A Guiding Word for 2019

I’m back at it, studying the art and science of pleasure. 

I’ve been dipping into this topic on and off for several years now. Books, online classes, following the science… 

Did you know that the same gas that’s involved with a firefly’s GLOW, nitric oxide, is also produced by our body and effects our vitality and healthy GLOW? 

Nitric oxide aids the FLOW of oxygen and other nutrients to our heart, brain, and organs. We can increase this powerful molecule through diet, exercise, and -- you guessed it – when we increase our PLEASURE!!! 

Over the years, I’m learning to compliment my sometimes overly pragmatic and mental side with an unabashed, guilt-free relationship to pleasure. 

I’m learning to name it. Prioritize it. Savor it.  

I’m learning to ask, “What would pleasure do?” and allowing the answer to come to me through DEEP LISTENING (this month’s WTG theme).

At the end of the day, embracing pleasure, in all its forms, is really about paying attention. 

And so, my Guiding Word for 2019 is DELIGHT (because the word DELIGHT somehow brings me more pleasure than PLEASURE when I read it, think it, say it) and THAT’S the heart of my 2019 pleasure-practice -- allowing DELIGHT to be my trusted guide.  

I’m pretty sure that 5 years ago, I didn’t have the courage to claim DELIGHT for myself. Delight? Too indulgent.

It’s poets like Billy Collins who give me permission to relish in delight – even in a world filled with chaos and pain. He’s masterful at noticing and naming what delights him. This poem, in particular, reminds us that there’s SOOO much to love and be open to -- the dead mouse and the lavender soap, both.

“Aimless Love”
~Billy Collins

This morning as I walked along the lakeshore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door –
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor –
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

Thank you for sharing your time with me in this space each week. I’m wishing you a 2019 that’s filled with what delights you.

With love and gratitude,

Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:

writing prompt

How do you want to feel in the year ahead? Listen deeply. What word or words bubble up for you? 

1). Grab a pen + notebook. Write the prompt at the top of the page. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!

2). Keep your pen moving as you write the thoughts, feelings, and images that arise. Don’t stop to think or edit. Don’t try to stay on “topic.” Follow where the prompt takes you.

3). Accept ALL that you write -- the pretty + ugly; absurd + boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...