For newcomers to the BDSM lifestyle, they may often hear of lifestylers referring to the term “headspace” in several contexts. It can mean many different things to many different people, and can serve many different purposes depending on the need at the time. In my own words, a headspace is simply a state of mind that one enters when the stimuli of the external world are dampened, and an inner “world” within their mind is brought to life.
My points of view, as with anyone’s point of view, should be reflected as my own opinion. I strongly hold that much of the BDSM and Leather world is not written in stone, and there is very little that is regarded as universal truth or an unquestionable fact. History is different, but definitions of words and such should, in my opinion, be regarded with one’s perspective. To many of us, words can be used in many different ways. It is the constant amalgamation of those perspectives that is what I enjoy about the lifestyle. Now that the disclaimer’s out of the way…
The Building Blocks of My Headspace
Many build a headspace based on past experiences or training from others who have had experience in the subject. It is my intent behind this type of blog post to provide my perspective and experience in hopes that others who are trying to work on this concept to be able to do the same thing.
My headspace is comprised of elements from my upbringing in the Evangelical Christian church, as well as some elements of guided meditation I learned at a Baptist Church when I was in middle/high school. The Assembly of God church I went to when I was very young (from birth through 6th grade) was a very spiritual one. We referred to the third in the Trinity as the Holy Ghost, not the Holy Spirit. For those who do not understand the difference, stereotypically Holy Ghosters were typically more emotionally-charged churchgoers–those that used loud and proud Praise & Worship music with more than just a piano and organ. Yes, some even went up to the front of the church to be slain in the spirit. Our Pastor always kept things under tight control, though. I enjoyed it well.
Block One: Invocation
Invocation was a very important part of the service. It happened after we went around to meet and greet others. It was always so interesting to me how quiet it would get during the invocation prayer. And then, we’d allow a moment of silence for contemplation. That moment of silence was important to me, as it would later help me build the basis of my headspace. In that moment, I knew that I was in a room filled with fellow churchgoers, but at the same time, I was alone with myself. Everyone and everything around me disappeared. I couldn’t even hear the hum of the speaker system.
The first element of my headspace is typically the manifestation of a void that surrounds me. Sometimes my play partner(s) are there; sometimes they are not. It depends on the circumstances, as my headspace is not a static one.
Block Two: Trust
Trust is a very key component to establishing your own headspace. Trust is necessary both in yourself, your play partner(s), and the space that you’re in (to include any equipment/implements that are being used). The concept of trust itself is promulgated widely even in situations outside BDSM, so I will not go into lengthy explanations on how it applies inside BDSM.
Block Three: Purpose
This building block can be a little tricky. For me, having a purpose to your headspace is important, because it helps you guide yourself once you are in it. Some enjoy the complete release of all responsibility, while some may enjoy that it helps them achieve an altered state of mind. Some others enjoy that they can express emotions that they may be otherwise unable or unwilling to express without being in headspace. This does not have a decision that is set in stone for your headspace forever, but I have found that my headspace is set up in different kinds of “scenes” when I am looking for different things.
The reason why I say that it can be tricky is that you may think you have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish with a scene, but your subconscious may have a completely different idea that you had not thought about. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. They are usually fun experiences for me, because they have helped me face some of my hardest challenges or express some of my worst emotions–grounding them out and eliminating them from my mind. One of the wonderful dynamics of BDSM is the versatility offered in a scene. By understanding how to define a purpose to your headspace while still knowing that other possibilities may happen once you hit headspace, you will be more successful in the end with your journey through your headspace.
What Triggers Entering Headspace
There are plenty of things that can cause one to enter it. Since flogging is my most enjoyed activity, usually getting the shit beat out of me is the thing that most easily allows me to slip into it. As I say to most people when they ask me this question, “When you’re getting beaten on by a flogger, there’s not much else that you begin to focus on but the subject at hand…yourself.”
This helps me slip into that headspace, but it is not always what everyone does. I have seen some use hypnosis, which personally is not something I have explored to date. It looks interesting, though, as I have seen it done before. Something that I practice quite frequently is a trigger word. These can be anything you’d like it to be, just like one learns in guided meditation.
My Trigger Word
My trigger word is “Hallelujah”. This word has significant importance to me because it was often uttered by those who would speak in tongues during church service, and to me it is a very powerful word that carries the ability to invoke (see Building Block One). The church I attended when I was young had people in it who would speak in tongues, if so moved, but what was interesting was that someone else would follow behind them and translate what was said. This was always fascinating to me because 1) a member of the congregation would stand up and speak on their own, 2) someone else would then stand up and translate how they felt the message was sent, and 3) everyone gave their respectful attention to the two involved and carried forward with service, having enjoyed the moment together.
I gleaned from those experiences that it was not important (to me) that the person speaking gibberish between uttering the word “hallelujah” or other English words was actually conveying a message that then was being accurately translated into English by the other party. What was important was the feeling they felt at that moment in time, their expression on their face, and their joy they felt after. I always made it a point to speak with either of them if I knew them when possible, even when I was very young, and I recall that the way they felt after that spiritual release is very similar to now how I feel after the conclusion of my walk through my headspace in a scene.
This also has given me strength during the time I walk in my headspace, because I know that I may vent emotions like anger, sadness, rage, and other negative energies that may not look pleasing to others around me. It is important to me that I have the respect of those around me that I am in a safe environment and am okay to express what I want in a healthy way like my fellow congregants did.
If there is any one thing that I can say to anyone seeking to understand or create their own headspace, it’s that patience and practice are your keys to making it successful. I also welcome anyone’s feedback regarding their experiences and input they may have. I know that there are a lot of articles on the Internet about this, so I hope this is helpful in addition to whatever else you may find.