Why pleasure is needed now more than ever.
It feels like the world's on fire. There's all kinds of unrest. There's craziness going on. I believe if we take care of ourselves, if we put pleasure first, then we have the capacity to build resilience, to do what's right, to keep moving forward and to have more capacity to handle the chaos.
(Note, complete transcript below.)
In this episode you'll discover
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Amanda Testa (00:04):
Hello, everyone. And welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. And today I am going to be diving into why pleasure now. It feels like the year, you know, the world's on fire. There's all kinds of unrest. There's craziness going on. And what I believe is that if we take care of ourselves, if we put pleasure first, then we have the capacity to build resilience, to, to do what's right, to keep moving forward and to have more capacity to handle the chaos. And so that's what I'm talking about today. And I want to start by saying, you know, when I'm talking pleasure, I'm not just talking sexual pleasure. I'm talking all things that make you feel good, all things that just make you relax, that make you feel more supported that make you feel more stable and make you feel good, really.
Amanda Testa (01:06):
Because, you know, as we move through life, there are always going to be challenges. And right now it's a really chaotic, scary time. And sometimes the momentum of that outward chaos can be stronger than our capacity to deal with it. And what we want to do is build our nervous system's capacity to have more stability, more support, more resource. I like to use that word a lot because it's really what that means is receiving support and feeling strong. We have that internally. And when we have that internally, it's, it's like the outer world doesn't affect us as much so we can move forward so we can do what's right. Do what's needed to take action. And I really feel like, you know, one of the best ways we can take care of our nervous system is through pleasure because pleasure and pain, both originate in the same parts part of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, and what you can do by activating your pleasure, activating what feels good, activating what you enjoy as you can then train your brain to more often than not default to what is pleasurable versus what is painful.
Amanda Testa (02:26):
And this is not in a way to bypass difficulty. It's not in a way to, you know, ignore, but it's in a way to build more resilience and more capacity. And I feel like what is so powerful about pleasure tools is that they really help you connect to your original essence to the part of you that is pure health, pure, you know, pure divine light that, you know, no matter what we've been through in life, nothing can touch that. Your original essence is just this amazing, beautiful blueprint. And if we create the conditions within our system for that blueprint to thrive and to emerge, it will more often than not. And oftentimes because of, you know, events in our lives, you know, things that happen, traumas, you know, things growing up that can affect our Essence's ability to bloom forth. And so really what pleasure can help you do is create the container for your original essence to bloom. And, you know, I honestly feel like the more fucked up the world gets, the more these, these more of these practices are important. And, you know, as I've talked about before with our nervous system and how we can so quickly move from feeling overwhelmed, feeling anxious, feeling afraid to dropping down, to feeling frozen and scared and depressed and not able to move forward. And the more that we can build a capacity for resilience, for power, for strength, for, you know,
Amanda Testa (04:09):
A wider window of tolerance, so to speak, then the easier it is to move through difficulty, move through challenges. And as I move into this conversation, I'll just invite you right now just to take a couple breaths.
Amanda Testa (04:27):
I'm recording this episode way before it launches. So I really don't know what's happening right now, but no matter what it is, just take a few breaths right now in this moment. And invite you if it feels good to just notice where you're connected to gravity, where you're being held, maybe you're sitting in the car, maybe you're standing on the ground. Maybe you're lying in the bed. Maybe you're sitting in a chair, but just notice where you're connected to that solid ground or the solid chair.
Amanda Testa (05:13):
And just take another breath here.
Amanda Testa (05:22):
Even just taking a few minutes to breathe is such a great way to bring in pleasure into your system, bring in fresh energy, fresh air. I think one of the things I've learned from one of my mentors, Rachael Maddox, is about when things feel so crazy outside of us, sometimes it can help to think about the rhythms that are untouched. Sometimes the rhythms of nature. For example, if you think about a flock of birds flying through the sky, If you think about the rhythm of the sun rising and the sun setting, If you think about the rhythm of the waves Rolling in and out,
Amanda Testa (06:11):
If you look up to the sky, look at the clouds, perhaps the stars, these kinds of things can help to connect to some rhythm of stability when everything else is chaotic. So I often will pause and then maybe I'll just breathe and maybe I'll tune into something that I can count on, a rhythm in nature that feels good to me. And maybe you can invite that question into yourself, you know, what are some of those things that feel good to you?
Amanda Testa (06:47):
And I know one of the things that can often come up as, wow, this all sounds well and good, but how in the world can I find time to do this with everything else that I have going on? And that's what I like to share about how it can be easy to pop in pleasure. And I like to use that word pop because it's a pop of pleasure pop. And I just think it's fun to think about popping in these little bits of pleasure here and there when you can. And one of the books that I love is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. And he is a researcher at Stanford university behavioral research, and what he really studies is habits and motivation and all these things about what really makes lasting change. And it's not motivation, but one of the things that can really help is when you want to create shifts in your life to start the teeny tiniest little habit.
Amanda Testa (07:42):
And what helps to create a strong habit are three components. Number one, there needs to be some kind of trigger that happens to remind you to do the thing. Number two, you do the action, the habit, the, the behavior that you want. And finally, there's a little celebration. So for example, this is a way you can bring in these little pops of pleasure. And so think about something that you do everyday automatically, for example, brushing your teeth. Okay. So when I brush my teeth, that is a trigger to me to look into the mirror and tell myself something that I appreciate about myself. And after I do that, I might go yay. Or I might pat myself on the back, or I might envision a crowd of cheering fans or whatever it is that makes it feel celebratory because when you have those three components, then you're likely to do it.
Amanda Testa (08:34):
The other thing is that it has to be a doable action. It has to be easy. So if my thing was okay after I brush my teeth, I want to run up and down the stairs 15 times. That's not very realistic for me because a, we don't have stairs near the bathroom in our house. And B if 15 times feels a lot when I'm just brushing my teeth, but since I'm in the bathroom, I'm usually looking in the mirror. When I brush my teeth, it feels really easy to add that additional step of saying something kind to myself, noticing something I appreciate in the mirror, right? Because I'm already there. I'm doing the thing that it's not a huge stretch to then add one more easy, doable task to that moment. And then the celebration part is so key because this is the part that gives us a reward and we're really wired for reward. And so I think that celebration piece, it can be the simplest little thing. You can just even smile to yourself that you did it. Another example many of us are working at home. Any of us are on our computers a lot. So another idea can be in the morning when I open my computer for the day, I'm going to take three deep breaths
Amanda Testa (09:43):
And then after you take your three breaths, then you can smile to yourself and move about your workday. You can do the same thing. Maybe when you if you have challenges around taking breaks. I, one of the things I really love to do, and I learned this from an online coworking organization called cave day, and they do these online coworking sessions, and I've enjoyed going to a few of those. And I've also thought, well, there's many ways to sexy this up. So one of the things that I love to do is create containers around my workday. So for example, I will work for 50 minutes, set a timer for 50 minutes, and then I'll work for 50 minutes and then I'll have 10 minute break. So during that 10 minute break, I will maybe put on a song and dance. I'll maybe take a walk around the block, I'll go to the bathroom, I'll get a snack, I'll drink some water, whatever it is.
Amanda Testa (10:35):
And you can be surprised at how luxurious 10 minutes can feel when you can add in a little pop of something pleasurable during that time. And then you can get back to work. And the great thing about these, I usually do them in two to three hours segments because we can actually train our brain to have more focus and to work for longer periods of time. And this day and age, with all the distractions and the constant interruptions and social media and the dings and bings that were so exposed to it can be really hard to have focus. And so this is actually a way to bring more focus and bring longer attention span to what you're doing. The other key thing about this is making sure all those dings and bings are turned off. So turning off your phone, turning off alerts, turning off Slack, turning off all the other things, turning off your team notifications, whatever it is.
Amanda Testa (11:23):
So you can really just focus during those work sprints. So another pleasure, pop idea, I love is something that you can do to really transition from the end of the day to the evening. Again, with so many of us working from home, it can be really easy just to not have a separation pick back up to emails, continue working, maybe take a couple extra phone calls after the end of your workday. And so what can be really helpful is creating a ritual around closing out your day. I know there it's, so there's always, so many things on the to-do list, there's always so much going on. So just creating time where you can, okay. When I close my computer for the day, I'm going to just say to myself, "today's was a day, well lived." I learned that from my friend, Andrea Balboni.
Amanda Testa (12:07):
That is a day well lived or some kind of statement that you can say that feels true to you, that you can, you know, kind of shift from feeling like I've still got so much to do, too. You can say, all right, I've had a great day, you know, I've done what I can and now it's time to close down my workday and be done. So that can be a little ritual. And then at the end, you know, pat yourself on the back or whatever it might be. Another thing I know a lot of times with smaller homes, or if you have not a lot of separation between your workspace and your living space is to create some kind of physical barrier, right? Maybe it's a screen, like one of those folding screens, maybe it's a, you just put up a shower curtain, whatever it might be to kind of differentiate your space, your workspace from your living space, so that you can, at the end of the day, put that away, open up the window, open up the curtain and be like, all right, I'm done working now.
Amanda Testa (13:02):
I think that can be so helpful. I know for myself, I have an office and my husband's office is right next door. So sometimes, you know, even just with the chaos of the family and all us all being in the house together, you know, we really need to make an intentional effort to be like, all right, I'm shutting down work. For me, what I love to do is I turn off my light and then I just write down a few celebrations about my workday. So maybe it's I had, you know, a huge client breakthrough that we worked together on, or maybe, you know, I just had an amazing class teaching students or whatever it might be. Maybe I reached out to some leads or maybe I closed some sales or whatever it might be just like really celebrating the things that you did writing down one to three celebrations of your day can be a really, a really great way to, to, you know, really focus on, okay, here's what I did well today. And I'm going to move on to the evening now, because that can be another little way to pop in some pleasure, because you can celebrate your wins. Right? I know that can sound like such a corny thing, but it is really powerful when you do it consistently.
Amanda Testa (14:08):
Another pleasure, a pop I love to do. And I'm sharing a lot of examples because I feel like sometimes people get so overwhelmed or like "I need so much". But what I find is that when we are challenged, when things are hectic, when things feel scary when the world's chaotic, but shorter and sweeter and quicker, the things are, you can actually allow yourself to really luxuriate in the two minutes that you have. And sometimes what I'll do. If I have two minutes to do something, I'll even say to myself, Oh, I'm going to have two luxurious minutes to breathe, or I'm going to have two luxurious minutes to put my hands on my body and just send some love to her. I'm going to have two luxurious minutes to do a breast massage. Really. You can do a lot in two minutes. And sometimes we forget that.
Amanda Testa (14:57):
And when you're intentional and slow it down, that two minutes can feel like a lot more. And I think speaking to time, I love how in the Big Leap, if you haven't read that book by Gay Hendricks, it's a great book. He talks about Einstein time and how really we can create more time than we think we have sometimes. Because if you think about, if the time you spend with your lover or the time you spend having so much fun, and it just flies by versus the time when you are sitting in a traffic jam or the time where you are, you know, late and you're sitting at a stoplight can feel like an eternity. And so we often just forget how much control we can, can have of our own experience, right? We can't always control what's going on outside of us, but to an extent we can control our own reaction. So I know this is a lot, I'm going to invite another pause and other breath,
Amanda Testa (15:57):
And I really think what's so, what's so great about pleasure when you have more, when you have time to start doing these pops of pleasure again and again. And when you have more time to devote 20 minutes, 30 minutes an hour to a practice that really helps you elevate your experience. Whether that be breath work, it could be self pleasure. It could be taking a bath. It could be giving yourself a massage. It could be dancing. It could be, you know, hanging out with your family. It could be making love. It could be all these things. The more that you can bring those in, it helps to rewire your nervous system for more pleasure. So it's so key. And for those of you listening out there, how, and you're wondering like, really, how, how does this work? I don't understand. And I will share with you a little bit more about the science of it, because I do feel like sometimes that can be helpful when we actually are taking time to nourish ourselves in this way.
Amanda Testa (16:57):
It's building this capacity of internal trust in our system, right? When we can attune to what we need, give ourselves what we need, ask for what we need and then receive it is so, so amazing and healing. I'll give you an example for many people who are busy and maybe not even taking the time to go to the bathroom when they need to go to the bathroom. I know as a busy mom used to like, really, I would not pee for hours, which is terrible. Cause I'd be like, Oh, I have to do this. And then my daughter's crying and now I've got a nurse or whatever it would be. And the little things that we forget to do, right? We learned this coming along in school because when you can't go to the bathroom, except for twice a day, or when you can only drink from the water fountain, certain times a day, whatever they do, you know, coming along, we get these, these rules and regulations that keep us from listening to our body's natural signals.
Amanda Testa (17:48):
So slowing and taking time to notice, all right, well maybe I haven't had any water in hours. I need to drink some water. And these are other ways that you can add in pleasure pops around that, using that formula of the tiny habit, right? So maybe you do forget to drink water. And so maybe you need to make a little, you know, reminder that, okay, every time I'm finished with a phone call or every time I end a client call, or every time I get off a zoom meeting, I'm going to drink some water. And how you can create that habit is, you know, making sure there's water next to you at your desk so that when you hang up the phone or when you end a meeting, that's the trigger, Oh, I need to drink some water. Right? And then at the end, you can Pat yourself on the back that you drank some water that you took care of your body, that you attuned to your needs.
Amanda Testa (18:39):
And because you had a little win there, then your system perks up. You're like, Hey, I guess what I can take care of my needs. Those little things build and build. So then when it comes to making bigger decisions, you have more confidence in yourself when it comes to having resilience, to keep working on whatever it is that you have this stamina to keep going, because with all that's going on in our world right now, it's not easy to keep going. And it's so vital that we do, you know, it can be really challenging to do the work that's necessary on ourselves to, you know, dismantle the white patriarchy in our systems to keep moving forward, working with causes that you're passionate about. You know, it's, it's hard and it's challenging. And so that's why we have to resource ourselves and keep coming back to what feels good.
Amanda Testa (19:23):
So we can go back into the difficulty you can. And it's a, I love this kind of pendulation or this titration from taking a little bit that's hard and adding it in and then going back to what feels good and then going back into the difficulty so we can keep moving forward, because that is what it takes. We need to be resourced. We need to be resilient so we can keep moving into, what's hard to keep doing the hard work, to bring more of a just society into our lives, right? There's much work that needs to be done and we need to be strong to do it. So this is why I do love these pleasure practices. And I find for myself, I can tell such a difference it's night and day when I'm doing my practices and when I'm not, I I'm just not as, I'm not as loving and not as patient, and it's hard, it's hard to move forward.
Amanda Testa (20:15):
And the other thing that I can invite is, and I'm actually going to be holding a workshop on this at the end of the month. So if you want more information on how to do this for yourself, I'm going to really help. It's going to be a free workshop at the end of this month, just to walk through, how do I make pleasure, more of a priority in my life? How can I create time for these little pleasure pops? What do I do? And it's going to be on January 30th from 10 to 12 mountain time. But really what we're going to go through is noticing like what times of the day are these triggers and how you can bring in the practices that support you while also looking at what are the things that you might need to take out, right. For myself. I know when it gets chaotic, I can do the doomsday news scrolling or incessantly on social media.
Amanda Testa (21:03):
And while yes, we need to stay informed. We also have to really take a break when we need to. And it's totally okay to take a break and go back back to it because we, again need that pendulation for our nervous system, to be able to rest renew, feel better, take, you know, calm down, nourish ourselves, love on the people that are close to us, then go back to what's difficult. And I think sometimes, you know, we feel like, well, there's so much to be done. Where do I even begin? And honestly, starting with yourself is a huge way to move forward because, you know, once we start making these changes internally, it's easier to make them externally. It's either to affect others around us.
Amanda Testa (21:49):
So if you feel like this episode has struck a chord with you and you are like, yes, this feels like something I could do. I definitely could find ways to add more pleasure. And this feels a lot more doable than I thought this isn't as scary as I once thought, you know, we can talk more about that. And I invite you to, to reach out to me, you can schedule a call. You can go to Amandatesta.com/activate. If you are interested in coming to the free workshop on the 30th, really what it's going to be about is bringing more pleasure into your life and easy, doable ways to do that. And really easy ways to do just that. How you can build more resilience, how you can build more capacity and how these things are so connected to bringing in what we want. And I thank you so much for listening. If you have questions again, I'm here for you. Reach out, join me in the Facebook group, join me on Instagram and let's keep this conversation going, sending you all so much, love and care. Please be good to yourself and to each other. And we will see you next week.