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The Four Agreements (Four)

28 Feb

Smiling Soul describes the Fourth Agreement as it was discussed in the workshop.  She says:

Always Do Your Best
Not necessarily The Best. Only your best.

It is impossible to be perfect.

He doesn’t want someone who is obsessed with perfection. Too much energy is spent with achieving your idea of perfection. Often there isn’t enough energy for Him. She (slave namaste) was really into a Martha Stewart type of home. He didn’t want that much time put into how a house looked perfect. He would often ask her to leave the dirty dishes in the sink or drink their wine in  paper cups to teach her to put things into perspective.

I think we often are perfectionists and it could be to our demise; not only with our dynamics but in life, too.

“Hi, i’m  aisha, and i’m a recovering perfectionist.”

All that about “it doesn’t have to be THE best, just your best…”  Hmpf.  Useless.

The website says:

“Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

And all i can think is, y’all don’t understand.  If you even say the “B” word, it sends a rush of anxiety right through me.

Sigh.

i can decide to clean the kitchen.  i’ll be cruising along, dishes all in the washer, wiping counters, then i get to the stove top.  It’s an ancient stove.  The more i clean, the more i see wrong.  i have an old toothbrush i keep for nooks and crannies.  i’ll clean with that for a while.  But the deep, almost hidden dirt is still out of reach.

A toothpick.  A toothpick with a bit of paper towel wrapped around the tip is just what i need.  Now i can get to that finely hidden dirt…

and half an hour…

forty-five minutes later, i’m still cleaning the stove top.  Trying to do “my best.”

Thank goodness i don’t have to do my best all the time.  Sometimes, i just need it to be “good enough.”

“Good enough” is actually a technical psychological term ~ no, i’m not kidding.  D. W. Winnicutt developed the concept of the “good enough mother,” and if you’d like to know more about it, this is a pretty good basic description of the concept.

Shorter version – if mothers were perfect, it wouldn’t really be good for their children, they’d be totally unprepared for the real world.  The goal is not to be your “best” all the time.  We just need to be “good enough.”   

Seriously, if you’re not familiar with Winnicutt’s ideas, go read about it now… i’ll wait.

Ok, wasn’t that cool?  So i try to apply the same basic idea to all aspects of my life.  There is surely a “good enough” threshold for cleaning the stove.  It’s something short of my personal best, which would require almost endless scrubbing.

The truth is, for me, it’s easy to go for “good enough” on most domestic chores.  Not really an issue.  It’s more difficult in other parts of my life.

Work.  Relationships.  Even writing.  Just think how crazy i could make myself.  Do you realize that every single day i have dozens of opportunities ~ maybe hundreds of them ~ to do “my best” on something?  

Conversations with staff.  Endless emails.  Sessions with clients.  Meetings, many of which i facilitate.  Paperwork.  Every single one of those things has a goal, a purpose.  Every single one of them is an opportunity to be done well or poorly.

Good grief. 

Often, my “best” is limited by time anyhow, and sometimes i think i procrastinate so i don’t have time to endlessly tweak and tinker with whatever i’m doing.

i wonder if part of the charm of submission is that when i let go of being in charge, i can let go of judging myself.  Not  ~ like dinner, where i don’t actually know what He wants, that makes me anxious.  

But when He’s there and He tells me or shows me what He wants, i can fully let go.  That’s what training’s about, isn’t it?  Learning to do it His way so i don’t have to worry.  

i know, i sound a little crazed for real today, don’t i?  Can’t help it, this is where the idea of doing my “best” takes me.

So i don’t care how many qualifiers and explanations you tack on to the B word, it still strikes me as overwhelming.  Blood pressure up, heart pounding.

That’s why i’m just not buying it.  i won’t commit to doing “my best.”  “Good enough” is good enough for me.  

“Hi, i’m aisha and i’m a recovering perfectionist.”

The Four Agreements (Three)

27 Feb

Smiling Soul says: 

Don’t Make Assumptions
“This one agreement can transform your life.” Communication done right with clarity will avoid many misunderstandings and difficulties in your dynamic.

You should feel free to ask for what you want.  It doesn’t mean you will get it right then, but you may later. (There was more presented in the class, but Smiling Soul was translating into sign language for someone and lost part of this one.)

My take: I think making requests gives your Dom the insight to your desires. Master often asks me if there is anything I need during our time together. I have learned to ask for sexual release when I really need it (especially with orgasm control). He learned when I get horny and in what cycle.

i like to think i do fine with this.  And i do – in the sense that i really work at not assuming that someone else is thinking a particular thing.  i avoid mind-reading fairly well.

Plus, i learned that stupid caveat about “assuming” fairly young.  You know ~ “What do you do when you assume?  You make an ass of “u” and “me.”  

Yeah.  And i hate how often i hear that in my head. 

But just when i’m congratulating myself on not assuming, i notice that pesky “feel free to ask for what you want” clause.

Sheesh.

i’ve talked about my issues with that enough times already.  i’m getting so much better about it, but i still HATE asking.  i guess some things never get easy.

i guess tomorrow i’ll tackle the “Do your best” agreement.  Youall know i have big issues with that too, right?  Apparently, i’m just a big ole bundle of issues.

Yeah.  But i’m not even going there today.  Instead ~~

*******************************

i kneel at His feet.  His hand wraps my hair, holding me tight.

“Ask,” He says.

Feeling confident, half-smiling, i nod toward His cock, well, as best i can nod with His hand in my hair.  More a slight tilting of my head.  

“May i?” i say, eyebrows slightly raised.

“That’s not asking,” He says.  “You’re taking it for granted I’m going to say yes.  I wouldn’t count on that.  If you want it, you’d better ask better than that.”

A wave of humiliation runs through me.  My heart sinks, my stomach drops.  

i look at His cock, out of reach of my mouth, His hand in my hair prevents me from coming any closer.

“Open your mouth.” He says.  He moves my head til i’m closer, but still out of reach.  

With my mouth open, i can almost taste Him, almost, so close, so close, i lean a little ~~

“No,” He says.  “Stay right where you are.”  He shakes my head, just a bit, emphasizing the point.

i am poised, but forbidden.

After a long, long moment, He says, “Ask if you want it.”

“Sir,” i begin, eyes on His cock, “May i please, Sir, taste Your cock?”

“Taste it?” He says.

“Yes, Sir.  Please may i kiss and lick Him?  Please, let me please Him with my mouth.”

“Kiss and lick?” He says.  “I don’t know…”

“And suck,” i say eagerly.  “Kiss and lick and suck.  Take Him deep in my mouth, sucking and licking, and pleasing.  Please, Sir?”

He smiles.  “There.  That’s better.  That’s how you ask.”  

He pauses, just long enough for me to wonder if He will turn me down.    Then ~

“Yes, you may.” He says.

And i do. 

The Four Agreements – continued

25 Feb

Here’s what Smiling Soul said about the next agreement:

Don’t Take Anything Personally
When a Dom or Master asks you to do something it doesn’t necessarily mean He is unsatisfied with you or your service. It could have nothing to do with you. 

Namaste gave an example in her own experience. Master Obsidian requested a potted plant be moved to the other side of the window after it was placed at the window six months ago. She immediately thought He was unhappy with the plant’s placement for six months. She asked Him if was displeased where she put it. He said, “No. I just wanted it moved to the other side. Nothing more.” She realized she had put too much importance to the request and it had nothing to do with her. 

 

We as subs/slaves do this all the time. We try to second guess our Owner’s purpose or intent. He would communicate if there was a connection to you. My take on this one: How freeing on one’s mental state! You mean it isn’t about me? smiles

 

When i first read this one, it reminded me of my what my mother used to say when i was self-conscious about my appearance.
She’d point out, blunt and succinct, that other people were not paying nearly as much attention to me as i thought they were.  But ~ but ~

~ well, i was pretty sure sometimes they were.  {laughing…}   and i KNEW if i wore THAT they’d all be looking and laughing at me!

Seriously though.  This agreement reminds me that the world doesn’t actually revolve around me.  That i am not the main character ~ not the hero ~in anyone else’s story.  {Or heroine.  But why does hero make me think of a superman cape and heroine of being tied to the train tracks and screaming for rescue?  Ok, that’s another post…}

Anyhow.  Not the center of the universe.

It’s hard sometimes to recognize the reaction for the egotism it is though because it’s often humble, self-blaming.  Like Namaste, we think, “O, did i have the plant in the wrong place before?”

Is it my fault he didn’t call?  What did i do wrong?  She didn’t speak to me, i haven’t heard from her…  Is he mad at me?  Is she?

So, here’s a quick balance ~~ maybe sometimes they are mad at me, maybe sometimes i did do something that wasn’t actually my best choice.  O, gosh, i have to brace myself for this ~ maybe ~ maybe i’m not perfect!

{Much wailing and gnashing of teeth…}

Yeah.  There i am, back to that egotistical self.

Both my parents had a wide perfectionistic streak.  It’s an ongoing battle for me to let go of the need to be good ~ better ~ best ~ all the time.

i work at reminding myself that it’s ok for other people to feel what they feel, perceive their experiences differently from the way i do.  It’s ok for it not to be about me.  For them to not even be considering me.

With my Sir, this is easier because of how He is.  

i have been seduced before by the magic of “you make me happy.”  Even when i’ve known better, i’ve gotten sucked in by new versions of that story.

If they – if “he” believes that, for real, then sooner or later, when he doesn’t “feel happy,” he’s likely to look for what i’ve done that’s reduced his happiness factor.  After all, if i made the “happy” happen, then i must be withholding it now.

My Sir is not like that.  He is way too aware of His own ~ His own self ~ to make me the author of His happiness.

O, i please Him.  Make no mistake about that…  But i’m not responsible for making Him happy.  So whether He’s happy or not ~ i don’t have to take it personally.  i can accept Him the way He is, and love Him without worrying about how it affects Him

i can be me, and let Him be who He is.

Smiling Soul and BOLD 2012

24 Feb

My friend, Smiling Soul, who you may know through comments here and on other blogs, went to BOLD 2012 with her Master this month.  A leather conference “Defining Male Dominant/Female Submissive Het Leather Dynamic,” you can go here for more information about the conference in general.

i had asked Smiling Soul to tell me about the classes and workshops she went to, and she’s started that process.  i want to share part of what she told me about a class by slave namaste, who you can read about right here.

Here’s part of what SS told me:

The Four Agreements for Surrendered Hearts by slave namaste
This class is based on the book The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. I am guessing you have heard of or even read this book.

slave namaste felt the four agreements are very useful for the sub/slave in their interactions with their Doms/Masters.  Although there was more to this class than what I am going to focus on here, I think the four agreements are the most important. The four agreements are

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions, and
  4. Always Do Your Best.

Here is a link to a website that gives a brief explanation of each agreement. http://www.toltecspirit.com/ I really like this website btw.

I will take each of the four agreements and apply to the D/s or M/s dynamic
1.  Be Impeccable with your Word
Always be honest and say what you mean. The information you give to your Dom or Master is useful to Him to be sure to provide the best guidance or protection. As I say, communication is the key. I would also add to think carefully before you communicate. My added thought: I think it is important to get at what you are really asking. We often think we are saying what we mean, but in reality we mean a different thing.

i read the book The Four Agreements several years ago.  At the time, it had seemed sound but simplistic.  i sort of nodded, “o, yes, of course,” and went on.

Today, as i think about how it applies to my relationship with Sir, i am more interested.  

As a child, a teenager, even a younger adult, i was not always “impeccable with my word.”  Um, actually, i lied to authority on a fairly regular basis.  i lied about all kinds of things.

i lied about where i was going, what i was going to do when i got there, and who i was going to be doing it with.  i lied about why i didn’t have my homework, and occasionally about whether or not i’d cleaned the bathroom.   i lied so i could do what i wanted to do, and i lied to keep people from being mad at me or upset with me.

i was a good liar.  Believable.  i looked innocent and virtuous.  People tended to believe me.  And i didn’t usually get caught.

i suppose i should feel bad about it now, feel guilty and ashamed.  But i don’t.  i read somewhere that people lie when they don’t think they can get their needs met by telling the truth, and i think there’s wisdom there.  

i know that developmentally, there’s a stage at which young children need to lie.  They’re discovering that they’re capable of dissembling -up to that point, they think people {especially mom or dad} actually can read their minds.  It’s part of our psychological growth to discover that it’s possible to deceive.  

Anyhow, this is not really the confessional, and if there are righteously honest subsisters out there, i’m sure they’re appalled by me.  And that’s ok too.  

i lied about facts, mostly.  Particularly as i got older, it became a point of honor not to lie about things that i thought mattered.  i never told anyone i loved them unless i did.   Never promised something i didn’t intend to follow through on.  And it became really important to me that i be honest with myself.  

Nowadays ~ i hardly ever purposely lie.  

My mother was an “I always tell the truth, I NEVER lie” kind of person, and she wasn’t so good with shades of gray.  You know me, i live in the gray.  And ~

There are so many ways of being less than impeccable with one’s word.  Sometimes, we don’t know our own truths ~ does that count as a lie?  What if someone asks me something and it’s none of their business?  Do i have to say “nunya?”  Or can i evade?

What if i let someone believe something that isn’t 100% true?  Am i obligated to delve into their assumptions and correct them?

What if my choice to tell the truth will hurt someone else?  Am i obligated to do it then?

Maybe that’s why i didn’t pursue this agreement back when i first read it.   i’m not saying it’s not true and valuable, it is.  It just didn’t speak to me.  On the other hand ~~

~~ when i think about it in context of my relationship with my Sir ~~

well, yes.  i want to be as honest with Him as humanly possible.  As transparent as it’s possible to be.  Absolutely.  

And the thought of it turns me on a little bit.  Don’t ask me what that’s about.  It just does.

{Thanks, Smiling Soul, for sharing your experience and getting me started on this – hope you don’t mind the strange path this post took…}