Developing Your Personal Pleasure Practice
“Pleasure” is a loaded word…
Our capitalist society has strategically brainwashed us all into believing that we must “earn” pleasurable/restful experiences and that we are undeserving of pleasure unless we have labored long and hard for it. Consequently, many of us see the pursuit of pleasurable experiences as selfish and hedonistic which causes us to judge and repress our inner desires, needs, and boundaries when they arise. This internalized loop of pleasure shaming divorces us from our intuitive ability to soothe our overstimulated nervous systems, explore deeper layers of intimacy & connection, & ask our trusted loved ones/community members for the support we need.
Thankfully, it is never too late to begin tapping into your own sense of pleasure!
Pleasure exists in many forms and is not always explicitly sexual (though it certainly can be). Pleasure can look like enjoying a home cooked meal, taking a long relaxing bath/shower, walking barefoot in the grass, swimming in the ocean, taking a nap, laughing with your friends, practicing self-massage, going for a run, meditating, luxuriating in the ritual of getting dressed up and doing your makeup, cuddling with a intimate friend or pet...the list goes on & on. What’s important is not the “what” but rather the “why”. Making space for activities that allow you to prioritize your personal desires and needs allows for your body & your spirit to guide your unique path towards healing.
The following exercises can be used to begin developing your own pleasure practice. Like everything in life, consistency is key. However, shaming yourself for slipping up one day, week, month, or year will not do you any good. The importance of this practice is that you come back to yourself with compassion & care after a period of distance rather than berating yourself for being a perfectly imperfect human being.
Creating space for pleasure investigation:
Find a quiet, peaceful space to sit with yourself for about 20 minutes. Bring water, a snack, a journal, a comfy pillow and/or fuzzy blanket...whatever you need to feel safe & secure.
Once you’ve gotten nice and comfortable, close your eyes and tune into your body & breath, paying close attention to what parts of the body feel painful, loose, easy, tense, or free.
Set your intention to explore what pleasure can look like in your body. You may call upon any ancestors, gods/goddesses, spirit guides, angels, faeries, etc that you would like to work with.
Speak your intention out loud. Once, twice, three times. Recognize and honor the power of your own voice, the vibration that brings your intention to life.
Meditate on your personal experiences of and desires for pleasure in whatever way works best for you: journaling, recording a voice memo, creating a vision board, etc...there’s no wrong way to do it.
Once you feel that your reflection process is complete, take a moment to thank yourself for engaging in the vulnerable practice of voicing your needs and asking yourself for what you want.
Take some time to pinpoint 1-3 pleasurable experiences that can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday life and make a commitment to yourself to engage with them as often as possible.
Close your meditation by thanking Spirit (whatever that means to you) and thanking yourself.
The power of a pleasure practice lies within the clear intentions behind your actions. For example, taking a shower is a mundane daily activity that we all participate in. However, if the intention behind showering is to fully experience the soothing sensations of warm, sudsy water along your skin, to luxuriate in the aliveness of your freshly cleaned body, & to rinse unwanted energy from your auric field then it becomes a devotional, sacred ritual of honoring your body in all of it’s sensual, pleasurable glory. By recognizing your ability transform the secular into the sacred, you are in turn affirming your ability to create a life that is deeply aligned with your sense of value, respect and self-worth.
Holding intentional space for your needs, desires and boundaries teaches you what kind of energy and treatment you will (or will not!) continue to accept. This is deep work. It starts now.