Over the past few months, my life has been a whirlwind of obligations, setbacks, injuries, working with an aging parent, and apparently an abundance of emails… ‘Life happened’ all over my perfectly scheduled routine and pristinely managed emotions. In the vanilla world ‘life’ is expected to happen – meaning, we expect the unexpected because that’s how life is. When it comes to the Lifestyle we don’t want ‘life’ happening all over our fantasies, planned event schedules, and our perfectly kink based relationships. But that’s not keeping the Lifestyle in the proper perspective which is that these activities and dynamics are a part of life and as such, life is going to happen all over any and everything Lifestyle.
Now, I won’t say that everything that’s been happening over the past few months has thrown me completely off kilter, that’s not the case. However, what did happen was that I was deeply challenged emotionally. I always expect something to happen, because well, that’s life, so I do my best to be prepared. But in truth, we can prepare all we want for anything – we can make sure that there are plans and contingency plans; we can have emergency contacts and POAs (power of attorney); we can put all our ducks in a row… we’re still usually not prepared for what we experience mentally and emotionally when faced with life’s challenges. The little corner of the world that’s marked ‘blyss’ is a relatively safe and stable place by design – especially emotionally. Challenges were first experienced at work in a way that hit me at my core, it didn’t take long for the Domino effect kick in. Somewhere along the way, I felt like I just wanted to wave my little white flag and tap out, but that wasn’t an option, so I did what any good slave would do – kept it moving. So, here we are today and you know that whole hindsight is 20/20 thing has happened and it’s apparent that there were some things that helped keep me in slave space, keep me from giving up, and helped me navigate each day to the best of my ability. In reflection, though there may have been various life management tools that were implemented they really can be distilled down under three specific topics: Commitment to Obedience, Priorities Rule, and Rejuvenation.
Commitment to Obedience
This may seem odd to some and it may resonate with others, but as a slave, what helps me manage my emotions the most when facing challenging situations is focusing on obedience. It’s not a matter of checking out emotionally or even neglecting my emotions. It’s about understanding two things: 1. I have responsibilities that can’t be neglected because of being overwhelmed; 2. Emotions don’t control me or run my life. There are definite consequences to unraveling emotionally and behaving impulsively and/or tempestuously. This isn’t to say that it’s never happened to me because it has; no, this is primarily about facing each day with a sober mind to avoid making irrational and impulsive decisions based on being in a highly emotional state. Secondly, knowing that there’s a tendency for me to get anxious and extremely pensive due to fretting over ‘possibilities’, it is paramount for me to keep obedience in the forefront of my mind regarding handling stresses, my disposition, and addressing my emotions in a constructive manner. This is where commitment comes in. Remembering my commitment to being obedient is a crucial key to getting centered when it seems as though the sky is falling. It’s a part of the checklist that helps calm me. Yes, it requires me to dig deep, because frankly, at least temporarily it would feel dang good to just fly off and let the tempest rage, but that’s temporary and there will be hell to pay after. That’s not a check my account can handle. Being committed to obedience reframes and broadens my vision to the long-term expansive view. Therefore, any decisions made are made with the bigger picture in mind rather than short-term gratification. For me, that’s the wiser move.
Necessary Priorities Rule
In this very moment, 700+ emails are in my inbox. Here’s a little ‘blyss fact’, more than just a few emails in the inbox for some reason really gets on my nerves. Yet, over the past few months, emails couldn’t take precedent over the need to reprioritize my daily activities. It’s been important for me to reassess what needs immediate attention, what could wait, and what needed to be released. Emails just didn’t make the cut and you know what? The world didn’t fall off its axis and implode! For those of us who like to have everything flow in a neat routine daily, weekly, and monthly, rearranging priorities can be a bit of a challenge because there’s the belief of “If it’s on my plate, it’s a priority,” and that’s simply not true. There were many items on my plate that weren’t really priorities – things that were enjoyable or tedious, obligations that didn’t make or break me, just extras on the plate of my life that needed to be reexamined (taking the time to check emails, for instance). Reexamining my priorities was even necessary for work as well. What report is due and when? What’s on my to-do list for the day? Will something have to wait until tomorrow? When is my vacation again? It was imperative for me to learn to take my time even when the world around me wanted me to rush. Again, this goes back to knowing myself; rushing only creates an opening for me to slip back into some old habits that are just best left in the past. Each day, I’m responsible for doing my best; and that ‘best’ can be different from day-to-day and week to week. Situations outside of my control are bound to happen at work, it doesn’t matter what my to-do list says, and some situations can change everything for the day in a blink of an eye. But isn’t that how life is in general? When ‘life happens’ we can choose to attempt to remain ridge, crumble under the pressure, or get flexible and keep moving forward.
Self-preservation... some people seem to think that it’s selfish to maintain a level of self-preservation (a necessary priority) during a crisis, but that’s furthest from the truth. Going a full day without eating real food, not giving full attention to hygiene, not taking the time to get grounded and quiet the mind, neglecting simple moments of pleasure all add to the experience of crisis – we must rejuvenate! In May, I managed to injure my back, this forced me to really take care of myself in a way that had been lacking. Of course, this wasn’t my perspective initially. What crossed my mind were all the things that would fall to the wayside because of the injury – work, gym and fitness, and anything that required me to sit up for longer periods of time. But, a mind much wiser than mine gave me a reality check about the downtime – in short, injuries are going to happen (it was workout related), focus on healing. And that’s just what was done. The injury forced me to slow down drastically and take a more leisurely approach to each day as to avoid aggravating the injury. Admittedly, it was really nice to slow down, sleep in, and redirect some of my energy into caring for myself. Continuing to press when the mind and the body are screaming for rest and some simple joys can prove to be detrimental. A person can only go so long before experiencing the consequences of denial. Life has a very odd way of reminding us of this. It’s become a personal goal for me each day to get enough rest each day and laugh or smile about something. This has made all the difference in facing the challenges currently on my plate and my attitude towards them.
These concepts work synergistically and not as separate units; but if one had to be chosen to say this was an absolute foundation or starting point, for me it would be obedience because it leads the other two areas, all of which help me to stay in my slave lane.
Here’s a short list of some daily practical applications for me:
- Changing my workout routine and schedule to include at least 2 rest days
- Leaving for work 15 minutes early to take the scenic route
- Creating personal fitness challenges (a necessary priority)
- Journaling to express and reflect on my feelings and thought process
- Doing what’s possible to resolve the crisis and recognizing and accepting my limitations
These are just a few specific points that have helped me not only maintain the slave mindset in the midst of challenges and crisis but also navigate the ups and downs of the past several months while still growing. They’ve proven to be effective and invaluable in my walk, and hopefully, they will be just as effective for you.