Podcast 026 - Pleasure

Today I'm going to talk about pleasure and specifically some of the ways you might bring more of it into your life.

I've already mentioned a few times why pleasure it so important, but in case you missed it – our feminine energy is fed through pleasure so if you want to be a vibrant and powerful being, you absolutely must have a good amount of this in your life. It recharges your batteries. It helps you burn off stress and it makes life so much more fun!

I find it quite disheartening that so many of us (myself included just a short time ago) are so disconnected from pleasure. What I mean is, we don't necessarily know what truly brings us pleasure – I mean most of us can recite a quick list; my kids bring me pleasure (most of the time!), getting outside, watching my show.  While I don't doubt you love your kids, they don't always bring you pleasure. In fact, they are part of the stress causing piece of the equation and in many cases, add to why you need more of this in your life.

So let's talk about that part… we need a lot of pleasure in our lives and yet, many, many people believe pleasure is something that is only indulged in once all the 'work' is done. Think about what you do just for the pleasure of it? How often do you do it, where does it fit in your priority list. When something must get bumped off the list what is the first thing to go?

Now think about how you feel when an opportunity to do something for pleasure comes up. Perhaps, like so many others, you look at the price, look in your bank account for how much extra cash you have and allow that to make your decision as to whether or not you participate. If not that, you might look at your time commitments – can I really squeeze this in. Perhaps you run it by your significant other and use their reaction to determine whether or not you should pursue the idea further.

Many people – women especially, feel guilty when seriously considering doing something simply for the pleasure of it and think they need to have a really good excuse in order to justify taking the time, spending the money or lining up the child care to make this happen.

I can actually remember a really busy time in my life when a friend of mine was sick for a few days and had to spend that time in bed. I actually felt a stab of envy and momentarily wished I could be sick so I could just rest and focus on healing guilt free. How messed up is that?

Since then I've shared this secret (rather shamefully) in conversation with other women and been amazed at the number that admitted to something similar. For some it was accidents, others diagnosis, still others divorce… None of us are actually wishing for a life threatening diagnosis, to be in an accident or to have their husband up and leave them… but we are all inwardly screaming for a chance to recharge our batteries.

I have a group of friends who I totally love and really admire for how they make a point of reaching for pleasure. They've travelled to concerts, art shows, they have a yearly "glamping" experience, which I have participated in and loved – true camping (no toilet, no running water, no electricity) but with awesome beds, incredible food and this beautiful feminine energy I can't even begin to describe. My point is that these women appear to have no guilt around making time for themselves and really seem to understand the importance of pleasure in their lives and you can tell.

So, if you are feeling this kind of bone deep weariness and you don't want to end up with something untoward happening to you, it is absolutely imperative you take charge and insist on bringing more pleasure into your life on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, because we've been thoroughly trained in the masculine model that I talked about last week, many of us have really, deeply internalized the message that we must work hard to succeed. Take a look at these sayings:

The early bird gets the worm; only the tough survive; work hard, play later (work hard, play hard); money doesn't grow on trees so you better get planting; work through the burn; a mother's work is never done; you can sleep when your dead. Every one of these comments suggests you must put your energy into action…make things happen…get things done if you want to get anywhere in life. The underlying message is that there is no time for pleasure and that you are lazy and not worthy of success if you indulge in such things.

Now thankfully, enough people have burned out, become ill, lost significant others and so on, for our society to scratch their head and start to question. As a result, more and more people are catching on that we are doing something terribly wrong here. There has to be more to life than this and they are beginning to search for what that is. This has opened the door to pleasure – perhaps only a crack – but that's enough to bring some light into the room.

Interesting gender difference

According to Alison Armstrong, a woman who has made it her business to study men for many years now, men tend to be more connected to what brings them pleasure, they aren't shy about fitting it into their life (in other words no guilt if they can make it happen) and the recharge they receive from doing these things (whether it be hunting, going to game with some buddies, golfing) seems to stay with them quite a bit longer than it does for women.

For example, she says if a man loves riding his motorcycle and get's to go on a lovely Sunday drive, it might create a feeling of satisfaction (completeness) for the next few days. Women, on the other hand, tend to have a harder time identifying what fills them up, fitting it into their lives without the guilt AND only feel full for a couple of hours!

Now, I fully recognize this will be different for many men and women, but allowing me this generalization, it's still worth thinking about.

In my book, Standing in Your Power, I share some ideas for filling yourself up (which is another way of saying they bring you pleasure) which I'd like to share with you:

You know something fills you up if:

You enjoy doing it.

You feel stronger after doing it.

You feel good about yourself as a person for doing it.

You feel a sense of happiness or contentment deep within when you do it.

Examples of things that might fill you up:

Connection to others - quality time with partner, kids, family, friends, volunteering and service to others. It’s important that you feel allowed to be your true self with these people.

Movement/exercise - dancing, swinging, yoga, running, aerobics, sex, biking, massages, swimming

Music - singing, drumming, listening to music, playing an instrument

Touch/energy work - massages, foot rubs, pranic healing, reiki, even distant healing (like I'm doing right now with Emmanuel Dagher!)

Quieting the mind - relaxing baths, meditation, daydreaming, tai chi, qi gong, yoga

Belly laughs – with a friend, a child, watching a show

Artistic expression – writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, pottery, crafting, baking, cooking

Releasing Chi - cleaning out a closet, organizing a drawer, giving away clothing

Being out in nature – sunshine, walking, tree hugging, sitting by water, horseback riding, walking barefoot in the sand

Animals – petting a dog, grooming a horse, playing with a kitten, watching fish in a tank

Excitement – Riding a motorcycle, skydiving, flying an airplane, driving a race car

Remember, what brings you pleasure, how much you need to reach the full mark, and the amount of time you remain “full” afterwards, are different for everyone AND could even be altered for you on different days.  Our souls love novelty, so what feels great one day might become rather blasé on another.

Take some time and explore a little. Bring a variety of things into your life so that you can change it up, have ideas that work regardless of where you are or how much time you have.

A couple weeks ago in my podcast I spoke about, Taking pleasure from little moments, and it's worth it to remind you of that here:

Tuning into those many miraculous little moments that arise on any given day, such as: sunshine on your face; having a deep authentic conversation with a friend; laughing with your child (or grand dog as is my situation); sitting down with a fresh cup of your favorite beverage; enjoying a delicious smell or even taking that first bite of intensely awesome food. These are all examples of miraculous moments, but really the list could be endless.

The more you awaken all your senses and allow yourself to fully be in a moment, the more completely you will enjoy the experience. Sometimes, finding pleasure is just a matter of opening up to it.

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