For the Sake of Joy and Pleasure

Winter is a time when we tend to hunker down. The days seem so short and the fullness of our life is compressed, all of our responsibilities seem like they have to fit into a much smaller time window. What often gets lost in the squeeze is the time we give to ourselves to care for ourselves, to do the things that bring us joy, that bring us pleasure. In fact, something I've come to know about myself is that a sense of embarrassment or shame, often arises when I even entertain the thought of doing things for pleasure's sake. For no other reason than it would bring me joy. And when I sit with this, really sit with this, feeling how embarrassment and shame live inside my body, thoughts, I become aware of an old, well established story ... something about self worth. Perhaps this resonates?

A few years ago, on the very first module of my Somatic Experiencing training, we were given a novel task. To spend an entire afternoon orienting to pleasure, moving through the grounds of the beautiful retreat centre guided by impulse, desire, curiosity - noting what we were drawn to, what felt good, and following those impulses to completion. How subversive, how beautiful, and how challenging. Challenging because we completed this task in pairs, one moving and one witnessing, for almost an hour each. It's one thing to orient to, to move towards what is pleasurable on your own, and it is another thing entirely to do this while being witnessed by another. This exercise brought me eye-to-eye with the embarrassment I mention above. And, it also gave me a chance to name and share those feelings aloud, to bring them forth to seen, to free myself from subjugation of an old story that otherwise stays hidden. I'd like to share a very simple practice - Orienting to Pleasure in the Body - with you. This is a kind of being-with yourself that is well worth your time, especially if the notion of orienting to pleasure seems unfamiliar, embarrassing, shameful, or a waste of time. It's become a staple in my life and I lovingly challenge you to try it. The process can take less than 5 minutes, although you are welcome to spend as much with it as you like. I've posted this practice as a blog post . This link will take you THERE.

In time, I will record this and share an audio file here so, if you choose, you can be guided through the embodied experience. Incorporating this practice into your morning meditation, the start/end of your yoga practice, a quiet moment at work, or when you wake up/go to bed at night, is a beautiful gift of care to yourself and in service of deepening your full body awareness to more yourself available to yourself when you need an anchor or resource. * Excerpted from my seasonal newsletter