Since the fall of 2007, I have spent my days within the context of school mental health. When I began to intentionally desire growth outcomes (in response to what then seemed like an alarming rate of student death by suicide), I wanted to know what the skills were to teach to students to get to the better outcomes. 

Sidebar: In 2022, there are an abundance of resources available at no/little cost that support the teaching of skills, tools, and strategies to get to better outcomes for attention, behavior, social, and emotional areas for growth. All you need is access to internet and a search engine.

When I began teaching (I think the first social-emotional curriculum I was serious about implementing with a focus on growth outcomes was Why Try, which led me to Brain Gym, co-occurring with BrainWise and MindUP; then it starts to get a bit saturated, and now with TeacherPayTeacher and digital access to available resources it feels impossible to limit one or two approaches to curriculum). 

Sidebar: It is amazing what is available. If you can identify a targeted area of need, you can find a resource that will share helpful ideas (nugget crumbs) as a place to start. And then the crumbs will lead you to the next thing, and then the next thing. The resources are available for anyone.

👉 Back to the point of this blog post: pleasure.

In my experience of chipping away to the lowest common ‘denominator’ related to effective skill building, it whittled away to the nervous system. And now, it’s the cell. And then it will probably become the Quantum Energy Field which is when I will undoubtedly work my way outside of the school system as I will grow out of any sort of relatability to a general audience.

👉 Back to the point of this blog post: pleasure.

When I whittled things down to the nervous system, I attempted to generalize effective skillbuilding to be that a human is either in one of two states: stress response or wellbeing. This suggests that when we access ‘day’ from a space of fear (what could go wrong), as opposed to accessing ‘day’ from a space of possibility (what could go right), we tap into two different states of being. Both responses are highly intelligent and adaptive. However, one of those states was meant to be baseline living, and the other adaptive to survival. The nervous system evolved from the opposite of this, it had to focus on surviving to grow.

Look where we are now. It is amazing what is available to enjoy in any moment. Yet, we have to be the one to ‘realize’ it.

👉 Back to the point of this blog post: pleasure.

In Social Work school, or just in any school, I first learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. The first layer, the groundfloor, to actualize as a human is to have a sense of safety and security. Why? The stress response will be heightened to protect and you can’t actualize desired life outcomes when you are living in a state of potential threat.

In Yoga, I learned this same concept to be the root chakra. The ground floor. Grounding into present time and space to access a sense of safety and security that allows energy to flow. When this chakra is open, there is now access to the second chakra: pleasure.

🛬 We got here!

When I think of pleasure, I think of sensuality. Pleasure and sensuality can sound like a magazine ad for fragrance. Take the word sensuality and extract the word ‘sense’. Senses. We are just one floor up from the ground floor of safety and security, we are still in the physical body, and now we can access the world around us through our physical senses. Consider the best thing you ever ate, your favorite scent, your most cozy space, favorite sound, most beautiful colors, landscapes, art. These are our sensory experiences. These moments, when allowed, are sensual. Sensuality is good. Sensuality is alive. Sensuality is available. When we are stuck in some version of the stress response, we cannot access the pleasure available through our sensory perceptions of the physical space. We are not allowing the wellbeing of reality, or our ability ‘to realize’ what is available in time and space.

Isn’t ‘realize’ such a cool word?

When I was growing in self-awareness and chipping away at better outcomes, disrupting my own cyclical depression, I began to notice that big problems sometimes went away in an instant. Clarity would show up in silence and an idea would ‘realize’ that expanded my real-time reality. All the big feelings and beliefs about every actionable step that must take place for the better outcomes, suddenly vanished as I sat in stillness on the corner of my couch. No action.

Pleasure. What story do you tell about your own pleasure and sensuality? What can you disrupt?

The story I tell…