This series is written from the perspective that being single in the Lifestyle affords one the opportunity to do some soul-searching, learning, and defining in order to be better equipped to transition into a suitable and desirable relationship in due time. Read Part I: Boundaries.

Over the past few weeks, the matter of service has come up several times in general conversations from work to casual chats. I've paid more attention to the topic floating around online. When I think back to when I first found the community in my early 20's, I had absolutely no idea of what service could be or actually was to me. Being a single woman then, it seemed that my ideas of service existed in a divide. I had notions of what service looked like based on fantasy and the other beliefs were based on what I was accustomed to in my vanilla life. Long story short, it would take me many years before I could better understand, define, and expand on what service means to me. It also took time for me to expand my understanding of service as it exists within a relationship.

I've seen it a zillion times over the years, the wide-eyed new slave, unattached and full of fantasies of how they will give their all to their future Owner. Only, their ‘all’ is mostly focused on sexual and S&M activities. Many of us, when we’re new, don’t really take the time to delve into this crucial piece of the D/s or M/s puzzle - service. And frankly, if we don’t take the time to understand and define service for ourselves, we tend to falter in our attempts to provide what in fact we really don’t have a good grasp of. In other words, we get caught in this loop of giving what remains a vague idea or understanding in our minds.

Now, I’m in no way saying that sex and S&M aren't or can’t be serviced, quite the contrary. But there’s so much more to the offering of surrender, and that is what I’d like to explore. In singleness, there’s the perfect opportunity to build a repertoire or acquire goodies to offer one’s potential Owner. I don’t know about you, but I rather fancy being able to offer the ‘different’ or ‘out of the ordinary’, even the ‘unexpected’ skill set that comes as a pleasant surprise, and hopefully makes my surrender that much more precious not just to the Owner, but to me.

Defining service – an act of helpful activity; help; aid; the act of helping or doing work for someone

As we apply the term to hierarchical relationships, it’s really simple: what the Owner requires or needs. Those things that make the Owner’s life easier, more comfortable, and more joyous (at the very least).

When I think about it, services can be broken down into two primary categories, overt services, and subtle services. Overt services are those acts that are obvious (and yes, including sex and S&M), and often times laborious – domestic chores, running errands, chauffeuring, bootblacking massage, and so on. Subtle services are those acts that are often overlooked and we sometimes feel that they don’t count as a service – listening, comforting, being a presence and not just present, creating ambiance. Subtle services require attention to details, patience, and in my humble opinion, at times this is where the rubber meets the road in regards to surrendering. Also, there are some subtle services that aren't tangible. For some of us it is quite easy handling the big things, yet harder to work with minute details. I have to take the trash out. I need to be at the cleaners by 3. Pick Sir up at 1:30. But, there’s a space, a small space of pause that can be filled with nuance and that is where subtle service often resides.

Example:

Overt service

– Picking up my Owner from work.

Subtle service

– Creating a relaxing atmosphere in the car.

For me, it isn't enough to simply pick up my Owner, the car must be comfortable and relaxing to begin the separation from a possibly hectic work day and begin the transition into a more peaceful and enjoyable evening and hopefully a deep and restful sleep. The car ride should not be an extension of his work day. So, all clutter is cleared from the car, there’s a soft scent, easy music or no music, my disposition is calm and cheerful, and my appearance is pleasing. Will it be perfect? Not by the stretch of anyone’s imagination. But what is key here is that on any given day, I simply do my very best to provide the best service that I can in all ways that I’m able to – that I strive for excellence (not perfection) in service.

I don’t think that I can effectively discuss service without touching on selflessness. I've come to understand that selflessness in service is often what makes or breaks us as we move forward into relationships. Let’s face it, we’re all selfish to some extent or another, but as it was explained to me, it’s imperative that we are disciplined enough to be selfless in spite of any amount of selfishness – and there are many shades of selfishness. Let’s use the previous example of picking up my Owner after work. He’s had a rough day. But I've had a rough day, too, even if not to the same extent. When he gets in the car, I could bypass all pleasantries and go straight into “Sir, let me tell you what happened to me!” And give him the rundown of all the craziness of my day without much thought about his mood. My disposition could be sour; my appearance disheveled; I could be completely out of my slave head-space. In this scenario, subtle service is suffering due to selfishness. Yes, I've picked him up, but beyond that, I've kept the focus on me, which it isn't about me at this moment, it’s about him. Subtle services, at least from my perspective, helps me to see beyond me; to go those extra few miles even when I feel that I don’t have it in me. I actually derive a great deal of pleasure from exploring this arena. In essence, subtle service tends to tie the more overt acts together.

But I don’t know how to do that. I've never done this before. I don’t know what I can offer.

I’d like to encourage anyone who has these thoughts to put them aside in order to explore what you can do and offer. You don’t have to be good or fantastic at everything under the sun, that’s not realistic, but I will say this: If there’s something you enjoy doing if there’s something you’re curious about then this is your initial offering of service. You can take the time to build on that foundation and as you grow and learn more, so does what you offer in terms of service. I suggest taking some time to review all of the things that you do each day or even occasionally - that's where your service résumé begins. Nothing is really too small or too big; nothing is too out of the box either.

The service you offer is an extension of all of you

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Lots of love, Blyss