The Importance of Pleasure (and the truth behind sugar cravings)

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Ever since the Love Rising podcast episode with Carli Jo  (listen to it here) I have been thinking a lot about pleasure and what it means, how I get it and why so many of us women struggle to experience and value it. 

I am not necessarily talking about sexual pleasure, although I'm also not not talking about sexual pleasure. The way we do one thing is the way we do all things. But for all intents and purposes we can just say we're talking about pleasure in a general sense. How much do we ENJOY our lives? Do we take pleasure in waking up? Going to sleep? In eating our food? In our body's movement? In playing with kids or pups? 

It's so funny how when something "pings" me, as the subject of pleasure did in our podcast conversation, it starts to show up everywhere. It's kind of like how you hear a word you've never heard before once and then you hear it everywhere. One of the lessons I've learned in the last couple years is to pay attention to these synchronicities as they normally lead me to healing breakthroughs or realizations. So.. as this synchronicity would have it, in my therapy appointment today, pleasure came up.

Without getting into too much detail, my therapist actually asked me, “where do you experience pleasure in your daily life?” 

And I stalled. 

I was left searching for a bit. 

When I did answer I said, "In yoga: when my breath, body, and mind, are all aligned." Once I can get my monkey mind to calm down and connect into the breath, yoga is a place that I consistently experience pleasure. There is a flowing grace that comes when you are internally present and aware of your body. There aren’t any stories going on in my mind; no threat of my phone buzzing or my computer dinging. When I know I am contained by the mat, the room, and the hour of time to just move and breathe and connect.

I am someone who takes the idea of pleasure pretty seriously already. This isn't the first time I've explored pleasure or flow. I've been wrapped up in that go, go, go lifestyle before and I know no matter what kind of success or astronomical levels of productivity you reach, if you're not enjoying it; it doesn't matter. So the fact that I have been so disconnected from my own pleasure lately is a little alarming and a great wake up call for me to tap back in to enjoying my daily life. Letting go of the masculine pushing/doing energy yet again and flow into that open receiving energy a little bit more. 

One thing that happens when I get pulled into that productivity equals worthiness mindset is that I start to crave sweets. And this totally makes sense. 

When we have a pleasure deficit in our lives we'll try to make up for it with quick shots of "junk" pleasure. Sugar, junk food, drinking alcohol, binge watching TV, etc, all these things give us the guise of pleasure and "taste" good at first, but leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Because what we really want is deep, juicy, wholesome pleasure. The pleasure that comes in ordinary moments of presence. The pleasure that comes from using all five of our senses in the present moment. 

I know that when I start to crave sweets or fall into my personal pattern of emotional eating.. I don't need more discipline. I don't need more "willpower", I actually need more slow, flowing, pleasure in my life. I need to turn inwards and notice the ecstatic pleasure of breathing, eating, BEING. 

If you find yourself always wanting ‘something sweet’ after dinner or having urges to go out and “let loose”, or just feeling generally ornery or lacking in enjoyment in life, in sex, in work; in everything; my invitation to you (and myself) is to go find something in everyday life that brings you pleasure and do it as much as you can. Try to find as much pleasure as possible in everyday moments. 

Find pleasure in savoring your coffee. Find pleasure in walking your dog. Find pleasure in driving to work. Find pleasure in eating your lunch. Find pleasure in the sun shine. 

Let’s all commit to more pleasure in our daily lives and I bet we’ll see some miraculous changes in our health and the health of the world.

Clara Wisner

Clara Wisner is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner. She attended school at the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, CO from 2012 to 2015. Clara Wisner is also a Certified Primal Expert and a Certified Sugar Detox Coach. She has a BS in Resource Conservation and Economics from the University of Montana. She is a world traveler and is working on cookbook tentatively called Paleo Around the World: A modern Take on Traditional Recipes. Clara organizes the Paleo Pop Events in Denver, helping to create a healthier, stronger, more connected community. She currently lives in Denver, CO with her husband and the paleo puggle, Ooli. In her free time she crossfits, cooks, writes poetry, walks dogs (other peoples’ and her own), listens to A LOT of podcasts, reads fantasy novels and also loves to read about biology, neurology, and marketing.