The neckline of my jumper is high so the soft velvety fabric caresses my chin and throat. Whenever I turn my head or look down, it strokes me gently. The soft deep weave of the carpet gives way under my feet so that as I move across the room it feels like I’m walking on soft gentle clouds. The gentle aroma of white pepper and peony teases my sense of smell from the hypnotically swaying candle flame. These are tiny moments of ‘background pleasure’.
Where are you right now as you read this?
If you’re like me, you’re halfway through doing something else but you’ve stopped tor a moment and are checking your phone. Or perhaps you’re at your desk catching up on some work and flitting between emails, the work, social media, messages. Or maybe you’ve flopped on the sofa at the end of the day and you’re doing a bit of mindless scrolling to try to unwind and numb things a little. Heck, maybe you’re even sat on the toilet!
So how do you change state?
When we want to shift out of stress and overwhelm it can feel like a massive task. So much so that our mind and body baulks at the task. In a way it can feel easier to stay slightly wired than to put the effort in to go from numb and distracted to present and calm. But how about if it could be a series of micro- moments to take you there instead?
Can you notice some background pleasure?
I recently attended a workshop with internationally renowned intimacy, relationship and sexuality coach and therapist Michaela Boehm. When she introduced the concept of “Background Pleasure”, my ears pricked up. If you read my blog or newsletter a couple of weeks ago, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in the power of the micro-moment. The ability to shift your awareness moment by moment so you can make choices that support you - without needing to find more time (because sometimes there just isn’t more time!). And Background pleasure works along similar lines. It’s a shift in attention and a choice.
Pleasure doesn’t have to be an orgasm!
There is, of course, a big difference between an earth shattering orgasm and the pleasure of noticing the delicious quality of sunlight falling through the leaves of a tree. But they’re on the same spectrum. So by collecting up tiny moments of background pleasure throughout your day, you actually make it much more likely that you can make the leap to deeper sensation of joy when you get done with all the busy.
So what is Joy?
Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness. So we can find joy in the tiniest of moments as well as in the most all consuming of experiences. Here’s a 5 step process you can quickly use at any time too re-orient your body, mind and soul towards it: 1. Stop Pause where you are. Allow your body to land in stillness. You can be standing with your feet on the ground, sitting on a chair…just be wherever you are. 2. Connect Take your attention to your feet. Weirdly, our feet tend to be an anxiety free zone. Not many of us store tension there so they can be a great spot to get grounded. Let yourself feel the weight of your feet on the ground, Feel the ground underneath you and simply notice how that feels. 3. Scan Now it’s time to notice the rest of your body. What do you notice? How is it feeling in there? Can you notice how it feels right now? What’s your body telling you? 4. Pleasure hunt! Hiding underneath the usual sensations, can you notice subtle background pleasure? Maybe the floor feels soft underfoot….or the feel of your hair against your face is soft… or you can smell the fragrance of your shampoo…perhaps the gentle touch of your fingers against the side of your body feels comforting…the taste of something you recently ate pleasantly remaining in your mouth….soft light pooling on the floor… Imagine that you were feeling sensations for the first time. Get creative! 5. Let yourself Smile Can you open up to whatever you’ve noticed? Let yourself really feel it and allow a smile to play on your lips (that too can be a simple pleasure)
Would you like to explore different ways to create micro moments?
Come and join me and my community for a 90 minute workshop on Monday 1 March at 8pm where we’ll be diving in to this and more ways that you can find calm, peace and surrender in your busy life. You can find out more here.
Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.
- Thich Nhat Hanh