A couple of years ago, I performed an experiment. I was the test subject, and the laboratory was my life.
Before my experiment, I got so bogged down in the day-to-day grind, work-work-working without a break, and taking less and less time for myself.
Tears started surprising me at incongruous moments, gently insisting that something was wrong. I had quietly slipped back into the all-too-familiar habits of a depression that characterized many of my adult years - and much of my childhood, too.
Like the frog in the pot, I didn’t even feel the temperature of the water rising, the shift was so gradual.
I’d painted myself into a corner with work, obligations and a vision of the future that had less to do with “want” and more to do with “should.” Stuck, paralyzed by my blue mood, I felt like I was running. In place. In slow motion. I was desperate. I had to try something radical.
So I decided to do nothing but follow my pleasure… moment to moment… for a solid week.
I danced and sweat, napped freely, and binged on videos by my heroines. I wrote, journaling about what I love and detailing what I WANT. Luxuriated in time with my children, my lover and the friends that kiss my soul.
As a divorced mother of two, running not one but two businesses, this was no easy feat.
I felt resplendent… luxurious… and sometimes, a little guilty. Even a little nuts. What am I doing? I’d think… I have so much work to do!
By the end of my intensive week of living playfully–a single week!–I emerged totally nourished and fulfilled. When I sat at my desk–to projects over which I’d labored with little progress just the week before–I completed them effortlessly.
I had fed my Inner Muse, and she was eager and delighted to reward me.
I reaped immediate rewards in productivity and energy–and I was happy! I woke the morning of day five smiling… When was the last time that had happened? I couldn’t remember.
Many years before I had vanquished years of depression by turning ON to my life and following my pleasure, no matter how “selfish” it seemed. Taking my first bellydance class… beginning to perform… to teach… Choosing dance as a vocation.
What I realized from this experience and my experiment was that it takes vigilance. Tapping into our pleasure is not a one-time thing. It is an ongoing practice.
Lesson One: Pleasure is a practice.
However, a week’s sole-minded devotion to pleasure, in order to replenish a well that has run dry, is great… but not always possible, right?!
Daily small (and big) pleasures are necessary to keep the well filled AND make pleasure a HABIT.
Lesson Two: Practice. Daily.
What are you doing to refill your well… EVERY DAY?
Are you DONE with the daily grind and ready for some daily PLEASURE? I’ve put together some of my favorite tools for daily pleasure practice in Every Day, Pleasure: 52 Ways to Awaken Pleasure - around the things you already do every day… because the last thing you need is one more item on your to do list!