Sunday, July 18, 2010

What's Your Pleasure?

The other day in Home Depot's paint department, I overheard two staff members excitedly talking about the fun and thrill of roller coasters. In the midst of helping a customer, they colorfully and enthusiastically described their best experiences with extreme rides according to the degree of vertical drop and sheer terrifying power.

At one point, they interrupted themselves momentarily to eagerly ask their customer if she liked roller coasters.

When she responded, "They're OK," the men's disappointment in not enlisting a fellow playmate was clearly revealed on their faces. Then they went on with their conversation.

As I walked away, I reflected on the genuineness of the men's pleasure, and the incredible variation in the definition people have for "fun."

Whether you like roller coasters or not, when was the last time you did something "just for fun," or for the simple pleasure of the experience?

In this question, I'm not talking about activities that are life threatening or involve habitual attachment (e.g., addiction), aversion (e.g., avoiding responsibility), and ignoring (e.g., numbing out).

Instead, I'm referring to pleasure that derives from joyful, fun, sexy, uplifting, and life-affirming experiences. Furthermore, such forms of pleasure have been shown to increase your body's production of natural, health-enhancing substances (e.g., nitric oxide, serotonin, dopamine, beta endorphin) that relax your muscles and decrease the harmful effects of elevated stress hormones.

Your physiology supports the healthy fulfillment of your desires.

Here are some safe, healthy, and effective ways to deliberately experience pleasure:
Exercise, meditation, gardening, hobbies, theater, visual arts, reading, sports, cooking, writing, sharing a meal, singing, home improvement, doodling, playing cards, scrap booking, receiving a massage, fixing things, daydreaming, getting together with friends, catch-and-release fishing, watching movies, traveling, learning something, going to a spa, enjoying a sunset, and many more possibilities.

As well-respected author and women's health advocate Christiane Northrup, MD states about her foremost recommendation for this list, "Orgasm is the physical metaphor for how pleasure works in the body and in life."

A critical ingredient of all these and other pleasurable activities is to surrender to your experience. You feel your passion and let yourself fully engage in your body's response.

Remember, ease, pleasure, and joy are expressions of your natural, authentic essence!

Start with these questions to develop your own list of simple pleasures:
  • Which of your current activities help you fulfill your desires and feel joyful, sexy, and uplifted? Be sure to include relevant thoughts, feelings, people, places, events, and so on.
  • What new pleasurable activities and experiences would you like to explore, learn, or add to your list?
Use the process of writing your list to practice feeling pleasure. Recognize and let go of objections to your desires. You no longer have to sacrifice yourself at the altar of other people's comfort. Have fun, laugh, and be creative!

By practicing the activities on your list every day, you will be giving your entire bodymind a very important message about self-love and acceptance. As you will experience, this communication of unconditional allowance powerfully affects your cells, and is at the heart of your vibrant health.

Open yourself to extraordinary living with pleasure!

Love and Peace,

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