Thursday, August 31, 2006

sensuous experience of the body

The sensuous experience of the body is one of complex, interconnected processes that never remain the same from moment to moment. Nor are these developments just physical. Emotions and thoughts find expression through the body, creating sensations that often become lasting physical states. Tension, relaxation, bouyancy, indigestion, stiffness--these are the legacy of my mental and emotional activities. Being conscious of what is happening in my body and my mind creates state of awareness that allows me question the contradictions between the sort of person I wish to be, and the reality of who I am.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Buddha and the Tree Spirit

Hawthorne District. Very granola, earthy, colourful. A garden, everyone a flower, some showy, some not. The sidewalks are crowded with humanity, the air redolent with the scents of food and people. Here I sit, alone by choice, last table, my back to the wall of the building, warmed by the heat it radiates. Dinner a romaine salad with curried chicken breast, almonds, dried cranberries, balsamic viniagrette, heavy on the rosemary. Terminator Stout, dark microbrew with a thick carmel-coloured head: I lick off the moustache after each swallow. Moleskine journal in hand, today a sepia ink, jotting down impressions, observations. A couple walks by, holding hands. Brightly coloured hair, tattoos, piercings, clunky Doc Martins. They are both wearing skirts: he has black leggings underneath, covering his knees. Next a couple, mid-thirties. He: Columbia Sportswear, Birkenstocks, pushing the stroller full of bright-eyed toddler. She: LL Bean, ancient denim jacket, Sketchers on her feet. They take the table next to mine, phone rings, the woman answers, stands up, walks to the edge of the sidewalk. She is a lawyer, or in the legal field, she speaks of briefs and cases and files. Flock of teenagers pass: skinny girls with hip-huggers, flashing belly-button piercings and tattoos around their ankles; lank-haired boys with knee-length baggy shorts and colourful t-shirts referencing some aspect of Pop-culture foreign to me. Young woman steps forward from the shelter of the building, into the center of the corner. Her voice soars: she sings opera, I recognize the aria "Un bel dì" from Madama Butterfly. A man limps toward me, holding a cane in his good hand, the other arm held close to his body. He stops and someone pushes past, jostling him nearly into the street. He hunches, tucks the cane under his good arm, pulls a bottle of water from under the other. He fumbles in his fanny-pack, I see two vials of medication. More people push past, jostling him some more. Observer role is broken, I rise, approach him. "May I help you?" I ask. "No," he grumbles. I move to stand behind him, waiting, putting myself between him and the foot-traffic pushing his way. More people press by, giving me frustrated looks for blocking their paths. They spill over onto the street to pass. I hear his fanny-pack zipper, turn around to look at him. He stuffs the bottle of water back under his bad arm, nods at me, and cane in hand, continues his slow progress down the street. As I watch, three others jostle him. How discouraging. Where are we going in such a hurry, that we cannot stop to help another? Returning to my table, I jot a few more notes, then close up the journal, snapping the elastic around it. Buddha and the Tree Spirit, Hawthorne District, Portland OR (c) KR SilkenvoiceStrolling west along the street until I reach Bread and Ink, then turning down the side street. Lovely neighborhood of old craftsman-style homes. Walking to my car I pass the head of Buddha, resting under a tree. A spontaneous altar has grown up here, an encouraging sign of community that lifts my spirits. As does the face they've made on the tree. Buddha and the Tree Spirit. The juxtaposition of reverence and whimsy pleases me. Yes. In this moment, Life is beautiful.

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Monday, August 28, 2006


Anguish is my constant companion these days.
Anguish burns, did you know?
It sears the soul.
I am surprised no one can see it, see the conflagration of emotion running just beneath my skin.
Especially when sympathy is offered.
Why does sympathy act as an accelerant?
It accentuates the anguish.
I am not hiding from this pain.
I let it fill me and then release it, hoping joy will take its place.
Seeking a moment's serenity.
Knowing the current will flow and anguish will return once again.
The inevitable cycle of suffering.
Lotus (c) KR SilkenvoiceAnguish
I braid her hair in my dreams.
I brush it out, that thick glossy hair the colours of chocolate, and twine it between my fingers.
She's fallen again.
She's pulled her PICC line out twice.
The hospital has assigned someone to her 24-7.
There is someone with her 24-7 and its not me.
The lotuses are in bloom and she cannot see them.
The cherries are sweet and she cannot eat them.
I danced Sunday and she cannot walk.
The sun is warm on my skin and she is cold.
She is dying and I must accept what I cannot accept.
This is the wrong ending. The wrong ending. The wrong ending!

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

bumming at the beach

[click here for audio]

Sun's rays slanting eastward, kissing my skin, its warmth chasing away the wind's icy touch. Wood-smoke on the air, beach fire, scent of scorched meat--a family roasting weenies. Man and his kite, dipping, twirling, flirting with the breeze. Children with spades, real spades, heaping sand into piles for castles. Sweet buzz of sauvignon blanc on a mostly empty stomach. Sand between my toes, warm against my heels, grounding me. Dungeoness crab and shrimp louie. Sourdough fresh from the breadmaker. More wine. Dipping sweet dark cherries into chocolate fondue. Oralgasmic dessert--the best nature and man can offer. The warmth of a thigh pressed against mine, cool lips on my neck. Feelings of well-being. Warm Fuzzies. Companionship. Voices, lulling, ebbing and flowing like the tide. Conversation...

What are you doing? Silence. My name. Looking up from the moleskine journal, pen halted. R's voice, R's face, weathered and freckled, hair wild--from her helmet, of course. She rode the Harley here with J. Three pairs of eyes, expectant. What are you writing? A dismissive, self-conscious shrug. Recording the moment. A dirty habit, writing. I'm not supposed to do it in public. I'm sorry. Moving to put the journal away, opening jacket pocket. Read it, says J, his voice firm. I am his guest. Complying, I read: Sun's rays slanting eastward, kssing my skin... Their eyes on me, thoughtful, listening expressions. Voice trailing off on "conversation"... Wow, how do you notice that? Does J even know I write? How do you not notice? I ask. C chuckles. He knows me so well. How do you not notice the moment? How do others do it? I'm lost in sensations, sensate me, like a child--see the birdie? Quick! Kiss me, taste the wine and chocolate on my lips, smell the cherries on my breath, breathe me in, save me from self-conscious awareness. Let me just be. Here. Now. With you, in this moment.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Contemplating self-confidence over a sunset


There are days when I feel myself insignificant, in the shadow of others and events beyond my control, and on those days, hardship is daunting. I feel tempted to view my goals as being distant and unattainable, and go looking for consolation. But consolation is a trap. It enables me to feel good about myself without having to do much of anything. It leads to complacency and the comfort of routine, hoping that routine will enable me to ignore or escape anguish rather than understand and accept it. But can I afford the luxury of consolation and complacency in a world in which the only certainty is death, its time of arrival completely uncertain, and the consolation of an afterlife an unprovable hypothesis?

And then there are days when I feel superior to others, and on those days I am very disdainful of hardship, and yet perversely, tormented by humiliation when it defeats me. This leads to conceit. This makes me shun the friendship of those whose wisdom might help me spring the cyclical trap of loneliness and humiliation and anguish which my awareness of self engenders. This, again perversely, consoles the ego, which must be fed, and will get its attention however it can, whether positive or negative. It tells me I don't need others, that I have nothing to learn from them, that I am superior, and it draws energy from my resolve and my purpose, defeating me again and again.

There is a middle way, a balanced path that I try to tread despite the pendulum swings of daily life. The path in which I acknowledge that self-confidence is not a form of arrogance, but instead, a forn of trust in my abilities and my capacity to realize my goals, my purpose. It encompasses both the courage to face whatever life throws at me without losing equanimity, and the humility to treat every situation I encounter as one from which I can learn.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What is a dreamer?

(my favorite place to sit at my alma mater, visited just 10 days ago)

What is a dreamer? Oscar Wilde said: "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." A fitting description for some few people I know, the dreamers, the ones with the poet's souls.

And with regards to dreaming, I once told M.R. "Fundamentally I am one of those cosmic dreamer types, but I try to keep myself grounded in reality." He said something in response which has echoed in my mind: "Dreaming is what it takes to discover what we have no reference for."

Here's to more dreams for the dreamer.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Thoughts on order, chaos, and contemplative inquiry

I have a highly developed sense of order and symmetry. I have a very strong drive to systematize, to organize, to understand. At college, I was fully indoctrinated in the scientific method, spending 5 years hypothesizing, brainstorming, designing experiments, objectively observing, collecting and analyzing data, troubleshooting, proving or revising hypotheses. One might say that mine is a typically masculine mind.

And yet, I am also a 'feeler'. My senses are acute. My capacity for pleasure is boundless. I am conscious of things most people find beneath notice. Unless I am thinking deeply, I am aware, both physically and mentally, of every moment. My physical sensitivity to my environment, combined with a talent for systematizing, creates conflict and opportunity. I am (almost) always analyzing the output of my sensory array (the body), sifting, sorting, ranking, keeping the bewilderment of sensory bombardment at bay.

In my need to create order from chaos I am extremely aware that I use symbols (words) to describe my experience of life, and that the words I choose have nuances for others that are not present for me. The best example, I suppose, is that when I use 'sensual', people hear 'sexual'. And when I use words to describe my experiences, I am conscious that words are symbols ascribed to meanings, and that the world is so saturated with the meanings given to it that those meanings seem to reside in the things, people, and places themselves. I habitually assume that the world presented to me via my senses exists just as it appears to me. But that is preposterous, because what I sense is filtered through the unconscious mind. How I experience reality is coloured by the attitudes, conditioning, and habits of my emotional/psychological self long before it reaches the rational higher mind. In other words, the unconscious is tossing out the undesired variables so that the higher mind can do what it does best: create order out of chaos.

One of the benefits of meditation is that it brings me to the level of the unconscious, making me aware of all that 'white noise' it filters out for me. Breathing becomes something miraculous, really. I can feel my clothing touching my skin, my hair tickling my neck. I can hear the click of the freezer, the hum of the neighbor's TV, the sound of the river flowing by. The details of the moment flow one into the next and I am aware of the interconnectedness of things. My sense of myself deepens as well. I become conscious of my self-isolation, my insistence that I am this or that, my attachment to the idea of a fixed, 'core' self. As I breathe, as I 'listen' with all my senses to my body, to my environment, to my mind, it becomes oh so obvious that each moment is created out of the moment that preceeded it, and that I create myself in response to and interaction with my experiences, moment to moment. And it becomes oh so obivious that my responses are often conditioned by habit, by training, by the systems I have created, so that in my daily life, I am not really living today, I am experiencing a slight reconfiguration of the past.

Which is very comfortable and convenient, even predictable. It is much easier to think of conditions and consequences as 'things' with their own intrinsic (and manipulatable) identities, rather than as processes with no independent reality of their own. The reality is that no matter how much I want to make things singular, straightforward, absolute, and ordered, life is a matrix, a complex flow of interconnected processes. It is fractal, ambiguous, fluid, dynamic, imminent, transient, intertwined, unpredictable, and immediate. And I have choices as to how I respond to this reality. I can respond with fear, with the desire to create a mental map based upon past experiences that I can use as an overlay for present and future contingencies, thus shaping my perceived reality to suit an increasingly brittle, inflexible, habit-bound self which feels less and less comfortable with change.

Thus, the kind of 'order' that we humans create engenders tension. While it is natural to our ego, it is unnatural to our self. The ego is the 'I', the false-core, the part of us that denies change, denies unpredictability and impermanance. The ego clings to habitual behaviours and routines as a means to secure a sense of 'self', of wo we are, distinct from others; whereas the true self is comfortable developing the integrity of our identities aswirl in the transient, ambiguous, continually transforming world, knowing our selves as integral parts of a dynamic, inter-related whole, and thus free to create our reactions and ourselves moment to moment, letting reality teach us, instead of shaping our perceptions of it to fit inside our nice and tidy psychological boxes.

And the tension is more obvious to those of us who rise to challenge unconscious self-absorbtion with contemplative inquiry. We can continually question the assumption of the immutable 'I' at the core of our experiences. We can compassionately query ourselves about the validity of the emotionally charged notions we have of others. We can objectively observe our reactions to people and situations, examining the appropriateness of our responses to determine if we reacted to what actually occurred, or if we acted habitually, out of our preconceptions. And we can undermine the order of things with the responsive echos to these questions. Once we have gone to all the effort to put something in order, the last thing we want is for something to change. And so it is that even the seekers and the askers find themselves fighting against the habitual resistance to change.

In sum, order is not the enemy. The universe has its order. But neither is chaos something to be reviled. It is causal and creative; it provides opportunities for growth and spontanaeity that would otherwise be denied. There is always a tug between the two, between order and chaos, and tension in the minds of humans who want nothing more than to abolish the one in favor of the other.

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The Warm Fuzzy Story

Recently, a certain story has been percolating up in my mind, a story from when I was a child. I could not remember the details of it, only that it was a story about Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. I found the story online, and am including a link to it. As soon as I read it, I realized why it was coming back to mind (participation in the Love Tribe organization). And reading it again, I recognized what a role the story had played in the formation of my own (polyamorous/free love) relationship to love and loving.


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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Lingua Intima (a poem)

Mouths speak the language of intimacy
without uttering a word
Your lips on mine so tender and sweet
with one brush I am wet,
flowing like a river of metta
towards its numinous destination
Your skin so salty from exertion
with one taste I am lost
Moaning, I bring my mouth to yours
kissing deeply, asking,
Can you taste yourself on my tongue?
Skin-hunger and flavor collide
setting into motion lips tongue and teeth
Touching tongue to skin
I exhale upon it, a warm breath
Your moan spurs me on to blow
streams of air across the mouth-water
tongue-stamped to your flesh
Lips forming the symbols of intimacy,
speaking without words

I awakened with this poem pulsing in my brain. It was inspired by B., Thursday night's date. He kisses like I do--with full attention. It is quite a lethal combination. Dizzying, in fact. At one point I pushed him back and kissed his chest, simply so I could get some air. His skin was salty from an afternoon of golf. It was like an aphrodisiac. He tasted like steak tartar. I wanted to eat him up. I nibbled, sucked, kissed and licked my way from his neck to his feet, pushing his clothes out of my way as I singlemindedly sampled him--stopping occasionally to crawl back up to share with him the taste of his salt on my tongue.


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Monday, August 14, 2006

I am soooo BAD

C. has a male guest tonite. A very funny, vanilla guy, who cracked one joke after another for a good hour. He's got some great puns.
Around 10 I told her I was going to bed, and to make sure she locked the door when she let him out, or I'd paddle her ass.
He said, "What? Me?"
I looked at him and asked, "You want to be spanked?"
He looked confused. She ROARED.
It was the second time he was confused this evening... apparently one of his jokes this evening started as... "Where do you find a Mistress?"
She said, "In the living room." (where I was)
He said, "What??"
Poor man.

(Which reminds me. I should check up on G. to see how things are going with training his submissive wife to be my pretty pony. Its a lot of work domming a Dom--they are so used to being the ones doing the mind-fucking. Part of me hopes he's not gotten very far. I would so very much enjoy figging him for his failure.)


Irrepressible me

this is an audio post - click to play

Life is better than I have any right to expect. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that I am irrepressible. I am incapable of being depressed, repressed, or suppressed for more than an hour or two at a time.

Plus, I have a lot to be grateful for. Especially my friends. And my roomie.

My roommate is a TPE domestic (while living with me, anyway) submissive named C. She is between Masters--in fact, I have right of refusal on her next one, as her heart (and cunt) have no brain cells and she tends to fall for real jerks (IMHO, most "Doms" are men who have issues with women or their own masculinity). Anyway, I called her from Las Vegas and asked her to chill a bottle of viognier for me. She spent all of Saturday cleaning house, so when I got home, everything was spotless, the wine was cold, and the hug was warm.

She did everything but the windows, which I did Sunday morning while she was still asleep, so she would not feel badly for missing them. Sunday morning I was awake at 6am, five hours sleep on a tempurpedic being sufficient rest for me. I made a breakfast of granola and yogurt and blueberries, did some gardening, washed windows, and sat back to read a bit of Oscar Wilde. He always makes me smile. My current favorite of his epigrams is: "I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

The silence and solitude of Sunday morning were truly golden. I do so love being alone. I basked in it, and slowly relaxed. I met M. for late lunch at Saburos (wonderful sushi--their unagi nigeri is so good, my mouth is watering remembering it). Spoke to B. about the Love Tribe Snuggle Salon starting at 6pm. He insisted it would be good for me, that I really needed it. He was right. Four hours of snuggling and massaging and I felt amazing afterwards. I'm a little sore today, but it was worth it.

When I got home from the Snuggle, C. was feeling social. I thanked her for all the things she'd done, and we sat on my bed and talked, and she showed me some of the fruits of her efforts with a graphic design project she is working on. It was good to be near her, and her undemanding socialness.

I take care of her, she takes care of me. I'm so lucky -- I always said I wanted a wife. Now I get all the benefits of one, w/o the sex. Which is fine :) I'm off women for a while, anway.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

(PI)(NK): A thought

If a woman wears pants with the letters PI NK on her bottom---is that an invitation for a spanking... or is she advertising that her bottom is already pink?


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Acceptance / Failure / Defeat

During an interview, Robert Schuller once asked Larry King "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?"

That question struck a chord deep within me, and has guided my actions whenever fear of failure starts to rise within me.

This week began better than expected. She accepted that she was the cause of her condition, that 12 years of self-neglect had culminated in malnutrition so severe she was diagnosed with the 'wet' version of beri-beri and three bleeding ulcers, one of which requires surgery once she quits smoking.

It ended in a courthouse. I stood before a judge and stated that unless my sister gets the help she needs, I expect by the end of the year I'll get a phone call to come bury her. It was a last ditch effort. It failed. I expected it would, as it is difficult to force committals, but I had to try. I would not be able to live with myself if I didn't attempt everything I possibly could before going home.

Part of me is being hardnosed. I refuse to become part of the problem... I refuse to become another person enabling her to stay sick--and in doing so, help her die. I will not be another person watching her slowly spiral downwards. I will not be the wind beneath her wings as she does so. Is this Tough-love? Self-preservation? Or insanity? I went there to help her, but I soon realized that the help I could give was not the help she needed... and my sense of failure is tied to the fact that she is no closer to getting the help she really, desperately, needs...

My only hope is that my attempt to force her into the care she needs will make her angry enough to decide she wants to live, to prove me wrong. Even if it means she hates me for the rest of her least she would live.

Only time will tell...

It is a beautiful afternoon here at Bradley Airport, maybe 75F, low humidity, few clouds. The sky is blue, a pastel blue so different from the azure skies at home. Trees everywhere, not a mountain in sight. I miss the volcanos. I miss Mt Hood and Mt St Helens. I miss my spot on the river, the scent of incense cedar and noble fir, the community garden full of flowers. In 24 hours I'll be ensconced in the comfort of my life, enjoying the beauty of my home--and waiting for that fateful phone call that means I will miss my sister for the rest of my life.

What would you attempt even if you knew you would fail?

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The transience of life

buddha and shadow (c) Kayar Silkenvoice
this is an audio post - click to play
For years, I've been told that I have a very interesting perspective on life, that my sensualism and my intense enjoyment of the beauty--the everyday sensual immediacy--of life is, if not unique, then unusually well-expressed.

I started this blog with the intention of making public some of these deeply personal written and photographic expressions, because the media is so overwhelming in its attention to, and expression of, the current of negativity running through the world right now. I wanted it to be an antidote.

For all the deeply personal information I've put here, I've tried to address various topics in such a way that anyone could relate to what I was saying. I've been seeking to express what I have in common with others, what all of us have in common--the universality of the human experience. I wanted to show everyone who read this blog to the beauty of their own existence. Reality beauty.

Life is so very beautiful. So very beautiful and so terrifyingly transient.

It is this transience I am addressing today.

I have a sister who is ill. Very very ill. And as her illness has progressed from acute to chronic, as she faces the prospect of a life radically different from the one she had just 9 months ago, she has lost the will to live. She is slowly dying. She is allowing herself to die in a very slow and excruciating way--and she denies it.

And I... I am caught in an ethical dilemma. It is easy for me to say that Life is beautiful. My life is beautiful. My world is beautiful. And it is all the more so for all the suffering I have experienced and witnessed. It is easy for me to be outraged with her for giving up. It is easy for me to urge her to keep trying. But her life is not mine.

My ethical dilemma is this: It is her life, and her choice, I know. But she is not making the choice consciously. She is in denial, both of the seriousness of her condition, and her apathy. And I am torn between respecting her wish--respecting her right to die--and my horror of the death she has chosen. I am being urged to do something more than I have been, to take extreme measures, to intervene. To Intervene.

There is a fine line between interference and intervention. When I ask myself, intellectually, what the difference is, I know it is a gray area. But my heart, oh, my heart knows the difference.

And so, I have grabbed the horns of my dilemma, and committed myself to an intervention that will earn me more verbal abuse and rage from her. I prefer her anger to her apathy. I prefer that she live.

I'm girding my loins to go into battle with a woman for her life. I'm not sure when I'll be able to post again, but I did not want those who follow this blog to continue to be concerned by my sudden silence.


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