So I’ve been on a little sojourn. In fact, the foundations of my life have been shifting, in the very best way. New explores and momentous changes. The Artful Life has been quietly awaiting my return – now it is time – I’m craving vivid blossoms and beach walks and luscious splashes of paint, I’m craving pink and turquoise, I’m craving the company, virtual and physical, of beautiful artful women, women who make gorgeous creative messes and take chances and spill paint and squeeze the juice out of life and know their own pleasure – vivid creative women – I have missed talking to my tribe!!! Starting today, I’m doing #20artfuldays on the blog – daily sharing, jumping back in at the messy creative deep end of life – please join me – I’ve missed you!
Now, I love my life. I’m filled with gratitude daily. But I have been noticing a tendency lately – a very subtle tendency – to shrink away from sensation. I think we all develop this to a certain degree, as a natural consequence of living and accumulating the wounds of life. We are all more or less wounded, we are all more or less resilient. And we all, when hurt, will shrink. But it can become a habit. And when it becomes a habit, we find ourselves shrinking not only from pain, but from all sensation. Including pleasure. And once we start to shrink from pleasure, well, that is the dark cloud of depression just starting to show itself on the horizon.
So what to do? Lean in to your pleasure. Allow vivid spills and deep plunges. Savour. Breathe deeply and bathe in sensation. Cultivate sensual courage. Create space for sensation.
I’m not talking about being seduced by the false pleasures here… I’m not talking about justifying binges or trading authentic feeling for the euphoria followed by numbness that comes from our shadowy indulgences (whether they be cupcakes or wine, netflix or overwork.) I’m talking about real pleasure, the kind that takes courage, the kind that requires vulnerability, softness, and being vividly awake.
I’ve set myself a little challenge, a challenge to learn how to open to more vitality and pleasure. I’m diving deep for twenty days. Here’s what I wrote in my journal:
I’m beginning to see this as a time of awakening guided by pleasure. The habits of numbing that I’ve developed over a lifetime in response to pain and stress are now preventing me from opening to pleasure in the ways that I am being drawn to. Whenever I start to take REALLY good care of myself, though, I start to get glimpses of natural euphoria and grounded joy. Maybe that scares me, because I sure seem to run away from it, back to the soothing old numbing ‘pleasures’ which no longer inspire me…. So I am challenging myself these next twenty days to seek – and explore – real pleasure. I already know the places to start with this. I know to start with movement and moderation, with nature and art, with rest and touch, with creative work and clean food. In all of these things I will seek and notice pleasure. I will seek and notice the pulse, the sensual opening, the heart opening. I’m afraid this is going to be too hard, and that I will fail myself. so let my actions be deep and deliberate, cautious but persistent, consistent, strong, powerful, momentous. Let me point myself in this direction, yoke up, and go!
So many things help me to cultivate this kind of pleasure in my life:
- eating and drinking clean
- loving my body with movement that’s fun, like yoga or dance or running in the woods
- making art with no agenda
- being deeply in nature
- making things pretty and making pretty things
- gorgeous fragrances
- vivid colours
- touch. lots of touch.
And another one of them is writing – even a little bit – right from the growing edge of my experience, right from my tender heartspace. So I am committing to do that, here, for you, every day for twenty days. My goal is to share some little vivid spills of life here every day. #20artfuldays. I’ll be documenting this on Instagram too, if you want to visit me there I’d love to see you. And if you want to join me on this adventure, just commit to taking the next twenty days to notice and cultivate your true pleasures daily. You can play along on social media with #20artfuldays. What are your authentic pleasures?
Thank you for being here.