Updated: Mar 1
Welcome back to 2023’s self-care intention journey! This is designed to be self-led, you create your own intentions, and any thought or action taken toward that action is beneficial! After all, what we put our energy toward grows, so let’s put our energy now into Pleasure.
I was really excited to start writing about the titular topic of Pleasure! Then I checked my news feed right before starting to write and was flooded with news of yet another black man being murdered by the police, another state making it unlawful for teenagers to pursue gender-affirming care, another explosion in a mosque halfway across the world that resulted in many many deaths, and more. So much violence, hate, trauma, it feels so heavy.
I’m torn, because I feel like focusing on Pleasure may be trivial. That it is insulting and inconsiderate of the monumental devastation’s humanity is facing every day. That it feels silly. But on the other hand, I feel a conviction that it is imperative to talk about, and experience, more pleasure. That it does not minimize/distract from/replace all that is wrong and awful in the world but reminds us that we all have the inalienable right to pleasurable experiences, to owning our body, to feeling good. To feel joy and excitement and ecstasy. To feel life.
“Pleasure is not one of the spoils of capitalism. It is what our bodies, our human systems, are structured for; it is the aliveness and awakening, the gratitude and humility, the joy and celebration of being miraculous.” ― adrienne maree brown, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
So, you are talking about sex, right?
Pleasure is not just sex, though erotic contact with yourself and consensual sexual contact with others is one of life’s greatest gifts. Pleasure is not just romance, though many of us could use a little more of that! Pleasure is connecting to your body. Roll your neck and shoulders. Take a few deep breaths. Run your fingers over your hand, your head, through your hair. Notice what feels good. Focus on the sensory experiences- how food tastes, what a hot shower feels like, the smell of the beverage you are drinking, a loved ones arms around you in a hug, the sound of laughter… What feels good to you? What do you need more of?
For the month of February set an intention regarding Pleasure. Pursuing it, noticing it, engaging in it. For starters, I recommend the intention of incorporating a gratitude practice with your five senses. When you feel the sun on your face, pause, and if it feels good mark the moment with gratitude. (Be thankful, pray, say “I am grateful for this moment”, however you connect with gratitude).
These are a Few of my Favorite Things:
Think of some of your most favorite pleasurable sensory experiences.
This was my list last time I made one, it changes constantly:
Smell: Lavender, after it rains, a certain soap that reminds me of my grandmother
Taste: good coffee, good wine, dark chocolate, almost any mint/chocolate combo
Touch: soft blankets, warm oversized sweatshirts, foot massages, warm water
Hear: rain or the ocean, storms, my kiddo giggling, music (traveled back to my early twenties last night and was listening to some Portishead and P.J. Harvey. So great.)
See: certain art, sun streaming through clouds, smiles on my loved ones faces
The more you can come up with the better! How can you incorporate more of these into your daily life? Perhaps you stock up on some lotions or candles that smell good, you take out your ear buds when you are walking and listen to the sounds around you, you acknowledge beauty in nature, you get rid of clothes that aren’t comfortable and wear ones that fit and feel good etc.
Does anyone remember the scene from Ally McBeal where the women in the office are trying to slow down while drinking their coffee, and notice how it smells, and feels, and tastes? (Sort of the difference between having a quicky coffee and a slow, sensual experience!) Way too corny and embarrassing to post a clip of, but take my word for it this definitely left an impression on my teenage brain! It’s hard to notice how something feels when we are rushing though it. How many daily pleasurable experiences do we miss because we are rushing through it?
Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D.
Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown
Wishing you pleasure, vitality, and sighs of contentment!