Cultivating the Joy of Sacred Simple Pleasures – Maria DeBlassie
This year’s resolution was to indulge in more sacred simple pleasures, those things that make every day magical and remind us that pleasure is an integral part of life, love, and happiness. Why? Because pleasure is significantly undervalued in our society. Because pleasure tells us a lot about ourselves–our values and priorities. Because it is okay to let go of toxic things in favor of radical joy.
Sounds delicious, right? And it is…when I have been able to celebrate this hedonism without censure or guilt. Or better still, when I can know what actually is pleasurable versus what I think should be pleasurable. Let’s just say I’ve learned a thing or two about my relationship to pleasure now that I’m roughly halfway through my year of focusing on it. You might think that because I write about everyday magic that I’ve got things all figured out. Well, I don’t! In fact never have I realized this more than in my efforts to cultivate sacred simple pleasures.
When I first started this exploration of sacred simple pleasure in January, I was coming off of a big year for me: my first book was published and had won the first of what would become many awards. I had won a major teaching award, too, and accomplished many other wonderful things in my career. All good things, but I found myself looking for balanced come the new year. All those accomplishments took serious fire energy, years of conjuring and concentration, before they came to fruition. I now needed to turn my time and attention to the gentler things in life: unstructured time, everyday joys, more passive experiences. In short, I needed to create space for possibility in my life.
It was hard at first. For as much as I write about the divine feminine and the softer energies in our lives, I realized just how much masculine energy I had. I was used to being assertive, aggressive in my pursuit of what I wanted. But the cultivation of sacred simple pleasures was entirely different. For one thing, the energy was much more passive than I was used too. I had to cultivate openness, receptivity which in itself felt intensely vulnerable. I was a novice in many respects here when I was used to being an expert. For another, I learned quickly that more people, more activities, more out-there energy didn’t necessarily invoke the sacredness of simple pleasures. In fact, it was the opposite: I was tired, anxious, and in need of some serious quiet time.
Through these two misconceptions about simple pleasures—that they are loud, performative things and that I can access with the same masculine energy I applied to my professional life—I quickly learned that I had to change my relationship to pleasure. Simple pleasures, for me, were found in quiet innocuous things: morning walks, sipping iced tea on my patio, a schedule-free Sunday, the magic of a good book.
They didn’t cost money or company to bring me pleasure.
A lot of different emotions have come up in the process—not all of them pleasant—as I come to terms with the fact that I have denied myself certain pleasures or suppressed parts of myself in order to fit into mainstream extroverted culture. There is joy in these epiphanies too, however bittersweet. They allow me to acknowledge past limitations so I can move forward unshackled.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase too: to allow. It’s been popping up all over the place. What am I allowed energetically, emotionally, physically? Or put more accurately, what have I allowed myself to enjoy? The painful epiphany that emerged from these questions was that I haven’t allowed myself to enjoy certain things without even realizing that I’ve drawn a line in the sand. It’s a subtle thing—telling yourself you have to work instead of watching the sunset, letting stress taint your thoughts because you can’t possibly be this happy, being stingy with your fun because there’s so many other things you should be doing. Hell, I didn’t even know I was doing it half the time until I started making a conscious effort to create space for non-goal oriented pleasure this year.
Much of this comes from the cultural shame surrounding pleasure. If it feels good, mainstream religion tells us, it must be bad. Or think of the Puritanical roots of white American. If it’s enjoyable, it’s certainly the sowing seeds of sin. Worst of all, I’ve realized that the fear of pleasure is a fear of happiness. We spend so much time worrying about wether or not we will get our HEA (Happily Ever After) or finally Arrive that we never stop to think about how much those things terrify us. We wonder, secretly, if we are capable of holding so much joy.
So how do we tap into sacred simple pleasures with the myriad of feelings they unleash? Simple. Dive in. Without thought or questions. Unfettered by the fear of our own infinite potential for happiness. Be sinful. Shamelessly enjoy the small pleasures you have denied yourself in your own unconscious attempt to put a limit on happiness. Welcome in bigger pleasures too.
We’re allowed infinite pleasures, infinite happiness.
Find just one little thing you enjoy and revel in it. The magic will follow.
This post originally appeared on Enchantment Learning & Living, the blogging home of the multi-award-winning writer and kitchen witch Maria DeBlassie, where true magic is in the everyday.
About Everyday EnchantmentsTitle: Everyday Enchantments: Musings on Ordinary Magic & Daily Conjurings
Author: Maria DeBlassie
Publisher: Moon Books
Publication date: October 26, 2018
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: NonFiction, Spiritual
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Winner of the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award in the New Age Category for 2018
Finalist for the Body Mind Spirit Book Awards in the New Age Category for 2018
Official Selection for the New Apple Book Award for the New Age/Mind-Body-Spirit Category for 2018
Finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award in the Body Mind Spirit Category for 2018
Spellbinding meditations on conjuring your own bliss.
Everyday Enchantments is a love letter to the magic of everyday life, the sweet moments and the profound that we often overlook in our hurry to get from one place to the next. What if we had the power to unplug from our daily hustle and bustle and conjure a more profound way of living rooted in natural mysticism?
We do. All it takes is the whispered wish for more everyday enchantment breathed onto a dandelion head. This collection of essays reminds us to escape into the ordinary, find beauty in a simple cup of tea or rereading a beloved novel—and joyfully let our world turn upside down when synchronicity strikes in the form of wrong turns down forgotten lanes and unexpected midnight conversations with the moon.
This book is a study in what it means to live deliciously, joyfully, and magically. And it’s an invitation to conjure your own bliss—-because let’s face it: we could all use a little more magic in our lives.
Excerpt from Everyday Enchantments
ENCHANTMENT: A spell wrapped in a noun. Three syllables. One state of being.
To live with Enchantment is to see beyond the brick and mortar that make up your home and into the magic infused within its frame. It is made up of stories and dried bay leaves and dreams whispered into the heads of dandelions. Of bare feet on carpeted floors and the smell of burning sage. Crystals—amethyst, citrine, amazonite, smoky quartz—winding in and around your books; all the better to magnify their magic. It is to peel back the layers of your day-to-day and search for that elusive energy that winds its way up your spine and outward into your life. Let the snake at your base wriggle free of its coil to climb up to your shoulder blades and across your open back. There is no room for tightly stacked discs here, just the taste of joy when the sun licks your skin.
You might find it at the bottom of an empty teacup. Your future written in soggy leaves, or in the whisper of trees, their leaves rustling and murmuring secrets only they can understand. Sometimes they are kind enough to translate for you—if you listen long enough. If you shower their roots with distilled love songs and feed them the black earth from your compost. It’s there, too, when you run your tongue along the grooves and ridges of a well-loved sentence. It’s everywhere. Even in the spaces you think have lost hope, like the junk drawer where you keep
your faded dreams, stray screws, and half-forgotten heartbreaks along with wine corks and a few rubber bands. They’re not lost, just resting like seeds in the earth before they are ready to break open.
That is the first syllable.
The second is to learn from Enchantment, to listen to Coyote’s call when he plays his tricks. Coyote loves his tricks. And you should too. What delicious messages wrapped in matted fur and a lolling tongue! All he wants is for you to take that leap of faith when only you can see the soft earth on the other side of the cliff. Don’t you know that you have wings? They are just rusty from disuse. Just listen to Coyote’s long-winded stories (he does so admire himself) and watch the flick of his tail. All he asks is for you to trust him, even if he can’t be trusted; his les- son is real, hard as onyx in your palm, ephemeral as the desert rain that you feel in your bones when all you see is a cloudless sky. No weatherman can ever map the storms and sunshine work- ing their way across your body.
Coyote has no room for logic, just the reason in his unreason.
Just those perfect coincidences set in motion by the padding of his paws. You are raw power, he says, a spark of the universe set in motion. And you must trust this power that is you, that is the earth, that is the beating of your heart. A rhythmic tattoo forever pounding out your path, however many times you try to stray from it. All Enchantment asks is that you absorb the wisdom of the moon and the stars, and the prophesying of the seeds burrowed deep in the dirt. Coyote is there to make sure you listen, even when the rest of the world prefers your ears stopped with cotton and your heart beating as slow as melting snow in winter.
And the third syllable? To conjure. Here you weave your spell with vowels and conso- nants and beeswax candles. You seal them with pure starlight and a handful of chamomile. Then you burn away the dry brush and the brittle ideas that don’t hold up against the moonlight. There is no room here for literal…things or the people who think them. Not if you want to create. Not if you want to believe that the most important part of your everyday occurs in the moments oth- ers can too easily overlook. (Seldom can you find a person strong enough to brave the stillness or wade into the bottomless waters of imagination.) You make your life here, in the infinite poten- tial of seconds and minutes and hours unfurling into vines and roots. Because when you are look- ing for everyday enchantment, it finds you. Always. And if you let it, it will settle inside your skin and feed your soul with dreams grown ripe under the sun’s caress. It drops you deep down into the rich earth and forgotten caves buried between heartbeats—places that many are too afraid to venture inside. For how can you absorb the marvelous, if you do not recognize it re- flected in yourself, feel it settle in your bones like so much calcium?
A three-syllable spell wrapped in a noun, planted in the earth and nourished with moon- light. Let the roots stretch to the underworld and the leaves unfurl toward the heavens. Walk across the star-kissed bridge made of hollyhock seeds and strong will. There is your passage into the unseen universe.
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