I want to talk to you about pleasure.
First, a story:
I grew up playing lots of sports. Soccer, softball, volleyball, snowboarding, swimming--I loved them all. Sports felt like a core part of my identity and I came alive during games.
I was a really quiet, shy kid but I loved the comradery and community I found in team sports. I was never a huge sports star; I'm naturally athletic more than particularly skilled, but I just loved playing, loved the flow state I found in athletics, loved feeling capable and strong and full of vitality.
I played sports throughout most of high school, then stayed involved with soccer and softball on rec leagues throughout college. The rest of my sports fell to the wayside for various reasons (read: the time and monetary demands of adulting).
Fast forward to today. The last indoor soccer season I played was before I was pregnant, so five years ago. My most recent softball game was a decade ago. I last went snowboarding in 2008. I swam laps a few times when I was pregnant, but not since then. And my last competitive volleyball game was 20 years ago, when I was a sophomore in high school. (Yes, that statement blows my mind.)
I didn't realize just how long it had been since I had actually done this thing that felt like a core part of my identity (play sports)--sports just kind of slipped away after college when teams and leagues were no longer easy to find and a big feature of my social life.
But a few months ago I read the book More Than A Body by Lindsay Kite & Lexie Kite (definitely get your hands on this book if you haven't yet read it!) and I woke up to the fact that I hadn't moved my body in this manner that brought me so much pleasure, so much joy, so much strength, in years and years.
I immediately went to my city's recreation center website and joined a volleyball team. And now I've been playing every week for a little while and it's brought me so. much. joy.
It feels like coming home to a part of myself I'd neglected.
It feels like power, self-love, bone-deep pleasure.
Here's the thing: I don't know if it would have been so easy for me to take action and join a team a few years ago.
But by the time I read that book and felt nudged to join a team, I had already been doing so much work to tap into pleasure, joy, freedom, expansion, and sovereignty in my bodily experience through menstruality work.
So by then it was easy to follow what I knew would make me feel good.
Because I had already given myself permission to experience my body, the only one I'll ever have, as a place of power, comfort, awe, capacity, and pleasure--things I didn't even realize before had been missing.
This is the power of menstruality work: The domino effect of self-reclamation.
Here is my hope for you today:
Find something that feels pleasurable to do or experience in your body.
Maybe, like me, it's something you haven't done in a very, very long time.
Maybe it's a new simple pleasure.
It can be as involved as joining a class or team or as fleeting as breathing deeply to the bottom of your belly and letting the world fall away for a moment.
I have found that the more I discern what feels good to my body and my experience of life, the easier it is to build upon that pleasure in so many other areas of my life.
I want this for you too.
Start building your foundation of pleasure, of joy, of savoring and chasing experiencing life from a state of bliss as frequently as you can.
See what shifts for you.
And please, please tell me about it when you do! I'm rooting for you.
I'll tell you a few other simple ways I've cultivated pleasure recently to get your ideas flowing:
- I breathe deeply very often throughout the day to regulate my nervous system.
- My stomach felt a little upset the other day so I gently ran my hand over it. It felt soothing and comforting, so I continued.
- I stayed in a bath for over an hour, relishing the floating feeling of my body in an Epsom salt bath. I rocked in the water gently because it felt good.
- I massaged my womb after my period ended because I love the silky feel of my body oil.
- I'm taking a hips releasing course to release trauma stored in my body and the exercises are very relaxing.
- I went to a chiropractor and gave my full attention to the sensation of feeling pain and restriction (I threw out a rib in my last volleyball game) replaced with feeling ease and fluidity.