Zen and the art of companionship

I cannot change other people. I can only change myself.

I cannot decide how people react to me. I can only change my own reactions.

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Sometimes, inaction is the best action. Not everything requires a reaction or a response. Silence is powerful. “No” is a complete sentence. 

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I am exactly where I need to be. I am forging my success, my future, on my own terms and on my own schedule. What others are doing is no business of mine.

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I am bold, free and a little weird. In being myself — occupying my true nature with no shame or apology — I give people permission to do the same.

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People will enter and exit my life according to a mysterious, unknowable schedule. Waste no time trying to divine these patterns — there are none. 

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I cannot, will not, ever sell myself. I cannot, and will not, cajole, wheedle, jump through hoops to prove my own worthiness.

I can only vibrate on my own unique frequency. My vibrations attract and fascinate some; repel or disinterest others. That is exactly as it should be. I’m not everybody, therefore I am not for everybody.

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Becoming a companion has required me to un-learn many things.

Here’s one: the idea, taken as gospel in the vanilla corporate world, that to succeed you must be a do-er, a pusher. 

Push your teammates to work just a little bit harder and faster so the project gets done a little quicker, so the client is a little bit happier. 

Push yourself to stay late and wrangle your inbox so you can tackle other items first thing in the morning. 

Push, push, be aggressive. Never stop pushing. 

The passive employee is the slacker, the loser who will never ever be promoted or recognized. The person who works at their own pace is a poor team player.

I pushed for a decade. I pushed myself and pushed my co-workers — sometimes with disastrous results (debilitating migraines, burnout, and co-workers finding me abrasive and difficult, for starters).

It’s bullshit, really. Does the project really get done faster when there are constant flurries of aggressive emails flying around? I don’t think so. The project will get done when it gets done, and not a moment sooner. 

After I exited, I was able to see that.

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I like cataloguing the beliefs that I’ve been able to reject as I’ve switched lives. 

Here’s another:

I cannot change people. I can influence their thoughts and behavior only the tiniest bit — and often, not at all.

This one’s a hard pill to swallow. Coming from my past life where I was valued based on my ability to win hearts and influence people, where I constantly honed my powers of persuasion — it’s difficult to grasp that I’m fairly powerless. 

For the most part, people go about their lives convinced they are correct and righteous, or at least justified in their actions. You do this, I do this, we all do this. It’s a sensible coping mechanism in a complex and chaotic world — one where we need to live with ourselves and our decisions, when we never know for sure if we are making the right decisions. I get it.

Companions are often seen as the gatekeepers and queens of a clandestine world with its own customs and rules. Many paramours approach companions with a degree of awe, humility and reverence. 

Yet, we are just people. I find myself saying my piece and falling on deaf ears — again and again and again. Still, I speak.

And I find myself re-reading Zen quotes, and putting my own spin on them. I retreat to my own sphere of influence — myself. 

I cannot change other people. I can only change myself.

Now that I’ve escaped the office, I find the universe more mysterious and chaotic than ever. There’s freedom in this. Right now I’m learning to give myself permission to do less.

My greatest power, I’ve found, is in simply being myself. It simultaneously attracts, inspires and scares people — a potent combination. What are all the implications of this? I relish finding out.

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This post was written by Shae Ashbury, a blonde NYC escort trying to figure this whole thing out. Visit my booking form, gallery, patronage and details, and testimonials. If you found this post valuable, consider tipping me by emailing a Net-A-Porter or Etsy gift card to shaeashbury@protonmail.ch. Thank you for your support!

Shae Ashbury