Saying YES to joy and pleasure!
This is a transcription of the podcast episode #16 by the same name. Here's a link to listen to the show.
You’re listening to i feel for you, a podcast about life learning moments! Feelings! Discoveries! And well, just about anything at all!
I’m your host, Dionne, a creative coach, yoga, movement + meditation teacher, writer and dj based between the uk and Norway mostly, but we don’t let imaginary topographies hold us back, right? Most of my work is via the internet, which makes for a delightful concoction of infinite possibilities, for you and for me. Ok resisting the urge to sing Michael Jackson, that might come later, cause today, my friends, we are talking about a big, nay HUGE learning moment i had about pleasure and choosing to say YES to JOY! And why it’s good for your business and your LIFE (that's my RuPaul impression)
Are you ready?
We’re going in!
Hello darlings, how are you doing?
I hope you are thriving and feeling fabulous and limitless and efferescent as you are. I wore a gown in your honour in the spirit of todays episode recording but it was making too much noise so i had to change. Please know that the intention was there.
Ahh, this reminds me of a clip i want to send you of our patron saint, Eartha Kitt doing the most and the best in her gown. I’ll put it in the shownotes for you cause you know, that that’s where the gifts that keep on giving reside. And i have a lot for you today. Which we will get into.
But hey! First, I have a question for you!
Are you joyful?
Do you allow yourself pleasure?
It almost seems disingenuous or even rude to ask in these times that we’re living in.
But joy and soul nourishment are so vital for us in all ways. It’s obvious, we know this, but it’s not always accessible. I bumped into a chum i hadn’t seen in a while in Brighton recently and we were lamenting about how we both ached for more joy. That joy was going to be a priority for us going forward cause you know, we want to enjoy the rest of our years on this planet!
In dark times, especially in dark times, we must find ways to be joyful.
To remind ourselves of the light.
To tap into that frequency of delight.
To relish in “good feeling” as the very talented Jodie Abacus would sing. Speaking of which, as i’m that person and can’t seem to formulate an entire sentence without some kind of musical reference, i’m simply going to link you in the show notes to a playlist i made you about saying yes to joy! And pleasure! And good stuff!
Call it "a soundtrack for manifesting joy", or simply, a plethora of hype people egging you on to say "yes!" to it. To dip your toe into a pleasurable audible soup! ...Is that gross? I don’t know.
And i don’t know about you but music has helped me through some of the toughest times for sure. And the impact of music on our ability to process our feels and shift our state and tap into joy is real.
Let’s go on a little tangent shall we? (if you will allow me to indulge that is!)
Music - an interlude
I know i’m not alone in my feels when i speak about music giving me LIFE on so many levels. Most of my feels have an accompanying soundtrack and that’s why i called my radio show FEELINGS of course, and why my podcast/ this particular podcast lurks in the same territory. And probably also why i've got thousands of Spotify playlists .....help!
It’s cause sound is such a huge emotive thing.
Music can transform and transport us to other places.
And it’s not surprising when we think about sound and the body-mind connection.
Nāda yoga, which really loosely translates to the yoga of sound, is a philosophy and a practice in itself. And i'd often use that example when people would be hating on me for doing Yoga Disco's all those years ago...do you remember those?
So when we think about energy practices, perhaps we can reference our energy centre of communication which includes speaking, singing and listening etc), which is the 5th chakra darling, aka Vishuddha which i talk about a lottttt - (please refer to podcast episode 7: The importance of being vulnerable, showing up and coming out of the cave where i speak on how blockages in this energy region impact on finding our voice and i offer you some tips on ways to find flow.
And the main reason i talk about this 5th chakra area of communication a lot is cause it’s an area i’m working on balancing. Anatomically, the 5th chakra is located in the throat, around the ears and the shoulders and when it’s balanced, we enable healthy expression to flow in and out. Speaking our truth. Listening well.
Sound is also connected to all the other energy centres of the body too - each chakra for example, has a sound and vibration to it which is really useful as a tool for checking in to see if things are balanced. Again, I go more into that in episode 7 of this podcast.
One of my teachers Anodea Judith sums it up well in one of my long time FAVE books, Eastern Body, Western Mind which i believe i've been harping on about for 8 years or so now. I’m going to share an except with you! She says:
“Music deliciously combines upper and lower chakra experiences. It bathes the body in rhythm and resonance, while entertaining the mind with its complexity of meter, melody, instrumentation and message. Music unites the soul of the body with the mind and spirit.”
...isnt that lovely?
I think so.
And for those hungry for more on energy delight, let’s dive deeper into how that mind body and spirit connection looks.
So another one of my teachers Tias Little speaks on the way music travels through the body and effects our entire being via the limbic system.
“Technically speaking, music travels across auditory nerves to the thalamus in the brain, which affects our emotions. The thalamus then stimulates the cortex, which sends responsive impulses back to the thalamus and hypothalamus. The circuit, known as the thalamic reflex, produces foot tapping and body swaying as the music intensifies.
Surrounding the thalamus is the limbic system. This is the part of the brain that is most connected to emotions and to the endocrine system, which affects the chakras and influences our involuntary processes of breathing, heart rate, circulation, and glandular secretions.”
Mmm, glandular secretions!
And you’ve probably come across the limbic system, especially if you're interested in the way stress affects the body. It’s this area really deep inside the centre of the brain and it has a profound effect on the way that we feel. It’s responsible for emotions, behaviour, instincts, memories, arousal (and stimulation) and more. And a major part of the limbic system is the thalamus, which is a portion of the brain which is responsible for detecting and relaying information from our senses like smell and vision for example.
Although emotions originate from the limbic system, the nature of these emotions and whether they are positive or negative, is mainly influenced by our frontal lobes which is that part in the front of the brain, you know, that part of the brain that developed later in our evolution. So the limbic system and the frontal lobes talk to each other, working in tandem to influence our experience. You might imagine the frontal lobes interpreting a situation and events and then communicating that interpretation via these roads to the limbic system which then produces the appropriate reaction such as joy, our ability to focus or concentrate on something. Creativity too! Pleasure! And so on.
So we can think about this influence, this biological influence, on our quest for joy, of course, everything is connected so it's not just this physical biological state, it's very much connected to our emotions, our feelings, our energy, and so on.
So we can think about that as we experience an emotive piece of music for example, that perhaps carries a memory of some kind and how it can influence us. How it makes us feel...."Hello", to all those moments of heartbreak and joy and so on!
The effects of music are profound and can make us feel some type of way. We kind of know this already though, right? Hands up who's ever cried into a pillow whilst listening to Bjork on repeat? Just me?!...I know you're out there!
- Sidenote: more on my special moments via My Life with Bjork -
In fact, I had a visceral reaction to music a few weeks at the Michael Jackson exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. It's called On The Wall and i'm interested - have you been? Wooy! Honestly, i got my life there. Literally packaged it up, wrapped it in some kind of biodegradable sequin fabric and received it whole, in rapturous glory.
Of course, there are so many Michael Jackson songs i love, riiiight? This could be a digression so i’ll try to stay on point but to be honest i’d really like to know your faves so send me some songs, you know how to reach me - ifeelforyoupodcast.com - back to it then...
...So yeah MJs music is so healing but what was interesting was that at the exhibition, where i got that life served back with a glass case of emotion, my feelings came from the sounds of other humans singing his songs. The fans. It's defo for the fans.
In one part of the gallery, an installation by Candice Breitz that was extremely emotive. I don’t think i’m ruining this for you but there came a point when i was lusting after some MJ garment that was very shiny (obviously) when i heard what sounded like a choir of kids singing his songs, so obviously i had to be all up in it and i went on the hunt and found this piece which was essentially a dark room filled with screens featuring 16 people, singing MJ songs and sometimes bussing-a-move because you know it cannot be helped when it comes to MJ. I can’t tell you the range of feelings i felt watching them feel the music. You know? Like when you watch someone cry you can’t help but cry yourself? Is that just me? Well anyway. I was crying. And guffawing. And roaring with laughter and feeling joy in a way that i haven’t felt in a really long time to be honest.
So that 45 minute loop of joyous expression really reminded me of the power of music and song and healing.
And all that crying and laughing and my jaw ached from the joy. Don’t you just love that? Can you think of a time you felt that way?
I’m smiling just thinking about that.
They did that.
Candice! YOU did that! So shout out and props and hype sounds and dog barking emphatically sounds of appreciation for that. If you're interested in that, the piece is called King (a portrait of Michael Jackson) and you might have seen clips on my Instagram Stories (filed under July) or you can find them on YouTube but to be honest irl is simply awe inspiringly joyful and i really really recommend it and i'm not paid to say that, i just want you to feel the joy, if you're into that.
‘King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson)’ by Candice Breitz (Kaufmann Repetto (Milan) KOW(Berlin)
Of course i'm not saying that going to an exhibition about Michael Jackson is the answer to everything or will magically create joy in your world (but i do recommend it if you are in London in the next few months cause it might)
I do, however, recommend a daily prescription of sounds that delight you. However you consume it.
Again a reminder of the playlist that i made for you that i’ll put into the show notes for you and also my radio show, FEELINGS which is a buffet of sound sandwiches that i hope you will enjoy. NO MAYO! HOLD, the mayo.
OK this has been a digression indeed but i wanted to add a final thought on the power of music from our beloved Peter Tosh who said:
“Music is a science, it heals depression, it awakens, most people don’t know, they just take music for an entertainment, something to dance to, and enjoy yourself and you go to bed and forget it tomorrow, music must never be forgotten, it’s like a fountain that keeps on flowing.”
Isn’t that wonderful?
So speaking of flow, i wanted to touch on another tool to access joy:
And it's quite simple. It's saying yes to it - when we mean it.
Because i think one of the greatest barriers to access joy is that we can block and deny it. Sometimes intentionally, other times it’s more unconscious.
For example. I’ve noticed the habit in myself to automatically dismiss and deny pleasure. Do you ever do that?
I think it’s been so long, really since starting my business 8 years or so ago, denying holidays simply because for the most time i was living hand to mouth which isn’t the easiest in Norway, one of the most expensive countries in the world if you’re not doing stuff that fits into the "normal" way of life...Anyway, i hope that’s changing cause i’m trying to live my life outside the limiting boundaries of what is normal tbh. I think we get to choose. But i digress.
Denying pleasure and denying holidays and having resistance to pleasure and joy cause everything needed to be focussed on surviving and putting all my energy into my businesses.
On Holidays + resistance to pleasure and joy
Some of you know i planned to go on a pilgrimage to Greece this year. It was a big moment and i put it on my visionboard and everything because you know, i havent taken a holiday, which is a really privileged position to be in, to even make that statement, you know? Just to even consider the idea of even going on a holiday which i completely realise and sort of lightly hate myself for ..... hate's a strong word. Let's change that energy channel and back to the vision.
I decided at the beginning of this year that i was going to take a holiday for absolute pleasure. Do something that i really wanted to do, just for the sake of doing it. Because: Life!
And some of you know it didn't happen. I mean, it was a combination of stuff, things like deadlines, work that couldn't be moved and also, waiting to get paid! That was a big one! Especially when you're getting paid from Norway cause (i don't know if you know this but) most Norwegians take a month off in the summertime and if you try to get hold of anyone in July, it's kind of a no-no. Nothing's going to happen so...yeah... Think about that before you put your invoices in - lol - so anyway...Let's get back to it.
I’d been waiting eight years for this holiday my friends and of course, i travel heaps for work, right? So i think a lot of people see i am in different places. I had a working holiday in the South of France in May which was divine and beautiful, and i'm so grateful i get to work and travel, so in ways i've had access to these joy moments. And i was in Morocco in February and i was sick for the entire time but, you know! With work i'm in Norway heaps, going back and forth in fact i'm there for the whole of next week...
But even though i travel heaps for work, this holiday to Greece was very much a big deal and it was something i really wanted to make that happen this year and i haven't been able to do that. By the way if this is speaking to you at all, the idea of really really needing a holiday and really wanting to take a break but just not being able to do it, then i’ve got you and I wrote a whole blog post about what to do when you can’t take a holiday which might be useful for you if you are feeling a bit stuck and burned out at the same time. So i will link that for you in the show notes too for you.
But yeah, i'm sure you understand, it wasn't just a holiday. It was a dream. And was on my visionboard and everything so i'm looking it everyday, manifesting, putting my energy into imagining pleasure in the moment and I had the flights and ugh. The pain of having to let them go. And all of that kind of guilt that goes with it...
Just having to surrender to the idea of not being able to make the holiday happen for a while and surrender to the frustration and the guilt and the wretched feelings and the shame of even having the luxury to be peeved that i wasn’t able to go away and have a break. Some people don't even have that luxury. And you know, i've been on the planet for some time i feel i've known that life. I grew up not going away on holidays. It wasn't a thing that my family did. I grew up on a council estate very early on in my life and it just wasn't even an idea that i could have in my head so this holiday was more than just a kind of frivilous moment, it was really tied up with being able to change my ideas about allowing myself pleasure and joy and feeling deserving of those things, even though it wasn't neccessarily something i grew up learning...Do you know what i mean? ...Do you relate to any of this?
Greece has always been a place that's close to my heart. I did a lot of traveling around there in my 20s and just had so many adventures and so many incredible experiences and met so many great friends who live in Greece and it's really a place that i associate with joy and pleasure and wonder and adventure and food (you know me, you know my stomach!).
So of course, when i realised i wasn't able to go, i wanted to mope and be sad for a while. And to be honest? Just sulk! And I got sick for a few days which was probably a manifestation of the buildup of yuck feeling and also pushing myself in a time when i really just needed a break -you know? You know that point in the summer when literally everyone around you is off somewhere and you're like "here we are again... one day it's going to be me! One sweet day!"
And you know, i love my work you guys and i'm so grateful to be able to do what i do, but the whole reason i wanted to prioritise a holiday this year is cause i’m tired! It’s been such a long road of grafting and moving countries and creating businesses and projects and concepts which i’ve loved, but without the space for an actual break. An official boundaried break, you know? I think there is value in that, for all of us, just taking a damn break.
And if that’s something that speaks to you and that you also struggle with, i wrote a blogpost especially for you and also speak about it with Ketil in podcast episode 13: exploring balance, burnout + boundaries in work, rest + play where we talk a bit more about what we do and some of the struggles that we have and ways that we have overcome certain things and stuff that we are working on, so I will link those in the show notes and really hope they help you out.
And so, back to the moping grump that i was some time in July, and just having a few days of feeling terribly sad gave way to something that i don’t think would have happened if i’d gone away to Greece.
And i’m not trying to justify the fact that i denied myself the pleasure of a holiday this summer. And I hate to be that “it all happens for a reason!” type of person...
But, in hindsight, towards the end of this situation of feeling yuck, there was a learning moment.
A few of them actually.
What really helped pull me out of the yuck was trying to be honest about my feels and to not to cut myself off from people who did care.
So i reached out to friends to check in on them, which generally helps me cause it gets me out of my own head. And instead focusses attention on what they might need and i can support them with. And that gave way for a different energy. Coincidentally a good friend of mine in London messaged me to say
“oh tomorrow it's my day off and i’m going on a museum day to a couple of exhibitions - let me know if you’re ever up and fancy going”
My heart and when i read that message i was like:
“oh Dionne, do you remember when you used to do that? And you just used to have these artists dates for yourself just for input and inspiration -when was the last time you did that?!"
And i just sat there and i thought, i literally don’t remember the last time i did that.
Just on my own, going up to london and having a solo date.
So i looked at my to-do's for the rest of the week and you know, working for yourself can sometimes be pretty flexible if you allow it to be. Which usually i don't. I can be quite strict with myself. But i looked at the following day and thought,
"ooh, there's an opening! I could actually do it! I don't have meetings, there's nothing set in stone, no appointment i have to be there for, it's not a coaching day, i'm not teaching that day...there's a possibility!"
But as soon as there was that moment, i was batting it off with excuses why i couldn't do it and to cut a long story short, it took me about 20 hours of just wracking my brain in anguish, going through the guilt and the pros and cons of why i should allow myself to go up to London and have a joy day , and also consider my anxiety, cause i’m usually with Finemann and when i’m traveling anywhere, it’s generally for work so it’s a different energy, it's very focussed and there's usually not a lot of time to be doing anything but focussing on all the logistics and the tasks in hand and just being really present with what comes up, be it in London or the airport or traveling through Norway or whatever.
And i’m grateful for that but to consider pleasure, for my whole self ----- this trip.....it was so ----sheesh kebabs, it was so confronting!
So eventually, after goodness knows how many clarity tools i tried like walking, writing, listing, flipping (of coins) and talking to my intuition - gut energy yo!
I guess you can kind of guess where this is going, i did decide to go but not without resistance trying to sway me off course of pleasure. So after making that decision, there was more resistance in the morning. So getting on the train felt like a huge barrier for example. Sure, i travel around a fair amount, but it’s all related to work, not pleasure, so reframing that was a huge deal. It felt big. I was so nervous. My anxiety was high, and i had barely slept due to two randy cats outside the night before. Or were they angry? Either way, lack of sleep, plus anxiety isn’t the most wonderful concoction….not the best state you really want to be in! Anyway, self sabotage was ready to take me down as i purposefully slowed down before heading to the train station, kind of thinking to myself oh i’ll probably miss my train and then i can't go and well, perhaps there would be no point so i’d have to stay home and you know the rest. A kind of punishing monologue in my head.
Of course, i had to push through and ended up going.... and it was just what i needed... and it was so perfect. Of course there was the exhibition that i mentioned earlier that gave me so much inspiration and confirmed so many ideas and things that i'd been ruminating on and exploring in my own personal practice and developing in workshops that are coming up that i am leading and things that i wanted to dive deeper into. I just had so much confirmation and a kind of filling in of the blanks when i allowed myself that room to be inspired and touched and to feel joy.
And also it was wonderful cause i got to hang out with a gorgeous friend and then i ran into random friends which was no coincidence, as i was heading to get my train back in a really strange part of London and being able to reconnect with friends who are out there doing their thing. They're on their path, they are so fearless and brave and creating beautiful things in the world. I really admire them and just randomly bumping into them and revisiting places and feelings and basically remembering joy….. And pleasure and purpose.
I'm sorry that was a massive digression but it kind of looped back round and brought me back to my priorities and remembering….who i was and who i am - and of course this is always changing and so on but yeah, just having that day, it was as though, there was a decision that i made to step into pleasure - not sure if there is a better way of saying this but i dunno--- but deciding to just put everything aside work wise and guilt wise and just allow myself that indulgence.
And its not even about spending money - of course there's a train ticket and maybe an entry ticket , but being able to indulge in pleasure and really put that first was kind of like a massive revelation for me. And I don't think i would have got that if id gone to Greece..... oh i probably would have, who knows, but it was just a different experience of facing up to that and realising that allowing yourself joy and saying yes to joy and pleasure is a big part of your business! An important part of your business! It's the part of you that enables you to stay clear and inspired and motivated. And as i said the confirmation that i received going to this exhibition for example, the signs that i had when i was there...it was no coincidence.
Coming back home on the train and randomly a friend who also lives in London had sent me a message and connecting with that person on the way home and sharing ideas and excitement and feeling so full of... not just ideas, but inspiration, and also - for want of a better word - feeling unclogged was just, well, literally clarifying! And as i was on the train home and even though i had been writing anyway during the month and during that period and i'd made podcasts and recorded them and edited them for you but failed to put out into the world -there was a clog that i'd experienced before this day where i wasn't allowing myself to follow through. Something was getting in the way. Resistance. Again - sorry about that!
Being on that train home, i really like to write anyway on trains and planes - i really enjoy writing in those spaces...there's a kind of openness about that and i really enjoy moving through space and grounding thoughts on paper, anyway, being on the train and writing and connecting some dots and noting down these aha moments was really helpful and motivating, and i got home from the station to some really exciting emails and someone had offered me some free bodywork cause they wanted to do an exchange and wanted some 1-1 coaching with me which was great because i hadn’t been able to prioritise getting a massage which i knew i so desperately needed when i felt crap - and cause my body is a big part of my job it’s like getting a regular service if you know what i mean, Anyway, it's weird how things happen.
And a lot of stuff happened in 24 hours:
- This opportunity to connect and exchange coaching 1-1 which is pure joy.
- The receiving of this tremendous bodywork that was on-point.
- There was the soul nourishment of connecting and working with a peer where we dug deep into the stuff that we are passionate about like bodywork, the energy body, the subtle body, trauma related stuff which you know i'm really interested in, neuroscience,
- and also being able to hold space for that person and supporting her on her quest to build and expand her business and feeling that excitement and confirmation of being in exactly the right place, do you know what i mean? Especially after being so badly burned in the past in work collaborations where the energy is off or weird or simply strange or worse, offensive. That’s another podcast.
When i got home, another amazing opportunity came up to go to a friends event. He is someone i really admire and appreciate on this planet - dare i say i feel for him like a kind of uncle of sorts, is that offensive? I hope not. I mean, it’s a compliment and anyway his name is Colin Grant and he’s a historian and a writer and by the way has some wonderful books- one (my fave) is called Bageye at the Wheel - particularly close to my heart and my own story to be honest so do check that out - i’ve also done a writing course with him too and he is a brilliant mentor in many ways- bigup Colin! Anyway, Colin has a night he does in Brighton called Speaky Spokey where he invites different writers and performers to share their work and he emailed me to say that although it was already sold out, he felt i’d really enjoy the lineup and it was happening in a couple of hours and did i want to come along? And i had one of those moments you know? Where i watched myself was first joy -
“ahh,what an opportunity!"
Followed by an automatic response that said
"NO! You can’t!"
So i stopped myself and tuned into that resistance. What was it saying?
“Oh my god, it's been so long since i've been spontaneous like this - i was spontaneous for two days - can i do a third day? - this is crazy!”
Do you deserve to have a night of pleasure and inspiration Dionne? Surely you should curb it!"
And the funny thing is, as soon as i gave myself space to really witness that resistance, i could soften - do you know what i mean? I could see what was going on and offer a more rational and balanced retort, which was the acknowledgement of the events of the previous couple of days since deciding to say yes, ahh….so many signs, or calls to action you know?
I reflected for a moment:::::::
And i went of course and it was LIIIIFE and i was in rapture the whole evening and got to connect with such great people and drink in inspiration like a wanton cocktail of delight.
I’m going to link you to a blog post of things that are making me feel delicious via my latest inspiration station in the show notes so do go and have a look - i’ve linked to the performers there and think you might dig them too - particular shouts to Raymond Antrobus who snatched my edges in the most wonderful way possible.
So back to this conscious acknowledgement moment as i decided to say yes.
YES to joy. It’s a conscious decision. Its conscious action but i think it’s about a deep listening to our subconscious, you know, cause when i slowed down enough to listen to my automatic resistance that claps back to any kind of goodness i might be offered, i could let that flow through me.
I remember thinking about my visionboard this year and all the areas of my life i wanted to give time and good energy to:
- There was the coaching side of things
- The opportunity to fill up after this 7 year intensity
- There was this inspiration and arts and the movement and the writing and speaking and all of it, was like a platter that was served in my face
And it was as though a voice i had been ignoring for so long confronted me
“What do you want then Dionne, what is it? what’s it going to be? Because you know, are you going to go for this? Are you going to take this or are you just going to hide in your room trying to squeeze more stuff out of you when you’re parched and empty?
Man, i truly feel this summer has been one of deep internal work that has kept bringing me back to my priorities. The priorities that i had set out in January in my visionboard. The priorities that had been orbiting but maybe i had been avoiding stepping into.
And i hope that by hearing my learning moments of recent weeks, that you too can access that call to connect, not just with your own priorities but with your purpose and your feel good and your pleasure principle (really trying not to sing Janet Jackson but here we are)
We know we need pleasure and joy. And that creativity needs space and rest and joy. That we need to fill up our cups.
It’s like the exhale to the inhale.
It requires us to create space as a lifestyle. Implementing self care as a necessity.
I’ve spoken about us stopping the glorification of busy a lot over the years. And self care too, and all of those kinds of things that are related to that. Like burnout for example. I've spoken about them for so long because it’s so close to my heart and comes up time and time again with my 1-1 coaching clients too.
So I know i’m not alone in this journey.
So many of us can be so disconnected from our own pleasure. Denying ourselves joy and goodness.
So what gets in the way?
There is a great talk by one of my long term faves, Tara Brach and i think it was about saying yes to life, which is funny and weird and coincidental and non-coincidental cause I listened to this after planning this podcast and then had this ah-ha moment, you know the type?
So there's this talk and meditation about saying yes, meeting your edge and softening.
And it reference the unconscious patterns that we might hold that have become habit. The ones that keep us identifying with a separate threatened self she describes it as.. That resistance, such as denying ourselves pleasure or joy, creates tension. Constriction. Physically, mentally and so on.
And i speak about this a lot in classes, retreats and workshops cause this patterning, as we know in neuroscience has everything to do with ways we have done things. You know the neuropathways, those familiar highways of our brain that do things a particular way because that's what we are used to? It might be walking a particular way to work or carrying a particular bag in one particular way or always reaching for something with the same hand. And we can look at ways that can be unhealthy like for me, extreme nationalism. Nationalism in general to be honest. This kind of doing something in a particular way cause that's what we're used to doing is kind of like a way to stay in control too - and this can be useful right? For example, driving a car or riding a bike or knowing our way home from work or not touching a hot stove. But sometimes, these pathways aren’t helpful for example saying “no” to stuff that we want and denying ourselves joy or pleasure or simply being out of habit of allowing ourselves a wonderful indulgence. This patterning of thinking can keep us small. We're not growing or expanding. We're not creating new pathways in our brain. And it takes a lot in some ways to be able to change that, right?
It takes a surrendering of what we know and a letting go of the ego which naturally wants to control things and know everything. Which again, can be useful, it can keep us safe, but then it can be a hinderance too cause it can keep us from growth. Inspiration. Opportunity.
So it means surrendering to something else and saying yes to something that calls us and instead allowing a new experience into our world. Or if that feels too much, even a new thought process - the possibility of saying yes to something we want!
So why do we refuse pleasure?
But let’s dig into why we might say no, or why the patterning to refuse pleasure is so strong. And this denial is often referred to as the negativity bias. It’s the pathway that’s looking for what's wrong or what bad stuff lurks around the corner, and if you are over the age of 25 and haven’t met that in your life, then wow! Go you!
This habitual way of saying "no" to things that we actually want, like pleasure, this negativity bias keeps us from happiness of course! Instead we’re looking for reasons to justify why we shouldn’t do something, or rather, why we should remain in that negative state.
...Are you catching my learning moment?
I’m talking as though all this stuff were easy and i know, really and truly how hard it can be to shift my state when there have been years of deprivation and withholding from goodness. So if that’s you, i’d like to say i’m here, holding space for you to feel however you need to feel right now. Especially if resistance is coming up. But also to remind you of the hope in the form of neuroplasticity which again, i've been speaking a lot about over the years and something that has also been trending in recent years but for good reason i think. Neuroplasticity describes advancements in neuroscience which has discovered really hopeful and exciting evidence that we are able to learn new ways of doing things. We can basically retrain our brain. Which is why i find things like meditation and affirmation work and yoga nidra so encouraging and useful.
We can retrain our brain you guys!
So happiness, joy, pleasure, however you choose to define those good feelings, is accessible to us! And not in that whole weak-ass “love and light” spiritual bypassing kind of way that's dismissing the resistance. But in real and tangible and evidential ways!
I don't know about you but i find that really encouraging. However hard wired our patterning is, we have an opportunity to work with that.
There is hope.
And we can begin to say yes to the things we want
And by doing so, we also open up a heap of opportunities for joy and pleasure and all that good stuff.
So it means surrendering to something else. Saying yes to something that calls us and instead allowing a new experience into our world.
What’s also exciting is when we start to practice this in action, basically being able to say yes to what we want, saying yes to pleasure, we start to open up a heap of opportunities for joy and pleasure and all that good stuff.
We find flow.
And that is what i think is the sweet spot. You know?
Getting out of your own way so you can get your own way.
Tune into that deep internal voice, those guides or your intuition or your higher self or whatever you want to label it as. Because we all have access to it, it’s just that sometimes we forget. And it’s ok, cause life is BUSY. And we are all carrying different stuff. And different amounts of stuff! And sometimes it’s heavy. And we feel we might be so far away from this internal part of us that wants joy and pleasure that it’s almost hopeless. And i am here to remind you that it is possible. It is always possible. And i think the key is giving space to allow yourself to witness where you are at, and also choosing to remember, change is possible. Pleasure and joy are accessible. But it might require us surrendering to something. Surrendering to the resistance that’s there. Surrendering to us needing to ask for help with it. Know what i mean?
So i want to remind you of some things:
Reach out to connect however lonely or isolated or sad you might feel.
Know that you are deserving of goodness. Pleasure. Joy. Euphoria!
To find your exhale. That might mean you dig into some exercises to get those good juices flowing - i have a blog post of 15 self care ideas to shift your state as an example, and i encourage you to make your own list.
Perhaps consider creating an Encyclopaedia of Pleasure. Know what one is? It’s ok if not, i know i can be extra about this stuff! This activity is something i tend to do in my workshops and retreats and i've made you a downloadable guide which you can access by signing up here:
This is a tool i fall back on regularly and use in my workshops too, also: it’s fun cause you can be as extra as you like if you are like me!
Also, the power of music to shift our state can’t be ignored and you can find that playlist in the shownotes.
And if you are looking for support in finding your flow, i have a 6-month coaching journey called just that, FIND YOUR FLOW as i said earlier, pleasure and joy has everything to do with your work in the world, whether you run your own business, or work for someone else but have some deep rooted dreams for something more.
It has everything to do with how you engage with life and it's definitely something that comes up regularly for my clients and we work to dig deep into that. Which often means looking at what’s happening and why, and how we can interrupt the stuff that’s not working and create new, more effective core beliefs and useful ways to move through resistance. And it’s so close to my heart. I mean, it’s an amalgamation of 26 years of my working life’s work to this point.
So if there’s a voice speaking to you to step forwards with that, i’ll be opening a limited number of 1-1 spaces for September. So if you feel that could be something for you and it's a good time for you to do that, here's a link to all the details to find out more.
So i’d love to continue the conversation and hear what you think about saying yes to joy and pleasure and good stuff means for you.
-Do you find it easy to give yourself pleasure and to tap into joy? If so, what tools or habits do you use?
-Or do you struggle to access joy and pleasure at the moment? Reach out to me cause i’m here for you.
Aaaannnnd don’t forget, there’s tonnes of FREE TOOLS AND RESOURCES FOR FEEL GOOD available on this site:
MUSIC + MEDITATION PROJECT is free guide if you're interested in exploring meditation and available to download here.
YOGA VIDEOS I have a heap of free yoga videos resources, some with particular emphasis on things like stress and or anxiety and or grief (and joy too!) which i will link for you in the show notes and right here.
MY DIGEST - sent with love to my subscribers - they get first dibs and feel good treats as well as tonnes of encouragement and hopefully pizzaz slash memes. Aren't they the same thing? Sign up right here!
WORKSHOPS And in person of course, i’ll be back in Norway at the end of September sharing Autumn yoga + movement workshops which combine creativity, real life tools and techniques for you to get closer to that inner voice, to be able to listen and take care of your self and give attention to what you need. Just a few slots remaining - i know - most Norwegians have been away for a month and i tried to open it up to give you notice but yeah, i'm sorry if you've just got back and are just reading this so i would recommend you jump onboard if you’re thinking of joining us so drop me a message.
Well my loves, this was a SUPER BEEFY (with a vegan option) episode, but i really hope it serves you and that you feel the love and support and encouragement from me to you. To do you, live your best life and indulge in good feelings, the whole shebang! If you have made it this far then wow!
I love you.
Thanks so much for reading! See you soooon!