Orienting to Pleasure in the Body
Make yourself comfortable. Find a place to sit or lie down where your body is at ease. With your eyes open, take a few moments to notice where you are. Allow your head and eyes to move and turn as you take in your surroundings. When you feel ready, soften or close your eyes. Become aware of the places where your body makes contact with the surface of the chair or the floor. Allow this contact to really sink in, feeling the edges or the boundaries of your body, your skin, in contact with this support. Notice what happens inside, if anything, as you register these points of contacts. When the time feels right, take your awareness inside your body and do a gentle body scan. Starting with your feet, scan your body from your feet all the way up to your head. As you do this, notice (perhaps even silently name) any particular sensations, emotions, images, or thoughts that you become aware of. This practice of noticing and naming is a way of saying hello to, or acknowledging, what's there. Once you've completed one scan, begin the process again. This time, as you gently scan what's there, look for a place in your body where you register a sense of 'goodness' or pleasure. Look for a place inside - without a meaning or knowing the 'why', that simply feels good. Now, some days 'good' can feel like a foreign concept. If you can't connect to the word good or pleasurable, look for a place that feels relaxed, at ease, grounded, or even just simply 'there' in a comforting way. When you've acknowledged, named, and located that place, give yourself a few moments to hang out there. To really allow and let in this feeling of goodness, ease, pleasure, or 'there'-ness that is existing in your body. Notice what happens as you stay with this place, notice how it might expand, contract, or change with time and your attention. At times, NOT finding a place in your body that feels good, easeful, pleasureable, etc., is a valid and normal human experience. If this is what's happening for you, come back instead to the feeling of the surface of your body in contact with the chair or the floor. Notice which part of your body you feel most strongly in connection with that support. Allow and let in this feeling of support and connection - the meeting your body and the chair or the floor. Notice what happens as you stay with this place, how the sensation or relationship between your body and the surface it touches might grow or change with time. When you are ready to finish the practice, bring your awareness back to where you are - first, feeling your body in contact with the chair or the floor and then, opening or waking up your eyes to notice the room and the environment in which you have been resting. Allow your head and eyes to turn, taking in the details of the outside world around you.
NOTE: It can be really interesting what comes up in this practice. We are used to bringing our attention to places where we feel discomfort, dis-ease, or pain. It can be really hard to notice there are also places inside us that feel comfortable, present, or good. This is a practice that becomes easier with time and can yield some really powerful and healing reflections. Consider journaling any particular observations or insights you discover. If you feel frustrated, confused, scared, or unsafe as your work with this, you may want to seek out a somatic experiencing practitioner who can lead you through the practice with more support. Get in touch with me, I'm happy to help or connect you to someone who can.