TIPS FOR TAPPING INTO YOUR BODY FOR HEIGHTENED PRODUCTIVITY—Centering Pleasure
Welcome to the final installment in my series on heightened creativity and productivity. See the past posts on: Paying Attention to Cycles, Taking Time Off, Prioritizing Basic Bodily Needs, and Imagining + Daydreaming.
TIP #6. Center Pleasure
I cannot sit at my desk today (or, to be real, my kitchen table, where I work 95% of the time, despite setting up a “home office”—since a desk feels like work and a kitchen table feels, somehow, like communing, even if I’m doing the same thing in both places… And what began as a parenthetical tangent feels suddenly vitally important to what it is I set out to say: about the ways our culture has corrupted the idea of “work,” making it always only something we do for the production value, to make ourselves [or more often, someone else] money—rather than the insights and gifts and labor we feel called and inspired to share with and offer to the world and ourselves. Both versions of work can be equally difficult, take equal amounts of effort—but what varies, vastly, is our feeling while doing each. The sensations in our bodies and minds while we’re working and in response to the work we’re doing).
So I cannot sit at my desk or even the kitchen table today, because it is spring, and the sun is sometimes shining, sometimes hiding within silver clouds, and the air is that particular combination, which only lasts a few weeks each year, of damp and warm with an occasional undercurrent splash of cold, the reminder of winter not fully passed, the last cool breaths of her before she buries fully underground for next year.
And I can’t not be out in it. Be out here, on my little tuft of grass, near the lilac bush that blooms, magically, in my yard each year. I am writing in a notebook, because I can’t do screens today either. I can do the work, I told myself, as long as I can be out here doing it.
Because when I wrote earlier of prioritizing the body’s needs, what I was really building up to is this: prioritizing the sensations of pleasure, in our work, and in our lives.
Pleasure is one of our most basic needs.
Premature babies in the 1980s were showing slow to no growth in their incubators—until nurses discovered the ones who were touched began to grow normally and were far more likely to survive. (In experiments, baby rats have shown a similar reaction—the genome producing the enzymes for growth stopped expressing itself in the absence of touch, and started up again when the rats were stroked.) Touch, physical contact and care, are primal survival needs.
I begin here because I think pleasure is easily dismissed as unnecessary, as fluff, or even as destructive, self-absorbed hedonism. (I am focusing on the first argument here, but I will mention that I think the destructive brand of selfish hedonistic pleasure comes from a deep unfilled need that manifests as a corruption of genuine, healthy pleasure connection.)
But, as I’ve said before, pleasure is not superfluous. It is a vital component of any true act of creation.
And centering your body and its pleasurable sensations is indeed a radical, and productive, act.
There are deep cords here, connecting to the sensual, the sexual, and the erotic. Audre Lorde, in “The Uses of the Erotic” talks about the erotic in a way that has deeply influenced my ideas and work and what I am talking about here when I speak of pleasure.
She said, “The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives.
The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect, we can require no less of ourselves.”
Today, I am sitting in the slivers of sun, the shivers of breeze, feeling it all, noticing… and creating. I came outside to work because I wanted to get shit done today. And I wanted to feel good, to be deeply present, while doing it.
I wanted to remember and recognize the miraculousness of spring, of this lilac bush, of the warmcool breeze on the skin of this miraculous body I’ve been given. I wanted to honor the pleasure of the work that is mine. This life that is mine, that has never been before and will never be again.
To honor that I exist, as me, just this once. That the relationship between me and my son will never be repeated; the relationship between me and this lilac bush, will never play out the same way again; that this work that is mine—this novel, this story-seed breaking open in me—will never be told if I don’t show up to meet it.
Do the work, while also experiencing the great blessing of pleasure, of this one short and passing spring day, this one short and passing life.
If you’re interested in exploring further the relationship between the creative, the erotic and pleasure, and learning how to enhance and empower your creative-erotic force, join me in the upcoming course, Spark—a Transformative Empowerment Course on Creativity, Sexuality and Pleasure, beginning on June 24th!
This will be a twelve-week transformational journey we’ll take together, with live coaching and q+a’s, a community forum for questions and discussions and community building, and weekly lessons and exercises!
The course is for women/femme + LGBTQ+ folks who are feeling stuck, unproductive, and disconnected from their creativity/body/sexuality, to learn to harness their creative-erotic energy so they can improve their creativity + productivity, enhance and heal their relationship to their sexual/sensual self + body, and increase pleasure in their work, intimacy and daily life.
Join the mailing list now for more information!