Lessons in Pleasure
Winter Scene (by Cheryl)
Well, yes, 2017 was an interesting year! I’m not going to go into just how interesting – there are plenty of people who enjoy analyzing and judging the past year. I don’t want to write about any of that! I want to talk about what lessons we each took in and that made our lives more tenable, lovely, and wise.
To me this year seemed like an upside-down duck. You know, the duck looks all serene floating on the surface of the water, but underneath she’s actually paddling madly! Instead this year the surface of things looked chaotic, and scary, and quite a bit mad, but just under the surface I could sense a deep, calm beauty, and love. It is there as sure as the apparent chaos, and I’m so grateful for that and the people I know who shine with that calm beauty for the world to see. I will keep tapping into that stream as much as I can! To me that is the Truth and also our saving grace.
Part of this experience for me was the influence of my Word of the Year – Pleasure. That choice was a bit of a reaction to my Word of the previous year, Flourishing. Let me tell you that was one intense manifesting and happening year! But despite so many dreams come true I felt that I didn’t always let myself enjoy the beautiful things that happened. So I chose a Word for 2017 that would help me to learn how to allow more enjoyment of life. Well, if you’re anything like me what you expect when you choose a Word isn’t always (ever?) what you get! And yet it seems that no matter what Word you choose the lessons are just what you need to know. This year was no different! Instead of enjoying more Pleasure I learned a lot about how I block Pleasure in my life. And I learned that regardless it is always, always available. This is something I already knew, in a sense, for in the past during my very worst times there have also been joys, and loves, and small treasures that elevate life to true beauty; and this year was no exception. But the ability to really let myself sink into the delicious pleasures of life was, well, still hard for me.
However, I must say I HAVE learned over the year, and I’m getting better at Pleasure! I’m also much better at addressing those crazy stories that shut Pleasure right down. (You know, like – you can’t have fun until ALL of the work is finished – as if that ever happens! Or you don’t deserve Pleasure! You haven’t done enough to earn it, or you aren’t good enough…blah, blah, blah!) But what I learned even more is that the key to Pleasure and to enjoying it is the willingness to embrace it! In fact the willingness to embrace it all has been the thing that has ushered in the most Pleasure for me this year. That has allowed me to go past the surface and find the joy and peace underneath what seems to be going on.
So, because I really want to learn more about all of this….meet my new Word of the Year for 2018 – EMBRACE!! I chose to be willing to Embrace it all n 2018. Whew! I’m really looking forward to this new journey. What will I learn now? That’s a little bit scary really! But, I find a good Word of the Year is definitely a bit of a stretch.
What have you learned this year? Was there a word, or phrase, or a song lyric that really stood out for you? If you chose a Word of the Year – what experiences and lessons did it bring you? What is your Word for 2018? I’d love to hear what you think and what you’ve learned!! You can email me right here: email@example.com (just copy and paste into your email address line). Or set up a free mini session here.
AND I will soon be sending out a free, short email series (to my subscribers – sign up here) on what to do with your Word of the Year once you have it! It’s packed full of ways to play with, interact with, and just get to know more about your chosen Word through the next year.
Lots of Love to you and yours, and wishes for a truly Delight-filled New Year!!!
Mini ICAD art and haiku by Cheryl
I’ve been thinking about Pleasure a lot lately. It’s my Word of the Year and I feel I haven’t really given it a fair chance yet. Last year I had a fabulous (and even scary effective) Word relationship – I was very dedicated and spent time each month with practices and playing (I even made a cool book) to really let that Word teach me and expand my life. I got married and bought a new house, among other things that certainly made the word Flourishing come alive for me.
So now I’m pondering Pleasure, my Word for this year, and how I can learn more about pleasure in the next two months. Hey, it’s a tough assignment, I know!! But seriously, it can be tough. Pleasure may be seen as so wrong depending on what we’ve learned from our society, culture, religion, etc. It’s believed to be selfish, foolish or silly, sinful, lazy, wasteful, etc. But it is also what gives life its zing – its love, delight, deliciousness, reward, and joy. I have a lot to learn about pleasure still! And also about dealing with those miserly voices inside that tell me it is just so bad.
I have learned (and relearned!) some very helpful things about pleasure, and myself, over the past year. Things like:
- Each moment and each task has the potential for pleasure.
- Misery is always an option, but so is pleasure. Some of my most poignant and pleasing moments have happened in the midst of miserable times.
- Pleasure is an inside job – like most things – it comes from inside me, and the more I access it the easier it becomes to feel and enjoy it.
- I have resistance to pleasure. There is that little voice that says “Now, it wouldn’t do to feel too good.” Really?
- I’m still learning what pleasure is to me, and what it isn’t. What is assumed to be a pleasure isn’t necessarily for everyone. A gooey, rich chocolate dessert – it seems it should be a definite pleasure, but not really. A perfect autumn leaf that lands right at my feet? Well, yes!! That is pleasure for sure. (But, you know, I would take a slice of pumpkin pie…)
- Sufficient sleep is a pleasure in its own right, and sets me up for greater pleasure the rest of the day. This is true of meditation and yoga too. Often I find true pleasures are things that keep on giving.
- I also learned I don’t allow myself some pleasures because I believe in a lack of time. Can you imagine that?!
With that in mind I’m setting aside time and assigning myself a few projects and practices to help me play more with Pleasure. One is a Pleasure Jar that sits on my altar – I feed it pleasures each day. Another pleasure I’m going to pursue is to complete the ICAD project I began back in June…this is about making art one index card a day. (The image at the top of this post is one of my ICAD’s – so much fun! This idea is from the amazing Daisy Yellow.) I’m also going to create a weekly pleasure list that I will post in my Instagram feed through December. As I do this I’ll be working on those pesky mean voices that say pleasure is always bad, or I don’t have time for it. I expect to have a whole lot of fun the rest of the year, and to learn more about pleasure in my life.
Do you have a Word of the Year you want to spend more time with before the end of the year? What is your Word? I’d love to hear about it! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or here. Or find me on Instagram. For more ideas of ways to interact with your Word of the Year you can look here (and scroll down).
Hugs and Happy November!
By the way, my Altar Course is free and shares a creative, fun way to clarify, access & activate your dreams!
Autumn Mums Bring Pleasure
What is pleasure? Now there was a question I could get behind this year! If you also like to choose a Word of the Year then you’ll know the joys (and inevitable frustrations) of embracing a word, its meaning, and also its presence in your life. When you choose a word at the beginning of the year, you don’t know what will happen that year and how that will impact what you learn from your Word. And to me that’s the best part! Seeing what life has to share with me through the lens of a chosen word.
If you’ve never chosen a Word of the Year you can learn more about it in these posts (Word post Q1, Word post Q2, Word post Q3) I never wrote the 4th post in this series last year, so, I am going to remedy that right now! In each of the previous posts I shared ways to engage with and enjoy your Word. This post is for the 4th quarter – the end – of your Word exploration. There are things that may happen at this point in your journey that could throw you off track, and I’ll talk about those. I also want to share more tools for enjoying your Word – I like lots of variety, don’t you?
If you began in January by the 4th quarter of the year you’ve spent 9 months with your Word. You know if you like it, if you’ve had fun with it, struggled with it, forgotten it, hate it, etc. All of those things and more can happen, and it’s OK. It isn’t a test – it’s a process of understanding something and whatever you learn is fine. But at this point you may also want to do something a bit different. If you’ve ignored your Word you may want to re-embrace it. Some people just want a new Word for the rest of the year. They’re done with this one, or are too frustrated to continue traveling with it. Some people want to revitalize the way they engage with their Word for the end of the year – they want new ways to play. Some want to forget all about it until December and choose a new Word for next year. It’s all good!
Regardless, this time of year I like to take look at how my Word and I have been getting along. What have I learned? What did I hope to learn, or do, when I chose this Word? Have I done that? Do I feel differently about this Word now? Have I made any changes in my life because of this Word experience? Have I grown or changed? How can I take what I have learned and enhance my life? You can ask these questions at the end of the year too, but I like to check in now so I can make changes in course, if desired.
Answering these questions may give you some idea of how you’d like to enjoy and embrace your Word for the rest of the year. It’s so helpful to just stop and see where you are with this practice. I’m usually pretty surprised at my answers because while I have been thinking about the Word and employing it I don’t always stop and see how far I’ve come. I find there are usually things I still want to accomplish related to my Word, and I still have 3 months!
If you want to keep engaging with your Word here are some ideas for more ways to play:
- Create your own challenge on Instagram or Facebook. I did this by making a list of prompts that related to my Word – Pleasure. I used words like peace, flowers, sleep, good food, etc. for my 30 day challenge on Instagram. Then you can take photographs, write a haiku, or create art that embodies how this prompt relates to your Word of the Year for you, and then share it (or not – you can always use the private setting so only you can see it). You could come up with a unique hashtag to use for this and keep adding to it as the year goes on too. You can see mine on Instagram at #tigyearofpleasure.
- Speaking of haikus, you could write one a week about an experience that week that embodied your Word of the Year. Or write another type of poetry, or you can always journal about it too. The main thing is creating a kind of writing ritual that connects you to your Word.
- Create a Word of the Year group and help each other to enjoy Word play. I like the idea of field trips! So, for example, if your Word is Grow you could all visit a garden center or a botanical garden. At the next meeting you might watch the sunrise for your friend’s Word Light, and later visit a waterfall for another friend’s Word Flow.
- You can always do field trips on your own too (or instead). One could be to the library or book store to see if there are any books that help you to understand your Word better.
- I like to look up the definition(s) of my Word and also the synonyms and write out the ones that really appeal to me. Then I may post them where I can read them or share them with an image on Instagram.
- You can have a Word date where you do things that relate to your Word for a special outing, or even for a full day. Ask yourself what activities, places, music, people, etc. feel like your Word to you. I did this last year and I began by asking myself what things felt like Flourishing to me. The list included going to a restaurant for a really fresh salad, walking around a green and growing park, listening to a fun playlist about abundance and money, and planning a business retreat. When you’re done be sure to make notes of what it was like, what you learned, how it impacted you. I’m thinking I have a Pleasure Day in my near future!
I hope you are enjoying your Word of the Year! For some reason this practice is especially meaningful to me during the last part of the year. I like being clearer about what I want from my Word, and how I can enhance my life through its wisdom. I also tend to work better with shorter deadlines! So, I get more motivated to take more tangible steps. Best wishes to you and your Word!
Lots of Love,
You can contact me at email@example.com. Or set up a free 20 minute consultation for any questions you may have, or to share your experience. I’d love to hear from you!
My Blooming Trumpet Vine
I’ve been enjoying my Word this year more than ever before! I’ve been much more connected, and interestingly for the first time I’ve seen my Word in a more complete way – one that tests my ideas about what’s “good” and what’s “too much”.
My Word is “Flourishing”, and it’s a bigger and stronger word than I ever expected. This isn’t a word that plays small! But as I observe how the word is playing out in my life I can certainly see that I’ve played small, and also what my feelings are about too much. It has been pretty fascinating and so eye-opening. I say I want plenty, a lot, abundance! But then I get uncomfortable with “too much”, and that’s a vibe I don’t want to continue! So, I’ve been learning to welcome too much and to “prune” it when I need to, with the understanding that will bring me even more of what I need, but with some life enhancing boundaries included.
Some very real evidence of this is my trumpet vine which basically took over my entire front porch and made the front door practically unusable – that plant is flourishing, let me tell you! So, I applied some judicious pruning (boundaries) – it’s still abundant, burgeoning, and growing like mad – but now it’s also flowering for the first time since I planted it 3 years ago. More flourishing in a delightful way.
So, one idea for getting in touch with your Word this quarter is to see how it’s showing up in your world in signs and symbols. I saw that trumpet vine as a sign of flourishing and learning to accept BIG growth, but also to know how to set some boundaries so that I can still move freely. You can take pictures of the signs and symbols you find and/or write about them. I’ll be doing both for July in my Year Book.
Here are more ideas for playing with your Word:
- Mid-year is a great time to assess what you’ve done over the past 6 months and celebrate it all! Look at your accomplishments, do they reflect the influence of the Word you chose for the year? Are there any lessons here for you? How does it feel to be living your Word this way? Write about this and keep it with the rest of your Word practices for the year. It’s also a great time to look over the practices you’ve done with your Word so far this year and reflect on what you’ve discovered.
- I suggested a vision board and vision cards in the previous Word of the Year posts, but this takes that a step further. I created a vision board for June using the phrase “My greatest desires and joys help me to Flourish, these are….” And then I used my intuition to pull images and words and create a vision board. I used what I learned from that board to make small cards to tell what flourishing is like for me each day (see image below), then I placed them in my Year Book where I can access that wisdom easily. This has been amazingly delicious and helps me to remember what a flourishing life is all about! I tend to get locked in on something and just push through in misery when that is absolutely not necessary. How about you? Do you forget the things that make life grand in the rush of daily life? This is a great time to reinvigorate daily fun and joy!
My Year Book page: My Greatest Desires and Joys Help me to Flourish!
- You could also create your own oracle cards for your Word. Using all you have learned about your Word as you’ve played and explored with it this year paint, draw, collage, photograph etc. images to make cards that express these lessons and ideas. Then write a paragraph on the back about what it means to draw this card in response to a question. I’ve never done anything like this, and it may turn out just horrible, but I’m so excited to try! I’ll share mine, and if you do this please share yours too. (You can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram at the_intrepid_goddess.)
Living with one chosen word for a year is a profound way to grow, learn, and have fun with a focus that takes you in a direction you really want to go. May these ideas for getting to know your Word better be of help. Happy Mid-year! And I hope you’re having fun with your Word, and in your delightful life.
PS: Here are the other Word of the Year posts – Quarter 1, 2016 and Quarter 2, 2016
Pages from My Year book
Welcome to Spring, the second quarter, and more ways to integrate and connect with your Word of the Year! The end of the quarter (or change of a season) is a great time to look back and see how you expressed and lived your Word in the past 3 months. I made a list of ways I’ve flourished since January 1st. This included big steps and small, things I did for fun, scary things – anything that felt like flourishing to me! I collect these activities in a “My Year” book along with other things I do that help me envision and remember my year. Here are some other ways to play with and embody your Word:
- Do a Word photo shoot. This is a lot of fun! Especially now, with the world warming up. Walk around your home, neighborhood, town, favorite park, etc., and find images that speak to you of your Word. Or you can look on the internet, or in magazines, for these images.
- That leads me to the next idea – create a Pinterest or vision board of your Word and how its expression motivates you, or how it feels to you. This is a great visual reminder of what you want to learn and experience through your Word.
- Choose an oracle or tarot card for each month asking a question like:
- What do I need to know about (your Word) this month?
- How can I (your Word) more this month?
- Where am I now with (your Word)?
- How can I embrace (your Word) this month?
- So, for example, using my Word, a question would go…”How can I embrace Flourishing this month?” Then use your intuition to see what the chosen card has to tell you.
- You can look for quotes with your Word in them that inspire you and post them where you can see them. You could make an art project with them too – create a meme, or a painting with the quote on it.
- Write a script about what life is like when you live your Word. How does life look, smell, feel, taste, sound? What do you do more, or less, of? How do your days go? Scripting is a popular LOA practice – for more about scripting look here for Jeanette Maw’s experience.
I like interacting with my Word more than just at the beginning of the year, or when I remember that I’ve forgotten it! Activities like these are fun, and help me to connect with and express what I’m hoping my Word will bring into my life this year. I’m learning more and more about the value of ritual and practice, and how they form a bit of structure to enhance and promote my dreams and plans, I hope these ideas will be of help to you too!
Here’s a link to my first Word of the Year post.
My Word for 2016 is Flourish! (Image by Dominique Knobb)
Do you choose a word to inspire, enhance, and inform your new year? It’s a popular practice now – at least in my crowd. I’ve been choosing a word since 2010 and I’ve learned a few things along the way about how that word can really motivate me…if I let it. Year one went like this: chose a word, define it for myself, do some journaling about the word and how it makes me feel, promptly forget all about the word. Until December when I thought…what was that word??
The next year I did a fun, year- long practice with the lovely and talented Ali Edwards called, One Little Word. I recommend it highly. That got me thinking about how I wanted to interact with my word through the year and how I could use it to help me be the person I wanted to be by December (or March, or June). I’ve been playing around with this ever since.
I’m going to share with you the ideas that have been useful and meaningful to me in a blog post each quarter. These are suggestions for playing with, using, and learning about your word, and I’m hoping some of them will resonate and be of help to you. Plus, they’re just plain excuses to create something fun!
First, I create a sort of mantra with this formula: I am __________(your word), as I embody: ___________, ____________& ____________. (This could be whatever comes to you, or it could be words that relate to and support the theme of your word, etc. I used words that describe what flourishing this year means to me).
My mantra is like this: I am Flourishing, as I embody: opening up like a flower, boldly expressing the true me, a prosperous life, & actions that feel like thriving.
Next, I asked the questions below and journaled about them. Just fill in your word where I have the word flourish(ing) – this may take a little fiddling with the sentence, depending on your word, to make it work.
- What does it feel like to flourish?
- Have I flourished today? How?
- What does my life look like when I’m flourishing?
- If I’m flourishing how do I look?
- When I’m flourishing I ________.
- What plans do I have for this year that feel like flourishing to me?
- What can I add to, or subtract from, my life to help me flourish?
- What small action step(s) can I take now based on the answers to these questions?
These questions are meant to open you up to your word and explore what it means in your life now, and going forward. They can suggest steps to take in order to really live your word this year – starting now. Since I answered these I’ve been making lots of room in my life, starting with my home, by really clearing out the old weeds and debris that make flourishing more difficult. It was clear to me that for this word to take root I need a clear space. And does it feel GOOD!
I have several practices I use to embody my word during the year, they’re fun and also a big help in bringing me to the life I’m dreaming about. I’ll share more with you next quarter, but here’s a link for an inexpensive course with the truly delightful Jamie Ridler to create vision cards using the information you gleaned in the questions above. Creative and so,much fun! And a great way to keep these ideas front and center so next December you aren’t wondering, “What was that word??”
Lots of Love,