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I was standing on the second balcony of the House of Blues in Chicago. The voice of George Clinton ringing out in a chant, as I have heard so many times before. It was a moment of clarity ... and of purpose.

"We do this, this is what we do
It would be ludicrous, to think we are new to this
We do this, this is what we do... "

           -- George Clinton

Before I could define myself as a Dominant, I found it was very helpful to develop a better idea of who I am and how I wish to grow (spiritually) as a person. This meant examining my personal belief system and analyzing how it came to be. What I discovered was a blending of several belief systems that have touched my life. Throughout my personal philosophy you will find references to Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, Japanese Tea Ceremonies, Gorean philosophy, and the Samurai Code.

What I hope to cultivate in my submissives and slaves is what is often referred to as the Principles of Knighthood. The emphasis is not on specific protocol but the manner in which they conduct themselves in general. Personal integrity, respect for themselves and others, kindness and gentleness, willingness to assist others, tolerance/acceptance of others, and compassion -- these are the traits I wish to have represent me and the family.  In all that we do, they are a reflection on me and I on them.

The Principles: Love, Honor, Respect, Responsibility, Compassion, Humility, Devotion

Love: I once asked a friend who happens to be a therapist how she would define the word "love". The answer I got was quite unexpected yet (to me) appropriate. She said, "It's when having that person in your life increases you feeling of well-being." I can't think of a better way to describe the Dominant/submissive relationship.

Do I love those who serve me? Yes. Do I let them know they are loved? Yes. Does that make me any less strong. Certainly not! Do I allow them (or anyone else, for that matter) to abuse my love for them? DEFINITELY NOT! In my domain love is based on intimacy, trust, and respect -- nothing less is acceptable.

Honor: When envisioning Knighthood, the Samurai Warrior, and the Gorean Master/Mistress is what I see embodied as Honor. In many ways I take a military view to D/s. The Code of the Samurai has this to say about the Principles of Knighthood:

"The principles of knighthood include washing your hands and feet and bathing morning and night, keeping your body clean, shaving and dressing your hair every morning, dressing formally according to the season and circumstances... When dealing with guests, you treat them courteously according to their status, and avoid useless talk. Even if you partake of a bowl of rice of cup of tea, you are always careful not to be slovenly.

If you are in public service, when off duty you do not simply lounge around; you read, practice calligraphy, contemplate ancient stories or ancient warrior codes. Whether you are walking, standing still, sitting down, or reclining, in your conduct and manner you carry yourself in a way that exemplifies a genuine warrior."

I consider my submissives to be royal guards during a time of peace. I expect them to be honorable men who are well-mannered, intelligent and well spoken, courteous, and to always carry themselves with grace. These are also traits they should expect in me.

Respect: It is a very simple principle, treat everyone with dignity and courteously. When choosing a submissive/slave as a companion one of the most important factors is what that submissive feels his/her contribution is to me and to the family. The submissive must have pride in themselves and a feeling of self worth which breeds self-respect. Once self-respect is present respect for other easily follows. I am seeking obedience and service that comes from respect, for me, and the family, not out of fear of punishment. I rarely have to punish because the disappointment in oneself should a failure occur is a much harsher punishment than any I can give.

Responsibility: The 2 fastest routes to punishment are disrespect and irresponsibility. Irresponsibility is any (intentional) action, or inaction, that jeopardizes the physical or emotional well-being of another. This is especially true when coupled with insubordination, deception, omission, lies, or negligence. It may also be grounds for immediate and unconditional release.  This is a zero tolerance policy for me. Why? -- because some of the activities we are involved in do have serious risks. If I can not trust a member of the family to be totally dedicated, honest, and focused to the best of their ability, that means I am putting someone at unnecessary risk. An example is a submissive/bottom who does not disclose a serious medical condition during scene negotiation. Ramifications are enormous. The excuse the submissive gives is that they were afraid they would not be considered had they made the disclosure. What one has to wonder is: Why they are not taking responsibility for their well-being? Why they would want to play with someone who would not take their health and well-being into consideration? Why they are not negotiating a scene that DOES take their health into consideration? And, why they are not taking responsibility for the effect a bad outcome may have on the Dominant or Top they want to play with?

Compassion: To me compassion means to be able to see a bit of ourselves in others and thereby connect with them by virtue of our sameness rather than our differences. Through this ability we gain charity, we learn to forgive, we begin to include rather than exclude, and move closer to the goal of universal family. When we look at others and see our mirror image, good and bad, it can be difficult to have charity for what we see unless we have learned to accept our blemishes. The first step to compassion for other is compassion for ourselves, and to accept our own imperfections. I suggest to those in my family that when they feel themselves looking critically at others with little compassion and forgiveness, that they remember the scriptures of the New Testament: He who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Humility: While is is desirable that a Dominant take pride in their submissives and slaves, and that the subjects also take pride in their owners, there is also something to be said for humility. I believe ones draws more respect by quietly going about ones tasks and modest response to inquiries.

We have all hear and read the words below, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded (even if we are daughters!)...

If

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream-and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And-which is more-you'll be a Man, my son!
       --by Rudyard Kipling

 

Devotion: My mother commented to me one that my alpha submissive is very devoted to me. These are the words of a vanilla woman who has no knowledge of the D/s side of my life other than seeing friends/companions who accompany me from time to time. In its sincerest form there is little difference in the devoted slave who places the needs and comfort of their owner ahead of their own and the owner who makes sacrifices for the happiness and well-being of their slave. It is this balance that replenishes each and provides the resources for the relationship to perpetuate itself.

The Skills: Communication, Tolerance, Patience

Communication: There are so many ways to communicate and even more ways of communicating poorly. I have found that D/s relationships have vastly improved my over all communication skills. To foster better communication on both sides, I have submissives journal to me daily. This gives them a long term project of organizing their thoughts and communicating them. It also gives them a history of the relationship, and themselves. I do not respond directly to the diaries but use it as guidance in nurturing their growth.

It is also a challenge to manage communication across cultures and languages. Eye contact, body language, facial expressions -- all the clues we give and receive in unspoken communication varies wildly between groups. Misinterpretation of these during a play scene where the bottom is gagged, and otherwise restrained could lead to a bad outcome, so intimate knowledge of the bottom's style of communication is imperative!

I believe strongly in Safe Words. Things do go wrong, and people's reaction to the same stimulus can change dramatically from day to day as a results of numerous external factors. For me, playing without safe words represents a risk that I feel is unnecessary. This does not mean that I am less vigilant in monitoring the bottoms, but that there is an additional safety factor. I do not skimp on safety and I do not hesitate in getting professional assistance should something go awry. The safety and well-being of my play partners always comes first.

Tolerance: While it might be convenient if everyone was like us, it sure would be boring! If you peruse an extensive BDSM activity checklist, you are bound to find a number of items personally upsetting, offensive, or blah. You may even find that some of the aspects of the lifestyle are not for you. This is all part of the process of defining yourself, your preferences, and style. I do my best not to share my personal prejudices with others who think enough of me to share their intimate interests and fantasies with me. I may chose not to participate in what is being offered to me, but I also try to treat their proclivities with the respect I hope they will show toward mine.

An important part of tolerance and respect is not exposing others to things non-consensually. Subjecting the general public, those who would be offended, or minors, to play scenes is not something I condone. 

Patience: If I only had time to be patient! This is my own personal struggle, that and taking on more tasks than are human possible. It is not that plan for more than I can do, in my rush to get so much done, things that come up that I have not planned for are the things that overwhelm me. The root of the problem is often patience, wanting it all and wanting it all right now.  How do I combat this issue? Meditation, relaxation, and less caffeine. Rituals are also very helpful and tranquil sounds and music. Native American flute and drumming afford me the most tranquility. I often use is as background music for play scene, I find that it paces me well and quiets any frenzy. Rituals like Japanese Tea ceremonies also set atmosphere of harmony and tranquility. If you are not familiar with Jim Tatu's writings on the Way of Rope (Ds-Arts), it is an excellent basis for adding rituals to your repertoire.

The Expectation is Commitment

My name is Cocoa, and I am a commitment phobe. Don't laugh, it's true. I think this page presents some pretty loft goals, intense responsibility to myself and to others, and some very intense personal evolution! There are many opportunities for failure here, to commit means taking risks. Eventually we all come to a place where the rubber hits the road. We will either make that commitment, or forever wonder what might have been.

In our everyday existence we all touch lives, often unconsciously.  Hopefully this web site and these pages will touch many hearts and lives. They are my gift to the community and a part of my commitment to those in it. Be well!             

Lives of great men all remind us
        We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
        Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
        Seeing, shall take heart again.
               --by H. W. Longfellow

 


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