Last summer, I wrote about the importance of sacred simple pleasures, those ephemeral soul-filling things that make life delicious. What followed was a season spent nourishing and prioritizing the daily joys that rejuvenated and refreshed. I returned to teaching that fall excited and enthusiastic. The experience made me realize how important it is to cultivate a wellness practice that emphasizes simple pleasures.
It also renewed my belief that simple pleasures are integral to conjuring everyday magic. They are, in fact, sacred. Pleasure is significantly undervalued in our society. If it feels good, it must not be important. If it brings you joy, it’s not to be taken seriously…how many times have you heard or seen these ideas reinforced? The way people turn their noses up at romance novels is good example of this. These books have sexytimes! All the feels! People having multiple orgasms! And a Happily Ever After! So…why are these bad things?
I blame this fear of pleasure on religion and a society that is still afraid of the sacred feminine. Instead of nurturing this Eros energy as an important part of our day-to-day lives, we treat is transgressive, a deviant pursuit stuffed into weekends, vacations, and any place else that doesn’t fall into the seriously business of our daily routine. It’s kind of like Dry January: people binge drink on December and then repent with virtuous abstinence come January. Why not just enjoy moderate drinking year round? Even worse, we often ignore the simple pleasures right in front of us, and thus, an important part of enjoying our day: the morning sunrise, the unexpected blood oranges at the market, the delicious cup of oolong. When we deny ourselves these simple pleasures, we deny an important part of our identity.
In reality, pleasure tells us a lot about ourselves. It’s easy to identify a toxic situation because they make us feel so bad. But once we address negative issues, how do we then cultivate joy? It takes a lot to conjure and maintain happiness. We have to get used to what pleasure feels like and perhaps more time to unabashedly court its presence in our lives. Like any good reader of romance knows, the iconic Happily Ever After takes a lot of grit and hard work to achieve. We have to ask ourselves hard questions: What makes me happy? What do I want in my life? What doesn’t bring me pleasures? Seemingly simple questions, sure, but how often are we honest with ourselves about what we enjoy versus what society tells us we should be doing?
I also found that prioritizing simple pleasures allows me let go of the things that complicate or otherwise being negative energy to my life. During my year of buying, using, and wasting less, I found a direct correlation between moving too fast and being less mindful, less eco-conscious, less in-tune with myself. When I paused to indulge in simple pleasures, I was able to unplug from the frantic energy of our fast paced world. Same goes for toxic people situations. Learning what brings me joy helped me better understand what throws me out of whack.
Recently, I found myself in a social situation that I committed to not because I necessarily wanted to but because I thought I should be doing it. It seemed like a good idea, but my gut feeling was telling me it wasn’t my vibe. The energy was too groupie, too demanding on my time, and too draining. In the space of a week, I went from being happy and full of life, to tired, anxious, and without inspiration for my writing. Those feelings told me a lot. And in talking with loved ones, I was finally able to trace these feeling back to stepping into a zone that wasn’t right for me. Once I had that revelation, my energy returned. I felt happy again—albeit tired from this strange emotional journey. I could write again. I looked forward to my work day. And I felt joy in the littlest things. The energetic shift was shocking and made me realized how much I took my inner joy for granted. In reality, I had been so happy because I nourished the sacred art of pleasure and eschewed anything that didn’t enhance the quality of my life. It made me feel like I could do anything and everything—until I stepped into that dead zone and realized that wasn’t the case. My energy had been abundant because I cultivated abundance—and ruthlessly cut out anything from my life that didn’t enhance my overall wellness.
Lesson learned. Pleasure is an integral part of my day-to-day. It helps me understand why certain things make me anxious and unhappy—and that it is okay to let those things go in favor of radical joy. Now, I feel like I have to say that this isn’t about never having stereotypically “negative” feelings or never allowing yourself to engage with things that make you uncomfortable. Rather, this is about meaningfully allowing yourself to feel what you need to feel and listen to what those feelings are telling you. We find out a lot about ourselves from painful situations, true. But it is equally important to listen to what our pleasurable experiences have to teach us.
So how will I go about this year long exploration of sacred simple pleasures? I don’t have a set of rules to gauge how I indulge in this, mostly because I absolutely adore unstructured time and a lack of schedules when I’m not teaching. You could say it’s my number one sacred simple pleasure. I want to be open to synchronicity and spontaneity. Cooking and dreaming. Knitting and lolly-gagging. Adventuring and magic-making. I’ll only measure it by how nourished by soul feels. How balanced my life is. How much magic I feel in the everyday. I’ll examine how slowly—intentionally—I’m living. How often I’m comfortable in asserting my needs and desires. How delicious each day tastes.
What simple pleasures are sacred to you? Why? Here’s to a year of cultivating pleasure!
Enchantment Learning & Living is an inspirational blog celebrating life’s simple pleasures, everyday mysticism, and delectable recipes that are guaranteed to stir the kitchen witch in you. If you enjoyed what you just read and believe that true magic is in the everyday, subscribe to my newsletter below for regular doses of enchantment. Want even more inspiration? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Here’s to a magical life!