Keeping Christmas

The Keeping of Christmas

…… and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

What does it mean to keep Christmas?

Keep – is an action word, a verb. Definitionally speaking, to ‘keep’ means;
1. to hold or retain in one’s possession; hold as one’s own:
2. to maintain (some action), esp. in accordance with specific requirements, a promise, etc.: ‘to keep watch; to keep step.’
3. to cause to continue in a given position, state, course, or action: ‘to keep a light burning; to keep a child happy.’
4. to maintain in condition or order, as by care and labor: ‘He keeps his car in good condition.’

The closing lines from Charles Dicken’s classic fable of redemption haunted me after we saw the Disney adaptation of A Christmas Carol this past week. It is a story that I love, and I never tire of seeing the transformation that Scrooge undergoes as he is confronted with not only the bleak circumstances of his own spiritual interior but even more importantly the impact his actions continue to have on others and the grim spectre of his eventual demise and the torments awaiting him beyond the shroud, for having lived his life in his fashion, which was all about his own selfishness.

There are a host of lessons here in this tale for the astute RM. I’ll spare you a lot of  sanctimonious droning concerning anything related to the typical Christmas messaging, e.g. Im not going to talk about commercialization, or moan about how things have changed from when I was X years old, etc.. Neither does the keeping of Christmas in my estimation have anything to do with how much money you do or don’t have, or the giving and receiving of gifts. Being a RM means knowing how to live passionately and with grace in whatever circumstances one finds oneself and besides, this holiday season isnt lacking for vivid examples of those among us that seemingly have everything, but through time and circumstance have made themselves and others miserable beyond belief. We do not lack for vivid examples of the traditional sort. You get the picture.

What then, is Keeping Christmas all about?  Keeping Christmas, gentle RM is far more about the person you are inside – and who you are becoming, than it is about what you have or what you can acquire. Like it or not, RM – you are a leader, and you teach others what you are all about even if you aren’t directly speaking to them. In our pursuit of the best this life has to offer, let us pause and reflect a moment, recognizing that there are two sides to every coin and as a Renaissance Master it is not enough to have manners and to embody a sense of sang froid – but we also should be cognizant that part of the word gracious also means to give grace – and that grace, being unmerited favor is similar to sunlight – it is most noticeable when its reflected back from something tangible in the material world. Whatever we aspire to become, RM – the proof of the kind of Man or Woman we truly are can be seen in our relationships with others – in how we treat people not only during the holiday season but throughout our lives.

In 1924 Henry Van Dyke wrote a short address entitled “Keeping Christmas” – I leave you with this during this holiday season as its message is both timely and important. May each RM find the happiness and fulfillment you seek in the New Year and from House Obsidian we wish you and all within your Houses peace and joy as we endeavor to Keep Christmas throughout this upcoming year.

Master Obsidian
slave namaste

Keeping Christmas
Henry Van Dyke

There is a better thing than the observance of Christmas day, and that is, keeping Christmas.

Are you willing…

· to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you;

· to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world;

· to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground;

· to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy;

· to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life;

· to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness.

Are you willing to do these things even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

· to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children;

· to remember the weakness and loneliness of people growing old;

· to stop asking how much your friends love you, and ask yourself whether you love them enough;

· to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear in their hearts;

· to try to understand what those who live in the same home with you really want, without waiting for them to tell you;

· to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you;

· to make a grave for your ugly thoughts, and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open—

Are you willing to do these things, even for a day? Then you can keep Christmas.

Are you willing…

· to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world—

· stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death—

· and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?

Then you can keep Christmas.

And if you can keep it for a day, why not always?

But you can never keep it alone.

 

Time and Mastery

“No mirror ever became iron again;
No bread ever became wheat;
No ripened grape ever became sour fruit.
Mature yourself and be secure from a change for the worse.
Become the light.”
~ Rumi
Mastery of anything takes time.
We live in a culture of instant. Instant gratification, instant results. However, I firmly believe that the RM is called to walk a different path. You’re interested in a great many things because you understand what it means to dig deep and mine the riches of knowledge and experience. You aren’t satisfied with the thumbnail sketch, the brief synopsis or the Cliff’s notes. You want to – you need to know the why of things. It brings a sense of satisfaction deep in the belly. It enriches the core of you. You also know the price that is to be paid for that knowledge. Perhaps blood, certainly sweat and yes even tears.
But it is worth it.
The pursuit of wisdom and knowledge is a transformative one – once you have set your foot upon this particular Path, you cannot turn back. You are growing. You are maturing. Becoming the bread, the ripened grape, the mirror… the process of maturation, the process of growing…in this and only this is your security. Be comfortable in this place between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’ – there will be growing pains of one sort or another. Mastery of anything takes time.  
Patience.  

The Power of Etiquette

“The power of manners is incessantan element as unconcealable as fire. The nobility cannot in any country be disguised, and no more in a republic or a democracy than in a kingdom. There are certain manners which are learned in good society, of that force that, if a person have them, he or she must be considered, and is everywhere welcome, though without beauty, or wealth, or genius.”
From Emerson’s Essays.
What does it mean then to be a Gentleman, or a Lady in this day and age? To be a Master or Mistress and to receive service in all its varied forms for our personal pleasure and also to increase the amount of beauty in the world. How is this done exactly? It isnt found in ancestry, money or in dress – we are all well aware of those that ‘look the part’ so to speak but come across as fake as the proverbial 2 dollar bill.  No, it is in something deeper – in the seeking and uncovering of rare and invaluable traits and the flexibility of mind and spirit to not only receive Truths when one comes across them, but to also incorporate these Truths into one’s mind and heart and to make them your own. Those that would be RM will pay attention to these things. “You must study this” – Musashi would say.
Social Graces
It is in how we carry ourselves.  I believe that one of the strongest motivating forces in the world is the desire to be thought well of by one’s peers. Some books call it social happiness – the desire so to impress by one’s manner that one will be welcome and respected wherever one chances to be.I wrote in an earlier piece about how “The Man that would Master another must first Master himself.” Nowhere is this more evident than in the demonstrating of the social graces – what we call etiquette.
What is etiquette? Society has its own code of manners that must be observed by the RM. There are certain rules that must be followed, conventions that must be observed in something as simple as standing in line, asking someone to pass the salt or pepper at the dinner table, or joining a conversation already in progress. The intent of good etiquette is not to be showy or flashy or flamboyant, or fake – but the gentle exercise of the art of doing and saying the correct thing at the correct time, regardless of the circumstance or situation. And like any other discipline – the more you study it and apply yourself to it the better you become at it. Everyday we have an opportunity to tell the story of who we are inside primarily by two things; How we carry ourselves and how we treat other people. Etiquette is the vehicle by which that story is told during our public interaction with the society around us.
Cool Blood
The RM is never angry or impatient in a social setting. His actions and speech are tempered with a dispassionate calm and traquility – he is the embodiment of the french word; sang froid; the literal translation of this is sang, blood (from Old French, from Latin sanguis) + froid, cold (from the Latin frigidus) n. This is an attitude of coolness and composure, especially in trying circumstances. We all have encountered potentially embarrassing or socially difficult moments. It has been said that we dont have a choice in what happens to us, our choice lies in how we respond to it. The RM knows that it is poor form to show by our gestures and frowns and speech that we are annoyed by some circumstance that is entirely beyond our control.
Politeness Counts
How many times have you heard that in your lifetime?  William De Witt Hyde, in his book, “Practical Ethics,” says, “Politeness is proper respect for human personality. Rudeness results from thinking exclusively about ourselves and caring nothing for the feelings of anybody else. The sincere desire to bring the greatest pleasure and least pain to everyone we meet will go a long way towards making our manners more polite and courteous.” The RM is polite to everyone, regardless of their station. Some feel that being polite makes one ‘less Dominant’ and I emphatically disagree. I’ve always been taught that you can learn a lot about a person by observing how they treat people who are in service. Making eye contact with the person that is serving you if possible to say ‘please’ when ordering and ‘thank you’ when receiving, e.g. when they refill your water glass or coffee cup can often make the difference in their day and insure you receive exemplary service in a restaurant. Servers appreciate politeness and will want to make you happy in return for that simple kindness. Additionally, dont raise your glass, tap on it to draw attention or waive at your server from the other side of the restaurant. Establishing eye contact and being polite early on in the encounter will ‘raise’ your visibility during your meal to the server in such a way that many times a look and a nod is all that is necessary to bring them over if you need something.
“This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible value to him.” William Lyon Phelps
It Pays to Be Agreeable
We are all like huge magnets when you really think about it. We tend to attract those things that are in line with what we send out into the world with our attitudes and actions. If we are ill mannered, irritable, abrasive and intentionally ignore both the boundaries and the rights of others, then we will find that other people will also ignore our boundaries, rights and be rude and irritated with us in turn. The RM recognizes that one of the biggest reasons to know proper etiquette (and also more specifically how to properly receive service) is to make one’s own life more enjoyable and happier overall. If we are kind and agreeable we are more likely to encounter and attract people of the same mindset. I dont know why this is true. It just is. Being an RM is not about being manipulative or trying to convince everyone around you that you are something that you are not. It is actually tapping into a cycle of reciprocity that many of us have forgotten because we learned it when we were kids. Im sure we’ve all seen the bumper sticker “Mean People SUCK!” – its true. They do – the flipside of that truism is that the cultured person, the RM that studies the rules of etiquette and that is polite and agreeable finds that a new dimension of being and a different, better understanding of human relationships begins to unfold before him. He finds that if he is amenable to helping others, then help is also readily available to him in his time of need. By applying a little extra effort to improving the life of someone else, he finds that not only is his life improved in that moment, but he notices that sentiment expressed in his or her direction often from unexpected directions.
Secrets of Success
Everyone that desires to can become a gentleman in every sense of that word – and that is at the heart of being a true RM. Good manners and etiquette must be cultivated – you have to work at it. Exuding grace, poise and self confidence isnt artifice or an acting job. We all must study and learn and get better than we were. We have the sum total of most of recorded human knowledge at our disposal – the wise RM makes the best of it by intentional study of the things in his life that dont come easy. One of my coaches when I was a very young man at basketball practice noticed that all of us consistently came to practice and did the things we were ‘good’ at..we shot from our favorite spots on the floor, we bounced the ball with our ‘good’ hand, always.  Im right handed so he began making me dribble with my left all the time at practice. Because that’s what practice is really for. You get the example so I wont belabor the point further.
Cultivating good manners is relevant and important because every day you come into contact with people who will judge you by what you do and say. They go away carrying an impression of you and it depends upon our manners whether it is a good impression or a bad one. It is a mistake to assume that these skill sets are just for the formal dinner or special occaision. Studies have shown that you have approximately four seconds to make a good impression on someone you are meeting for the first time. In this world of power exchange dynamics you will find that many times that initial four seconds is not under your control – people tend to observe you from a distance before getting closer to you.
Cultivating good manners and etiquette, being agreeable and pleasant to be around insures a favorable impression even if you arent aware that you’re being observed. But most importantly, paying attention to and having respect for how you engage others makes you respect yourself.  When you respect others and respect yourself it naturally follows that those that would serve you will respect you as well. Ultimately, I truly believe that self respect is really the only thing that brings true happiness to all men and women.

The Best Steak in the World

Good day, my name is Master Obsidian and I am an unapologetic carnivore. I love Meat in all its wonderful, delicious, awe-inspiring mouthwatering meaty goodness.

There are infinite ways and means associated with how meat is prepared and served. Certainly we can wax rhapsodic about the merits of crispy, succulent marbled sliced fragrant planks of piggy goodness – the gods have decreed that we call this ecstasy bacon. Bacon has its merits – but I believe that the discerning RM will find that there is plenty of bacon porn already available online. And besides, whether you’re a stove top RM or a cookie sheet RM – both paths through that particular forest end in basically the same clearing. You want it crisp, but not overly so, salty – again without overdoing it and its basically delicious, with little to no help from the RM or any of his or her minions other than the application of heat and an attentive eye. (Stovetop folks undoubtedly consider themselves the more daring bunch, braving the random mini eruptions of hot bacon grease, tongs in hand…) In any event, the discussion is rarely about quality in bacon. When we talk bacon, we talk quantity. ‘Nuff said about that.

However,  today I want to talk about the relationship between the Renaissance Master and Steak – unlike bacon, which is slightly more forgiving…exactly what is done to the steak and how well it is executed will make all the difference in the enjoyment of the final product. We will first talk steak in general, and then narrow the discussion down to a specific cut of meat and its preparation. Finally, I will share with you the House Obsidian recipe for the Best Steak in the World.

Yes, seriously. The Best Steak in the World.

I kid you not.

Let us begin.

Picture the side of the steer. Starting at the neck and working down the backbone, you have the chuck, then the rib, followed by the short loin and sirloin and ending with the rump. The side section is the flank. Those areas produce the following steaks:

Chateaubriand: A piece of the tenderloin (the pointed end of the short loin), sized to feed two or more people and traditionally roasted.

Delmonico: A boneless cut from the rib section, named after the 19th century New York restaurant that popularized this dish.

Filet mignon: Think French! The name of this cut translates as tenderloin and it is the tapered, fork-tender end of the short loin.

Flank steak: A lean cut of meat taken from the underbelly that grills quickly. This cut often is used for fajitas.

Flatiron steak: Cut from the top blade, so named because it resembles a flatiron.

Hanger steak: Also called the hanging tenderloin, this cut is part of the diaphragm that hangs between the ribs and the loin.

London Broil: A large cut from the flank, often marinated to tenderize it, then broiled and served thinly sliced.

New York strip: A steak by many other names…(such as shell steak, Kansas City strip or sirloin club steak): The marbled, larger end of the short loin.

Porterhouse: Essentially the T-bone’s big brother, combining two steaks in one, the New York and the filet.

Prime rib: The bone-in rib steak, cut from ribs six through twelve, that often contains a bit of gristle but is full of flavor.

Rib-eye: A rib steak without the bone; prized among steak lovers for its marbling and flavor – this steak is by far the tastiest steak in my opinion.

Sirloin steak: Sitting between the short loin and the rump steak is the sirloin, less tender than the short loin but still full-flavored. Can sometimes be rather tough and chewy, even when prepared well.

T-bone: Similar cut as the Porterhouse, only the filet side is usually a bit smaller. Named for the t-shaped bone running down the center of the steak.

Tri-tip: Also known as a culotte steak or triangle steak, the tri-tip is a triangular-shaped portion of top sirloin.

The reason all this is important to you, RM will be obvious in short order – the real estate axiom of ‘location, location, location’ is applicable here. Your enjoyment of the steak is directly related to what ‘neighborhood’ that steak is from on the side of beef that it is cut from.

The United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, separates beef into eight different grades: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter and Canner. Most restaurants serve Prime or Choice beef and only about two percent of all beef graded by the USDA qualifies for Prime distinction. Another grading program is Certified Angus Beef®, a designation awarded by Wooster, Ohio-based Certified Angus Beef LLC. The mark applies to approximately eight percent of all USDA-graded beef that derives from Angus stock and meets certain quality criteria.

Is Angus better? More flavorful? Apparently it depends on who you ask – In my opinion it’s a descriptor of lineage that has morphed into a marketing strategy over time. In order to be certified Angus, the beef must be 51% Angus by heritage, period. The concern is that the other 49% can be just about anything and often is. A better barometer of what kind of beef you’re getting is the USDA grade. You generally wont go wrong with Prime or Choice beef. The grades refer primarily to the degree of fat marbling within the muscle tissue, with Prime beef containing no less than 8 percent intramuscular fat.

It is ill advised to: try and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, rummage around in the bottom of top hats, figurative or otherwise in search of rabbits, or expect that garden variety cut of meat shrink wrapped and sitting slightly chilled under pink spotlights in the meat department of the local mega chain to become a Mind Blowing experience at your table regardless of the tender ministrations of your slave.

So lets start at the beginning. A frugal, but patient RM will wait for the right opportunity to arise, instead of opting to settle for an inferior cut of meat. What you are seeking is a sale on bone-in or even better, boneless ribeye steaks at one of the higher end grocers in your neighborhood. If you are the discerning and particular RM that happens to have a good relationship with an actual butcher, pop on down to the butcher shop and order up the following; Four ribeye steaks with excellent marbling, approximately 1” to 1.5 inches thick. You are going to buy at least four of these steaks – because you’ll want to have a couple to eat now and some additionals for a Future Meal to be Named Later. Trust me – when I divulge to you the wonders of the Best Steak Recipe in the World, you will want to do this again. And again. Soon.

Now that your steak is firmly in hand – what to do with it? Hand it over to your slave of course. Along with the proper instructions that we will be getting to shortly. Note; although much of Renaissance Master is written from a first person perspective  – Im writing this with the implicit understanding that you, gentle RM will be engaging and directing someone else to procure, prepare and serve this steak to you in precisely the manner you expect.

Your direction is crucial, sexy and necessary. RM’s do not wave a limp hand in the general direction of a cold kitchen and expect magic to happen. RM’s have definite opinions about the kind of meat that graces the table and how it is prepared. You are a person of high expectations and rare, refined tastes. Given the vicissitudes of life, most people only recognize their Last Meal in hindsight. This my friend is the chief reason why the discerning RM is committed body and soul to full immersion and complete enjoyment of the best this life has to offer. Which is also why you have a submissive or slave handy that will be ecstatically looking forward to preparing this steak for you, among other things.

And now, without further delay – 

The Best Steak Recipe in the World.

Prep Time:: 10 min
Cook Time:: 5 min
Level: Mysteriously Easy, once you know how and have the proper equipment

Serves: 1 to 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless rib eye steak, 1 1/2-inch thick
  • Canola oil or virgin olive oil to coat
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

You may have noted at this point that there are only three ingredients in the Best recipe. Before you scoff – have a care and note that this is not just any recipe. This is more appropriately known as food magick, and if you are any student of any sort of lore at all you know that following the proper sequence of events EXACTLY is often as important as the ingredients used. If your slave or submissive follows your instructions to the letter, you will have a steak that quite possibly will Change Your Life. Neglect these precise instructions and you may inadvertently summon Cthulhu to your kitchen. Or something. Im just sayin.

The Pan.

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

The discerning RM needs to have at least one good quality cast iron skillet in the kitchen, well seasoned and ready for use for this recipe and for all sorts of other reasons which we will get to in our future travels. Remind me to talk to you later about the care and feeding of said cast iron skillet and how to ‘season’ it properly.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste. If you don’t happen to have a cast iron skillet handy, take unto you an oven safe frypan and instead of putting the frypan in the oven to heat up you are going to heat the pan and a couple teaspoons of oil on the stovetop. Be careful that you don’t set the oil on fire. When it starts smoking slightly, you are at the ideal temperature, but you’re also almost at flashpoint for cooking oil so be careful.

You’ve been warned.

The Sear.

Immediately place steak in the middle of the hot, dry cast iron pan. (everyone else without the cast iron pan handy, gently place put the steak into the pan containing the hot oil) Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the entire pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak with tongs and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.) If your tastes approach the extreme well done end of the spectrum, I am beginning to despair somewhat of your ever becoming a true RM….but I digress. After the appropriate interval of time, remove the steak from the oven. Timing is everything with this steak – the cook is never to poke the steak with something sharp to see how ‘done’ it is, neither is the cook to ‘press’ the steak with the spatula like a short order cook at a greasy spoon. The sear is as much alchemy as art. Studies have shown that the steak loses about the same amount of moisture during the cooking process seared or not so the myth of ‘sealing’ in the juices with high heat isnt quite what we thought.

It.doesnt.matter.

A seared steak is a beautiful, delicious steak and a wondrous thing to behold as well as eat.

Wait and see.

The Rest

After removing the steak from the pan, cover it with foil and let it rest for a few minutes. This lets the internal juicyness that is now right below the surface of the steak, redistribute itself within the body of the steak. By taking this step you insure that each bite of the steak is as juicy and flavorful as the one preceding it, all the way to the end of the meal. If you cut directly into a steak right out of the pan, you will get a few juicy bites but you can literally see the moisture flowing out of that initial cut and creating a shallow lake in the bottom of your serving plate. That’s great for television steaks. That SUCKS for the steak of the Renaissance Master. You’ll be halfway finished and will begin noticing that the steak is becoming drier and tougher to chew. Sound familiar? Don’t let this happen to you.

Let. It. Rest.

The Serve

After you uncover the steak (it will still be quite hot after two minutes) you can garnish it with a pat of salted butter, or some blue cheese crumbles. Yes, you could go old school with a vegetable accompaniment of loaded baked potato or perhaps a wilted spinach salad, but save that for another day. For this first run through I believe that the RM should dispense with vegetable tradition for a moment and enjoy this steak with a simple, yet robust red wine that you really love. Perhaps a candle or two to grace the table, along with some Coltrane or a bit of Miles Davis on the sound system to improve the ambience.

Yah, Miles. Kind of Blue if you want to get specific. Spend some time with this steak, chewing slowly and savoring the fantastic flavor punctuated with sips of some really great wine, or your favorite libation. Some wine recommendations;

Bordeaux Blend – A robust, full-bodied, Cabernet-dominant red blend with black currant, spice, and cedar.

Petite Syrah – A spicy red wine with plum, cherry, & prunes is also a good choice.
my favorite for ribeye;
Cabernet Sauvignon – A firm red wine with black fruit, oak, earth and herb influences is exquisite.

After dinner, take time to express your compliments to the chef afterward in the manner of your choosing, of course.

Enjoy.

You Owe It To Yourself

I’ve been contemplating what it means to be a Renaissance Master and of course I have a ton of different thoughts on the subject – but waxing introspective for a moment (and of course, blogging is the ultimate in introspective exhibitionism, or is it creative narcissism..whatever, I digress.)  In my mind, being a RM is about living an intentional life. Putting your intention…your energy, your life force, whatever name you put to it, your essence in being a Man toward living out and fulfilling your complete potential.  Im not referring to being a captain of industry or aspiring to be a poet laureate or a nobel prize winner. The pursuit of being an RM is NOT about what others say about you or think about you. I personally believe that too much in our society is done by committee where manly fields of endeavor are concerned. The reality is that the court of public opinion is a fickle beast at best – and so much of what passes for achievement on a national or world changing scale involves the cooperative movement of vast amounts of energy outside the individual – it boggles the mind.
I abhor the mind being boggled. Its irritating.
Becoming a RM is not about that particular kind of success.
Then what is it about? 
Becoming a RM is all about being the best YOU that you can be. Period.  We live in a world that celebrates and encourages specialization…the belief that a mans best contribution to the society in which he lives comes at the end of an arduous path of greater and greater focus on a smaller and smaller body of knowledge. While I believe that men in particular have always defined themselves by their occupations to some extent, e.g. I am a Doctor, a Barrista, a Cheese Expert Dude at the local Whole Foods etc..  If we juxtapose Modern man against Renaissance Man what stands out most in my mind is the complete lack of specialization. Instead of aspiring to be a jack of all trades, master of none…the RM aspires to be Master of all disciplines, learning about as many subjects as possible – expanding his mind and consciousness exponentially. Everything from music, to politics, to philosophy, to botany, astronomy, chemistry, how to fix the brakes on a ’67 Mustang…the sky is the limit.
The world is the RM’s oyster.
Steven Wright says that “anywhere is walking distance…..if you have the time”.  For the RM – the corollary would be that you can learn anything you want to learn – if you have the will to do so.  Why is this important?  And what is the connection to Mastery? After all this blog is focused on the Renaissance Master, not merely the Man.
Im glad you asked. Very astute observation.
The connection between the Renaissance Man and Mastery is simply this;
  • If you have any hope of Mastering another successfully, you must first learn to Master yourself.
I’ll say that again in a slightly different fashion;  The Man that would Master another must first Master himself.
And how so –  through the pursuit of esoterica?  Read on, gentle reader and work with me here.
I believe that the M/s community, particularly on the part of the Masters is at a proverbial fork in the road. It is my assertion that very few Masters are having fun.
That’s right. I said it. MASTERS ARENT HAVING FUN. .
Mastery has become very serious business of late. We’ve become black leather clad sourpusses.  Serious, glowering, goateed, steely eyed juggernauts of melancholy. And its showing in the fact that there are by my totally unscientific wild ass guess of a calculation, 13 umpty-kajillion submissives and/or slaves to each dominant or Master.
Why is that? And what does that have to do with the having of fun?
There are many reasons why this may be so – but chief among them I believe is this central fact;  
Masters as a rule don’t know how to enjoy themselves and have fun because the philosophical focus of much of what we study is all about the slave, and not the Master.
Being a “good” Master or a good Dominant has become synonymous with acquiring the skill sets necessary to doing the things that will make the slave happy.
We study how to beat the slave, how to flog the slave, how to cut, fold, spindle and bamboo and hemp the slave into submission. The care and feeding of the slave or submissive, the emotional states of the slave, what to do when they react or rebel, how to soothe them, after care them, wash and rub them down yadda yadda yadda.
Being a “good Master” nowadays seems like a lot of work.
And it is, if you look at it this way.  Is it any wonder that Men aren’t knocking down the door demanding to find out our Secret Lore of Mastery?  Why not? 
Well, for one – they already have jobs and stress and a whole lot of responsibility. Who wants to sign up for more?
Modern Mastery doesn’t look like a whole lotta fun does it.
It looks a lot like the reward for good work…is more work.
Feel me?
This isnt that complicated.
But one may say in response; If we don’t keep the submissives happy, the slaves happy then they might leave us!!!
To that I say;
Balderdash.
Poppycock.
Bullshit.
I believe that we’ve focused so much on them because we’ve forgotten what it is that we want, what it is that we need.
What about Enjoyment. Ease. Comfort. Exquisite Sensation. Hedonistic abandon??
Fun?
Let me be more specific;
What about the rich aroma of your favorite French roast, expertly prepared with just the right amount of heavy cream and sugar…hot and redolent with complexity just the smell of it is its own experience…served to you in your favorite cup. By someone whose care and adoration shows through with each movement as they hand you the cup and who’s joy is evident in the witness of YOUR pleasure at the first taste when you close your eyes and a deep rumble of satisfied MMMMM emanates from your chest.
Im talking about sheer enjoyment here my friend.
What about a fine Bordeaux, or Merlot, or Cabernet…served at the right temperature, with a juicy ribeye? Cooked the way they cook it at Ruth’s Chris, with searing, slightly dense caramelization on the outside, tender juicy pink goodness inside. And butter. 

Don’t forget the butter.

Bliss.
And YES your submissive or slave can make this for you at home tonight.  And NO you don’t need a commercial oven or any tremendously specialized equipment to make this happen.
You don’t know how this is done.    Yet.
And you should know. You’re an aspiring RM. It is essential for the true carnivore RM to have a wide and esoteric knowledge of all things steak and how they are truly prepared well.
Speaking of Meat – what about sausages? – where can you get real authentic Bangers – and how do you have them prepared?
Who has the best bacon? What’s the best way to cook it? How do you like yours served?
Your submissive or slave should be a delight to your senses in all ways – what kind of scent do you have them wear in your presence? Do you prefer light and airy scents with berry and wildflower notes?  Or deep and sensual cinnamons, sandalwood and musk notes.
Can you tell the difference?
Do you know what Im talking about?
Is your preference to have the submissive or slave layered in silks, in tight and shiny latex or sheer diaphanous fabrics or nothing at all? Have you taken those fabrics and rubbed them against your face, run them through your fingers so that you know and understand exactly WHAT you like and WHY you like it? Do you know the difference between synthetic silk and the real thing?
Does it matter?
I believe it DOES matter. I believe all of this matters. It matters more than most of us realize.
When you develop your mind, when you apply your focus and your intention to the acquisition of more and varied sources of knowledge…then you start really living.
You develop preferences.
You have ideas.
You know exactly what you want and how you want it – because you’ve taken the time to find out.
And most of all, NOW you can devote a portion of YOUR energy to enlisting, controlling and compelling the energies of another to facilitate your enjoyment of this life.
This is why your submissive or slave is here.
So that they might serve YOU at YOUR pleasure – and thereby receive purpose, motivation, development and satisfaction  – at YOUR feet.
You are here to be served.
The slave is here to serve you.
Don’t ever forget that.
Lets bring back the passion my friends.
Lets bring back the energy, the FUN the sheer joy of being a Man and being in control and orchestrating our individual lives and pursuits to maximize our enjoyment of each and every day we have on this planet.
Living an intentional life.
Let’s get started, shall we?  We have a lot to cover and we don’t want to waste time.
Welcome.

slave namaste and I have been asked and we’ve accepted the invitation to stand as contestants for the title of Southwest Master and slave 2010, to be held in January at SouthWest Leather Conference in Phoenix Arizona. It is quite humbling to be asked to compete and we are both looking forward to the challenge! 

For more information on this endeavor please go to the “M/s contest”  page!