Summer is upon us. While any season can be a season to focus on pleasure summer has to top the list. Here in the north country everyone is excited about getting outdoors into the garden, out of the cities and into nature – lakes, hiking and biking trails, or perhaps your thing is all about arts and cultural events that happen all summer long. Whatever your fancy, summer is a great time to deepen your relationship to pleasure.
As I talked about in my late-May webinar on pleasure and self-care, intention and commitment help us stay on track and strengthen the desire to change patterns and bring into being new ways of living.
How might your summer be different if you consciously choose to make it a summer with a particular attunement to pleasure?
Commitment and Intention
Commitment and intentionality doesn’t have to be complicated – it can simply be a shift in awareness, taking time each morning to realign with your focus to pleasure. Then proceed into your day looking for those moments that can appear and open up in the most spontaneous and surprising ways.
An Example of a Summer Pleasure Pause
No doubt you have a variety of summer plans that include the things you like to do. Some of them might require planning and a special allocation of the resources of time and money, for example a holiday away. But then there are the other days of summer where right in front of you, in any moment, pleasure will present itself. Say you’re on the way to the office on foot or cycle – that’s a pleasure in itself. Would you take a moment to stop and enjoy a garden that you pass or watch the kids frolicking at the local splash pool? Or listen to the bird sounds of summer? Might you linger a few moments longer taking your lunch outdoors and savour the sun on your face? Would you make a special effort to step out of your comfort zone and take in outdoor yoga or exercise class?
Bring the Experience of Pleasure into your Body
These are simple things that are easy to do, mostly low cost but add such enrichment to your day. And in each case these activities are supercharged by an additional activity – bring that experience into your body. By this I mean as you linger in the sun or stop to smell the roses, notice how the experience, and most importantly the sensations the lingering brings, let land in your body. What sensations do you notice? This is an essential component of what I call a pleasure pause. The science tells us this simple practice helps to bring the para-sympathetic side of the nervous system on line—the side that does the rest and repair function as well as building new brain neuro-pathways for ease, joy and relaxation.
So, please spend some time to consider how you can up your pleasure quotient this summer in both the big and small ways. Make that commitment and set an intention to guide it… and let me know what happens next!
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“Madeline offers a safe space to explore what it is that blocks our capacity to live in pleasure. She supports us to recognize our unhealthy associations with pleasure, so we can finally open up to that which provides real power, serenity and love.”