Pleasure: Soul Sustenance





Every Sunday morning, I dance. Last Sunday was no exception.

As I danced and felt much pleasure from being in my body, I realized how I’ve pushed away pleasure for most of my life. I know I am not alone in this. Perhaps we do this when we grow up in a culture where the undercurrent of belief is infused with pleasure equating to sin.

But, it’s more than that. As I danced, I began to feel the pleasure myself, and for a moment it felt odd that there was no one else there…only me. I was enjoying my own experience of pleasure, sensual pleasure, and there was no ‘other’ in the experience. I could see something I hadn’t seen before: that giving myself pleasure, either through dance or any of the things I love to do in my life, changes the experience of who I am in others’ company. I know this sounds simple, but hang with me here for a minute.

In my life, and I am sure in your’s in your own unique way, there’s been a silent undercurrent of ‘having to BE pleasureable’, like it is a duty I must fulfill to be a pleasurable person Or, that if I am good I will give others pleasure. Could be sexual, could be in another way. But, as I felt pleasure, I realized I was pleasurable without having to BE anything. The only thing I was doing was doing what I love and truly being in my body while doing it.


I was simply feeling pleasure. I was taking myself into myself.


It reminded me of something I’d read this past week. I came across this post by Erin McKean where she writes:

You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.

I realized that we don’t owe pleasure to anyone either. Offering pleasure to another ‘is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.’

Instead, when we participate in those things that are pleasurable, we radiate pleasure.

Sometimes it is hard for me to know what I desire, what I want, what I love. In that moment of dancing, there was no question. I was loving how it feels to be in my body, loving how it feels to dance, loving how it feels to be a sensual human being.

I included this Iris picture here because this picture brings up the same feelings of pleasure…sensual, pleasurable beauty. This photo takes my breath away. The colors. The feeling. The dreaminess. It works on me, through me, removing layers of resistance I have to knowing my own self in this way.

We are hungry for such pleasurable beauty, for such deeply sensuous tenderness and pleasure in our lives. Hungry for it. Aching for it, because the soul loves it. It is soul food.

The soul gets to feel what it is to be alive through the body, and heaven knows there are enough moments in the body when life is not pleasurable.

Why not feed the soul some really lovely, pleasurable sustenance?

Pleasure is soul food, and what I was experiencing was truly a divine connection between my conscious self and my soul. For me, this is the most important relationship in my life. And knowing this makes my quest for living a life of love all the more alluring because I know it is my soul that brought me to dance in the first place. She guided me there and she continues to guide me into what I truly love, for it is She who truly loves.


bafonbadge300pxPleasure is just one of the weekly topics we explore in my 12-week program, Becoming a Force of Nature. Pleasure is an important area of exploration for those of us wishing to be more alive and more in our bodies. Pleasure is part of life, and it is a gift to offer to the soul.

If you’d like to go deeper into the way I facilitate creativity while applying what you learn in real-time to your own life or business vision, join me for this summer run of Becoming a Force of Nature. Registration is now open.

This is a powerful course. It can be a vehicle for deep transformation, as well as practical, tangible movement on a intention you are holding. We will dive deep into the creative process. We’ll experience first-hand ways to creatively meet life’s challenges.

When you live your life as a work of art, you come to realize you are the true creation.

This is the last time I will be offering the course in this format. Along with 12 teaching calls, you’ll receive 12 rich multi-media PDFs for each course weekly segment. After the course is done, you’ll be able to dive even deeper by way of these rich interactive lessons.

Take a look to see if the course is right for you. If it is, come join me for this summer journey.



So(u)l Food


image ‘Silence Talks‘ by lepiaf.geo, Flickr

Silence is a sounding thing, to one who listens hungrily.  ~Gwendolyn Bennett

I sat down to write this post on New Food (again, today’s post is part of a blog challenge I have accepted for December). The challenge has been great for my writing, as it forces me to sit down and write each morning, something I have been finding hard to do as I painfully contract through the birthing of my book.

Blogging is such a great practice because it forces you to let go of so many of the normal strategies of resistance. Especially blogging every day. When you are committed to getting it out there, you do it, but the life-cycle is short enough to learn the discipline to do so. At least for me. At least so far.

So my process of writing for this challenge has been to look at the prompt the night before, go to bed with it in my consciousness, wake up, make my tea, sit down to write, and stare out the window at the dawning of the day over the hills of Tilden park. We live, literally, across the street from this beauty. It is food for my soul, this green beauty before me. Ah, there it is. Food. Back to the topic at hand. Food. New Food.

What new food did I find in 2009 that I hadn’t know about before? As I consider this, I think of Sol Food, a great place in San Rafael that serves up the most delicious Puerto Rican Cuisine. You gotta check out their web site just for the fun interface, great music and beautifully detailed descriptions of their food. I opened the site and have the music playing in the background. It’s a mixture of music and kitchen sounds from the restaurant.

But, I knew about Sol Food in 2007, so it doesn’t count (if I stay true to the challenge).

In fact, I didn’t discover any new food in 2009. Not in the traditional sense of food. However, (if you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I had to go here), I did discover, more deeply, a new food for the soul (emphasis on more deeply).

Food for the soul. Just as important as food for the body. My new food for the soul is Silence. Yes, Silence. For some reason, actually not for any reason at all, Silence has grown to be a staple in my diet for my soul. Like my body craving chocolate, my soul craves silence. Anywhere I can find it. Silence. Beautiful deep, rich, dark silence. The kind of silence that pulls you into its center, your center.

I gobble this silence up. When I sit gazing out our window at the park. When I hold my grandbabies while they sleep. When I lie in Savasana. When I meditate.

Now, I actually found silence, before 2009, too. Obviously. But, silence is so much more than we think it is. I have come to experience is the deep, rich, dark silence that is at the center of everything smack in the middle of noise. And life. And chaos. That is the new food of 2009. This delicious manna for the soul that nourishes me to the deep center of my heart.

I experience this silence in dance at the height of chaos. While driving down the most gnarly highway in the Bay Area, 880. While changing the dirtiest diapers ever smelled. While standing in the grocery store check-out – okay, this one is a little harder to get. And, even while eating at Sol Food – one of the nosiest restaurants around.

Silence is here all the time. Just tune in to it. Feel it. You are swimming in it. Let it hold you. I find this food for the soul to be the most nourishing of all.

ps if you are still reading, something really funny just happened. I JUST NOW (at the bottom of this post) realized the pun inherent here. Sol Food. Soul Food. I just now got it. I think this joke is on me! As I went to title this post, I noticed I had started with the title Sol Food, thinking I would write simply on that. Then, as always happens, the post wrote itself, circling back to the beginning. Love it when that happens!

This post is part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Day 12: New food.

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