Meditation and mindfulness feel like buzzwords — overused and empty — especially in the ways the culture at large tries to convince us to do it.
Sit in silence. (With your phone. Using an app.) Listen to this calming voice. (Though it might also be an annoying voice.) Let your mind go quiet. Blah blah blah.
I’d tried the apps, listened to the recordings, and said the mantras. And felt incredibly ridiculous.
Try another app, another recording, give it more time was the advice I read at every turn. But how often do I have to try something I don’t enjoy and don’t want to do before I’m “allowed” to stop?
Like a LOT of us, I figured meditation wasn’t for me. That I wasn’t wired this way.
But as someone with constant anxiety, I know the potential power of an empty mind, blissfully free of worry and thoughts. It happens from time to time, and it always fills me with wonder when it does. (Until the “Why is it so quiet in my mind right? Am I okay??” worries hit.)
Imagine not walking around with the constant hum of worry in the back of your mind. Couldn’t be me.
I’ve learned that when I sit down and busy my hands in ways that don’t require much beyond following simple instructions, I get into a zone. Cross-stitch is a perfect example — 200 X’s in the same exact color for several rows make everything around me disappear. My mind becomes that still pool of water or whatever thing we’re supposed to visualize. I finish the stitches and come back to reality, rested and relaxed, even though I’ve spent however long giving myself serious eye strain. (Don’t get me started on the paraphernalia required to see what you’re doing while stitching.)
When I found the concept of physically doing something as meditation, I knew this was my thing. With the right activity, maybe I could find a way to quiet the thrum of constant dread. Maybe I can exist in my body and forget (temporarily) about the past and future.
So why was I so surprised to find myself centered, calm, and mentally quiet during a recent (and looooooooong-awaited) flogging/spanking session with John Brownstone?
As I leaned over the bed, bare ass out, I felt the quietness creep along the edges of my mind. For a few moments, I sat in mental stillness, eyes shut, reveling in each strike. It helped that none were too painful and he found the right rhythm for both of us.
“I want this to be like a massage for you.”
That’s why I love that man. He knows what I need.
When my mind wandered — to a blog post, to a task, to a worry — I, unironically, thought, “Let those thoughts go. Sit in silence. Simply exist in the moment.”
And it fucking worked.
Each time my mind wandered I used app-like instructions to bring myself back, and each time my mind stayed quiet and still a little longer.
By the time John Brownstone was ready to shift positions from the flogging to an over-the-knee spanking situation, I almost couldn’t move. I wanted to take a nap. Not one to miss an opportunity to be well and truly spanked, I hauled myself up over his lap. And even though the force, the angle, the sound, and the sensation had all changed, I found myself in a state of mindfulness I hadn’t felt (while naked) in a very long time.
It wasn’t subspace; I didn’t float or feel high. I simply existed. When the past and future attempted to creep into my head, I gently shooed it away.
I know I didn’t discover some new thing or have a grand epiphany that no one else in the world has ever had. But it felt monumental. It was a reminder that I can be still and in the moment, and that I don’t have to do it in “traditional” ways or follow an internet guru’s advice to get what I need. Sometimes I just have to be open to the moment and (hopefully) make the connection for myself.
Also, I feel like this is a sign that I need more floggings, spankings, and fuckery in my life.