“We must learn to position ourselves effortlessly within each moment, rather than stumbling through time. We can either escape from the moment or stay with it as it unfolds and do something good with it.”
– C.M. Forni, The Civility Solution
Last night was rough.
Last night was great.
I’m not sure whether the latter really would have been possible had we not had the former.
I’m going to try to explain without going into too much TMI, because this is not designed to be a post about Me and My Problems. It’s supposed to be a post about staying in the moment, and focus, and moving through rather than around things. So try and stay with me here, ok?
Change is a stressful thing for humans, whether you thrive on that stress or not. And even though this move to Pittsburgh is not quite unexpected, it adds stresses to my relationship with my best friend and lover Naiia, who has lived with me for most of a year now. Like many relationships where people are very close and care very much for each other, we got into one of Those Fights.
You know the ones I’m talking about. The kind where you start out talking, go into arguing, and then suddenly you’re both sitting there not quite sure what you’re arguing about, or at least where you’re going with it, but the air is full of tension and anger. Even knowing that the anger is just a flip side of the love you share, even knowing that the points you made are pointless, even knowing that you’ve actually communicated with each other and understand each other – you still have that heart-pounding grrrr feeling. There is this urge to be right.
One of the tools I learned (the hard way) through many such “discussions” is the “What do you need to hear from me?” question. That’s not saying “I’ll say it if you’ll just shut up!” It’s checking in, because often – more often than you think – what they need to hear is something that’s easy to say, and it’s often not what you think. You think, in an argument, they want to hear “I’m wrong, I was an idiot, you were totally right in every way” and you’ll be damned if you’re going to give them that. Instead, you ask that question, and you find out “I need to hear that you still love me.” What? Huh? Yes, of course! That’s easy to say!
Last night, after we’d gone round the various points a few times, I finally asked that question in a way that Naiia was able to answer. I need to know that this hasn’t spoiled the entire evening. Because we had been planning on playing last night, trying to get some quality kink time in before I start the process of moving this weekend.
It wasn’t an easy task. I talk and teach a lot about energy, about “feeling” your way through a scene, and let me tell you, the way we felt in that moment there was not “good” energy between us. Could I have made her cry, could she have made me cum, could we have left marks? Sure, going through the motions. But just forcing that kind of play would have been very counter-productive.
Instead, she took a short walk. I read a little. Then, when she returned, I pulled out some of our favorite rope (4-strand Bavarian Blonde from Twisted Monk via Lee Harrington & Sheryn B) and we decided to just play on the new AIS Events frame. Not “Play” in the dungeon sense; “play” with a little-p. It was the same as if we were ten years old and I’d said “Hey, wanna go swing on the swingset? I’ll push you!“
We didn’t try to force our way out of the grr moment into some jarring shift to intimacy. Instead, we gently let the grr fade out, and then just as gently invited the intimacy and hotness in by just putting the parts in motion. We set ourselves in a place where we were doing the familiar – putting on a drum-tie harness, going into an inversion, taking some pictures – and bit by bit it led us away from the grr and into some quite wonderful mmm.
And that’s my point, I think. The utility of staying in the moment, letting the argument and the feelings it brought up burn themselves out, and then letting the simple “let’s play with rope” moment build into quite a hot scene. It’s one of the things I teach in my ShadowPlay class: when you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. The right action presents itself, if you just are quiet enough to hear it.