ecstasy

Desperately Seeking Passion

Artist unknown

“I just want to feel passion… I don’t think I’ve ever felt it.” She said, looking at me with pleading eyes.

At that moment, I wished I had “passion wand” I could wave over my coaching client to instantly imbibe her with the ability to feel the energizing, intoxicating and empowering effects that passion has. But instead, it’s a private quest.

If passion is what we want, and we’re not experiencing it, we must dig, we must get to the bottom of whatever walls we have built that are in the way of the passion we so long to feel.

At lunch with friends, we discuss the waning and wavering currents of passion, of the longing to feel more, to experience more. Without it, we are dry, crusty, dull, like winter skin. The colors of our lives are dimmer, the texture may be smoother (easier to swallow, like oatmeal, or chicken broth), but the flavor is bland and tasteless.

In another conversation with my passion-seeking client, we come upon the topic of how she handles grief, pain, and how she has created a very structured and reliable way to get through any hardship or devastation. “I feel sad for a little while, then I tell myself, okay, that’s enough. It’s a waste of time to spend my energy feeling sad or hurt.” Bam, I realize. We have hit pay-dirt.

When you shut off the valve of feeling “bad” feelings, when you limit yourself as to what emotions you will permit yourself to feel or not feel, and for how long, when you are monitoring and controlling any feelings, you are also limiting your ability to experience the powerful and life-affirming juice that passion provides- extreme joy, intense desire, consuming sensuality, perhaps even mind-blowing orgasms.

When you disallow yourself to feel anything, you disable your ability to fully feel everything.

Imagine having a beautiful, large, crystal blue pool, with a ‘kiddie’ side, where the water is crisp, refreshing and shallow. You can hang out on that side all the time, lounging, floating on a raft, splashing around. But there’s so much more pool for you to enjoy.

Going deep, exploring the width and the depth of your beautiful pool is what makes life exciting and rich. Sure, the shallow end is nice. But you have so much pool to experience.

How do you experience passion? Some of us take new lovers and live for days of stolen moments and melancholic longing. Some of us create art. Some of us channel passion through our heart-centered businesses, or gratifying work. Some of us dance. I think it matters less how you feel it and more so that you feel it. Just feel it.

If you’re not experiencing passion, there is a chance you may have shut off a valve deep in your soul, to protect yourself from feeling painful feelings, and in doing so, you have cut yourself off from your very own life-blood, the power and beauty that passion creates.

You turned off the fuse box. No wonder the house is dark.

It’s also likely you are not plugging into the things that turn you on. Ever go nuts trying to figure out why your lamp won’t turn on, to finally realize it wasn’t plugged in? Or wander around the house flicking light switches when the power is out, and continuing to be surprised that the lights are not going on? Same thing.

Passion is fuel. It’s power. It gets stuff done. It can be intoxicating. It’s the best drug available to wo/mankind. It’s the electricity that lights your life, it gives you vision and courage and might. It flavors all areas of your life and transforms the mundane into artistry, magic, adventure.

If you want to experience more passion, you must do two things:

  1. Ask yourself “what makes me come alive?” and then do more of those things, whenever and where ever you can.
  2. Ask yourself “where in my life have I created a wall between myself and the depths of my feelings? Where have I cut myself off from the range of feeling it all?” Then do the work to deconstruct those walls.

These acts are not for wimps. The second one, especially. But even just one brick taken from that wall will create a path for passion to seep through.

You will feel more. That means the sting of rejection. The enveloping pain of sadness. The fiery fury of rage. Passion is intensity, and you can’t just feel some of the intense feelings. You’ll have to feel them all.

My life without passion is nothing. I don’t want any part of my life shut down or closed off. I don’t want any part of my experience limited by my fear of feeling too much.

It isn’t always easy. But it’s always worth it.

We have so much pool to experience. Let’s experience it all. Let’s dive and swim and play in the deep end. And watch passion come pouring in.

 

 

 

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Originally posted April 2014.

Reality Check

ac11b59841a3ae3e0c1cb460ccc05585“Vacation was wonderful, but now it’s back to reality.”

 “Lately, I just want to escape the real world and curl up with a book, in my jammies with my kitty.”

“I’m having a challenge returning to reality after the glitter and glamour of the Burlesque Experience…”

I’ve heard all three of these statements, in the last few days, in fact, from three different people. One of those people was me.

We all know this feeling, this reluctance or resistance to “return to reality”.

Life gives us those temporary shining, sparkling respites, that take us out of the mundane, out of the routines and duties and obligations, and give us transcendence, ecstasy, bliss, or just simply relaxation.

And then, ho hum, back to reality we go, sheepishly, begrudgingly.

Well, I’d like to turn that thought-process on its head, by offering a new perspective.

You aren’t escaping reality with your relaxing weekends, your transcendent experiences, your vacations and blissful days off.

You’re expanding it.

What if we stopped the polarizing thinking of “reality” as the chores, the mundane, the routine, and those transcendent, fully-engaged, joyful experiences as being outside of reality?

What if instead we chose to embrace it all as one great big, luscious, multi-faceted range of reality?

What would happen?

Something would shift.

And when it does, it’s really beautiful.

Vacation-Return-HomeI had this experience the other day myself, driving home with my fiancé, from our weekend getaway in the country, that feeling of “returning to reality” came over me, and with it, a sadness, a reluctance, and then a quiet voice whispered from my heart, “it’s all reality.” And then, suddenly, my reality expanded.

That, too… that glorious weekend experience of rest and relaxation, connecting with nature, with myself, painting, drawing, reading, doing or not doing whatever I chose, that was reality, too.

Of course it was! I didn’t imagine it.

How insulted and offended these rich, meaningful experience and moments must be, to be left out and excluded from what we consider reality! “Wow, thanks a lot! I gave you so much! Well, it was real for me! Pffft!”

Silly to think about, I know, but do you get what I’m saying here?

What if we chose to widen reality, to include more moments and experiences of ecstasy and bliss, even within the folds and creases of everyday life, rather than escape it?

What if we widened our reality so much that in these moments and experiences, we aren’t escaping anything, but enriching it?

Reality, after all, is what we decide for it to be.

Is your reality a relentless pushing, striving and doing, loaded with obligations and duties and responsibilities and roles to fulfill?

Can what you perceive to be reality include transcendence, connection, relaxation and retreat, instead of excluding it?

Visualize it on paper. On the left is the “real world”. On the right is all that other stuff, the activities and events and moments you lose yourself in, when and where and how you get charged and refueled and realigned. Yours might include vacationing or travel, creative endeavors, relaxing activities, connection, socializing, time off.

Next, take your imagination’s pen and draw a big circle around it all, and call it reality.

What shifts with this simple expansion?

And how can you enlarge and widen and deepen your current experience of reality, every day?

Gasp… dare I say, in every moment?

My reality is wide, and deep, and rich, and includes all of it. The duties and the getaways. The challenges and the ease. The doing and the being. The scheduled routines and the loose, lazy, unstructured respites.

We can’t vacation all the time. Well, most of us can’t. But how can we create the feelings and sensations of vacationing in our day to day lives? The truth of the matter is, it’s those feelings we’re after.

What if we made these respites and retreats and moments outside of the ordinary every day a priority, committing to them with the same fervor we commit to being responsible?

We are responsible for our reality, right?

Our longing for magic and the opportunities to satisfy this longing exist at every turn, in every one of life’s pockets.  Sometimes they’re obvious, a week on a beach, for example. Other times, they’re hidden, quietly present, tucked in, needing only for you to discover them, claim them, and make them a priority of your reality. A big reality, one that includes all of it.reality

A reality as expanded as this needs your conscious design. Your deliberate intention. With it, reality expands, just like that.

And when reality is this wide and expansive, there is no more need to escape it.

Of course, there is the mind-numbing paradox of possibility that none of this at all is reality, that it’s all a dream, but maybe that’s for another blog. For today, let’s just say, if it’s happening, it’s reality.

It’s all reality.

What will you make of yours today?

Five Dares for the Sexiest, Most Sacred Year Ever

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photo by Dee Hill

We’re a week into 2016 and by now we are either going strong or fizzling out with our resolutions, intentions and desired new habits.

Hopefully you are making steady consistent progress, building momentum and finding yourself a little closer to what it is you most want this year to be. I know I am!

What if, though, the best year of your life had little to do with accomplishments, milestones and achieved goals, and far more to do with living deliciously, passionately, indulgently, radically savoring, going deeper, daring, moving blissfully through your life and being your most sensual self? I think it does.

Today, instead of hammering you with a list of productivity tools, goal-setting techniques, tips for buckling down, getting serious, and all that jazz that you’re probably already tired of reading, I offer you these five dares for 2016…

 

1. I dare you to move! It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic or intense or expensive. Move in ways that please you. Experiment with new ways of moving. Live in your body. dance, stretch, walk, stretch some more. Too busy for classes? Fit in quick movement breaks into your day. Your body wants to move. Get up, get moving. Movement is medicine. I’ve committed to getting off my way-too-sedentary ass and moving at least 10 minutes a day in January. I want my body to get used to moving again, before I crank up the durations. I give myself stickers in my planner when I do the movement. My inner five-year old loves them.

 

2. I dare you to go deeper. Dare to experience deeper intimacy with your partner, friends and family.  Go there. Ask brave questions. Speak brave truths. Ditch the small talk. Let your life become a game of Truth or Dare.

How will you know when it’s the perfect time to go deeper? When up against a moment, your fight or flight instinct kicks in, and you want to run, hide, back away, or shut down. Instead, go deeper. On the other side is always deeper intimacy, deeper connection and trust, whether with others or in your most important relationship, the one with yourself.

 

3. I dare you to live the Pleasure Path. Be a hedonist. You are wired for pleasure. You are divinely designed for it.

Each day, commit to three acts of pleasure. Engage your senses as often as possible. Touch. Taste. Orgasm. Soak. Smell. Relish.

And don’t even think about using the excuse “I don’t have a mate!” with me. I swear on my life, being coupled has NOTHING to do with sensual living. Living a sensual life means using your senses to savor your life, at every opportunity. And trust me when I say this, ye singletons wanting to be coupled… the more sensual of a life you live, the more attractive you become. It’s science. It’s divine.

 

4. I dare you to adorn yourself.  Throw away the ratty granny underpants. Dress to impress (yourself). Experiment. You know that thing you bought when you were feeling wild that day, but haven’t had the guts to actually wear? Wear it.

Adventures in adornment need not break the bank. Thrift stores await you, full of treasures. Do not underestimate the power of a new drugstore lipstick shade, or putting on your favorite earrings or lacy underthings, just for you. We often fall out of touch with our sexiness and sensuality when we stop devoting time and energy to self-adornment. It falls off the list, it happens. Return to adornment. It will reward you with yummy feelings, I promise. Self-adornment is as primitive and deeply innate as hunting and gathering.

 

5. I dare you to practice radical self-compassion. If being hard on ourselves were the way, we’d all be there by now. Explore the places within you where self-compassion could serve you well. Become vigilant about changing the conversation with your inner critic and commit to loving, generous and kind ways of treating and speaking to yourself. Make a commitment to talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a beloved friend.

I have no doubt that if you and I commit whole-heartedly to making these dares part of our daily lives, we will have one helluva sacred, sexy, amazing year! Are you down? Come on, sexy, let’s do this!

 

 

 

 

If It Feels Good…

tumblr_n8h069Wk6V1qc64bxo1_250As I sit down to write this morning, the steady rhythm of a rain shower as my background music, I open wide my office French doors in order to take it in, to breathe in the sweet summer air and better hear the rain song, I think “this is what she’s talking about.”

Who is she, you ask? And what is she talking about? Dr. Christine Northrup, and I’m reading her latest book, “Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being” and it’s a game-changer.

I have innately known, for my whole life, really, that pleasure is my birthright. However, it’s easy to forget what we innately know. Especially when truth is indoctrinated out of us!

I’ve been contemplating pleasure as a spiritual path for years, ever since I gave up the tired and unpleasant notion that my capacity for pleasure and my spirituality were two separate things, that “pleasures of the flesh” as they called them in church was another term for “sin.” Slowly but surely, I began to return to what I know to be true:

I am wired for pleasure.

Pleasure is my prescription for health and vitality.

There is nothing sinful about feeling good.

There is nothing shameful about feeling sexy.

Dr. Northrup says…

“Denying and demonizing pleasure has caused too many women (and men) to doubt our natural instincts that tell us that when we feel good in our bodies and hearts, we overflow with joy and abundance that spills out onto other people. Our cup runneth over, and it keeps getting refilled with pleasure, when we reconnect to Spirit.”

And then there is the science to back up our miraculous design.The biochemistry of pleasure counteracts the biochemistry of aging.

Nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous) is THE Grand Poo-bah of neurotransmitters and it increases and balances all of the others… oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, DMT, all of these brilliantly designed chemicals that flow through us… when we feel good.

We need these chemicals in us to feel good.

And when we laugh, when we connect, when we orgasm, when we are feeling pleasure, more nitric oxide is produced, creating more of the other chemicals that create vitality, health and happiness.

We are wired for pleasure.

Happiness (with pleasure as a proven path!) is crucial for vibrant health. Pleasure is not selfish. It’s a gift. It’s medicine. It’s necessary.

Northrup goes on to say…

“Find pleasure in your body, not just sexually, but sensually. Truly delight in tastes, sights, smells, sounds and tactile sensations such as the deep touch of a massage or the light touch of soft fabric or a feather against your skin…

Our bodies are actually designed to thrive and repair themselves through the earthly pleasure of being in a body.”

Wow. I just love this stuff… Fellow hedonists and pleasure-seekers, does this give us permission to dive face-first into our hedonism, bingeing on fattening unhealthy foods, alcohol and drugs, in the pursuit of pleasure? Sure, why not, right? Ummm…

Here’s why not: Too much of these standard pleasurable go-tos at have a counter-effect on our bodies when ingested in excess.

We all know what happens to our bodies with an excess of sugary or fatty foods. And yes, alcohol makes us feel good for a short-term, but too much alcohol over time dulls our bodies’ pathways and actually diminishes our system’s ability to create dopamine and other natural pleasure-chemicals. So we feel shittier when we’re sober, which makes us want to drink more, for that cheap and quick, though fleeting, relief.  Regular and excessive alcohol use also has the vicious-cycle affect of inflammation and oxidation, which are the sources of most pain, ailments and aging symptoms.  Am I suggesting you quit using these pleasurable substances altogether, and go ‘au natural’ in your pleasure-seeking? Only if that’s what you’re feeling called toward.

What I am suggesting is that both you and me crank up the dial on our intention to mindfully seek opportunities for pleasure. From the mundane and everyday rituals to the extreme peak experiences.

More intentional, healthy pleasure, YES!

I’ve committed to three acts of pleasure each morning before starting my workday.  And oh, what fun I had this morning. Within a half hour, I had given myself a mini-aromatherapy session with lavender oil (proven to increase feelings of happiness and well-being), danced to a few of my favorite dance songs, and had a short and very sweet private session with myself and a few toe-curling moments.. yeah, that’s pleasure, all right! Ain’t no shame!

I’m simply taking Dr. Northrup’s professional medical advice very seriously!

“My prescription for general health is to experience more pleasure… We have forgotten the importance of pleasure and we need to remember how to experience it regularly- as a daily part of life.”

Will you join me, and commit to three acts of pleasure before you get your day rolling each morning? A conspiracy of pleasure! For our health?! Hell yeah!

No more holding back from pleasure. It’s our birthright. It’s science. It’s our prescription. Doctor’s orders.

Let’s get it on!

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I want to hear from you! Share your three pleasures today in the comments below!

Join me for a pleasure-focused WomenCircle, Wednesday 7/1, space is limited: Sexy & I Know It, in Dallas!

Do the wild thing.

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“Underneath it all, we are wild and we know it.”

– Reggie Ray, Buddhist scholar

 

From the time you were a little child they’ve been trying to tame you.

They told you how to sit, they told you how to behave. They told you what nice girls do and don’t and when you acted wild, they told you that you should be ashamed of yourself.

So you were.

They told you to sit still.

They told you to quiet down.

They told you to play nice and stop being bossy. They told you to not get dirty. To not be naughty.

You learned that if you were gonna get by in this world, your wild animal self would need to be trained in the ways of the world. You acclimated. You adapted. You shut her away.

You’ve spent your life trying to be good. They love you more when you’re good. But when good becomes false, your true self grieves. When playing by the rules becomes sacrificing your heart’s desires, death is slow and secret. You’re smiling on the outside and dying on the inside.

I declare a Reclamation Proclamation on your wild and fiery spirit. I dare you to untame yourself. Just a little bit. Or a lot.

What does that mean? I don’t know! It will be different for all of us.

For some of us the Reclamation will involve a complete purge of objects, relationships, old familiar ways, burning through the old, to grow new from the ash.

For some of us a Reclamation might be as simple as one single NO.

No I won’t be attending the event.

No I will not entertain this damaging thought.

No I will not feel guilty about taking care of myself.

No I will not work for a company that requires the women to wear panty hose every day.

 

For some of us, the Reclamation will be in the form of a YES.

YES this is what I want.

YES I will swim naked in the moonlight.

YES I will take a lover.

YES I will travel alone.

YES I will do the unthinkable.

Whatever your unthinkable might be.

 

You might stop shaving your legs, if that suits your fancy. You might go without panties for a week, to see how that changes the way you move and experience the world. You might quit your job. You might leave a marriage. You might start a marriage. You might parachute, para-sail, para-glide. You might release a relationship, renew a promise, set fire to the old. Give birth to the new in you.

Dance. Sing. Scream. Run. Stay. Do the wild thing.

There’s a new movement sweeping the country, thousands of women have stopped shaving their legs. They’re taking pictures, they’re sharing them online. It’s bold, it’s definitely a Reclamation Proclamation of the wild one!

Although I don’t think I’ll be going to such extremes, (only because I don’t feel pulled in that direction, it doesn’t titillate me) I do occasionally allow them to grow unruly because I just don’t feel like shaving and it’s sort of fun to marvel at their prickly stubbly layer of hair that will most certainly grow wild if I let it.

Your wild child is begging you to let her out. She needs to live. She needs to breathe. She needs your respect and adoration.

You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

– Mary Oliver

Did you get that?

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Your wild one is calling out. Untame your spirit. How might your world change? How does your wild spirit want to reveal herself?

Do something wild. I dare you. Love what you love. Burn what needs to burn. Set fire to your tameness. To your jaded holding back, keeping it down, guarding your heart (as if.)

It’s not working.

You were born to be wild.

 

 

The Painful Truth About Passion

artworks-000002421955-rof9qx-t200x200“I just want to feel passion… I don’t think I’ve ever felt it.” She said, looking at me with pleading eyes.

At that moment, I wished I had “passion wand” I could wave over my coaching client to instantly imbibe her with the ability to feel the energizing, intoxicating and empowering effects that passion has. But instead, it’s a private quest.

If passion is what we want, and we’re not experiencing it, we must dig, we must get to the bottom of whatever walls we have built that are in the way of the passion we so long to feel.

At lunch with friends, we discuss the waning and wavering currents of passion, of the longing to feel more, to experience more. Without it, we are dry, crusty, dull, like winter skin. The colors of our lives are dimmer, the texture may be smoother (easier to swallow, like oatmeal, or chicken broth), but the flavor is bland and tasteless.

In another conversation with my passion-seeking client, we come upon the topic of how she handles grief, pain, and how she has created a very structured and reliable way to get through any hardship or devastation. “I feel sad for a little while, then I tell myself, okay, that’s enough. It’s a waste of time to spend my energy feeling sad or hurt.” Bam, I realize. We have hit pay-dirt.

When you shut off the valve of feeling “bad” feelings, when you limit yourself as to what emotions you will permit yourself to feel or not feel, and for how long, when you are monitoring and controlling any feelings,you are also limiting your ability to experience the powerful and life-affirming juice that passion provides- extreme joy, intense desire, consuming sensuality, perhaps even mind-blowing orgasms.

When you disallow yourself to feel anything, you disable your ability to fully feel everything.

Imagine having a beautiful, large, crystal blue pool, with a ‘kiddie’ side, where the water is crisp, refreshing and shallow. You can hang out on that side all the time, lounging, floating on a raft, splashing around. But there’s so much more pool for you to enjoy.

Going deep, exploring the width and the depth of your beautiful pool is what makes life exciting and rich. Sure, the shallow end is nice. But you have so much pool to experience.

How do you experience passion? Some of us take new lovers and live for days of stolen moments and melancholic longing. Some of us create art. Some of us channel passion through our heart-centered businesses, or gratifying work. Some of us dance. I think it matters less how you feel it and more so that you feel it. Just feel it.

If you’re not experiencing passion, there is a chance you may have shut off a valve deep in your soul, to protect yourself from feeling painful feelings, and in doing so, you have cut yourself off from your very own life-blood, the power and beauty that passion creates.

You turned off the fuse box. No wonder the house is dark.

It’s also likely you are not plugging into the things that turn you on. Ever go nuts trying to figure out why your lamp won’t turn on, to finally realize it wasn’t plugged in? Or wander around the house flicking light switches when the power is out, and continuing to be surprised that the lights are not going on? Same thing.

Passion is fuel. It’s power. It gets stuff done. It can be intoxicating. It’s the best drug available to wo/mankind. It’s the electricity that lights your life, it gives you vision and courage and might. It flavors all areas of your life and transforms the mundane into artistry, magic, adventure.

If you want to experience more passion, you must do two things:

  1. Ask yourself “what makes me come alive?” and then do more of those things, whenever and where ever you can.
  2. Ask yourself “where in my life have I created a wall between myself and the depths of my feelings? Where have I cut myself off from the range of feeling it all?” Then do the work to deconstruct those walls.

These acts are not for wimps. The second one, especially. But even just one brick taken from that wall will create a path for passion to seep through.

You will feel more. That means the sting of rejection. The enveloping pain of sadness. The fiery fury of rage. Passion is intensity, and you can’t just feel some of the intense feelings. You’ll have to feel them all.

My life without passion is nothing. I don’t want any part of my life shut down or closed off. I don’t want any part of my experience limited by my fear of feeling too much.

It isn’t always easy. But it’s always worth it.

We have so much pool to experience. Let’s experience it all. Let’s dive and swim and play in the deep end. And watch passion come pouring in.

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My favorite song/video about feeling it all, I Feel it All by Feist. Enjoy!

Back to Bliss, and some big announcements…

Oooooh yeah… I write this from the strangest place, something has shifted, I feel odd… Lightheaded, ecstatic, warm, tingly, sensitive, opened… Can’t really explain it except for the fact that I am certain it has to do with the cosmic and planetary shift we are moving into. (And my openness to experience such!)

As I write, it is 12.12.12… A magical day for us all, as we move through this portal into peace and love, where everything is different. Are you ready?

You may be noticing, like me, a surge in energy, productivity, creation. You may also be experiencing intense emotions, maybe even loss. Last night, our family dog Roxy, passed away suddenly. I was able to pet her warm sweet body, kiss her and send her love into next realm. It was intense, awful, yet peaceful and full of loving energy. Today I ride waves of sadness and grief, which suddenly shift into waves of glee and bliss… I can’t explain it any other way except I feel altered. Altered state of consciousness.

I’m also experiencing a “relapse” in my hip and spine, the sciatica and piriformis pain which I had thought was under control. I am there again, the intensity of the pain at times bringing me to tears. Waves of anger, frustration, and then, from out of nowhere, waves of love and acceptance. Trust and surrender. Back to bliss.

Wow… I am riding these powerful waves. Curious. Intrigued. Captivated. Surrendered. In love.

Back to bliss. Back to bliss. Whatever comes at us, we return back to bliss. We can. We will. We are! It’s our birthright!

Big things ahead! For us all.

I’m so excited to announce that I published my first book yesterday. Truth or Dare Living: Wild Adventures for Your Sacred, Sexy Soul. Please buy a copy and join me for the adventure! It’s not just a book you read, it’s a book you DO! C’mon, I dare ya!

Lastly, but not leastly! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be launching a brand new membership program with the my amazing soul sister, Megan Monique, called Prosperity Playground. If you’re ready for big shifts around finances in 2013, like we are, jump aboard and join us on this trip! Oh yeah, baby!

There are amazing, incredible, great big things awaiting you and me in 2013. Can you feel it? Let’s do this.

P.S. I invite you to consider gifting the women you love with SacredSexyU gifts! I’ve got some ideas you might enjoy

 

photo by Dee Hill

What if pleasure IS the path?

What pleases you?” was the question. And when Joanie* drew the slip of paper from the basket during our sacred circle, she read it, and paused. Then she began to cry. We sat and held space for her as she let the feelings move through her, and then she spoke her answer:

“I have no idea.”

In one way or another, each of the women at the retreat could relate. You probably can, too. At some point in all of our lives, we wander away from the core of who we are and what we love. What we enjoy. What feels good.

In all of our busyness and to-dos and tweeting and texting and replying and surviving and doing for others (we’re SO good at that!) we can lose access to our essence, to the pleasures and indulgences and sensory thrills that we used to enjoy… to the goose bumps and surges of joy and titillations of life, love, connection, nature, art, beauty, sex, sensuality… all the things in our world that make us feel alive.

And then, when we’ve wandered so far from who we are, it feels more like who we WERE, lost our connection to our very essence, so far away that what we desire or enjoy or need feels more like memory than fact, we can get triggered by something as simple as a song playing on the radio that takes us back, or a question in circle at a retreat or a delicious piece of dark chocolate with chili and lime that reminds us that there is something more… way more… to life than what we are experiencing.

Pleasure is more than just a novelty, it’s your birthright. 

You showed up in that body, with those senses and those feelings, and the ability to pop goose bumps from your skin and get melty gooey lovey dovey if you’re in the right mood, and smell all kinds of things, some scents more pleasurable than others.

Your senses are divine. 

Not just divine. Your ability to experience pleasure IS Divinity!  It’s not just a scenic route on the path to spirituality or enlightenment. In fact, I believe that pleasure IS the pathAh… what do you think about that?

I don’t care what you learned as a little girl about denying yourself of pleasure. It was a lie. It doesn’t matter what they taught you in Sunday school about “fleshly” pleasure being separate from holiness. It’s B.S.  Flesh IS holy. Holy, holy, life is yummy!

What about a doctrine of desire? What if feeling good was your religion? What if experiencing pleasure, lots and lots of it, was your holiest prayer of gratitude? Hmmm…

Go ahead, think about what pleases you.

What feels good? What do you like to touch? Taste? Smell? What is beautiful to you? What are your yummiest experiences? What lights your fire? Make a list.

And then, today, pick one thing off that list and DO IT. I dare ya.

*Joanie is a fictitious name used to protect the identity of the actual person who participated in our circle. 

Photo Credit: Dee Hill