The secret of pleasure & fulfillment: ask your body
I hear from so many people that they don’t know what they want. They know they are unhappy but they have no idea what path to take in order to be fulfilled, satisfied, and happy.
My answer is always, “Ask your body.”
Ask your body what it wants
I specifically recommend asking your body because if I say “Ask yourself what you want,” inevitably your mind will answer first. We’re used to that.
But the mind gets stuck too easily in the past and future. It creates novels out of fear and pain and convinces us to do (or not do) something out of those fictions.
However the body, the body is always in the present. And being in the present is critical to knowing and receiving pleasure.
When you ask your body what it wants, it will answer. You may not be familiar with the language it is speaking (since most of us prefer to hang out in the circles of our heads), but it will answer. And over time, you will begin to speak that language more fluently.
When you ask your body what it wants, what step it wants to take, you don’t have to waste your time guessing and going down paths that are not in your best interest.
The Brownie Test
The easiest example for me is the Brownie Test. The moment I see my favorite brownie at my favorite bakery down the street, my mind goes into overdrive. Before I set foot in the door I can list out 10 reasons why I should eat that brownie (or two).
And yes, eating the brownie will bring me about 15 seconds of sensual pleasure in my mouth (I really like those brownies and eat them fast). But it will not bring me anything deeper than that - and in fact will cause me quite a bit of pain for the hour I will need to work out just to equalize it.
But if I ask my body if it wants the brownie, it will likely say no. I am not in a calorie deficit and (very seriously) do not need the food. It knows my stomach will likely get upset, disrupting my comfort, digestion, and sleep. And it knows really well how the sugar is going to mess up my habits and cravings - making tomorrow even more miserable.
I write about the Brownie Test because I love brownies and have to re-take it so often (so this is a good reminder for me!), but imagine applying this to your other questions in your life.
Imagine asking your body about your career or marriage. Imagine beginning to take steps that are truly in alignment with deeper levels of fulfillment instead of those 15 seconds of sensual pleasure.
Just try it. Start with small things like coffee, lunch, or TV. Ask your body, “Will _____ bring you pleasure?” Then pay attention. You’ll start to see small changes and you’ll notice different feelings that you might not have paid attention to before.
The body knows itself really, really well. We just have to listen. And when we do, finding fulfillment becomes a whole lot easier.
Building the muscle of discernment in our own bodies is a powerful and transformative exercise. It is one I focus on a lot with clients. If this is something you’d like to work on, reach out.