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Archive For June 28, 2018

Using Pleasure to Create the Life You Want

Using Pleasure to Create the Life You Want

Our pleasure shows us where we are in alignment. It is a natural built-in system that shows us what is right for us. However, not all experiences we might label as pleasurable are created equal.

It is helpful to learn to differentiate between types of pleasure. For example, eating a piece of chocolate cake might feel good in the moment, but that does not necessarily mean it is in alignment with you. To determine whether it is or not, you need to pay attention to the entire experience. How do you feel after you eat the chocolate cake? Does it continue to be a pleasurable experience?

It is also helpful to pay attention to the quality of the pleasure. Is it consistent throughout the layers of the experience? Using the same example of the chocolate cake, it might feel good in your mouth but not in your body. Or, maybe it negatively impacts our emotions because it’s more food than we actually need and we know it, and so we feel a little uncomfortable about having eaten it.

This approach applies to all experiences in our lives: How we feel at work, how we feel in our relationships. As we pay more attention to our pleasure and learn to really listen to it, we strengthen our ability to navigate through life.

Another thing that gets in the way of using pleasure as our guide is having a negative relationship with pleasure, which can make you feel bad about something that is actually good for you. Your conditioning distorts the picture of what you are experiencing based on ideas about what you should or should not enjoy. The opposite can also be true: we can be conditioned to feel pleasure associated with things that are not good for us.

The basic experience gets distorted by misconceptions and misinterpretations of events that take what would be a simple mechanism for determining what is right for us and make it confusing. It would be wonderful if it were as easy as a pleasurable experience automatically being in alignment with your needs so you could say yes to it and welcome more of it into your life. And if it were not a pleasurable experience, then you could redirect and go in a different direction. Once we get past all of the conditioning, this is true—but that takes some time to do.

It may seem as if, given all this conditioning, it is impossible to trust how you feel about things. However, the trick is not to cast pleasure aside and start trying to figure out what is best through your mind, but instead to dive more deeply in and practice paying closer attention.

To use pleasure as a guide—and it is a very useful guide—you can start to pay attention to where you might be filtering or misinterpreting the information that’s coming in about what is pleasurable and thus learn about what does or does not work for you in any given situation. As you pay attention to all aspects of your experience around an event that you consider pleasurable, your understanding of what is pleasurable will become more refined. As we become more and more refined, it becomes easier to have that simple relationship with pleasure—if it feels good, then it is good for me. Then you will be able to use pleasure to cultivate the things, the people, places, situations, and activities that you want in your life.

As you do so, you will feel so much better and better in all aspects of your life because you are creating a life that is in alignment with you. And as you cultivate this, it will actually raise your overall energy. Your energy will start operating at a higher level, which continues the refinement process of your pleasure and allows you to really hone in on what is working for you and what is best for you through what feels good. And then your pleasure will become this incredibly valuable tool for creating a life that feels really good and is in alignment with who you are.

For ideas on designing a more pleasurable life, take a look at my article >>> “How to Bring More Pleasure into Your Day-to-Day Life”

10 Ways to Feel More Pleasure Each Day

10 Ways to Feel More Pleasure Each Day

1. Savor it! Actively focus on the parts of your life that are pleasurable. Receive the pleasure that is there. Do you ever notice that it is much easier to remember what went wrong? Counter this tendency by really allowing yourself to experience and remember the parts of your day that are pleasurable.

2. Start small and the pleasure will build on itself. Don’t make it a burden on your to-do list. Choose things that you can easily incorporate into your daily life. The pleasure and confidence that you receive from those small things will give you an energy boost in the direction of more pleasure.

3. Give yourself permission to do what you want, rather than what you think you should do.

4. What sparks you most regularly? Identify what brings you into your body and your senses. Is it deliciously flavored food? Soft fabrics? Beautiful artwork or surroundings? Find ways to surround yourself with that. Maybe you get an extra-ordinate amount of pleasure from having super soft sheets, using a fancy pen, having beautiful boxes for organization, or doing computer work outside. Find those small shifts that regularly please you and do that more.

5. Feeling more pleasure is not just about doing things – it is also about removing things. Tune into and adjust the things that add to the stress and tension in your life. Oftentimes, we feel stuck in these situations and let ourselves endure them. However, upon examination, another path appears. Look at the areas of your life that cause you the most stress and tension. Then, meditate on whether there is a way to add more spaciousness and joy to it or whether you need to cut it out altogether.

6. Do something you really love in the morning to start your day off right. If you are feeling good and centered in your heart and your senses, chances are you will find more opportunities for that during the day.

7. Experiment! Sometimes, we can have a hard time including pleasure in our life because it feels like we don’t have time or it will cause other problems in our life. Try an experiment for a day or two so that you feel comfortable letting go into it. Let yourself do everything you want to do that authentically brings you pleasure (think beyond overindulging in sweets and T.V.) and see what happens!

8. Regularly listen to music that you love. Intersperse music or dance breaks throughout your day.

9. Do something sweet for a stranger or someone that you love.

10. Find and incorporate something that ignites your childlike, playful spirit. Maybe it’s wearing a wig for part of the day, blowing bubbles, talking in gibberish, or rolling down a hill. Give yourself permission to play.

For ideas on designing a more pleasurable life, take a look at my article >>> “How to Bring More Pleasure into Your Day-to-Day Life”

On Self Care

On Self Care

Dedication to our path, whatever that looks like for us, is necessary for our continual advancement. However, this dedication, which gives us the inner resolve to stay the course regardless of what comes our way, needs to be in balance with our dedication to our self, which shows in how we care for ourselves in each and every step we take.

I have been blessed with unparalleled stamina and a resolve matched by few others. While that has been a backbone on which I can rely, it has been much more challenging to learn how to deeply care for and nourish myself.

I look around and see that I am not alone with this challenge.

When self-care is left out of the equation, we experience burnout, apathy, depression, and illness. Without self-care, we are unable to truly enjoy our lives, reap the rewards of our hard work, or experience real happiness.

Lack of self-care is nothing short of a denial of self. It is a strong statement of self-negation and has many roots. It is passed down through our lineage. It is taught to us through religion. It is born of our personal wounding.

Because of this, self-care is no small act. It turns centuries of indoctrination on its head. It lifts the weight of our negative childhood conditioning. This simple act of loving and caring for ourselves can be both an act of healing and an act of revolution all in one.

Our lack of ability to care for ourselves can look like many things: not allowing ourselves to rest when we are tired, eating the wrong foods or not eating the right ones, putting ourselves in bad environments or with less than ideal people. Regardless of whether you do not exercise or you stay in a job that is not right for you, there are underlying reasons why you do things this way. Some of these came from your childhood.

As a child, you may have been told that your tears were silly, or your requests for things may simply have been unanswered. These repeated messages told you to ignore your needs in order to to be safe, get approval, or maintain love. Even if you were not directly told to ignore your own needs—which many of you were—when you experienced any kind of wounding, the implied message in the wounding was that your needs did not matter.

This is a message that you likely believed.

As a result, you may continue to act as if your own needs are not important; you may continue to believe those who tell you that this is the case. Because of this, you may, in many small or large ways, not care for yourself.

But, the problem is even more than just devaluing your own needs. Through this process, you lose the fundamental mechanisms of meeting them—you forget how to receive and you forget what it feels like to be someone who is full and whole.

Your wounding creates a deep sense of unworthiness. And wherever you believe that you are unworthy, you will not allow the necessary care and nourishment for your expansion.

In the places where you are unable to attend to your needs, there is an emptiness, a frailness, a primary lack of ability to receive that blocks you from receiving the benefits of all you do. In essence, there is an unhealed place that is incapable of experiencing the joy, wonder, abundance, and other fruits of your life.

When you learn how to care for yourself, you heal the parts of yourself that were wounded in the past. You give yourself what you were unable to get at this other point in time. You show yourself a reality that is different than what you once experienced as possible.

As you commit to radically and completely caring for your needs, you are able to deeply feel not just the results of your specific efforts but all of life in a more deep and profound way. As you learn to deeply care for yourself, you unlock the door to your own happiness and return to the fullness of who you truly are.

For motivation to create self-care rituals in your life, take a look at my article >>> “13 Reasons Why Sensitive Souls Need Rituals”