Following My Pleasure

Photo by Aleksandra Sapozhnikova on Unsplash

Last year, my word of the year was Presence. I didn’t work with it intentionally, but I did get into mindfulness meditation as a result of trying to find relief for my anxiety. I recognized how much my anxieties comes from fear of not having enough time and from living too much in the future, which has been a lifelong issue. Over the last several years, I’ve started to create a work I love, and I found myself still rushing toward my goals with urgency and anxiety. Last year wasn’t about being present perfectly so much as understanding how often I was not present and recognizing how important it was to my well-being. I’m learning to slow down and enjoy where I am, to embrace this story I’m living instead of hurrying to the ending, as if the last page in the book told the whole story.

In the past, my journey toward my goals was paved with pressure, demand, and fear of disappointment. These strategies got me through my younger years, but they’re unsustainable in the life I want to love living and not just endure. The problem with waiting to feel happy and satisfied when I get to my goals is that there is never a point of “arrival” — there is always more to want, more to aim for. These strategies also created health problems (high anxiety = high blood pressure), fatigue, and brain fog. The latter can be very disturbing when you work with your brain, let me tell ya.

I’ve always related to work as something that required seriousness, pressure, and competition to succeed (and let’s face it, I’m not the only one), and money as the only important measurement of success and recognition. When I turned my passion for growth and healing into my work, I weighed it down with so many expectations that the passion and inspiration got squeezed out of it. 2021 was the year I finally stopped believing pressure and force were the way toward the future I desire.

To continue resting into my present moment, I felt drawn to the word Pleasure for 2022. Pleasure is a feeling of satisfaction and enjoyment. It feels like warmth and ease in the body. The pleasure I’m aiming for is just not about stimulation, but a full-bodied embrace of my life.

This year, I promise to let pleasure lead me. That means I place more value on how I’m doing my work than how fast I’m getting it done. It means caring for the part of me that fears I don’t have enough time. It means loving my time away from work and getting enough rest and play time. It means I stop proving my worth based on other people’s standards.

I know that any path paved with anxiety and demand is no longer true to who I am. When that happens, I’m following other people’s paths and complying with their expectations that were handed down to me. This is the year I finally trust that pleasure and ease can work better than worry and control.

Originally published at https://www.soultoworld.com on January 4, 2022.

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Writer. Creative. Healer. I write about creative living and learning self-acceptance. More at www.soultoworld.com

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