I didn’t feel guilty of selfish for giving myself pleasure

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I met someone this week (who was an acquaintance) that I hadn’t seen in over a year. The first and only thing she said to me was, “Are you HAPPY?” I looked at her smiling and said, “Yes, very happy.” That was the end of the conversation.

As I pondered the question in my mind, I asked myself, “What makes me happy?” There are many things that make me happy. Certainly being in a loving, committed relationship with Larry makes me happy. But, I was happy before we got into a relationship and I was happy before I moved to Maui. I was happy because I had learned to love and appreciate myself. I was happy because I had learned how to give myself PLEASURE. Here is a quote I found. “The essence of pleasure is spontaneity” Germaine Greer. Instead of being a RUSHaholic, BUSYaholic, DOaholic, WORKaholic, FOODaholic, I am practicing and declaring myself to be a PLEASUREaholic, PEACEaholic and PLAYaholic.

As an Addiction Therapist for over 20 years, I have worked with people with all kinds of addictions: food, alcohol, drugs, hoarding, shopping, sexual, religious, gambling, relationships and internet. Whenever we are addicted to something, we are trying to fill the “Hole in the Soul” with something outside of us. We often don’t want to feel our feelings and the pain inside of us. We haven’t yet done the work of healing, forgiving and transformation. One of the symptoms of addictions is that you need more and more of the “drug” to get the desired result – which is a high to numb the pain inside. It never works and never fills us. We received an email from one of our readers this week.

“I am writing to thank you both for your inspirations. keep ’em coming! Particularly today Pat, your suggestion about “GOING WITHIN” has hit home. I have received that specific message for the last 2 days (at least), coming through in different ways to gain my attention. It has! I have had resistance though, as I have been a ‘DOaholic’ much of my life. I have recognized a pattern of energy that I no longer believe, but just to state it here: I would think I was ‘fat and lazy’ and unproductive if I wasn’t physically “DOING,” or moving all the time. I recognize that it was just an ego-generated fear. It was indeed ‘false evidence appearing real’, and certainly not the Truth of Who I AM. So now, if the thought comes up around that, I transmute it as soon as I am aware of it, saying ‘cancel, clear, delete.’

I am reading a book by Dr.Christiane Northrup called “Goddesses Never Age.” She writes, “We must reclaim the power of PLEASURE. Pleasure is a divine gift we give ourselves and a powerful medicine. We have forgotten the importance of pleasure and we must practice regularly to establish HAPPINESS & JOY in our bodies and life. A discipline of pleasure is an investment in your health. Experiencing pleasure is crucial for vibrant health. It is not selfish, but a gift I give myself. Be an ageless Goddess of pleasure.”

WOW, after reading this I knew I was on the right track because I am very aware of what gives me PLEASURE in my life. I try to give myself more pleasure each day because it feels SO GOOD. This has been a process and didn’t happen overnight. Just like the person who wrote above, I struggled with giving myself permission to experience pleasure, enjoyment and not be DOING something all the time.

I had to change old beliefs that no longer served me. For example: When I am DOING and making things happen, I experience a sense of control and power. It felt like I was accomplishing something when I crossed off things from my “to do” list and therefore, felt worthy of love. I usually put PLEASURE last on my list, after all my “responsibilities” to others were completed.

I know today that I don’t have to ask permission to seek or receive pleasure. I GIVE IT TO MYSELF and don’t feel guilty or selfish anymore. Pleasure leads to happiness and my happiness serves the world and myself because it keeps my vibrational energy high. I want to be so happy that when others look at me they become happy too. Along with my “appreciation list” about myself that I do nightly, I decided to start a “pleasure list.” I will review the day and think about what brought me pleasure and then DO MORE OF IT. So many things give me pleasure. Here are some of the simple things that bring me pleasure:

*Waking up slowly in the morning and feeling grateful for the day
*Listening to the birds singing to me
*Stretching my back with yoga each morning
*Curling up in bed and reading a good book
*Having morning coffee in bed with Larry
*Sitting outside with the sun shining and the breeze blowing on my face
*Going for walks in nature and noticing the beauty all around me
*Eating my food slowly and tasting the flavors and texture of what I am eating
*Listening to my favorite Hawaiian radio station at home and in the car
*Going for car rides in my new car with no destination
*Just letting the day unfold with nothing planned
*Connecting with friends on Facebook
*Painting, dancing and writing
*Watching a movie with Larry and having my feet scratched and rubbed
*Hugging, especially when we go to bed at night
*Going to yard sales or consignment shops and finding a bargain or just what I am looking for
*Meeting new people and listening to their stories
*Inspiring someone to trust God and live their dream
*Having a glass of wine at the end of the day and watching the sunset
*Wearing a flower in my hair or a colorful hat
*Smiling and saying hello to people when I walk on the beach
*Taking a hot bath and luxuriating my body
*Going to the beach or swimming in my favorite pool

Alan Cohen in his book, “Wisdom of the Heart” writes “Take the time to enjoy your life. You can allow yourself PLEASURE and still fulfill your responsibilities. And if you keep your Spirit happy, you will actually accomplish your tasks more quickly, easily and efficiently. Each day, set aside time to nourish your soul. Explore music, art, or dance; read for pleasure, get together with friends, play with your pet, engage in a hobby; or get out in nature. When you do something you love even for a short time each day, you will recharge your batteries and find the strength and energy to do the things you need to do.”

Would you like to join me and practice becoming a PLEASUREaholic, PEACEaholic and PLAYaholic? I truly believe this is how God intended for us to live our lives; loving and appreciating ourselves, allowing ourselves to experience peace, play and pleasure. Only as we learn to love and appreciate ourselves, are we capable of loving others unconditionally. Life is short, you are worth it. Larry will be back next week writing!

We would love to hear from you and welcome your responses to this blog. What do you do for pleasure and fun? Have you been inspired to do something differently as a result of reading this?


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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

Simply A Woman of Faith
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