the concept of BDSM as an art form, it follows that the world of kink is not a place where one can appear and suddenly “know” all it takes to be a Master. For those “tourist” types who think they are “insta-dom” and suddenly God’s gift to the submissive world, I’ve got some news, and it holds a lesson for new submissives as well . . .
The more a person claims to have mastered, the less they may actually know . . .
mastery is a path
The first time I tied a girl up for sex was 1980, I’ve had three BDSM wedding nights since that day. I’ve lived in a 24/7 BDSM lifestyle since about 1990, with a few breaks forced on by life. But, that’s the human condition, we aren’t living lives like in a romance novel. And let me tell you something – despite the more than 30 years of experience; despite the thousands of hours I’ve spent playing BDSM games in a living rooms, basements, or dungeons; despite the abilitys and skills I’ve learned and possess, there’s still more that I don’t know and don’t understand than what I do.
I am still merely an apprentice! I am Master of Serafina, but I have not yet Mastered my art. And, I never will.
I still learn from every person I meet in this community, new or old, experienced or otherwise. They may not be able to teach me a new skill, they may not be able to help me master a skill I’m actively learning. But, I learn from them all nevertheless. Serafina is fond of saying that slavery is not a destination, but rather a path. Obviously, to my way of thinking, that line of thinking is true for dominants as well. Mastery is a path, not a destination. I love to challenge my submissive friends, and without knowing it they often find ways to challenge me in return. I honestly hope there’s never a day when I’m no longer challenged, never a day when there’s nothing left to learn.
I think that’s the day my art would die.
I ran across the opening quote from Pablo Picasso in a fascinating essay called the Turpentine Effect. It’s interesting to me because it seems relevant to anyone working to master a craft. As far as I’m concerned, that includes crafts that are part of exploring the joy of kink.
“When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.”
~ Pablo Picasso
mastering a craft? beware the turpentine effect
Here’s a brief description of the phenomena that’s being called the Turpentine Effect:
When you practice a craft you become skilled and knowledgeable in two areas: the stuff the craft produces, and the processes used to create it. And the second kind of expertise accumulates much faster. I call this the turpentine effect. Under normal circumstances, the turpentine effect only has minor consequences. At best, you become a more thoughtful practitioner of your craft, and at worst, you procrastinate a little, shopping for turpentine rather than painting.
The Turpentine Effect is an interesting theory. I’ve seen it at work in the BDSM community in a number of different ways. Some folks, having accumulated the tools, actually believe they’ve also mastered the craft. For others, the tools themselves become the obsession. That’s a path I’ve been down in other pastimes, but have thankfully avoided in my own practice of BDSM.
And I do consider BDSM, like medicine and the law, to be practices and not absolute science. While I learn a little from every BDSM scene in which I’ve taken part, my knowledge will never be absolute, nor completely comprehensive. There’s always another technique to understand and master. Another new way to get inside my submissive wife’s head and spin it around for our mutual enjoyment.
Which brings me to the other piece that caught my attention. This one is called The Generalized Hawthorne Effect which is postulated as –
The effectiveness of a tool depends almost entirely on the amount of mindful attention being devoted in its use, not the specific form the attention takes.
This would seem to be a useful piece of information for most dominants. There’s a lesson there if you are willing to find it. Use it as you see fit . . .
You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
Into the blue again after the money’s gone
Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground
You may ask yourself, how do I work this?
~ lyric from Once in a Lifetime by David Byrne, Chris Franz, Tina Weymouth, Jerry Harrison, Brian Eno
how did I get here?
So, I find myself sitting at a restaurant. And I find myself sharing a meal with another couple from the BDSM lifestyle. And I find myself sitting with my wonderfully lovely slave/wife Serafina on my right. And I find myself with the equally lovely EvaKaye, my new submissive, on my left.
I guarantee that the three most beautiful, the three most radiant, the three sexiest (not to mention the three kinkiest) women in the establishment were sitting there at my table! And, two of them are mine!
And, at this point I really do ask myself, how did I get here? Believe it or not, I also asked myself, how do I work this?
Now I have to confess that my thoughts weren’t really the lyrics of a popular song, the actual thought that comes to mind when sitting in a booth with EvaKaye on one side and Serafina on the other is this:
“Dear Lord, I don’t know what I’ve done to earn the honor and privilege of being able to accompany these two wonderful creatures, but please God, give me the strength, wisdom, and courage to do them justice. To my eyes Lord, they are your most beautiful creations.”
I also believe that can be roughly translated to mean “How did I get here?” and “How do I work this?”
how do I work this?
Dominants are supposed to have answers, at least that’s the reality I come from (your mileage and reality may vary!) Yes, I suppose I have my share of answers, but it seems I have more than my share of questions as well these days too.
I guess if I think long and hard enough I can answer “How did I get here?” – the path I’ve taken is clear enough in retrospect, even if looking back now it’s overgrown and more than a little tortuous. I bought into the whole “road less traveled” imagery so much that most of my life I’ve been bushwhacking thru underbrush, nary a footstep, let along another’s path to follow.
And I suppose that’s the experience that has made the man who stands before you today. Everything I do, everything I experience, it truly is a once in a lifetime event. All our yesterday’s are gone, and tomorrow’s sometime never come. That’s the real reason we are told to live for the moment, to seize the day, because in the end that’s all we have, this one moment in this one lifetime, to experience what’s before us.
I mean not only am I blessed with the aforementioned submissive and slave that I can call my own, I also get to mentor and play with a third lovely lady masochist who is enthralling in her own right. I also have good friends in the lifestyle, and am finding more all the time.
I’m certainly not going to be appearing on any commercials as the worlds most interesting man, that’s without a doubt true, but I’d be willing to accept the title of “world’s luckiest man”. For God’s sake, in addition to the slave, submissive, and play partner, there’s even a St Andrew’s Cross, a Dungeon bed, a suspension frame, and a spanking bench spread out between the rooms of my home’s main floor. World’s luckiest man indeed!
So, I guess that means that it turns out that I also have at least a semblance of an answer to the question, “How do I work this?”
And the answer is simple, I look to the values that brought me to where I am today. I look at how I got here to see where I’m going. And the realization that suddenly strikes me, is that – Everything I really need to know I learned from BDSM.
No matter what lesson I’ve needed to learn, I’ve realized my own best answers from studying and living this lifestyle.
I know that’s not the path that most others take, but most don’t tie their first girl up for sex 7 months before their 18th birthday. Well, maybe with the internet that’s not so true anymore, but back in 1980, my path hadn’t been much more than trailblazed before me.
I came from a dysfunctional family, and was an only child to boot, not to mention having no children of my own. So, it’s become true that the fetish/kink/BDSM community is my real family. I’m often asked how I can have a St Andrew’s Cross and a dungeon bed in my living room, what do I do when people who don’t live the lifestyle come to visit?
I never liked answering a question with a question, but can’t help but reply – “Why would I want people who don’t understand my lifestyle visiting my home?”
That’s how I work it for now, but even that’s open to change. One never knows where the next twist in the road will take me, the only thing I’m sure of today is that BDSM has shaped me (and my life) for the better. BDSM has become a core part of who I am.
Michael Samadhi has become as much “who I am” as any name my Mother might have put on a birth certificate . . . Once in a lifetime indeed!
You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself, where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong?
You may say to yourself, my god, what have I done?
Well you may ask yourself those things, I know very well what I’ve done. And I know what I’m going to do too . . .
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Same as it ever was
Now go find out for yourself, what BDSM can do for you!