Bottoms Up: Subspace Is Better Than Meditation

I’d had a really bad day. The reasons were trivial: I stepped in a puddle and my shoes got wet, I was tired from school, I was hungry. I felt overwhelmed, and so tied up in my brain that I forgot how to be present. Instead of leaning on L, I took out my feelings on her. I acted out against the rules that we’d set and she punished me according to those rules. I felt the flogger fall against my skin again and again. By the time it was over, I wasn’t just apologetic, I was at peace. Something about pain demands attention. Something about it makes me feel like I can finally breathe. When people talk about subspace, for me, this is what they mean.

For the rest of the evening, I floated in that space. I sat at L’s feet and loved curling into her legs. I waited for instructions to perform any acts of service she needed, but I didn’t have the usual anxious desire to do more that accompanies me when I wait on her — I just felt ready. I noticed when I was hungry and did something about it. I noticed when I was tired and did something about it. I experienced the present.

To be mindful is to be present. I first learned about mindfulness when I trained to be an actor and felt it reinforced when I seriously began therapy. As a way to combat a cocktail of mental illnesses that try and keep my mind anywhere but the present, mindful living is work. Meditation isn’t easy for me — I feel like I’m always doing it wrong — but on the rare occasion it works, there’s a glimmer of what could be. Subspace gives me that same glimmer — more easily and more consistently, if less intentionally — but getting there doesn’t feel like impossible work the way that meditation does.

The more I experience subspace, the more I think that mindful living is possible for me. In that space, I don’t experience feelings as good or bad, but just as present. I surround myself with a mandatory fog just to be able to make it throughout the day — it ensures I don’t feel anything too deeply or experience anything too intensely, but it also hinders me from having authentically embodying the present. In subspace, that fog is gone and I see and experience my life in the moment. I feel at the same time excited, surprised and at peace. I am prepared for whatever comes next because I’ve accepted that I have no control over it. When in subspace, I exist in the present for one purpose: to be submissive to my dominant.

My intentions in subspace are different than my intentions in meditation, which I think may contribute to their different states of mindfulness. When I meditate, I’m trying to meditate right. I want to do what my therapist has taught me to do in order to be in the present, which means I end up not actually trying to be in the present but just trying to be right. When I enter subspace, being in the present comes easier because I’m not focused on it. Instead, I focus on serving, submitting and being all that my dominant needs. I’m not trying to force being in the present, so I am.

I don’t know how all these things correlate to one another except that I know when I’m in subspace that I feel like I’m doing something natural and good. I feel like my life is manageable and organized. I feel like I have a purpose, but I don’t feel crushed by the weight of that purpose. I know that I am cared for and supported. For me, the act of submission is the act of being mindful. I am not the best submissive when I’m thinking about submission, I am the best submissive when I’m practicing submission. In that same vein, I am my best self when I’m practicing life, not just thinking about it. The key to submission, and I guess kinda to life also, is that they don’t work for me if I think about them. The fun, and growth, comes in the practice.

Alaina is a 20-something working on a PhD in Performance as Public Practice. They are a mom to three cats, they listen to a lot of NPR and musicals, and they spend a lot of time on Pinterest lusting over studio apartments. They are actively trying to build A Brand on twitter @alainamonts. One day, they will be First Lady of the United States.

Al(aina) has written 247 articles for us.

7 Comments

  1. “…I know when I’m in subspace that I feel like I’m doing something natural and good. I feel like my life is manageable and organized. I feel like I have a purpose, but I don’t feel crushed by the weight of that purpose. I know that I am cared for and supported.”

    This is perfect. Thank you for writing this.

  2. Oh, this sounds so beautiful. I haven’t yet had a D/s relationship where I felt this, but I can’t wait for it to happen. What I have felt, though, is that there’s always a moment when I’m getting hit where it no longer translates into pain; it’s pure sensation, and rather than being difficult it feels powerful. That feels like a preview of what this mindful subspace could feel like for me.

  3. ALAINA THIS. This perspective, and the intersection you’re exploring between mindfulness submission and submission within an s/d relationship, is so astute and poignant and actually just blew my mind. Like, mind blow job level. THANK YOU.

  4. “In that same vein, I am my best self when I’m practicing life, not just thinking about it.

    I’ve only lightly treaded in the d/s space, but the reinforcement of being actively present got me. As someone who tends to over analyze, this is something that I need to practise more. Thank you for this piece, Alaina!

  5. ALAINA!!! YES!

    “When I meditate, I’m trying to meditate right. I want to do what my therapist has taught me to do in order to be in the present, which means I end up not actually trying to be in the present but just trying to be right. When I enter subspace, being in the present comes easier because I’m not focused on it. Instead, I focus on serving, submitting and being all that my dominant needs. I’m not trying to force being in the present, so I am.”

    This is so real and something I completely identify with. ThanK you so much for writing this and highlighting another of the many amazing benefits sub space can have 🙂

  6. I am currently undertaking a meditation and mindfulness course to become a coach in it and also switch between Sub and Dom in my life. I love exploring the mind and body in both essences and have never tryely stopped and thought about it as being mindful until now. There is indeed that sense of inner peace and living in the moment. A sense of connection with what is and like meditation and mindfulness a health benefit in the release and sense of wellbeing. This article has been very profound for me so I bless you for your honesty and time in sharing.

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