It’s not uncommon to have a house or pet sitter for when we’re on vacation. In such cases we often leave a list of to-do’s (“water the plants”), rules (“Don’t go in the basement”), and emergency contact information (“Call the neighbors, if…”)
Perhaps the metaphor is stretched a bit here, but I’m headed to Taos tomorrow morning to teach and I thought your spirit could use a little reminder information while I’m gone.
Make the bed. Fluff the pillows.
Experience pleasure. As much as possible.
Talk kindly to your houseplants. If you don’t have a houseplant, get one.
Eat what your body and heart wants. Enjoy it.
Tell the truth.
Savor all the evidence that suggests you too are a perfectly, imperfect human. Take amusement in how much you resist this fact.
Marvel at your functioning anatomy.
Ask yourself “What am I truly hungry for?”
Make art. Big or small. Make something.
Smile at an animal or child.
Change your linens. Ask yourself: “Do I love my sheets/towels?” Listen to the answer.
Do something that reminds you just how connected and alike we all are.
Wear something from your closet you haven’t worn in the last 30 days. Rock it.
Call the oldest person you know and set aside at least thirty minutes to talk to them.
In case of emergency…
Call the person you trust the most and that has the biggest heart. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Allow yourself to be supported.
Go outside. Look at the sky. Breathe deeply. As if it were a new shade of paint, give the sky’s color a name.
Send flowers or an actual letter to another human being.
Go on a photowalk. Capture things that start with all the letters in the alphabet, or all the colors in the rainbow, or just what looks interesting.
Write it all down. All of it. Don’t edit.
Consider your attitude.
Back Monday night.
Last year my boyfriend declared February to be Pleasuary.
Lucky me, he has declared this to be an annual tradition.
Pleasuary, if it’s not clear from it’s name, is an entire month dedicated to pleasure.
There’s no real reason this needs to take place during February, although Pluly or Pleptember just doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
If you’re inspired to join me in celebrating Pleasuary here are a few pointers:
Giving vs Receiving
Pleasuary is perfect for those in a relationship where one person tends to be the giver and the other tends to be the receiver. For heterosexual couples, it is often the woman who tends to give and the man who tends to receive. If you relate to this dynamic, allow yourself to shift the natural order things for the month. Wear a new groove.
Try this: Make a pact. For the month of Pleasuary your job is to receive. Their job is to give. Rest into it. It might feel awkward. It will most certainly feel good.
If you’re single, decide that you’re going up the pleasure you give yourself and instead of feeling guilty about this, set the intention to truly receive what is given.
Feeling Safe vs Feeling Alive
Feeling good comes from so many different sources and there are infinite shades of good feelings. It’s important to differentiate between the good feelings that come from being comforted and the good feelings that can come from being outside our comfort zone. Of course, we need a base line of feeling safe if we’re to dip our toe in more enlivening waters, but there is much pleasure to be experienced outside of our bubble of safety.
Try this: In your journal, brainstorm two lists: things that make you feel comforted and safe AND things that make you feel ecstatic, alive, and deeply pleasured. Then circle a few from each side that you want to make happen this month.
Quality and Quantity
This month is about both, quantity and quality. It’s about making pleasure part of the everyday. Upping the pleasure at breakfast. Upping the pleasure in our work. Upping the pleasure in the mundane and the extraordinary.
Try this: Make a list of 30 (or more) ways you want to receive pleasure and be about checking them off the list. Of course, spontaneity is also part of this so don’t let a checklist keep you from new and sudden bursts of pleasure receiving.
In terms of quality of pleasure, this is the result of deep and open presence. Even thirty seconds of pleasure can be knee shaking if we are truly present. High quality pleasure is like fine cheese or good chocolate, the experience is so much more satisfying. A little goes a long way when we allow ourselves to drop into receiving and the sensations of feeling good.
Try this: Set aside time to turn off all electronics. Tune into your body. Pleasuary is an adventure of discovering what exactly gives you pleasure. And, it’s important to know that you don’t have to know right now. In fact, you most certainly don’t know all the ways that you can experience pleasure. Play a sort of ‘Marco Polo’ pleasure game where simply allowing yourself (and your partner) to go towards what’s ‘warm’ and away from what’s ‘cold’.
Sense-uality & Indulgence
Pleasuary is not wholly about knocking boots. Pleasuary is about attunement of the senses to good feelings and expanding our capacity for pleasure.
Try this: List all the ways you might experience pleasure through your different five senses then attempt to saturate yourself with pleasure from all of these entry points.
The definition of indulge is to “allow oneself the experience of pleasure.” On that note, if you’re game for the Pleasuary, go indulge! Soak it in. Green light your enjoyment. Hand out the permission slips. Decide to taste, smell, touch, listen, and see it fully.
If you’re wanting more pleasure and enjoyed this post you can read more of my thoughts on feeling good in P is for Pleasure.