PLEASURE IS A DISCIPLINE
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mama Gena, founder of the School of the Womanly Arts in NYC. I’ve been hearing about this legendary goddess for over a decade. She rocks women’s (and men’s) worlds by teaching them to reclaim their innate sensuality and power through radical pleasure – yes…all tricks and trades and lost arts of the womanly kind.
Mama Gena introduced me to the edict that “PLEASURE IS A DISCIPLINE”. Radical notion. Just as important as physical health, emotional well-being, spiritual development and financial stability – pleasure must be elevated to the highest priority in our lives.
Tantra has long proclaimed the power of sensual pleasures (not just the sexual kind) and teaches us to use our sensory organs to awaken and tune into the exquisite, magical world around us and maintain a sense of wonder by paying closer attention to the details. In fact, as human beings we are blessed not only to have sensory organs that constantly feed us new information, but we also have the mental capacity to discern and fully appreciate these intoxicating pleasures.
Being as the mind tends towards the negative – it becomes a training to focus on the positive and consciously register pleasure. When we take on pleasure as a discipline – we lay down new neural pathways and more quickly identify with all the good and beautiful in our lives. We begin to shift our internal state towards one of joy, gratitude and happiness.
1. Do 1 thing every single day for the sheer joy of it. (20 minutes minimum) Think play, fun, pleasure, frivolity, idleness. Go on a walk in the woods, buy flowers and arrange them, flip through a book or magazine that inspires you (not the gossipy kind), listen to an inspiring piece of music, relish a piece of handcrafted, artisanal chocolate, savor a enriching conversation with a friend or a fine glass of wine – indulge.
2. Train Your Happiness Pathways. When we embrace life’s simple pleasures as a discipline – taking a moment to recognize and relish the goodness – we trigger the bodies’ rewards systems. We start identifying more with what is good and pleasant in our lives and embolden a sense of satisfaction, ease and joy.
3. Before you eat, drive, drink or sleep – do a quick 5 sensory meditation. Sit down when you eat or drink. Inhale the aroma. Let it waft in and settle your bones. Look around and indulge in a feast for the eyes. Train yourself to recognize beauty. Slow down to really taste the food you are eating or drinking. How would you describe it? What textures do you feel on your body? Temperatures? What do you hear? Can you hear sounds outside the walls of the room you sit in? What inner sensations or sounds register? Tune in. Over time, your sensory organs will become more subtle and skillful.
Please share: What are your 3 greatest simple pleasures in life?
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P.S. In the spirit of play, pleasure and fun – I’m leading my first YOGA TANGO RETREAT to Buenos Aires, Argentina. October 28 – November 3. JOIN US!
Thank you Ashley for this post, i love Mama Gena! I read her books, they are so inspiring!
Here are my pleasures, in no particular order
2. Music ( the Rolling Stones especially! )
3. Family, friends and boyfriend
Have a nice week!
Love it! It’s so true…pleasure is a discipline. As is being happy.
My top three pleasures:
1.my daily practice of yoga
2.spending time with loved ones
3.snow skiing in the big mountains