Awhile back, while mired in the mud of a declining marriage and an empty nest, I decided that my main goal would be the pursuit of pleasure. That’s right. Pleasure. I decided to put pasta and sourdough bread back into my diet (officially and in moderation); to eat expensive, yummy chocolates without guilt or the need to share; to sleep in on the weekends; engage in spontaneous, last-minute travel (with or without a travel companion); and buy myself jewelry just because it makes me happy.
While I was busy adding pleasures to my life, I quickly realized the need to eliminate some things as well. This included clearing my closet of the things that no longer fit my body, mindset or my lifestyle; and gently, with love, remove myself from the company of toxic people who vampired my happiness and depleted my positive energy. Along with the purging came the promise to stay in the moment and fully embrace every experience.
Live Joyful Through Your Fantabulous Five
In a nutshell, my ultimate guiding principle became: Find Joy Where You Stand, and my course of action was to live an all-out sensuous life. Let’s be clear, living sensuously means living with full intent through the Fantabulous Five—your senses.
To live sensuously is to be actively aware of, and engaged with, everything you see, smell, touch, hear and taste. And when you live through the Fantabulous Five, you live in the moment. And why is this important, you ask?
Because when you are in the moment, you are not worrying about the past or the future; your awareness of the beauty that surrounds you is intensified, which raises your level of appreciation and gratitude.(See how nicely this works?)
But wait, it gets better! This new appreciation ultimately causes an attitude change and mood shift from frustration and dissatisfaction to happiness and pleasure. This has a huge bearing on how you perceive life, love and yes, sex. And in this positive, happier state of mind, you can begin to work your passions and enjoy all the magical pleasure life has to offer.
Fight For Your Pleasure
Sometimes we give up pleasure because we find our choices and/or circumstances have once again led us into some dark, dank tunnel. Sadness, anger, fear and negativity suck all the joy from us. It’s during these times we must fight through the pain while still noticing all that’s lovely around us. Sometimes we give up pleasure because we find our choices and/or circumstances have once again led us into some dark, dank tunnel. Sadness, anger, fear and negativity suck all the joy from us. It’s during these times we must fight through the pain while still noticing all that’s lovely around us.
It’s a fight. I know. I’ve been through a tunnel or two of my own. But no joke, continuing to live sensuously, though at times struggle, helps keeps me sane. Even when I am down, I force myself to stay attuned to all that smells, feels, tastes, looks and sounds good around me, and it helps tip the balance. And as I reach the end of that bad boy, I am back in my stilettos, smiling and strutting my way out of the darkness into the light.
But even when we’re not in the tunnel, it’s amazing how quickly (and often) we willingly exchange pleasure for productivity. In the quest to stay on schedule, to get the job done, to have some sort of measurable outcome at the end of the day, we readily sacrifice joy in order to prove to someone (often ourselves) that our time spent on earth today counted.
True Masters Learn Through Joy
Why do we disbelieve that contentment and joy cannot be synonymous with productivity and effectiveness? What stick-in-the-mud Scrooge decided that one had to give up all the fun in life in order to be a contributing member of society? He’s a dumbass. That’s all I have to say about him.
Many years ago, I posted a quote on my wall that says, “True masters learn through joy.” Words to live by, don’t you think? I also added the hummingbird to my signature symbols (the sun is my official icon), because it represents joy and survives on freedom and nectar, and if you cage it, it will die.
Sunshine and Joy. Free to be myself and live on the sweetness of life. Sounds like a plan.
Isn’t time for you to make your pleasure plan? Make a commitment to yourself to take some time each day to notice and partake in the sensuousness of the world around you.
Download these living sensuously exercises to get you started.