Pleasure Meditation Challenge – final update

For days 1-3 click here, for days 4-7 click here, and for days 8-19 click here.

Day 20- Making time to write and finding inspiration there to meet me. Drinking my favorite latte. The smell of the first raindrops on the asphalt. My meditation today involved lots of stretching and rolling around. I found that I like the feeling of the inside of my knees resting in the hollows of my cheeks.

Day 21- I found so much pleasure in the red and orange sunset, in driving home with the windows open singing loud pop songs, dancing around the living room, and riding my bike in the warm evening air. I took a class today about feminine sensual embodiment. My meditation came in the class as I practiced somatic methods for calling in Shakti energy.

Day 22- I love the feeling of release I have when I pass from the city into the Gorge even though I’m still driving down the highway. That feeling of peace deepened as we dined on local, fresh produce at the farm where much of it was grown. I loved standing barefoot in a circle that honored the coming equinox and this time of balance in our lives. I enjoyed walking through the land and watching the habitats change from wooded forest, to dry oak groves and back. It made my heart smile to see children running ahead to discover the nest that had been built by a bubbling creek. I loved deep, meaningful conversation with friends over wine and food, punctuated with laughter and raunchy jokes.

Day 23- Dancing slowly. Dancing blissfully. Dancing ecstatically. Sweating. Showering.

Day 24- End of summer weather in Portland is exquisitely perfect. And when I can do errands by bike and be out in that weather, it’s even better. I got to enjoy a surprise week-day lunch with my sweetie. I savored the feeling of accomplishment after getting to long-overdue e-mail responses. My meditation tonight looked like a wiggly child’s pose. I noticed that I often find more pleasure being in my head learning something new, than being in my body.

Day 25- A WILD hike! Wildwood trail. Wild rabbits. Wild man. Climbing trees. Connecting deeply.

Day 26- Fall Equinox- Finding beauty in being unbalanced at an intentionally chaotic yoga class. Mid-afternoon hot tub dip. Feasting on fresh crab and salmon. Appreciating the beauty and power and dance of the masculine. Bringing my dancing arousal home for further exploration.

Day 27- Feeling strong in my body as I walk around the park. Feeling deeply grateful for my love and connection with my parents. Feeling juicy as I write eco-erotica. Feeling tipsy as I have an uncommon glass of wine on my lunch date. Feeling playful as we blast music in the car on the way home. Feeling part of something larger as my hubby and I consciously create our lives.

Day 28- Dancing while folding the laundry. Walking in the rain. Eating my (current) favorite sandwich. Talking while walking with a sweet friend. Hearing good news. Witnessing new milestones in my children’s lives.

Day 29- Simple pleasures — a delicious breakfast, sitting on the front porch, playing frisbee with the kids. I found a lot of pleasure in talking with hubby about what we do and don’t want in our lives so we can continue to fine tune and adjust. We toured a club that was supposed to be all about pleasure, but didn’t end up bringing me any at all.

Day 30- A family walk to the neighborhood bakery. Improvising “pleasure yoga” with a dear friend at dance. Riding bikes & deep conversation – a combination of two of my favorite things. Enjoying a sunny day at the farmer’s market. Watching the blood moon rising. Finishing my story and sharing it.

What have I learned from this challenge?

When I started paying attention to the little (and big) things that bring me pleasure, I found that I’m able to notice more of them, and to feel them deeper and for longer. My maximum capacity for pleasure seems to have increased as has my resting state. My internal “battery” seems to be fuller, giving me more ability and patience to be present and stay in pleasure when life doesn’t feel so good.

I also noticed that I had decreasing desire to do the “meditation” portion of this challenge as time went on. Many times, so much of my day had felt pleasurable, that it seemed duplicative to carve out separate time to focus on it.

I believe this has inspired me to continue to notice, be aware, pay attention to, and feel deeply all the things that bring me pleasure every day!

Photo Source

Everyday Erotic

Before I left for my trip, I was thinking about the things we do in our daily lives to keep ourselves healthy, nourished and clean. Sometimes these tasks feel like a chore to me, with very little pleasure associated with them. The inspiration struck me to see how others in the world have found erotic pleasure in the everyday. As I was feeling under the weather and resting, I assigned myself the awesome task of looking for pictures of the everyday tasks that turned me on the most.

I’ve been dreaming about having these beautiful pictures all in a row to remind me to continue to see the pleasure (particularly the erotic pleasure) in the everyday moments too.

Waking up in the morning (Source)

Brushing teeth (Source)

Bathing (Source)

Brushing your hair (Source)

Morning coffee (Source)

Walking to work (Source)

Taking a break at work (Source)

Riding your bike home (Source)

Doing laundry (Source)

Making dinner (Source)

Reading before bed (Source)

My favorite may be the hair brushing photo — both for the quality and composition of the photo itself, but it’s sexy, energetic quality as well….

I’m laughing at the laundry picture. It was so hard to find any remotely sexy pictures involving laundry. I found plenty of variations of photos of women in g-strings and high heels with their ass sticking out the dryer, but those just didn’t do anything for me. Maybe I’m not the only one struggling to find pleasure in the laundry?

So much pleasure just composing and reviewing this post… yum.

The End.

Pleasure meditation challenge- update

For days 1-3 click here, and for days 4-7 click here.

This is a long one, as I’m catching up after days of traveling…

Day 8 – Half Moon- Pleasure today came in the form of lounging in bed, the colors and smells of the farmers market, and pepper ice cream served on butter soil. My meditation time came in the form of a gifted sensual massage. I was finding my mind zoning out and leaving my body. I tried using vocalization to help stay present.

Day 9- Feeling under the weather, so instead of a meditation, I treated myself to snuggly time in bed. A communal dinner with dear friends for dinner to celebrate life and love brought the most pleasure of the day.

Day 10- A quiet morning soak. Sweet relish on my breakfast sandwich. Pauses in a hike to listen to the sounds of nature. A late night omelette made with love. Learning from the evening’s hot tub meditation of my ability to stay more present in my body when my eyes are open then when they are closed.

Day 11- An intense meditation. Playing with keeping my eyes open and focusing on the masculine and feminine portrayed in an art piece in my bedroom. Feeling into what parts of my body felt feminine that day, and which felt masculine. Witnessed how my pleasuring took on a very masculine, penetrative quality and how my body responded in such a feminine way with amrita.

Day 12- A celebration of another year around the sun as individuals and as a couple. The forest smell and beautiful tree roots tickled my senses. The best breakfast burrito in the world satisfied completely. Sunshine on warm, naked skin was such a gift. My meditation was done in partnership today — delicious physical, emotional and sexual connection with my husband.

Day 13- Today I spent traveling and sharing a room. I didn’t make additional time and space for a meditation today. But I experienced plenty of pleasure. Spinning down giant sand dunes. A long nap on the plane. A warm shower before dinner.

Day 14- Experiencing so much visual pleasure being out in wild, nature. Red roots reaching into the water, named after the Goddess Kali. Moving energy with tai chi. Connecting with an incredible spiritual teacher and shaman. My pleasure meditation time was alone, naked in the woods, next to a stream. Dedicated my meditation to bear, who lives in the forest where we were staying.

Day 15- So much learning about and experiencing pleasure throughout the day. Meditated on a quartz crystal seat hundreds of feet above the earth, placed there for that very purpose by ancient humans. Had a two-way conversation with a snake. Later, let snake influence and direct my meditation for the evening. The story that we created together was erotic and powerful.

Day 16- Waking up to squirrels chattering. I loved snuggling in a cozy sleeping bag inside a hammock while having uninterrupted hours to think and journal.

Day 17- Pleasure of all forms today: the sight of aspens turning gold, the taste of a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, playing games with friends over lunch, laughing at a bloody nose being curbed with a tampon, the hugs from my family at the airport, and intense cuddling as I fell asleep in the arms of the man I love.

Day 18- A hike in the forest. Styling the mossy hairdo of a log along the path. Deep and genuine conversation with a friend. Feeling the satisfaction of demonstrating the brilliance of my favorite artist.

Day 19- A very interactive and co-creative meditation process today. Three bodies. Too much coconut oil. Lots of pleasure, relaxation, and experimentation. Pleasure came today in the form of connection, deep conversation, heart-felt sharing, and listening with friends… in triad, over dinner, and in the hot tub. I also enjoyed seeing a little boy waiting out on the porch for certain little girls to come home.

Why pleasure?

I was telling a dear friend about my new project, and she asked me a very thoughtful question: Why pleasure? Why not joy, or gratitude or love?

My immediate answer to her was bumbling and incoherent, so I wanted to spend some more time articulating my answer and sharing it here.

Why pleasure?

Who doesn’t want to be assigned to focus on their pleasure? I guess some people wouldn’t, but it sounded awesome to me. However, there was more than just surface-level enjoyment motivating my decision.

I denied my pleasure from an early age: I was raised in a religion that taught the physical body and sensations were “illusions.” I was told as a teenager that abstinence was the only option and was sheltered from movies and media that portrayed sexual situations. As a corporate employee, I spent 8+ hours a day sitting, often in windowless rooms, working on a computer. When I became a mom, I found it hard to prioritize my own exercise, rest, and relaxation over the needs of the children, the family, and my marriage.

Only within the last few years, with the help of dance, tantra, yoga and the 15 commitments, have I become more in touch with my body to understand its needs and wants. Since quitting my job, I have drastically reduced my sitting and typing and being disconnected to the natural world outside. I am lucky to have a partner who supports my ability to take time to myself to be with friends, to go dancing, or to sleep in on the weekends. And while I’ve made tremendous shifts, I know there is still a lot of pleasure left to discover.

I’m also intrigued by the notion of pleasure being a revolutionary tactic and one that can address the environmental crisis we are facing.

Charles Eisenstein talks about how the current story of the world, the one that is creating such environmental and social destruction fundamentally requires us to deny or postpone our pleasure. He says it is “because most of the tasks that we must do to keep the world-devouring machine operating do not feel very good at all.”

The world-devouring tasks that come to mind are strip mining our mountains, burning fossil fuels that pollute our air, pillaging rainforests and lands of other cultures to gather materials needed to make our disposable products. And there are personal-level examples of world-devouring tasks as well: throwing away a giant plastic box that was only used once to transport some lettuce, sitting in rush hour traffic, or having the alarm go off early every morning because school and work have regimented start times. Charles believes that for the individual and the world to keep doing all these things, “we must be trained to deny pleasure.”

So if I pay attention to where I am denying my pleasure, and make different choices (buying lettuce from the farmer’s market, sans box; riding my bike more; dedicating more time in my week to having sensual connections with others), then I am not only walking-the-talk for the world I want to live in, but I am also undermining a foundational requirement that keeps the machine devouring.

I’m also very interested in exploring the philosophies of the ecosexual movement (which looks at the intersection of the state of the environment and human sexuality). I’ll do an entire blog post on what I’ve learned about ecosexuality soon, but in the meantime, there’s a quote from Sam Keen’s book “The Passionate Life” that describes the potential I see in looking at pleasure as a way to address environmental challenges: “It is only when we deal with the dis-eased character of modern sexuality and ecological crisis as a single problem that is rooted in an erotic disorder that we can begin to discover ways to heal ourselves of our alienation from our bodies and from nature.”

At the end of the day, I don’t know what I’m going to learn from this pleasure project. But I know that my intent of this project is to benefit all. To help the world know more pleasure, I’m starting by fully knowing my own.

Photo source

Pleasure meditation challenge – update

For introduction to what this meditation is all about and days 1-3 click here.

Day 4 – This was the first day, of many more to come, where my alarm goes off at 6 AM. To make getting out a bed a little more pleasurable (because I REALLY love lounging in bed), I made an early morning trip to the hot tub. Quiet. Warm. Wet. Pleasure came in many forms today: the smell of the forest, the weight and lightness of bodies spiraling during dance, and hearing good news about a friend’s life. I learned during my meditation time that I really loved the feel of the meat on my bones jostling, as I shook, swayed and bounced my way through staying present with the pleasure in my body.

Day 5- So much pleasure today. A yoga class with my favorite teacher. A long, co-creative conversation with my father. Changing out of too tight clothing into a dress where nothing pinches or grabs. Sharing my pleasure meditation learnings with my hubby and incorporating them into our lovemaking. When I sat down to meditate, I realized that nothing I could do at that moment would be as pleasurable as crawling into bed. So I did.

Day 6- Pleasure reaches a whole new level when someone else is involved. And pleasure has a whole other flavor when the play with someone else is not sexual. I love rolling, smooshing, balancing, adjusting, asking for more and less with another body who is chasing their own pleasure as much as I’m chasing mine. It creates magic. As this friend said: “pleasure is the fine line between too much, and not enough.” My personal meditation also involved another, only this one was mechanical.

Day 7- A simple pleasure today was walking back from yoga class through this urban garden (see picture) and hearing and seeing lots of happy honeybees buzzing throughout the plants. I tried to use the yoga class as my pleasure meditation today. And while I did a good job of finding the point of pleasure in each pose, I also found myself reverting back to just following the teacher’s directions, rather than my own guidance. My meditation involved rolling and stretching the muscles I worked in yoga class and trying to keep my brain off my to-do list or the fact that I forgot about a planned walk with a friend. But when I was present, I wondered why I wasn’t doing it naked? Much better….

Sensuality Test Results

“Sensuality is, in essence, how in tune you are with your senses. Do you notice smells, textures, sounds? How sensual you are plays a key role not only in your sex life but in your overall ability to derive pleasure from life as a whole. Find out what the use of your senses implies about your world and love with this sensuality test.”

I took the test. Apparently, I’m a “B” sensuality student.

When I started the test, my self perception was that I was way lacking in my sensual skills. I compare myself to my friends who I see as being very sensual — I don’t have orgasms just from kissing, I don’t open a champagne bottle by holding it between my legs and sensually pulling out the cork, and I certainly don’t seem to get as much pleasure out of delicious foods as some of my friends do.

One of the first questions on the test further reinforced by story about my lack of sensuality. It asked, how do you tell whether an item in a store is real leather? My first instinct would be to check the tag. But the question had other options too… like touch it or smell it. It was interesting to realize that I wouldn’t have thought of smelling something to tell if it was leather.

But then as the questions went on, I realized that many of my natural instincts are indeed very sensual. I love to sleep in the nude; I like to stand close to people and give extra long, full body hugs; and using products on my body that leave it feeling silky or soft.

The survey also helped me see categories where my senses aren’t as finely tuned as they could be: around music, food, smells and touch.

The results seem pretty spot on — I enjoy my senses AND there is room to enjoy them more. I’m grateful to have sensual friends who model for me just how much more pleasure is possible.

The pleasure meditation challenge

As part of my pleasure project, I’ve set up a challenge for myself (inspired by Ms. Jaiya):

For one full moon cycle, do a pleasure meditation everyday.

But instead of the traditional form of meditation where I might try to quiet the voices in my head and breathe so that I can experience a different state of consciousness, I am aiming to go inward — to breathe and stay in my body, finding pleasure wherever it might be. As part of this challenge, I am also paying close attention to the things that give me the most pleasure each day.

To keep myself accountable to this challenge, to reflect on my growth and learnings, and to continue my psychological disrobing, I’ll report back here every few days.

Day 1 – Full moon- My at-home meditation was short today. I found my body quickly turned on, but my mind kept wandering towards exciting activities or things I want to be doing. I repeatedly had to keep coming back to my body in the here and now. Most of my intense pleasure for the day came at the sweat lodge ceremony I did that evening. My pleasure treasures for the day… I love when I sweat so much that I can’t tell whether the beads of sweat are running down my torso, or back up again. After the ceremony, I had the opportunity to lie with my belly on the earth to cool down. The feeling of the cool breeze on my wet, hot skin was delicious. Lastly, the cold, juicy cantaloupe I ate after the ceremony felt luxurious and so satisfying.

Day 2 – A mostly quiet meditation, in the dark by candle light. The most surprising point of pleasure came from lightly caressing the bottoms of my feet. My meditation time perfectly morphed into sexy-time with my husband, which became a very pleasurable part of my day. In addition, I loved getting Uptown Funky at dance. How good I feel after a post-dance shower is hard to beat. And I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch conversation with a dear friend.

Day 3- My meditation was interrupted by a loud crashing noise, a few minutes in. But my start was choppy and I was having trouble staying in my body, so I appreciated the post-crash restart. I also found that it was a challenge to not allow my brain to move into fantasy as my body called to increase the sexual feelings. I found unexpected satisfaction from raising and lowering the quartz egg I was carrying internally. Pleasure came today from the feel of sand between my toes as I walked on a local beach, from the refreshing breeze you can get only when riding a bike while not wearing panties, and the earthy-sweet smell of tomato plants. I also feeling very turned on by the deep beat married with the tinkling sounds and Sylvan Esso’s smooth voice in her song, “Coffee”.

To choose pleasure…

In December, only 9 months ago, I read a book that has so significantly changed my life, I’m inclined to think about my timeline from a “before” and “after” perspective. This book has given me hope, new perspective, inspiration, reassurance, a sense of peace. And quite surprisingly, it’s inspired a project.

Now in my third reading of “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” (by Charles Eisenstein), I’ve taken away many ideas and inspirations. The inspiration I feel most called to is to choose and celebrate pleasure.

Charles says: “To choose pleasure… is to set in motion a process that upends the Story of the World.”

The book outlines the old story of the world: that we are all separate, disconnected individuals fighting for limited resources from a world that is meant to be conquered. It also paints the new story of the world: that we and the earth are all interconnected and that we are all working towards a common goal. If the old story of the world is true, then there is very little space for pleasure — rather it seems that pleasure would be a hinderance to productivity, efficiency, and getting our share of the resources. If the new story of the world is true, then pleasure is a key component. If my pleasure is your pleasure, and your pain is my pain, why would I make any other choice?

So what if Charles is right that the true nature of the world is that we are all interconnected? Could choosing pleasure truly be a revolutionary act that makes it easier to see and feel that interconnection?

What if pleasure is the path to radical change for the world?

In looking at my own experience over the past few years as I’ve studied how to make stronger connections through my words (NVC) or through my body (tantra), I see how much personal transformation has occurred for me. This learning and growth has been intentional, yet not focused. What would my life look like if I consciously chose pleasure? Could I make the new story of the world a little more possible by prioritizing pleasure over productivity and efficiency?

The more beautiful world MY heart knows is possible is full of deep connection, dance, play, food brimming with flavor and vitality, tender touch, loving words, natural beauty, and the sounds of children laughing.

Starting today, I’m committing to let pleasure be my compass to the more beautiful world.

And this blog, is my psychological striptease — a titillating and exposed stage on which to reveal my experience of choosing pleasure.