This work is written to share the knowledge of the expression of my art with someone who will be guiding others with it. It is shared from my perspective, but I have tried to keep it as open ended as possible to make it easily integrated into another Master or MC’s instruction or practice. To explore the experience of this work you will need a notebook, something reliable to write with, and a mirror if you do not have a partner. This experience will be more effective and fulfilling when you have someone to guide you through it. It is very difficult to switch back and forth between a focused state that is in balance and going through these steps to a task associated mindset. To me, this is no different than thinking of baseball to make a person last longer during sex. It may work by removing the person progressively from the experience over time, but over time there are other problems that are created by distancing our mind and body from intimacy and sensation with someone we may care a lot about. I do recommend that a MC runs through this a few times themselves before guiding another person through it. This work concludes with potential applications for group work. Ideally this work would be a day long training. Should you wish to contact me you’ll find my contact information at the end of this work.
How many truly great emotions do you have throughout your day? It doesn’t matter if you are working in your garden, working overtime, or reading email while your toy rests at your feet. Each of us has a natural disposition that we have conditioned into our expectations that informs us if we are feeling sad, neutral, happy, or angry in response to our attention and behavior. We have a sense of what to expect from our body, mind, and spirit when we wake up in the morning, and when we go to bed late at night. I am even contemplating a hangry joke at some point here, as sometimes the conscious mind is the last to pick up on what the mind and body connection is communicating to and through us. This is what I am poking a sentence or two at through this work here. We all have adopted emotional and energetic defaults that we expect to be capable of achieving every day. These defaults are something that we can be mindful of as we create more balanced lives that dwell within optimistic joy and curious appreciation, instead of consistent detached apathetic or neutrality often encouraged by the status quo. Not everyone has the same emotional and energetic range, and if this doesn’t describe you that only means we can start where you are. The aim of this chapter is to get an understanding of our default emotions and energy so we can enhance them to better fulfill our needs.
One consistent desire I have found among people I have interacted with is the desire to feel more fully and deeply. This disassociated state of emotional and energetic connection has become normal in this digital age. Our default emotional and energetic range influences the energy you approach others with. After all you bring this with you into every interaction in your life. Our default emotional and energetic range is the conditioned reference point where we have come to consciously expect our emotional and energetic capacity to be at as we live our life. What if we want to improve upon that balanced reference point? Many people just have the understanding and the words to ask how they can be happier, feel more deeply about things, or how to feel pleasure at all. These are not simple questions for any of us because it means doing introspection, being open, feeling some discomfort, and allowing ourselves to explore expressions of who we naturally are.
I know there are moments where I wish to be more present and bring forth more of what connects me to the world. I know there are moments I want to feel more of the happiness and revel in the appreciation of my life. There are other times that circumstances are demanding and I am dealing with stress and multiple priorities and the choice is made to focus on other elements. In those stressful moments, I need to be able to come back to this balanced reference point to function at my best and not bring forward stress into interactions. We all have to make these choices as we interact in the day to day world, but how many of us have a healthy way to come back to the best of who we are today? Our connection to the world and each other, isn’t served by allowing a subconscious societal and environmental limit on our expression and physiological potential without asking ourselves when it is appropriate to let ourselves be free. Leaving our emotional and energetic range outside our meditative and introspective attention establishes problems in our thinking, expression of identity, and behavior that all stem from a reference point that feels out of control. To ignore this aspect of oneself is similar to how some people ignore their weight. It affects how they hold themselves. It changes their body language and posture, their confidence level around others can become in flux with their changing body, their energy level adapts, how they find their clothes fitting changes their perceptions, how they believe others might perceive them from their change may be on their mind, and so much more. The cycle of change and influence is always with us. This knowledge is at the start of a daily meditation practice for some people.
Meditation and reflection is often thought of as something good we can do for ourselves, and like exercise at the gym, it’s also one of the first things scratched off many individuals to do list as life gets busy. To influence this default potential within us there has to be time set aside that is just for us to do it. It is not selfish to have time set aside to do self-work, and I consider it to be part of the service a person performs for me. I have been the head of a semi-closed poly M/s relationship for some time and self-development is an integral practice of building up an individual. After teaching this method to a student, I will often pair two or three together to do this exercise together at least once a day. When first starting learning this mediation it should be done two to three times a day. In the morning, afternoon, and at night before bed for approximately two to three months. This two to three-month period is the amount of time it takes to have an applicant come into my House and complete initial training. This time limit works for those I have trained in the community also. The first step in this process is to get a baseline of your emotions.
Let me define the terms I am using here. A student is someone who comes to me to learn.An applicant is someone that is seeking training and discipline that involves elements and roles of power exchange. For the reader this distinction may prove to be inconsequential.
When I have an applicant begin training I expect there are many more highs than lows, and the experience is often filled with new experiences that stimulate the senses. Inevitably questions and creativity are encouraged through these experiences. The goal here is to begin collecting self-reported data of the emotions experienced during the days. There is a variety of ways that this data collection can be done. Here is an article about tech devices to give you some ideas on the complexity and amount of data that can be collected by utilizing technology in this collection. http://www.aplanforliving.com/6-wearables-to-track-your-emotions/
One of the best insights I got from this article was how individuals are tracking various elements for themselves and sharing the insights discovered. “Wearable technology already can tell you about your heart rate, sleep patterns, health habits and breathing patterns; all of which can provide just as much insight into your emotional state as your physical state. For example, one Fitbit wearer discovered his device recorded the moment of his breakup. His heart rate soared at the bad news and stayed elevated for the rest of the day as he dealt with the sadness and heartache, showing how closely his emotions affected his physical state.”
Two of my favorite sites are http://t2health.dcoe.mil/apps/t2-mood-tracker and http://www.wellocracy.com/mobile-mood-apps/mobile-mood-apps-chart/t2-mood-tracker/ as both of these are pervertables. Pervertables are a cute word for an innocent app you can use for kinky lifestyle purposes. This tracking can be done with a smartphone or pen and paper. For this piece I’m going to keep it simple and ask you to use a notebook.
Using a pen and paper a “+” means a positive emotion. A “-“ means you were having a negative emotion, and a “=” means you were at your balance or default point. Starting today you will take at least three data points. The first would be when you wake up, the next around lunch time, and finally before bed. This is simple so far, but what exactly is your balance point? Is it a neutral space with low energy? Is it a warmly optimistic space with high energy? Perhaps, it is a sad space that is just under neutral? Do your best to describe it and collect your data points over the course of the week. For this exercise, we will do our best to associate over the past few days to get some of these points down on paper.
On a page from your notebook or service journal, draw three lines and leave enough room to put the dates of the last three days or the days of the week. The first data point would be when you wake up. So on this day allow yourself to express on you felt upon waking using the symbols we went over. A “+” means a positive emotion, “-“ means you were having a negative emotion, and a “=” means you were at your balance or default point. Then move on to the next recording point around lunch time, and finally before bed. So your first line should look something like the one below when you are finished.
Monday = - +
The impressions of those moments serve as an anticipated baseline for this exercise and do not have to perfectly recalled. That’s all you need to have with three points of data at approximately the same time every day. Next get your notebook or service journal ready, and an inch or so from the top of the page draw a line across the page. This line will represent our emotional range. It will look line the line below so be sure you have room above the line and below the line for numbers and any notes.
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This line represents your emotional and energetic range. Let’s say despair is represented by number 1. At the end of the line let’s have the number 10 to represent bliss. In the middle of this line let’s label the number 5 as neutrality. This plotted line below will be used to have a way to visualize, and track these three variables over a week.
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Despair Neutrality Bliss
Looking at this line that you just drew out let’s think about how it captures and represents the experiences of our life. When you think about being in balance what does that mean to you? Are you balanced right now as you read this? What does being balanced do for you? Describe it now. People will have different words to describe what this means for them and how they know they are in balance can be expressed by what they value most in a set of circumstance. What we want to represent here is the state of balance across your life span that starts now. That point of balance can change and will change in response to your life and what you focus on. Take a moment and compare how you are feeling right now with how you described that feeling of balance for you. Is that what you want to carry on experiencing as balance in the future? Work with it and flush it out.
Now, where do you fall on this line? For this example, I’ll share my rating using this scale. If I am feeling excited and joyful learning this, I might feel I’m at 8. Being at an 8 is higher than my balance of 7.5 so I would record 8+ and I would record it with the time if I plan on collecting more than three data points. Next it’s the middle of the day in this example and I’m ready for my next recording entry. I would simply look at the emotional and energetic range line above and record where I am at that time. I’ll share this below. I’ll show an alternative display below this as well.
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Despair Neutrality Bliss
After doing this for a day or so you probably won’t even need to look at the emotional and energetic range line (EERL) for your number or look up the symbol. You’ll simply be ready to record and write the numbers out (10:00PM 6.5+) and that is it.
The question I get asked often is why use numbers with symbols. The numbers are a more specific data point that allows us to see differences and fluctuations in your EERL. The EERL represents what you are experiencing in the moment and displays both incremental change and large jumps in your experience. The person you are today may have an improved emotional and energetic response to an experience than the person you were a few years ago. Those differences can be described in a journal as these number on our EERL stretch to encompass greater capacity and represent it. To illustrate this further, I’ll share with you the following scenario. Suppose you hear my voice and you are taken back to a time you felt overwhelming love. You feel that emotion move through and accept all that you are. Everything that you are as a person, your history, your weaknesses, your dreams are all contained in this feeling and voice. As this voice draws out of you more ways to challenge your fears and encourages joy with a feeling of adventure. Recognize this voice as it calls to you. When you are asked how good do you feel you say 11.5+. That is an experience of bliss above what you felt before this moment and that number would be written down expressing the instance of growth. As growth happens I’ll ask your mind to adjust the scale to accurately represent how you feel. So that as you come back here and hear this voice of bliss as it gets stronger. Each and every time you build upon this emotional range it adjusts with you. Soon what used to be a 11.5 is now 8.9+ as your whole self brings in the capacity to feel more positivity and bliss in life. Each and every time you experience this bliss, it allows you to establish a reference point about how you want to feel as you explore the potential that you have available to you each and every day.
In the organizing chart above you will notice that I put a key so that I can remember what the symbols stand for as I record the data throughout the week. I’ve shaded the days Monday and Wednesday as blue as these days often have emotional dips for many people and the weekend as gray. I put the weekend as gray because many people have or strive to have these days off. So these days are the gray area for competing time commitments and interests. They are often a break in the routine for people and filled with variable ups and downs as individuals engage in all sorts of activities. Doing this extra organization is not necessary for you, but I code it this way out of habit so I can find patterns in the data of my life.
For this training experience we are only interested in tracking these three variables. During your week specific emotions and connections will be made while you are doing this exercise. What we are tracking then is collected fresh and in the moment. Positive emotions are often associated with being good for you and negative as being bad for you. Often that can be true, but in talking about this exercise as the days go on we should encourage specific language and introspective communication on these experiences. These conversations with the student go over the activities and experiences of the day. It allows them to make connections and ask questions of themselves as they ask you. How you undertake this activity is completely dependent on your style, philosophy, and purpose. This is one of those open-ended elements I leave up to the guide.
Over a few days the conversation about these data points will often focus on the pattern that is emerging, how that relates to the energy expressed in the moment, and about the experiences itself. As a pattern emerges between energy and emotions they can be discussed as part of the feedback of our actions and focus. As both energy and emotions are trained through activities and conditioned over the course of our lifetime. The distinction between training and conditioning is a necessary one for our own self development and with the work we do with others. If this is an area that you need a lot of assistance with I recommend the book, Learned Optimism by Martin E. P. Seligman. Seligman uses scientific methodology to work with individuals who seek more optimism in their lives. His experience demonstrates that this change is possible, but it is done through self-development work like you are learning here.
I’d like to define or redefine, the terms training and conditioning for you to ensure a shared understanding as we progress through this work.
Training is skill focused acquisition for action and cognitive association based potentials in response to stimulus. Such as, if we were going to hike the Continental Divide Trail, which is a scenic trail running 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada, we’d have to prepare. Training would consist of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) that prepare a person to walk across a diversity of landscapes on constantly changing inclines through three seasons of weather. There are logistics of supplies for food, water, routes, safety, and communication that will change dramatically across geography and time. Training is the short-term preparation for readiness that would be needed to begin and undergo this adventure.
Conditioning is the routine pattern of thoughts, focus, and actions that we undertake daily to answer our perceived needs and focus. Conditioning is the culmination of continuation of the training awareness and behaviors across continuity of our life. Making connections to how we can use trained aspects of our KSAs to improve our everyday lives is part of a drive for service and self-development in everyone. Behaviors practiced until they become routine often are conditioned into our lives. We no longer have to consciously think of them to have the pattern emerge. When new patterns come in to our lives it does not mean that old alternatives are utterly obliterated. It does mean that what we routinely focus and act on becomes our initial response potential, and that is where our change empowerment is encouraged.
Once the first week is over its time to look over the running EERL record that the student has kept. Looking for patterns in interaction throughout the exercise allows us to know what to work on next. What did they think of the experience? If I am doing this with someone who has just entered my House than I have had five to seven nights of interaction with them before asking this question. Asking about their progression and if they notice a difference in the person who they were just a week ago is something I would have them describe in a journal. Do they think of a balance state in the same way they did just a week ago? Is there anything that they would change to improve their balance point? This is when I will look at their EERL and ask them to question why they picked this point for a balance point.
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Despair Neutrality Bliss
Explore how they came to settle upon this balance point, and ask if it healthy for them to stay with that point. Their choice was originally made without much conscious thought through subconscious feedback of the interaction between biology, environment, historical experiences, other people, and social expectations that a person actively engages with. Is that predetermined balance point good enough? Have they considered the reactionary impact of future situations on their balance? It is in the moment that the student is stunned that we have done something they don’t expect. How we respond in those moments comes from where we are represented on the EERL, our character, and experience. Perhaps, even a cookie thieving smile will allow them to see the humor and fun that we wish to communicate with them. If you found yourself smiling here, then you know how feeling playful can make this experience even more meaningful.
Being stunned is one of those few moments that allow us to explore who is really driving the vehicle that is us. You can see people skid to a stop and freeze, and sometimes verbally drive along the metaphorical sidewalks trying to figure out which direction they were headed. Our subconscious mind is picking up on the cues that our conscious mind is giving its giving our attention to. At times the conscious and subconscious can get fixated on something new, interesting, and shiny. Our actions, just like our thoughts, are at times contradictory. Learning a new way of doing, thinking, and experiencing the world, is a process that engages the whole self in an attempt to streamline your relational expression in context with your thoughts. This is why we do the work. This is where the benefit is. I have had people tell me that in these moments they have never felt more alive. This work lights us up from the inside out.
Everyone comes seeking the resources and calming energy of a balance point when things are stressful, but have you considered how effective your balance is in times of stress? If a person chooses to have their balance point on 5, which is completely neutral in the above EERL, how might this affect their coping and resources in a stressful situation? Is this something they would like to improve?
Our interactions with the world, and other people, can excite our emotional state to rise and fall with the feedback from present the interaction. This responsive potential or responsive slide is a value that I assign for myself and others when doing this exercise. If a person is well grounded in their life I give their responsive slide (RS) value of +1-1 for their potential slide along the EERL in happy or tense situation. The default value for anyone else that I don’t get a sense of grounded maturity for I give a RS value of +1.5-1.5. When I first started using this method I used an RS value of +2--2, but this adjustment has proven more accurate overtime. For the statistically inclined reader, keep in mind