This Food Practice is an excerpt from the list of practices shared in the book, Summer, Embrace Pleasure In Food, an installment in the Food Practice through The Seasons series. Each season contains a practice for each week of the seasons. 13 total. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
“Pleasure is an essential nutrient that you need, each and every day, to become and remain healthy.”
~ Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
One of the other differences between true pleasure and pseudo pleasure is how you receive it and experience it.
Often pseudo pleasure is rushed, numbing and designed to gloss over something else that is unpleasant. It’s not about the object or cause of the pleasure being understood and explored intimately, pseudo pleasure is designed to medicate solely.
True pleasure is an intimate dance.
It’s about savoring the true ‘is-ness’ of the thing or food or sensation being experienced. It’s about reading the life pattern in that thing causing you pleasure.
The only way to really receive this nutrient of pleasure is to be acutely present with what the sensation is and what is causing the sensation.
Presence + Paying Attention + Exploration
Pleasure is an integral part of life and the body’s working system. It is how you communicate with the world, and how you come into union with life.
In order to take that information in, you must slow down, tune out distractions or thoughts about tomorrow or yesterday and you must be surrendered in that very moment to the thing you are experiencing – in this case, the bite of food in your mouth.
This kind of surrender and attention, feeds you information about flavor, textures, layers of complexities that are teeming with Life and nourishment. It allows you space and ability to explore all the information, THROUGH SENSATION, that your food has to offer.
And please don’t be fooled. Food offers you pleasure in the form of flavor and texture, yes. But it also has subtext, vibration, unique Life expression that you take in which then informs your cells, your energy field and all manner of unseen and unidentified parts of you.
Each piece of whole fresh food is a unique expression of Life. Imagine all the information and vibrancy in each one. Pleasure opens you to understanding and experiencing this.
The spiritual implications are far reaching, and such a juicy arena of exploration.
Pleasure That Is Long Lasting
Remember in the Introduction where I spoke about pseudo pleasure being depleting and making you feel crappy in the long run? Well, true pleasure does the opposite. It relaxes your body, opens up your cells for receptivity, boosts your immune functions and basically enhances every part of your being.
It’s a charge. And that charge keeps you running on those feel good and beneficial energies for a while. It builds on itself and grows you in a healthy direction.
So pay attention not just to the pleasure you derive from taste, but also to the result of eating that food as time passes. Pleasure expands, as in, it creates space. This is a very different sensation than the expanded bloat we get when we overeat to stuff something
down. It’s an expansion that makes you stronger, clearer, agile, vital and generative.
True pleasure is not just about the moment. It is about the effects. For you to be aware of this, takes practice. It takes time. It takes paying attention.
This week, please slow down. Eat simpler foods in order to not over complicate things. In fact, it’s nice to start with a whole fruit or veggie that you just eat raw and on it’s own
Practice receiving the pleasure that can be found in the flavor, juiciness, sounds and texture of the food you are eating. Bite into an apple. Linger after the bite, not chewing, not doing anything other than to feel that piece of apple in your mouth. What is the first thing you notice in that bite? What did it sound like? How did the fruit yield to your bite? What were the initial flavors you tasted? Do they change as you begin to chew?
The secret sauce here is that pleasure is actually sensation.
You’re not looking for anything in particular other than *feeling* the food in your mouth, noting the flavors and the textures. It’s the actually feeling or sensation that is the pleasure. It’s evidence of being alive and being in communion.
This is the kind of present exploration that you can do to increase your ability to receive what the food is offering you. In truth, nothing will change about what you are getting from the apple. The only difference now is that you will be savoring and enjoying it more. You will be paying attention to so much more that it is offering you. And there is deep pleasure in that. Everything about your being changes when you slow down and receive this way.
This week do this with everything you eat. Slow down, pay attention, make note every step of the way to what you are receiving, what it tastes like and how your entire being responds to the sensual pleasure food is giving you.
Also, and always, when you sit down to eat, eliminate as many external distractions that you can. No phones or computers and when you can, eat alone. Carve out meal time in such a way to facilitate an intimate conversation with the food you are about to take in. Pleasure not only creates space, but it needs space as well. When you rush a meal or multitask while eating, pleasure is elusive at best.