Excerpt from The Little Vanilla Book

by Lux Alani

What if you were happy—not just happy, but ecstatic—in your own skin? Could this be a perk of radical love? What if radical love were engraved on the heart of every human in the world? It would surely put pants size into perspective.

Almost all women, from anorexics to athletes, struggle with body image. Body loathing has become so prevalent that it’s almost a given in the female experience. We all know what it feels like to hate the bodies we live in to different extents, and body hatred has as much to do with how we relate to ourselves as it has to do with cultural oppression.

How we think about ourselves and talk to ourselves has a powerful effect on our identity. Author and activist Anne Lamott says, “I am not my cellulite. At fifty-nine, I finally love my strong, jiggly thighs. They just happen to be a part of the package, which is so gorgeous and juicy that a swimsuit can scarcely contain it.” Can you imagine saying something so radical? Let’s try!

Start noticing your obsessive body thoughts (wanting to be thinner, curvier, taller, shorter, lighter, darker, smoother, other). Decide if all that mental energy is worth it. Decide whether you’re more fulfilled by a life of connection and passion and awareness, or the pursuit of the perfect body.

Move in to your body. Savor and forgive it. Protect and listen to it. Be vigilant about what feels safe and unsafe. Notice what creates power or passiveness or bliss.

In S&M the body becomes a vehicle for pleasure and pain, but it’s also a vehicle for awakening. Tools such as whips, sensory deprivation, and binding are often used to concentrate and tune the mind to the body. This tuning creates a grounding in the now, like each swat of a spanking bringing the mind inward as it focuses on first the sting and then the blood-rushing heat and then the rush of endorphins. When the senses are allowed to lead, our experiences become intuitive.

This body awareness can get lost in the vanilla experience, instead of being integral to it. Instead of enquiring within ourselves, we ignore our inner voice. Rather than embodying our innate divinity, we numb our feelings with food, drugs, or alcohol. We are driven by logic and schedules instead of openness and instincts. But our connection with spirit and wellness—even our swagger—depends on getting deeply in touch with ourselves.

Trusting our intuition and acting on it takes courage. So does being open to that which is beyond the physical dimension. These are things that kinksters are very, very good at. Like practitioners of BDSM, we should all remember that our bodies are deep truth-tellers. “Ouch” or “Yum” gets the point across when logic fails.

“There is no wrong way to have a body.” Doesn’t that say it all? I’d add that there’s no right way to have or hate a body at all.

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