FACT: Practice is like being in a dominant/submissive relationship. With your superego.
In this house, there will be order. Despite what certain misleading literary trilogies would have you believe on the matter, the cornerstone of a solid D/s* relationship is faith in and through obedience.
And this works on both ends (i.e. not just for the submissive). You actively define your roles which creates a series of default behaviors. This eliminates power struggle and drama. You have effectively defined your vision for the expression of yourselves in the relationship and contractually obligated each other to fulfilling that vision.
The alpha-point in D/s is identity within a vision.The omega-point is surrender of identity to the order of that vision.**
Kinky shit aside, personal practices ideally have the same alpha and omega.
When I say "practice," I am referring to any set of rituals and heuristics we use to feel more like ourselves. Very much like the terms of a contract between a dominant and a submissive, practice defines our experience. When our experience feels in-line with who we are, it is easy and freeing. When we are deviating, we are punished. I mean, it feels rough. I mean we feel like slaves to ourselves. I mean...
Fuck. Here's how to have a practice...
Developing a personal practice is essentially a dominant/submissive relationship between the person you would like to be and the person you are now. It's acting in faith with your vision for yourself.
What your vision looks like is up to you. But here are the basics:
- Know what you want.
When you decide to have a defined power dynamic with another person, you define at the outset what is desired and not desired. Now both parties are responsible for respecting the boundaries and requirements of their roles. They are also free to enjoy the things that they desire.
The same applies in your practice. You are always progressing towards something whether you know it or not. If you do not intentionally select your direction at each step, you are progressing aimlessly towards entropy and old-age. Entropy feels...bad. It is disorder. If you'd like to have order, your only chance is to know what you want and to ask for it. Otherwise you'll get whatever the fuck finds you in space and time.
- Know why you want it.
This is crucial. In D/s, it's easy. The reason you want it is because you like it and someone else likes giving it to you.
In your practice, it's a little more complicated. If you do not acknowledge the reason that you want something, it will be much more difficult to get it. The reason you want something actually dictates how you have to behave in order to move towards it. Which brings me to my third point,
- Fucking behave yourself.
Once you know what you want and why you want it, you are now free to bring your behavior in line with the experience you want. If you do not behave in line with your best interests, there will be consequences.
The consequence in practice mean that you will feel out-of-line with who you want to be. In D/s, if you are out of line...well...I'm not saying I own a whip, but let's just say I know how to use one. The point is, the more like the vision you behave, the less struggle there will be.
Luckily, since you know what you want and why you want it, behavioral decisions become easier. From this approach, every choice boils down to the same question:
"Would I like to feel MORE or LESS like myself at this moment?"***
Now. I have intentionally avoided telling you about my practice, specifically. Mainly because we all have different lives and goals and therefore need to do different things to live them out. I can write about it if there is interest.
Anyway, I tend to ascribe to the Flaubertian notion of life/work. It's pretty mundane shit, actually.
Mostly, I started tinkering with living intentionally after dropping out of medical school and then the corporate world in rapid succession. I hadn't been feeling like myself and I was tired of feeling like a slave to what other people wanted for me so I went off to find out who I was so I could serve that being (and hopefully some other fuckers in the process).
And it's an ongoing process. It frees me to focus on things that I can directly influence (and keeps me from giving a fuck about things that I cannot). It holds me accountable to myself. It frees me to progress towards things that I desire regardless of what's going on around me. That is, I am faithful and obedient to my vision of myself as much as possible on a moment-to-moment basis. Occasionally I still get whipped, but I am getting better at it every day.
After all, freedom is being your own dominatrix.
Do you have any rituals? Tell me.
*I am specifically using D/s -- as opposed to a more inclusive bdsm designation -- in this application since it's about a relationship with yourself. My sincere hope is that you are not going to self-flagellate after reading this. I mean, you can; it's up to you. But it's probably not necessary.
** This end is actually the purpose of all "god" seeking traditions of the world. It has been long-lost to religions that segregate and shame people. Do I think that religion itself is the antichrist? Maybe. But I digress.