My coach presented a challenge last week. I tackled it over the weekend, and I'd like to tell you about it.
At first glance, it seemed like an easy challenge, and I could knock it out in no time.
It didn't turn out to be as easy, quick, or as simple as I thought it would be.
The challenge was this: "Write down 50 things that give you pleasure."
That was it! I love simple assignments :) I grabbed my notebook and a pencil (I still prefer the old tactile style of writing. It pleases me.) And hey, one more item for my list!
I started my list, and it grew pretty quickly. I reached #25, and it started getting harder to think of more. At that point, I began to wonder why I couldn't come up with more? Is my life so sad that only a few things make me happy?
As I thought about that, I began to realize that it's not that I don't have enough in my life that brings Pleasure; it is that I don't take time to notice and appreciate the momentary bits of joy that sprinkle through my days.
Why am I telling you this? Because Pleasure, for many people, brings with it an element of guilt. Work Before Pleasure. How many times have you heard that phrase? Too many times to count, I'm sure. But by always making work a priority, Pleasure usually gets left behind. I suggest we add to the Work First credo with this idea borrowed from my coach; "The more pleasure we take in, the more wind we have in our sails to move toward desire."
We, especially women, have held to this mentality of "no pain no gain" so entirely that we have forgotten to set aside time to focus on ourselves and put effort into making sure we have personal gains and successes as well.
Pleasure counteracts the messages that our ego sends us that cause us to doubt ourselves, compete with others, and remain in social and professional shadows. Staying in touch with things that pleasure us, our brains release the "happy chemicals" like endorphins, shifting our emotional state from negative to positive, supporting feelings of confidence and worth.
When we neglect Pleasure, our bodies produce hormones that increase depression, anxiety, sadness, and loneliness. It suppresses the immune system, and interferes with learning and memory, and negatively affects our health.
"Pleasure is the lifeblood of the Feminine. It is the antidote to our shame and our fatigue. It is the key to our radiance, our enthusiasm, and our creative genius. It is from our Pleasure that we can manifest our most mundane and outrageous desires, take ourselves and others higher, and to be anti-gravity in a world culture that wants to keep us compressed, complaining, sorry, silent, and paralyzed." Taken from Rockstars Rising
As I worked on this challenge, I noticed something interesting. The first several items listed were single words like coffee, flowers, animals, etc. As the list grew, I began writing phrases. As I connected with my Pleasure, I also began connecting with the emotions tied to those pleasures; relaxed, content, motivated, inspired, love, excitement, awe. I felt many things while making a list, but primarily gratitude. Working on this challenge reminded me that even during these mixed-up times, we could and should reconnect with our Pleasure.
When a woman is in her Pleasure, she is truly unstoppable, unshakable, impenetrable. But finding and connecting with our Pleasure isn't only for the stolen moments we manage to find. It is for all aspects of our life – even at work. Ask yourself these questions about your work situation: Does this still excite me? Does this work fulfill me? Do I contribute through my work? Take some time to find something about your workday that pleases you. Tap into that something, embrace it, then ask yourself this question: What would excite me with this work or project? Finding Pleasure (no matter how small) will enhance your work and personal life - because everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it.
So now I challenge you!
Make a list of 50 things that bring you pleasure.
What do you discover about yourself? Where do you have pleasure, and where should you add pleasure?
Your Pleasure list should be fluid and evolving. Something on your list may stop pleasing you and needs to be removed. Great! You researched and know that isn’t important to you anymore. What can you add to your list? What new thing has you excited?
Enjoy this Challenge! After all, this challenge is all about Pleasure!
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