For the last couple of months I’ve been sharing Pleasure Posts on social media. I’m on day 64 of 1000. That’s a good chunk of time. As a friend explained to me, “You realize that’s like, 3 years, right?” Yes. I do. Thank you.
This sharing of pleasurable experiences is not without intention.
Pleasure is such a loaded word – riddled with guilt associations of guilt and unworthiness and impropriety.
Yet, by definition, pleasure means: a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. So, what’s there to feel bad about, really? It’s a conversation we need to have.
Don’t we all want more pleasure in our lives? I know I do, and I’m willing to bet you do too [First Name]. Why should we feel bad about that? And why should we be holding out on pleasure until… anything?
The thing is, many of us are going about feeling good in the wrong way. I was until a couple of years ago when I had an experience that changed it all.
Here’s what happened, and here’s why pleasure…
In August 2015 I ventured to Kripalu in Western Massachusetts to participate in a Qoya retreat & teacher training. Over the course of the week our guide & Qoya creator Rochelle Schieck took us on a journey around the sun. We started with Autumn — the serpent, shedding our skin, releasing what’s not serving. Then we moved into Winter — the jaguar, sitting in the darkness, feeling it all and trusting the unknown. Both of these felt so familiar, places I’d been intensively over the previous years.
And then we got to Spring — the hummingbird, joy, lightness, pleasure. And shit, if I wasn’t so freaking uncomfortable all damn day. And the fact that I was uncomfortable on THIS day – the day about joy – really pissed me off. What was wrong with me???
It took me a solid 24 hours of discomfort to realize why I was so miserable. The following morning I woke super early, while it was still dark. I wrote in my journal, drank some tea, walked in the hazy dawn down to the lake where I stood watching the steam rise from the water and just breathed in the beauty.
On my way back to the lodge I took a detour to the labyrinth. I stood at the entrance and set an intention to release what was holding me back from experiencing Joy. As I walked the labyrinth I began to think about all the times that someone important to me had squashed my excitement, diminished my enthusiasm, belittled by dreams, responded with a cold & distant “that’s nice” as I beamed with the possibility of some new opportunity. As I recounted all of these moments in my memory I began to pick up sticks from the path. One after another after another. I remember thinking as I collected them, what am I doing with all of these? But it was a compulsion. I couldn’t stop.
As I approached the center of the labyrinth it became clear: these sticks (now an arm-full) were all the crap I’d been carrying around with me, that were keeping me from experiencing joy. I had carried them into the center of the labyrinth, but I was not going to carry them out with me. I bent down and laid the pile on the ground.
I rose to my feet and looked up to the sky. Just at that moment the clouds parted and the sun peeked up over the mountains. I stood there feeling the warm sun on my face and the freedom created by letting all that go. And I smiled.
Walking out of the labyrinth I let my mind run through all the things in life that were really exciting, all the wonderful experiences I was having and amazing people I was meeting. By the time I reached the exit my heart was beaming. I couldn’t wait to get back to the retreat and see what this next day had in store.
Of course, after Spring comes Summer –– the eagle, expansion, stepping into all that’s possible.
That’s when I realized I’d been going about things all wrong. Over the last couple of years I had been through the fall, released what wasn’t serving me. And I’d sat in the darkness of winter and learned to trust that all was well. But I mistakenly thought that summer, expansion, abundance, possibility came next and that once THAT was accomplished THEN the joy would come.
But Summer never comes before Spring.
Joy and pleasure must always come first.
Then all that is possible can follow.
And that’s why pleasure.
If you’re seeking expansion, opportunity, abundance you absolutely must focus on creating joy and pleasure in your life now. Not someday.
Oprah Winfrey said,
What you focus on expands and when you focus on the goodness in your life,
you create more of it.
So I choose to focus on pleasure, and I invite you to do the same.
Your sister in Pleasure & Profits ™,
I’m really tired.
You read that right. I’m really tired. Like really. Fucking. Tired.
I know that’s not what we’re supposed to say. We’re supposed to be sunshine and roses, rainbows and unicorns, and talk about how awesome our business and life is.
The thing is, my business and life are awesome. I love them both, or I love it all really, as the two blend together more and more.
Yet, I’m still tired.
Before you reply with all kinds of advice on what I should be eating, what supplements I should be taking, how much sleep I should be getting, and how much caffeine I should NOT be drinking, let me say this — I’m doing (or not doing) all the things. And thank you for loving on me
Believe me, I’ve been down the list of all the possible reasons for not feeling as energized as I want to as often as I want to — it comes in waves, you see — and here’s what I’ve figured out:
While my external world feels moderate and mindful, focused on health and wellness;
I’m eating super healthy, taking the best damn supplements money can buy, sleeping a solid 8 hours and getting plenty of exercise;
And my stress levels feel the lowest maybe ever in my life;
Internally, I’m in a period of massive expansion, of massive growth, and if we’re being honest here (and why wouldn’t we be?), massive growing up.
A couple of weeks ago I shared my Core Desired Feelings:
These CDFs have developed out of what I would describe as a paradigm shift — a shift in perspective, in the way I see the world — that’s been a long time coming (and never ending) multilayered process, like the peeling of an ever expanding onion, if you will.
Faced with this shift in perspective, I’ve been doing what my friend Megan Hale calls a “TFD cha cha” — a few steps forward, followed by a few steps back — as I make conscious choices to shift how I think, how I feel, and what I do every day.
Megan talks all about this on her podcast Wild & Holy Radio — check it out some time
No wonder I’m tired — I’ve been dancing an energetic cha cha nonstop. For a solid year.
Side bar —
This reminds me of a night out dancing many, many years ago, where a friend compared me to the girl in The Red Shoes, who starts dancing and can not stop. Also, I’m kind of obsessed with red shoes.
— now back to the story…
So… massive expansion sounds massively awesome, right?
It is awesome! And it’s simultaneously exhausting.
Think about expansion in terms of exercise: The workout actually creates tiny tears in the muscles and it’s during the resting time that your body repairs and builds itself bigger and stronger. If you dial up your workouts you’ll notice pretty quickly that you require more sleep. Your body demands it of you so that you can grow.
I think about my adorable niece (5) and nephew (6) who at times, barely eat anything. They will snack here and there, push around their dinner and not even ask for desert. And then out of the blue they’ll start eating like it’s their job to put away as much food as possible, and they start sleeping like crazy, and maybe they’re a little cranky (or maybe I’ve imagined that and then suddenly you realize they shot up 2 inches, seemingly overnight.
Growth — whether it’s physical, intellectual or energetic — happens in the resting periods. Therefore:
Massive expansion requires massive self care.
It can be easy to be hard on ourselves (ironic) and expect that as we’re growing we should be bursting with fruit flavor at all moments because, holy shit! Something awesome is happening!!! But the truth is that much of expansion requires hard work, focus, dedication and compassion for ourselves, much like we’d give a child learning to walk.
I’m curious if you’ve ever experienced this type of expansion? They type where after the shift in perspective, you have to dig in and do the hard work, of choosing to show up every day and think, feel and do differently than you ever have before. And when you’re in that space, can you have compassion for yourself, to let yourself rest, to layer on the self care and to happily dance the cha cha until it becomes easy like walking?
I’d love to hear from you, so reply below and let me know
I’m gonna go take a nap now…
Can I share this with you, [First Name]?
All week I’ve been reflecting on this new phase we’re moving into: the sun coming into Leo and the birth of a fiery and active time for us all.
For some time I’ve been the resting lioness, gathering strength for the hunt. Maybe you have been too, [First Name]? So many women I’ve been talking to have been in this space. Collectively, we seem to have spent the winter breaking things down, stripping away all the things that bubbled to the surface last fall as no longer serving us. Spring followed as a season of incubation, of work being done underground, behind the scenes; and now… now we’re ready to roar.
Intuitive astrologer Virginia Rosenberg writes of this new lunar month:
Hold nothing back. Let the light in even more! Imagine the joy of being tasted at your fullness. Step out with passion and open your eyes to see the sun pour across another blessed day. We are strong. We are vital. We have the courage to walk, to run, to dance in childlike delight. We are invigorated. Bring forth the whole of life itself through the wondrous mask of your own essence.
For me, this realization culminated last Saturday, on the cusp of the New Moon in Leo, as I embarked on what has become a bi-annual ritual — I sat down to reflect on my Core Desired Feelings (ala the Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte). Actually, I didn’t sit down at all. It went more like this:
- Laid sheets of paper out on dining room table, one for each area of life — Livelihood & Lifestyle, Body & Wellness, Creativity & Learning, Relationships & Society, Essence & Spirituality
- Turned on some music — the BEGIN playlist from Rochelle Schieck’s Qoya :: A Call to Create program
- Danced and wrote some more
What began as a deep dive exercise quickly turned into a celebration as I reflected on my current state of being, on how much I’m enjoying this time of my life. How grateful I am for all that I’ve done & experienced on my way here. Tears flowed at the realization that this, right now, is the best time of my life. (So far…) There isn’t a moment in time I would go back to.
As I danced around and scribbled down what I want to feel, do, be and experience in each area of life, I realized that for the most part, I’m already there. And what isn’t happening in my immediate experience is easily attainable, within my reach, just a small shift away.
Satisfaction. Elation. Pride.
This experience is a far cry from the first time I did the exercise, so many years ago. I remember sitting on my bed writing furiously about all the things I wanted to be doing, feeling and experiencing, and I remember the exact moment that it hit me — like a 2×4 to the head — that I wasn’t doing, feeling, or experiencing any of those things. The being I was when I arrived on this earth, who remained alive and well in my mind — a creative, adventurous, free spirited soul — was not who I was in real life. Everything I wanted seemed a million miles away. Frankly, my day to day life kind of sucked. I was really unhappy. And I had no one to blame but myself.
“You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.”
― James Baldwin
Four years, three moves, one divorce, countless dates, a business sold, and eight Desire Mapping sessions later, it’s a whole new world.
And a whole new perspective.
What I once desired — heart-achingly craved, really — is now my everyday experience. Layers keep peeling back. Life keeps getting better and better. What once seemed an impossible stretch is now the norm.
Expansion is happening. Always.
I’ve gone from those beginning days of wanting to feel nourished and safe and free; to craving connection and the opportunity to make a contribution; to the desire to feel both rooted and expansive and fully integrating all the parts of me and my life, to this:
Can you see why I’ve been itching to share this with you?
It feels so… delicious and decadent — sexy even — don’t you think?
This is the phase of life I’m stepping into. And it feels. So. Good.
Now, what about you?
What do you want to be doing, feeling, experiencing in your life & business?
Are you feeling a desire for things to be different, or are you loving — LOVING — life just as it is?
Whether it’s a tickle of desire for a subtle shift you’re feeling or a desperate longing for massive change, here’s what I know for sure:
- If we focus on what’s in front of us right now, getting the most joy out of this experience, the next perfect step will appear and it will feel like it was meant to be.
- Things shift as we’re ready for them to do so. Not a moment sooner.
- Things are constantly evolving whether we perceive them to be so or not.
- We determine our own life experience. We can always choose the next best thing for ourselves. Always. No exceptions.
Are you feeling a desire for things to be different, or are you loving — LOVING — life just as it is?
Are you ready to to step into this new season and roar with me? What does that look like for you, and how can I support you in the process?
I’m so happy you’re here. We’re in this together ;)
They’ve been selling you lies, sister.
Ain’t nothin’ wrong with you. Or your business. Or your marketing. The only thing that’s wrong with any of these is that you’ve been trusting them to guide you instead of following your own truth. But they don’t know you. Maybe they know business and marketing. Maybe they’re experts in some specific strategy or tactical approach, but they don’t know YOU. They don’t know the nectar of your soul that’s the reason your started your business in the first place. They don’t know what’s important to you, what you value above all else – your family, your friends, your afternoon nap.
And maybe they can make you money. But at what cost? I’m not talking dollar bills here, sister. I’m talking about cashing soul checks that put you into energetic bankruptcy while trying to do all the things you’re “supposed” to do to grow your business.
If getting to success means sacrificing everything else along the way – your relationships, your family time, your health and wellness, your integrity – is it worth it?
I’m guessing energetic bankruptcy wasn’t part of your big vision when you started your business. Am I right?
Here’s another lie you’ve been sold: It’s an either/or proposition.
You can either make it big or you can have friends and family and a life you love. You choose.
Just as bad — you can have it all! Just don’t plan on sleeping for the next 10 years…
Or — you can have all the riches in life after you create a successful business. After you hit six figures. Or seven. (What actually is enough?) But you can’t have it while you’re getting there. First you have to struggle and sacrifice and prove that you’ve earned it.
So you do. You hustle and struggle and do all the things. And then you hit a moment of success (however big or small) and you get all self righteous:
I earned this, damn it!
I get to do whatever I want now!
Don’t you know how hard I worked to get here?
You kind of lose your mind for a minute. And maybe some team, friends and clients in the process. And maybe you realize that your “success” feels empty. And you either break down or barrel ahead to the next big goal, thinking that the next one is the one — you’ll be happy when you get there.
This shit is like dieting. If you deprive yourself of chocolate until you lose 10lbs, when you finally hit your goal, you’re gonna eat the whole damn Hershey bar. And make yourself sick. And feel shitty about yourself. So how about if you enjoy yourself along the way instead of depriving yourself and buying into the story that it has to be a struggle, that you have to suffer to get what you want?
I’m not saying ignore the experts. I’m saying take what resonates and leave the rest.
I’m saying trust yourself more than you trust them.
Does what they’re teaching make you want to crawl under your desk and hide? Don’t do it.
Does it seem too good to be true? It probably is.
Does it feel like the miracle you’ve been waiting for to fix all of your problems? It’s probably not.
If you’re counting on some expert to fix all your problems, you’re bound to be disappointed.
No one has a magic pill. Except for you.
YOU have the magic to get yourself where you want to be, with the business and life you want to have. All you have to do is to learn to listen to yourself and discern what’s valuable to you and what is not. Learn to say, “HELL YES!!!” to what resonates and “HELL NO!!!” to what doesn’t. And trust yourself. Because you are the expert on you.
I’m honored to be part of your co-creative team, reminding you that joy is your right, not a privilege you earn when you’ve worked hard enough. Life is too freaking short to spend it struggling and sleep deprived. Let’s have more fun, shall we?