I’ve been working with a few groups lately on the theme of pleasure. I love talking about my work on the road and online, as I learn so much from the group experience.
Recently, what emerged as we explored pleasure as an “in the body experience” was how pleasure could be noticed as different vibrations in the body. Of course, we know the vibration of the sensual and erotic aspect of pleasure – that spring in the step, and whole-body buzz, but what about the subtler aspects?
One of my thesis’s about pleasure is that it can help us ground and centre. It can also calm and soothe our systems when we’re agitated or overstimulated. These are noticed by different vibrations then the sexual one.
Fear is excitement minus the breathing
Frequently, participants have mentioned that as they get better attuned to sensing what’s going on in their bodies, they notice that sometimes it’s hard to discern between anxiety and excitement. The vibration is similar. When this topic comes up, I feel called to mention a quote by Fritz Perls, the creator of Gestalt Therapy who said: “Fear is excitement minus the breathing.”
What excites us can also scare us
And isn’t it true how so often what excites us, not in the throw yourself off a cliff kind of risk-taking, but more commonly in the risks we genuinely want to take, help us stretch out of our comforts zones and help us to grow? They’re not comfortable, in fact a level of discomfort is required. But what if you could recognize the fear, the subtle anxiety and breathe your way into it?
What if you took the time to notice that vibration in the body – the buzzing one we’d typically call fear? What if you slowed it down and brought your breath to it – might it morph into excitement? And if you took even more time with it, and paid attention, and gave it space, might you begin to notice how fear and excitement often sit side-by-side? And offer a choice point?
We love to feel enlivened
All the different vibrations in your body let you know you’re alive. We love to feel lively, and enlivened. I think it’s what we all want most! Stepping out of your comfort zone will enliven you and increases those vibrations of aliveness in the body. It’s too easy and can be merely a rote habit when you feel fear and drawback or shutdown. I invite you to consider the tingling of fear as an invitation from life to step forward with a full breath and see where it takes you. Let me know what happens next!
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Madeline combines her experience as a gifted teacher and facilitator with her exquisite sensitivity to guide us into unlocking pleasure. In her gentle way she helps us to make friends with our bodies, softening the places where we feel resistance, shame and pain and learn how to tune into the myriad sensations of pleasure. She embodies her teaching and the expression of her own pleasure is contagious. Madeline creates a safe space to (re)discover that we are wired for pleasure and can overcome the negative conditioning of fear, trauma, and messages of “not good enough”.