Keynote Address – BOLD 2014

I Am Doing a Great Work, I Cannot Come Down.

Good Evening.

It is good to be here with you tonight.

Here’s a question; What do an old testament architect, an airline captain and an erect penis have in common with each other?

At first glance not a whole lot, but I assure you that if you stay with me for a moment you will find that they are all related, very much so.

So let’s begin.

So it came to pass that…. As a storyteller, I believe that next to Once Upon a Time, So It Came to Pass is the best opening to a story in my opinion anyway..

And… So it came to pass that…

 In the sacred text we see that there is a man Nehemiah, an official in the Persian Court who is also cupbearer to the king – who in the course of time discovers that there is something terribly amiss and that is troubling him.

In fact this situation is troubling him SO much, that you can see it all over his face.

In the course of his duties in the palace he comes across the King… and the King seeing his countenance fallen like this asks what’s going on.

He says, in the ways of Kingly speech –

 Nehemiah…. why the face??? What’s going on here?

 Nehemiah replies to the King – the walls of my city are fallen and its gates have been burned with fire and the citizens thereof scattered to the four winds.

 The King replies – what would make you feel better? As they are friends, inasmuch as a King and a cup bearer can be said to be friends, the King wants to know what He can do to help with the situation that is troubling his friend – Nehemiah replies that he would feel better if the walls to the city of Jerusalem could be rebuilt and restored and that his kinsmen be gathered together again.

The King replies in the manner of Kings – Go… and see to this thing and report back to me.

So with the kings blessing and under that authority Nehemiah did travel with the appropriate papers and official seals and such and on his way to the jobsite he began to gather materials and workmen and shortly we find that he did indeed begin the project…. the work of rebuilding the walls.

And wouldn’t you know it – Right from the very beginning – work hadn’t even been started well yet…and there’s trouble on the horizon.

I won’t get too deep into the meat of this story just yet – I want you to pause right there, see this is an important part of the story – but lets pause for a moment, we will come back to Nehemiah a little later and see how he’s doing.

Instead I want you to come with me aboard Eastern Air Lines Flight 401.

Eastern Air Flight 401 was a Lockheed L-1011-1 Tri-Star jet; the jet is only 4 months old.

Its 11:42pm on December 29, 1972, and we are on a routine flight from New York to Miami.

From all indications this flight was indeed routine until about 11:32 p.m., when the flight began its approach into Miami International Airport.

There’s the usual scritchy airline captains voice coming over the intercom telling everyone that ‘we are going into final approach,’ giving the correct time and telling everyone the usual, how important it is to take your seats and fasten seat belts and all that kind of thing.

You know the drill; we’ve all been through it any number of times.

And as they settle into their approach to the Miami airport they lower the landing gears.

After lowering the gear, the first officer Stockstill noticed that the landing gear indicator, a green light identifying that the nose gear is properly locked in the “down” position, did not light up the way it was supposed to.

The captain, Mr. Loft, who was working the radio during this leg of the flight, told the tower in Miami that flight 401 would discontinue their approach to the Miami airport and they requested to enter a holding pattern.

The approach controller cleared the flight to climb to two thousand feet and then hold west over the Everglades.

This is routine – they then make an announcement to the folks in the cabin that they are in a holding pattern and the crew immediately begins working on fixing this problem

The cockpit crew removed the light assembly and the second officer Repo was dispatched into the avionics bay beneath the flight deck to check visually through a small viewing window to see if the gear was down.

Fifty seconds after reaching the assigned altitude of 2000 feet, the captain instructed first officer Stockstill to put the L-1011 on autopilot.  And then for the next eighty seconds, the plane maintained level flight.

Then, it dropped one hundred feet, (not a major deal) so now we are at 1900 feet…and then again flew level for two more minutes, after which it began a descent so gradual the crew could not perceive it. 

In the next seventy seconds, the plane lost an additional 250 feet and this was enough to trigger the altitude warning chime located under the engineer’s workstation. This puts us at around 1600 feet and the plane is still in a gradual descent….

Now if you’ve ever been walking onto a plane while the crew goes through the pre-flight check, they always check a multitude of these warning chimes, bells and whistles so to speak before they push back and go in flight. Sometimes you may hear this computerized voice say things like “Wind Shear!” “Wind Shear!” “Pull UP!” Pull UP!!” “Flaps! Flaps!” and other phrases and words designed to specifically alert the pilot that something is seriously amiss and needs to be corrected immediately.

Well, when the alarm went off this time, there was no indication that anyone heard it.

Why?

Because the person that is responsible for monitoring such things (the second officer Repo) is now in the avionics bay looking for the source of the problem of the light that malfunctioned.

As a result, the plane considered its gradual descent…and in another fifty seconds the plane was at half its assigned altitude. So we are at about 1000 feet and still descending….

As Stockstill started another turn, onto 180 degrees, he noticed the discrepancy. The following conversation was recovered from the flight voice recorder later:

Stockstill: We did something to the altitude.

Loft: What?

Stockstill: We’re still at 2,000 feet, right?

Loft: Hey—what’s happening here?

These guys are trained professionals; it probably occurred to them in an instant exactly what had happened.

The plane was now less than 1000 feet above the everglades, which were pitch black because well…they are the Everglades for goodness sakes, not a whole lot of ambient light pollution like there would be over a big city to indicate where the horizon is in relation to where YOU are in a big giant plane. And yes, they have that ‘horizon’ indicator that works; in fact they have a multitude of devices that can tell them at a glance exactly what’s happening.

But it was a perfect storm of simple errors, simple mistakes.

Any one of which would be a minor thing – not a big deal at all.

In the aggregate however – all of them happening at the most inopportune time…. you have a perfect storm of the worst thing that could happen.

Cumulatively – the effect was devastating to the pilots and to the unsuspecting people in the cabin behind them.

If you have the plane on autopilot and the people who are responsible for keeping the plane in the air are preoccupied with finding out about this light that isn’t working right, and the person who is supposed to be listening for the alarm is unfortunately nowhere around when the altitude alarm goes off, well…

If you know a little bit about planes, you know that when a plane turns, or banks – it can lose both airspeed and altitude rapidly unless the pilot gives the plane a little more gas – but they were in this gentle holding pattern (they thought) so no extraordinary flight maneuvers required, just a gentle turn and then its back onto the straightaway – a holding pattern is kind of an oval in shape, and its like an old fashioned racetrack…. straightaway, turn, straightaway…over and over again.

But in this case all of the mistakes added up to a really serious situation.

All of the possibilities collapsing down to a single moment in time of devastating certainty.

The plane has lost too much altitude and when they begin to go into this gentle turn at what they believe is 2000 feet above the inky surface of the Florida everglades, by this time they are probably a hundred or so feet above the surface…. and as a result the wing of the plane cuts into the surface of the Everglade swamp followed shortly by the fuselage and the rest of the plane at approximately 250 miles an hour, killing 101 of the 176 souls onboard.

This was discovered to be due to a burned-out light bulb. The landing gear could have been manually lowered either way. The pilots cycled the landing gear but still failed to get the confirmation light that they were looking for and as a result kept looking for the source of the problem, distracted from the much larger problem that was rapidly going to become part of their reality.

Their single minded focus on what seemed to be the most important thing at the time led to the first crash of a wide-body aircraft and at the time of this particular tragedy the second deadliest single-aircraft disaster in the U.S.

What Matters Most to you??

We’ve all done it.

Succumbed to the very human tendency to focus on the relatively insignificant at the expense of the profound.

It happens to all of us, not just airline pilots – it happens to everyone.

Sending a text when you need to be paying attention to the road.

Reaching over to get your phone, or your soft drink or whatever is really interesting on the seat of your vehicle traveling at speed down the highway.

It will only be a moment.

A quick second.

But that’s all it takes really, right?

Road conditions change, something happens that we weren’t expecting and then we are in a situation.

Focusing on the insignificant at the expense of the profound.

It’s relatively easy to get distracted by something that looks like it might be important

And hell, for all we know it seems like it might be something that really ‘needs doing’.  We are a nation of problem solvers; we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, to juggle priorities, to come up with solutions….

But focusing on the insignificant at the expense of the profound can have disastrous consequences.

Now lets check in with Nehemiah at the job site.

Work is proceeding along, he’s got his men working, he’s got all of the necessary materials – the old burned stuff has been hauled away and the walls are going up!

Where there was nothing happening before – now there is the sound and activity, the hustle and bustle of new construction!

As Nehemiah continues to build, where there was rubble and in some places nothing at all – he attracts attention.

People who didn’t have an opinion one-way or the other prior to the construction – well…now they have an issue.

And like folk will do when there’s something new happening that they don’t understand and maybe don’t agree with…

Some will come and appear on the surface to support what you are doing – while at the same time undermining it under the banner of ‘I’m just trying to understand’.

And then some will want you to stop doing whatever you are doing, as in Nehemiah’s case, until they give you the authorization to proceed.

And for each of those – because the work that you do is so significant and necessary – it doesn’t really matter what the interruption is about, if you’re Nehemiah you do not have time to come down from building the wall!!!

That’s job ONE. Building that wall!

That’s why you asked the King and got His permission!

That’s why you gathered all these materials together!

That’s why you were able to recruit all these men to help with the construction!

You have to realize that in order for the wall to get built, you cannot come down…to chat! 

YOU HAVE WORK TO DO.

Your work is important,

Your work is necessary

Your work is vital

Your work is no accident.

So the naysayers and the ‘well, why don’t you just stop until we can UNDERSTAND just what’s going on around here’ people would come to the jobsite and they wanted to talk.  They would invite him to meetings constantly, they would say why don’t you take a moment from what you are doing and come and talk with us about this project?

And Nehemiah’s reply was…Um NO.  Can’t do it.

I have work to do here.

In fact, I am doing a GREAT work, and no…I cannot come down.

And sometimes – Your answer must be similar – what he actually said to them was ‘if I come down from the wall to talk with you, how is the work going to get done?

If I stop what I’m doing to come down from the wall and talk to YOU…HOW is the WORK going to get DONE????

So – No, thank you.

I am doing a great work – I cannot come down.

As I understand it – (and because I took the time to read the trifold, lol) The purposes and origins of MDHL are three fold:

To develop a sense of community, to foster a sense of ethics, transparency and accountability among those that identify as MDHL-fs, and to better understand and define the dynamic, sharing mutual experiences…..

I believe that when you desire to develop a sense of community among Dominant men and submissive/slave women to address concerns that are specific to their lifestyle dynamic – there will be some…. that do not understand you.

Or that will want you to stop building…until they can get a grip on you

Or who will just hate on you for even trying.

I am doing a Great Work – I cannot come down

When you endeavor to foster a sense of ethics, transparency and accountability among those who identify as MDHL-fs.  –

You will be opposed by those that are for whatever their reasons might be – challenged by those notions, of ethics, of transparency and of accountability.

You see, there were a number of people in power in the neighborhood of Nehemiah’s job site back in the day and one of the first issues that happened was that the landscape literally began changing around them.  They could no longer operate in ways that they had become accustomed.

In their cases they had been running up prices in the local real estate market and were doing a host of unethical things to the populace, but the re-building of the walls began to draw attention to other things that were not exactly as they should have been.

So change began to happen.

And they didn’t appreciate it, not one bit.

The work that was going on re-defined what it meant to be a part of that community, illuminating some things that needed changing…. and the same thing is happening today around us.

Don’t be surprised when Haters begin Hating – as the eminent theologian K. Williams wryly observed; Hater’s will in fact Hate – because you see that the role of Hater is not only a lifestyle, but an identity as well.

I am doing a Great Work – I cannot come down.

And Thirdly, I read that one of the things that you purpose to do is to work to better understand and define the dynamic we engage in through careful and thoughtful reflection and sharing of mutual experiences.

You have committed yourself onto a path to engage and to educate.

The BOLD implications of such an endeavor will open you up to criticism but more importantly in order to reach those that need to hear this message you must be vulnerable.

And yes I am BOLD enough to use the word BOLD in describing the BOLD nature of such an endeavor. (lol)

It can be tough to be vulnerable.  –  I recently wrote a piece on our mainstream website, richardandnamaste.com called ‘living my life as a dick’ that goes straight to the heart of that matter. My namaste actually wrote a piece about living her life as a clitoris which was amazing and wonderful in its own right and inspired me to write my article in response – check it out when you have a moment, she’s truly wonderful.

I am doing a Great Work – I cannot come down.

As a storyteller, I realized very early in my life that all of the most important lessons we learn in this life are carried to our hearts and minds through the vehicle of story.

I believe that you cannot really, truly know a person until you know their story…

That is why vulnerability is so important.

You see, you cannot engage in thoughtful reflection and sharing of mutual experiences if you are not willing to be honest about who you are and what your experiences have been.

If you putter around not sharing the essential you with the men around you, not sharing the essential you with the women around you, you are doing what the well-meaning crew of Eastern Airlines flight 401 was doing.

What a dear friend and colleague of mine used to call, ‘majoring in the minors’.

You will be focusing intently on the burned out light bulb of insignificance…while the plane full of people that ONLY you can reach hurtle toward their doom as the inky blackness of their own personal Everglades hurtles up to meet them.

The passengers of flight 401 didn’t know what hit them.

And the people on YOUR watch won’t know either…. If you aren’t focused on the WORK.

the WORK that you are uniquely qualified and charged to accomplish.

I am doing a Great Work – I cannot come down.

 So…..What if I did decide to go through my life as a Dick for just 24 hours.

  • To be the embodiment of masculinity, virile and potent
  • While simultaneously being vulnerable and tender.
  • As actualized masculine essence – Enthusiastically and vigorously inserting myself directly into situations that feel good to me, that bring me pleasure.
  • While at the same time avoiding or literally not responding at all to that which is not good to me or for me…I instinctually avoid those situations that are tense, are upstream or not pleasurable
  • Instead, I dive deeply into wondrous and mysterious places and situations again and again enthusiastically and passionately..
  • I find to my amazement that what was previously closed to me is now open, expectant and waiting for my arrival – everything is prepared for my ease and comfort, no detail has been neglected
  • I also move with ease through a world that receives me openly, deliciously and responds to my every movement with waves of acceptance and reflects my pleasure back to me multiplied and expansive.
  • When I am exactly where I should be, where I need to be, where I want to be – I feel invincible and magnificent. Nothing comes close to how wonderful I feel
  • In truth, I belong right here, right now – the situations and circumstances in which I find myself are literally tailor made for me – the most comfortable and delicious fit imaginable and I notice how exciting that is to me.
  • You see, I am committed to only taking inspired action – and enthusiastically rising to the occasion at the right time!
  • Additionally…I also effortlessly let things that no longer serve me pass right through me, I don’t hold onto things past their time.
  • I am so in love with my Purpose and I look forward expectantly to each opportunity to actualize my Purpose in this time and space.
  • Fully inhabiting this space, being the penis with all the potentiality of that energy and the intensity of this experience….is a Good Thing.  Seriously

If every man was truly and authentically a Dick..I mean, in the ways that I’ve just described, I believe that the world would be a much better off as a result.

So my advice to you is – Be A Dick. You owe it to yourself.

Be vulnerable.

Be strong.

Be about the work that you were purposed to do, that you NEED to do.

And take pleasure in doing so.

I am doing a Great Work…

I cannot come down.

Thank you.

BOLD 2013- And why you should be at BOLD2014!

We are currently on the plane flying home from BOLD 2013. There are dozens of thoughts, ideas, perceptions and more buzzing through both of us – things we can’t wait to dialogue about more deeply, things we find ourselves mentally chewing on even now.

So what is BOLD – Bold is a conference specifically to celebrate the MDHL identity and Lifestyle. MDHL standing for Male Dominant Heterosexual Leather. While anyone and everyone is welcome to attend the conference– the emphasis and focus of the classes is on the education and celebration of MDHL relationships.

This was our second year attending BOLD and the second year of BOLD as a conference. Beginnings are sacred and last year did not disappoint. This year was just as good- although a bit better for us because we weren’t under the time constraints of last year and had an opportunity to more deeply immerse ourselves into the conference.

First let me say a few words about the Monarchs. The Monarchs are the group of amazing Dominant Men  and their beautiful women who put on BOLD.  Having observed them for the last couple of years from afar and also during the conference – I say without reservation that this is what Male Dominance can aspire to look like. These men are not all cookie cutter – nor are their women. Some are outspoken, some are the silent type. The forms that their Dominance take and the ways that the submission of the women is expressed are as diverse as it comes – but there is an energetic feeling that pervades them. This feeling of knowing and being unapologetic for who they are.  There is also this feeling of it being Family and Fraternal. The bonds extending beyond a conference or a group dialogue into the lives that the members lead. Trust, accountability, Honor. Of course I have no way of knowing if this is true but this is my over whelming perspective. I observed the way they interacted with Their women and with me. Chivalry seemed to be the word of the day. The women had the quiet joy and power that I have only witnessed in women who know their worth in a bone deep way and are well handled and taken care of. It is refreshing, powerful, intoxicating. I wish there was a Monarchs chapter locally that we could be a part of.

The conference itself is a wealth of information. This year there was a skills track that I do not recall from last year (although it may have been there). Because skills are something we can get anywhere – I was far less interested in that track – but we did get to attend a few classes as well as teaching. The audience was engaged and receptive. The teachers were dynamic and open.  The efficiency of the timing, the way evaluations are handled, door monitoring etc; all of it was phenomenal and second to none. Seriously I feel that many many conferences should talk to the Organizers of BOLD and get a few tips – I know we will should we decide to put on a conference.

Here’s the thing – If you are in a Male Dominant/ female submissive or similar type dynamic BOLD is a conference that it on our MUST attend list. It is a conference we have decided we plan to attend every year. We believe strongly that there is something to be gained when we take the time to not only all play together -but to also immerse ourselves in environments that are geared towards our orientations and identities. Much like the feeling when one goes to a women’s only event or male only space,that feeling of Potency and Intensity in being around others who are on the same path (though we do not walk in the same shoes) elevates you in a way you can not find being in a more general setting. It is NOT about putting down our times of playing together, or being together, it is about connecting with our selves by remaining connected to the energy that brought us to this point to begin with. About having a space to honor and Celebrate the type of dynamic that fulfills us without apology or disclaimer.   When we think about BOLD the thought that comes to us is that often in our diverse and inclusive community – we are like a beautiful sea of birds – all of different breeds, colors and habits. When you go to an event with a specific niche or focus  – it is like surrounding yourself with birds of the same breed as yourself.  You are increased, expanded, able to stretch your wings in ways you can not when you’re all together – you remember who you are – making the whole Kingdom greater when you come back together.

If you’re planning your events for 2014 – make sure you add BOLD to the list. You will not be disappointed!

You can register at: BoldCon.com! – http://boldcon.com/

Endnote – BOLD2013 Closing Address

“Enter as you wish to be in it, Exit as you wish to remain”

There is a strength in being a woman. We have the magical capability of creating, containing, multiplying and giving birth to that which could not had been unless it came through the chrysalis of the Feminine. There is a softness is being a woman, Master often says He does not understand how we can go through the world in such a state, so easily wounded, with tears that fall just as easily from joy as from sorrow. Emotions that rise to the surface unbidden, loving so fiercely even though it may cost us dearly.

There is a power in surrender. In recognizing and entrusting all of that strength and softness, and wild sacred beauty to reach its fulfillment at the feet of a Man. A power in owning the longing, and yearning, hungry passion and pleasure that is only met belonging to another – and in knowing the secret – that we are not lessened by that experience – no – in fact I am increased in a way that can only occur by that which enlivens in me a memory, an epiphany, a knowing that comes from seeing, embracing and making love to the woman I actually am through the experience of being His. For this amazing gift …for the exquisite joy of this experience I am thankful. And I must give honor to whom honor is due – To Masculine Dominance – I would like to Celebrate You for a moment- from the Heart of the Surrendered, Feminine Divine .

Your masculinity is a gift. It is a gift to you and to me. I love it and I cherish it and what it brings to the Table. It is something worth protecting, honoring and affirming.

As a man- You have skills and gifts that are different from mine- and, while I may not have always understood them – I honor them.

Our differences make us dynamic -a force to be reckoned with. It enables us to do things we could not do without you. I believe in You, I have faith in You. Your imperfection is what makes You touchable, reachable, knowable.

Thank you for Being an Alpha Male. Thank you for the rich depth of feeling, of doing, of Vision and Purpose that You possess. Thank You for Owning the Power of Both Your Masculinity and Your Dominance. I appreciate You. Your sacrifice, Your struggles and Your steadfastness. I know it is not easy to walk the path You walk. To stand in the Office and Authority You do. I know sometimes You are uncertain of the Path or unknowing of the the greatness of Your Power. That it is a great and awesome responsibility to Own another person. It is my hope that as I walk this path, whether my service call me to stand beside You, to stand back to back with You, or to walk behind You -that I am the living testament to this Truth: That You are worthy, You are Brilliant and Your Dominance and Maleness are indeed not only to be accepted – but to be celebrated. May You find Yourself well met in me.

To my sisters- may you leave this place in the Presence and strength of knowing who you are. May every good and perfect gift come out of your service. May you share your Luminosity with the world. May you find the joy of living as you are purposed to live and the actualization that can only come from the acknowledgement of yourself as one of the wonders of the Universe.

To the Dominants and Masters- may You go forth in Focus and full of Light. May You embrace with Pride and Dignity Your Alpha nature. May You with amazing Power, Strength and Magnitude embody the Divine Masculine infinitely and magically. May You see Your magnificence mirrored in the eyes of Your woman.

The Divine in me bows in acknowledgement of the Divine in you – may you exit this place as you wish to remain.

~slave namaste

SWLC 2013

This past weekend Master and I attended the SouthWest Leather Conference 2013

It was an amazing conference and while we were too occupied to attend any classes I still came away with a profound and deep opening and understanding.

Master and I were honored to have been asked to teach one class and to emcee for the event. This was our first time emcee’ing at a Lifestyle event and it was SUCH a Blast! We really enjoyed ourselves and based on the feedback – the audience found it pleasurable as well. Congrats to the new Titleholders Todd and elizabath as SWLC Master and slave 2013, and Treasure as SWLC Bootblack 2013. All of the contestants were absolutely phenomenal!!

We spent most of the weekend working on a Big Project that has been on Master’s Heart and in His Vision for a while – and one which I am honored to help bring to pass. More on this very very soon.

Beyond the sitting with some of the most amazing, seasoned and respected Leather people in my life gleaning wisdom, insight and depth,  bringing Mama Reinhardt to tears, introducing a new look, meeting new people and getting to know a lot better many others – one of the highlights of the weekend was listening to Master Patrick Mulcahey’s Keynote. When it appears online I will definitely link to it. Master called it “pure poetry” – we were both moved to tears. I know my recollection will not do it justice- but there were two main take-aways that were most resonant for me and reflective of my own thoughts.

  • Spirituality takes many forms. There is no one true way of connection to Spirit. Everyone does not feel that they hear from the Universe. The NOT hearing can be as much a part of their path as hearing. ( And from this I deepen my understanding of the role of each of us. Sometimes the Voice of the Universe is really YOUR Voice… how’s that for powerful??)
  • The idea that M/s should not involve being in love with your Master or slave, or that being in love somehow lessens the dynamic or is a “lower” form of M/s is not universally accepted – nor should it be. There can be both a Oneness (The Master Owns His slave in the same way that He owns His hand), an a love relationship that does not lessen the dynamic at all. It is just yet another facet and expression that this beautiful thing called Power Exchange can take.

I was also honored to be the recipient of the SWLC Leatherwoman’s Award 2013.  This award is given to one who is felt to exemplify authenticity and integrity. I can not express in words the shock, honor and weight this held for me. I am truly humbled to have been honored in this way. Master received  the Leatherman’s award last year and for me to follow in His footsteps is doubly blessed. Thank you.

So – if you haven’t attend SWLC – please do – its an amazing amazing conference full of WOO (Spirit) and connection and lots and lots of love!

In submission and surrender to Him,

slave Namaste

MASTER OBSIDIAN’S KEYNOTE BLACK BEAT 2010

The spaces between us…..

We have good intentions when we start out.  We want to be thought well of. We want to be the people our dogs believe that we are.

But many times we don’t measure up.

This has been a busy week for the both of us.  Three days ago I was on my back in the cancer ward of the MD Anderson hospital in Houston.  My brother has leukemia and has been battling it for some time.  He told me over 2 years ago that if things ever got serious, he’d let me know.  And so we talked, we hung out and laughed and had bbq and got mad at each other over stupid stuff, and time passed – but I knew when I got the call this would be serious and it would be time to go.

So I went to Houston for the procedure – it does involve needle play, and not in a good way.  Over 100 needle sticks – thankfully I was asleep for all the bad parts – I don’t like anesthesia though.

They go into your hip bones and extract bone marrow – the purpose of which is to extract the stem cells, in the meantime they’ve spent the past three weeks literally killing his immune system.  My cells in combination with his will join together to repair the damaged place in his DNA that tells his blood to keep making cancer cells and also to attack and kill the cancer cells that are present.

That’s the plan.

The spaces between us arent so great we found – Im not a 100 percent match, Im actually closer to 70%. But nobody, not friends, family, even his children matched as closely as we do.  And it wasn’t because of my rugged good looks, my intellect or my charming wit and sparkling personality that I match.

I match because of things that we share that are quite literally beyond my control.

Enough perhaps to make a difference in his life.  To save his life.

I would remind you also that almost exactly one year and eight months ago something happened which many people believed was just straight out impossible.  The nation came together to elect a black man president.

What does that have to do with you, you may ask?  The relevance of this singular event in our nations history is that we proved that we could do something – we could join together and repair the spaces that divide us in pursuit of one common goal.

And make no mistake black people – you did not do it alone.  There were plenty of people from across this nation that put aside whatever their issues were that divided them and embraced the ideas that they had in common and somehow managed to reduce the spaces between us all until that thing we thought was impossible…..became a reality.

There literally arent enough of us to make that happen – it took literally a nation of millions to make this a reality.

Of course that was only the beginning – after winning the presidency there’s the arduous task of actually leading the nation, and that is apparently a horse of a different color entirely.  It’s a tough job.  Im confident that he’s up to the challenge though.

Over three years ago, I was asked if we were willing to run for this title, in the Leather community the title of Southwest Master and Southwest Slave, as we are in the SW region.  I thought long and hard about what that would mean and what that would require.  At the time we didn’t even think about the International – we were having a hard enough time wrestling with the idea of running for the Southwest title.   The question came again – are you willing?  And the answer came back, yes – we will do it.  So we did, and became the first African American M/s couple to not only win the Southwest, but we also won the International title as well.  In this day and age you’d think that we’d pretty much run out of “the first Black whatever”, but apparently we were mistaken.  So why is this significant and I don’t believe what Im hearing……. but did Master Obsidian just draw a parallel between Barack and Michelle winning the White House and them winning the International and Southwest titles?  Has he lost his dayum mind? They must have taken out too much bone marrow because he’s definitely taken leave of his senses!!!

No, I havent – admittedly one of those is MUCH more important than the other.  I’ll leave that for you to decide which one.  Im just kidding.

They both are illustrative of what can happen when a group of people truly understands that it is the spaces between us where we are weakest – and when we draw closer together as a collective, we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to.

It also illustrates that nobody does this alone.  One man with one vote isnt enough to elect a president. One judges opinion carries the same weight – but together making a decision to choose what we believe is right we are unstoppable.

And it also illustrates that occaisionally what binds us together are things that we share that transcend the individual.

Ok, enough of the lofty metaphors – I was watching the discovery channel and the program was about the buffalo on the african plain – they really have NO defensive weapons whatsoever.
but when a lioness is trying to eat them…they form a circle and the weak and inexperienced are contained within that circle..and the strong face toward the outside and the ability of the predator to affect the group is measured quite literally by the spaces between those who are strongest.  when we allow ourselves to be far apart – when the space between our figurative shoulders can be measured in months, in years – then is it any wonder that we are so easily torn apart by those that really shouldnt be any threat whatsoever?

Words are not enough.  We must do.

So here we have run the gamut from human biology to political processes and leather contests. From the water buffalo to the white house.

So what?

What does this mean to you and how does this apply to our community?

For those who have already heard enough – you already know in your hearts what you need to do starting tonight.

For everyone else, let me get more specific.

The late president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat (who, with former Israeli prime minister Menachem

Begin, brought about the Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt) wrote these words while he was a young man in solitary confinement in a Cairo prison, “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress.”

Just like the water buffalo in the earlier example, some of us just don’t get it.  Its always someone elses fault, someone elses problem. Understand this however –  The predator doesn’t care about your issues or who’s ultimately at fault – the spaces between you are just enough to provide the access that is necessary to bring harm.

And it is the spaces between you that continue to be just wide enough, just big enough to provide access to that which you don’t want.

In your leather families.

In your groups.

In your households.

In your relationships.

Its not enough to point out what’s wrong with this picture.  You ALREADY KNOW WHATS WRONG.

But….How do we make it right?

We have got to learn to trust each other again. To seize the initiative and to reach out first.. instead of waiting to be reached out TO.

The spaces between us will not be mended with good intentions – the imaginary good that you might one day do if the perfect situation presents itself is worthless without action.  The spaces between us will NOT be mended with good intentions – besides, everyone knows that we are busy using those good intentions as paving stones on the road to hell so they are actually on backorder…sorry, theres just not enough to go around.

The spaces between us will not be mended with fakery or manipulation.  No tricks.

Trust is the fruit of the tree of regular actions, inspired by our consciences.  It is rarely produced by a dramatic one time effort.

Steven Covey says Loyalty, Apologies, Feedback and Forgiveness Are what builds trust among people and I agree with him.

Loyalty – what does this mean?  Loyalty means being loyal to those not present.  It means not joining in when everyone starts in on the Asshole of the Month discussion.  You’ve got to make a difference, you have to take a stand.

Apologies – when’s the last time you apologized for anything???  For some of us its been decades.  To learn to say “I was wrong” – “I was tripping” – My Bad – Im sorry.  A sincere apology can work wonders to repair a relationship and goes a long way to begin rebuilding the trust that we need.

Feedback – giving honest feedback is hard.  Nobody likes to be criticized for any reason.  But by giving and receiving honest feedback (or learning to at any rate) we free ourselves.  How?  Many of us have serious blind spots that we NEVER work on because the people around us havent learned how to give feedback constructively and we’ve never learned how to receive feedback constructively either. To offer honest and genuine feedback in love is a priceless gift.  To be able to receive feedback on what needs improving with grace and humility requires even more internal strength and fortitude…and its worth the journey.

Forgiveness – Forgiving. True forgiveness involves letting go and moving on. We all make  mistakes. We need to forgive ourselves and others. It’s better to focus on our own mistakes and ask forgiveness than to dwell on other people’s offenses and wait for them to ask forgiveness first, or give it begrudgingly if they do. When you forgive, when you refuse to bear a grudge, you actually take away another person’s power over your life.

And there’s a fifth thing that we can do to heal ourselves and to make the spaces between us smaller.

We need to try a little harder to love ourselves.  Not the way other people say we ought to be, but the way we are created. We can no longer pretend – the spiritual cost is too high. You need to look at your reflection in the mirror everyday when you are doing whatever you do and you need to take a moment to look yourself dead square in the eye and tell yourself that you love you.  You cannot in good conscience expect someone else to love and admire and respect that which you do not. Touch the collar around your neck and rejoice in it – tell yourself I love you. I accept you. I forgive you.  If yours is that hand that holds the end of that rope or leash – you are just as in need of self acceptance and love as the other.  Rejoice in your Mastery, your control, your Dominance.  Tell yourself I love you…often.

Our brother Darque recently crossed over to the other side.  When you look at his life’s work as a photographer – Is not that the central message of Darque’s work in and among us? Just look at those images!!!!!! Darque…he saw what was most lovely, what was most loveable, what was sexy and alluring and powerful and glorious and majestic and divine and special and wonderful and down right fucking spectacular in each of you, whether or not you saw it in yourselves at the time and he put it out there – right there where you could see it, taste it and touch it.

And remember it.

So that afterward you looked at that image and said – wow. That’s me. Some of you for the very first time – saw ourselves in a different light… for the very first time.

Even if the photograph wasn’t of you at all.  Even if you never sat in front of his lens – you look at those images and you say OMG. That’s beautiful. That’s me. There was and is something in his work that inspired us.  That humbles us – and at the same time elevates and celebrates us in a way that makes it almost impossible for us not to love ourselves. Darque made us beautiful – by exposing the beauty that is already within us and giving it a tangible, palpable life and energy. And for that I for one will be forever grateful.

That’s the power of living the life you were given and choosing to exercise the talent that the Divine gave you to the best of your ability.  That’s the impact of a well lived life.

So the challenge before you today – is what are you going to do tomorrow.  You make the difference.

It’s up to me to extend myself.

It’s up to me to love myself.

It’s up to me to say sorry when I’ve offended or hurt another.

It’s up to me to be loyal to the person that isnt here.

Its up to me to be responsible for the distance between myself and others and to do something about it.

Its up to me to not take up arms in a literary, figuratively or literal sense against my brother or sister.

Like I said earlier – a dramatic, one time effort is not enough.  We are going to have to build the trust between each other one step, one action at a time.

If a nation can do it to elect a president, if a leather community can do it to accomplish something unprecedented. If the Divine has invested creatures with barely any sense at all to know enough to draw closer together – to reduce those spaces between….then we really have no excuse at all do we?

What happens next – as always, is literally in our hands.

 

Thank you.

Master Obsidian

Black Beat Keynote Address

August 2010

BOLD Con 2012

Greetings,

I’m finally able to sit down for a moment and write a post about this conference we attended last weekend.

First let me say that i believe it is the first of it’s kind. A MDHL (Male Dominant Heterosexual Leather) event specifically for those in MD/fs type dynamics. Interestingly there seems to have been some backlash or ruffled feathers within the community that anyone would put on an event of this nature. Some have said that because this type of relationship configuration is more typical that there is no need for a conference or event to support it. To this i say you couldn’t be more wrong. It is precisely BECAUSE this is the more mainstream external that we need support for our obviously “other than mainstream” internal. In other words people in this type of dynamic may not have a tendency towards the same type of concerns that plague the LGBT Leather Community, or the Female Dominant/male slave dynamic – but that does not mean that we do not have our own concerns.

Yes i said our.

Because in reality this is also my community. Not in an “us vs them” way – but in a way that says that this dynamic structure should not be minimized or characterized as being so mainstream as to not warrant it’s own sort of dialogue. The idea of which gives further credence actually to my point. As slave marsha says “We don’t have to play together all the time”  and i agree with that.  Lately there has been much ado in our community about the differences between Het Leather and Gay Leather. While initially feeling a bit tender that perhaps my Lesbian and Gay sisters and brothers truly did not want us around – we (Master and i) put that aside and really listened to what was being said. No – our experience of Leather is not the same as those in the LGBT community. i have never experienced hatred from others based on who i love. As a POC i’ve been on the receiving end of hatred due to the chocolate-ness of my complexion but never have i had someone cover the eyes of their child as i walked hand and hand with my Beloved. So yes – our experiences in Leather are different. Those differences mean that while we’re all one big Leather family – much like in any family occasionally we’ll want to be in smaller groups – groups of those who are similar. It seems to me that as we’ve become more and more diverse and inclusive – we may have lost the ability to honor that need.  TNGers need to be around others of their age sometimes. Female Dominants need to encourage each other by being around other Female Dominant energy sometimes. Gay men need the freedom to play and express in an environment that is exclusively free of vaginas and female breasts sometimes. And – Male Dominants need the freedom to expand Their Masculine Dominant energy – to celebrate that – in an environment where it is not only accepted but embraced sometimes.

BOLD is that environment.

Let me say  that the conference is extremely well organized. This was their first year and it was one of the BEST organized events we’ve ever attended hands down. i’m talking top 2-3 events. There was a Dominants track, a submissive track and a couples track.  All 3 tracks focused on relationships – something i hope they keep. We have plenty of opportunity to learn Technique here – but opportunities for immersion in a relationship conference is only really available at MsC – so this makes a lovely west coast option.

We presented 2 classes – and as presenters i’ll say you couldn’t ask for better treatment. Some conferences treat presenters rather shabbily in my estimation – making it challenging or less than pleasurable to present there but not BOLD. They truly understand the idea of VIP and handling people the way they wish to be treated. From the greetings, to not having to do our own registration (they brought the paperwork to us) to the basket in the room – there is much to be gleaned and i highly suggest getting in touch with their team if you’re planning an event and want to do it with class and graciousness. Seriously.

We did not get to attend many classes – and i hope there are more classes next year – as well as class slots lasting for 1hour and 30 minutes instead of 1 hour and 15 – but the classes we did attend were VERY good. We took away tidbits and gleanings both in the classes and in the general interaction.

More than all of the tangibles were the intangibles. i looked around the room at one point and i could see the Dominants shoulders were so relaxed. There was no boisterousness or “throwing their Dominance around” that one often hears about – but a different presence of Male Dominant Energy. Something delicious in that there. When i taught my class for submissives/slaves – to look around and see only female faces. No need to “he/she” everything – i could speak elegantly and passionately from the place of my feminine submissive/slave experience without fear of offense.  i could actually share how Master and i use our Genders to enhance, elevate and sustain our dynamic  – without that being mistaken for being misogynistic or stepping on toes.

We left refreshed and delighted.  It was beautiful and we plan to go back next year.

Do we now only want to be around others in MDHL dynamics? Of course not. We love our larger Playground and Community and would never abandon it – but it was nice to find a sandbox of people like us to play with on occasion as well.

In submission and surrender to Him,

~slave namaste 2/25/12

Beyond Leather IV

I cant say enough about the weekend we experienced at Beyond Leather IV in Florida this year.  Sir Top and slave bonnie and the Beyond Leather staff put on an absolutely fantastic event each year and every year tops the one before.  From the moment we got off the plane and jumped right into the shuttle that was waiting for us, everything just clicked.  Im always impressed with the dedication to innovation that is evident in the attention to detail at this conference.  When you travel to as many conferences that we have, anything that maximizes the time you can spend doing the fun things and minimizes the time and energy associated with administrivia is refreshing.  This year BL unveiled a new registration process that involved pre-registry and barcodes that made registering a breeze.  (I hate conference registrations as a rule – after a long flight the last thing I want to do is stand in a forever line and ‘prove’ to someone at the registration desk that Im really Me.  I’d rather just send namaste to do it, but registration is one of those things that you have to show govt ID and sign papers with an original signature etc.) I was VERY happy with the BL IV processing – we were able to print out our registration confirmation pages the night before, they scanned the barcodes, and within seconds it seemed, we were on our way up to our rooms with a wonderful presenters basket of munchies and our conference bags and schedules!!!  WIN.

Its always good to see old friends again and also this weekend was an excellent opportunity to make new friends as well.  Beyond Leather is the conference we recommend to people that do not like to go to conferences. Its fast paced, the classes and seminars are varied and in the evenings they have specialty ‘theaters’ that feature an eclectic mix of happenings ranging from the super intense to the downright hilarious.  I wont go into details about the theaters suffice to say that lube+hotness+comedy= you had to be there. MORE WIN.

This was a very busy weekend, but it was actually really relaxing at the same time.  We taught three classes – Practical Protocols and Rituals, Power Exchange and Authenticity, and Pressure Point Play.  Each class was full and the conversations and feedback we received from the participants indicated that everyone had a great time and enjoyed the subjects presented.  Also on Saturday night, I was honored to present the keynote address for a standing room only Beyond Leather IV audience and after the keynote, played a role in the Interrogation Theater which was a TON of fun <eg>

And somewhere along the way we also managed to also enjoy watching an assortment of ponies, puppies, fetishists of all assortments, a number of excellent classes (really enjoyed predicament bondage by Lew Rubens), Taiko Drumming, delicious food and drinks, spent some time at the Ramrod enjoying libations and cigars with our dear Bootblack Blast AND we still managed to enjoy one of the multiple Beyond Leather dungeons.

After all of that, I expected to be totally exhausted by the time we got back to Austin – and we were.  But it was an excellent weekend overall and we are already looking forward to Beyond Leather V which is going to blow the roof off the hotel, Im thinking.  See you there!!!

Master Obsidian