Guilty Pleasure

What do you think of when you hear the word pleasure? Be honest. Often the first thought is that it must be something naughty right? Isn’t that interesting? How did we get it in our minds that pleasure is something wrong that you have to hide or even feel guilty about?

The dictionary defines pleasure as “a feeling of happy satisfaction or enjoyment.” Isn’t that what we are all looking for? Pleasure is anything that makes you feel good. And doesn’t it seem silly to feel guilty about wanting to feel good? But how often do you even hear anyone talking about what brings them pleasure? It’s not common, right? And the truth is, most women don’t actually know what brings us pleasure because we are so caught up in the rat race of being busy. So lame that being busy is the socially acceptable thing to be if you are over 25 and under 65. In fact if you’re not busy, well that might mean you are lazy or useless. Can you imagine how it would it feel if someone asked you how your life was going and your answer was something like, “I’m living my bliss”? Even if you were, you probably wouldn’t say it, because you wouldn’t want to be judged, right?

I used to be so busy getting it all done, making it happen. I was busy for years. I was married and busy. Single mom and busy. Running my own business and busy. Raising my kid and busy. And life was just passing me by. I was stressed out and there seemed to be no end in sight. In fact, I didn’t know how to do it any other way. I felt uncomfortable relaxing unless I was sick. So when I needed a break, I got sick.

Back when I was doing massage, I had a lot of female clients that would only come in once a year on their birthday for a massage! Or many that would come in regularly, but felt a little guilty about it. I literally owned my own massage studio with the best massage therapists around and I rarely allowed myself the luxury of getting massage. And it really hit me hard one day. I was jealous of my clientele who were treating themselves to a massage. Some of them, every week. So I decided then and there that I was going to have that too. I started treating myself to regular massage and really allowing myself the full luxury of the experience. One day, I got a notice about a retreat called “Pleasure in Paris” led by director and writer, Kristin Hanggi, and her best friend and actor, Natali Roy. Both of whom I loved immensely. I immediately knew I had to go and before I had a chance to think about it, I signed up. I had never done anything like it and I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I needed it. So I went. The thing that I learned from that retreat was that I had been depriving myself of pleasure for so long that I didn’t even know how to access pleasure. We had assignments like “going out into the city and allowing your pleasure guide you." It sounded simple enough, but the truth is I had no idea how to do that, and it took me some time to get into it because I was so caught up in my head that I didn’t know how to even get in touch with what would please me. I found myself trying too hard to figure it out. Wondering if I was doing it right.

Eventually, I stopped trying and my whole experience shifted. It was like I entered into a parallel universe where everything was absolutely delightful. I began to connect with the people I passed and smile, and the exchange filled me up with goodness. Instead of feeling separate and awkward, I felt connected and engaged with everyone and everything around me. It was the most incredible feeling. Pretty soon, my pleasure was taking me on the most miraculous adventure, delighting all my senses. I came across the cutest café with the most welcoming and relaxed vibe and stopped for a café crème and the most incredible croissant of my life. And I sat there at my street-side table enjoying every bite, watching all the people engaging with each other with such aliveness. I felt more alive than I had felt in years. I felt free! And I realized then and there that I hadn’t really been experiencing life at all. I made a commitment to myself that from now on, I am going to LIVE life and I am going to let Pleasure be my guide. And that single decision changed the trajectory of my life.

I can’t say that I gave up my old ways cold-turkey, it has definitely been incremental, because there has been quite a bit of deep mind rewiring to do, self-limiting beliefs to release, trauma to clear and a lot of self-love to cultivate. More and more every day, I find myself accepting, instead of resisting and leaning into what feels good rather than getting too caught up in what doesn’t.

I used to think my path had to be all hard work all the time in order to have the life I want. Now I know that I can claim the life I want now and it can be pleasurable. I also used to think that choosing pleasure meant giving up all my responsibilities and flaking out on my life. What I have learned as I have healed these old self-limiting beliefs is that I can have both a pleasure-filled life and also be responsible and accountable.

In fact, when I let pleasure guide me through my day, I am actually able to accomplish remarkable things in a fraction of the time than I do when I am trying to just get it done. This is because the pleasure centered life includes loving and honoring myself in all the ways: like asking for what I need, setting good boundaries around my time, only committing to what feels good and delegating the rest. Now I can see that the pleasure path has been here waiting for me the whole time.

And every single day, I get to make a conscious choice to either lean into pleasure or to struggle in the rat race of just getting it done, people pleasing, and giving all my power away. And I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I choose the struggle. And then that helps me remember why struggle isn’t the path for me anymore. I truly believe that we came here to enjoy this life experience and pleasure is showing us the way, but you have to slow down enough to listen to what feels good to you. Your body is your pleasure guide.

So I want to invite you to listen to your pleasure. You can start small like asking yourself what would feel really good to me right now? Maybe it’s a walk, maybe it’s a smoothie, or a bath, maybe it’s listening to music or making some music. Whatever it is, do it, and allow yourself to go all in, even if it’s just an hour or two. But if you have the whole day and you really feel like going on an adventure, try following your pleasure moment to moment and see where it takes you. Just notice what happens when you let a little pleasure in.

I would love to hear where your pleasure is leading you, so if you are on facebook, I want to invite you to join the Radiant Woman You facebook group where we can all share our pleasure treats and learn from each other.

Peace and Blessings