What if we listened to and trusted our pleasure as a powerful way of knowing and of moving toward home? This brings me to the thought I wanted to share with you today, a question that can help us put the old map down: “Where is my pleasure?”
I am sitting in my bed surrounded by dogs and books and day planners and journals reflecting on the turn of the year. I enjoy the experience of ending one year and entering into another. I stopped making “new year’s resolutions” long ago. However, I still find myself naming what I hope for in the next year— making “new year’s wishes,” I suppose—and inevitably find myself making goals for the year anyways. I enjoy this process of rumination (especially because I know that almost nothing will turn out as I planned it, so I don’t take it too seriously). I imagine many of you may be in similar states of mind ~ reflecting on the past year, dreaming into the new one.
While this place can bring inspiration and vision, it can also be quickly filled with something else: a litany of tasks. As we honestly reflect on our hunger for the life growing from our depths and the vision our longing is offering us, we can feel a surge of inspiration followed by this: to-do lists. Solutions, usually in the form of resolutions and lists, begin to populate the space. Ok, we might say, I need to do less of that and more of this. I need to learn to say no. I need to take more baths. I need to stop trying to please everyone… As this unfolds, I often witness the heaviness of exhaustion return. So quickly the call of the soul for more ease and more freedom and more wildness becomes a litany of more duties to accomplish. Which, in turn, requires more efficiency, more will, and more productivity.
Often what is happening is that once we notice that the deep self is calling us into new ways of being, we bring up the old map we were handed. In other words, we accidentally try to find a new place with an old map. The old map shows us the destination, or ideal, and tells us to get there through incessant productivity, efficiency, and approximation to an external ideal. It is wise to ask ourselves, is this map, this ideal, inviting me into another form of the obedient life? It is very easy to inadvertently simply replace our punishing gods and demanding ideals, rather than overthrow them by stepping off the old map and its well-worn roads.
This brings me to the thought I wanted to share with you today, a question that can help us put the old map down: “Where is my pleasure?”
This question, with its soft light, guides us away from the litany of obedience to an external mandate and brings us directly into our bodies and into our knowing. It holds the power to slowly or suddenly break the blind hold of our indoctrination to continually strive toward a faraway ideal and lead us to the exact moment we are inhabiting. Wondering where our pleasure is has a way of leading us back to our bodies, not as a demanding ideal, but as a whisper or a fire or a tingle or an inspiration. This question causes us to consult with our senses and to move through our days in a sensual way.
As I reflect on this next year, one of my new year’s wishes is that I will learn more and more to consult my pleasure as I move through my days. That when I come across a fork in the road—whether it is what to have for lunch or what to do with an hour of free time or which direction to take my work in or who to spend time with and all the countless decisions we make as we move through each day—I hope I will pause and wonder about pleasure and value its wisdom and guidance. Maybe this question might open up new ways for you too. What if we listened to and trusted our pleasure as a powerful way of knowing and of moving toward home? If this stirs something in you, I invite you to pause and wonder about your pleasure as you enter into the new year too.
I am sending so much love to all of you and looking forward to another year of deepening, gathering, asking salient questions, and mythic adventuring with this beautiful community.