Pleasure and Disruption

What do you think this is going to be about? The title is a bit provocative, intentionally. I have just returned from an incredible weekend of pleasure, not decadent pleasure, but rather pleasure that expands and supports your best self. It was not self-serving and self-indulgent in an ordinary way, though it felt totally self-indulgent. It was my second time of attending Renee Trudeau’s women’s retreat. (Read about my January 2023 experience here.) I enjoyed the first one so much that, when I returned home, I sent an email to several friends, inviting them to attend in April 2023. One of them, Sara, took me up on my invitation and joined me on my return to Kripalu to repeat Awaken the Wild Woman’s Soul.

I want to make two apparently opposing points, first, that repeating a powerful activity can be even more empowering the second time; and second, that choosing to break with a pattern, i.e., disrupting it, is an effective method of creating change.

First, on repeating a powerful activity: When I returned from Kripalu in January, I was recharged, enthusiastic about continuing work on my book, intending to combine stories of specific travel experiences with life-altering effects of that travel. Additionally, I felt nurtured, refreshed, energized, encouraged, naturally high. Within that bubble, I made reservations with my friend, Sara, to repeat the weekend three months later. As those three months passed, I began to wonder whether I had set myself up for disappointment.

Last Friday, I picked up Sara and we traveled to Kripalu, chattering the whole way, delighting in each other’s company. She lives far enough away (about 75 miles) that we don’t see each other often. I had lowered my expectations for the weekend, so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if it didn’t live up to my memory of the January weekend. I could at least enjoy the time with Sara.

Just beginning the weekend, the Friday evening session was more than satisfying! Renee has a way of collecting the energy from all of us within our space (this time, for more than forty women) and funneling it back to us, tempered, strengthened, purified, crystallized, enlightened, inviting us to take it back in, to be clearer, more visible, even more sacred. During the weekend, she encouraged us to care for ourselves, to rest, to move and dance, to sing, to express gratitude, to enjoy our voices and our bodies. She invited us to trust more, to trust ourselves more, to be more open, to recognize and invite more pleasure into our lives. We sang, we danced, we moved, we massaged our feet with a luscious oil, we added exotic golden ‘tattoos’ to our bodies, we re-learned the rightness of indulging ourselves in these pleasures. Some of the words that I heard her repeat occasionally were sacred, pleasure, grateful, delicious, and disrupt.

Renee reminded us to be mindful of our three-year-old selves, still inside us, and how they should be treated. Would we ever say to a three-year-old having a bad moment (or day,) “Get over it!” No, and we shouldn’t say that to ourselves, either. Remembering that, I found an old picture of my son at about three, just to remind me of the shiny brightness of a three-year-old.

My son, John, at three years old, shiny and bright.

Renee said so many simple, yet pivotal little phrases that I was sure I was going to remember, but, of course, have forgotten. Maybe, ‘move a muscle, change a thought.’ She gave us neurological information, such as that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and most of them are repeated daily. We change our thoughts, our behaviors by being disruptive, a word that although certainly very familiar, became new for me. When I protest for climate action or social justice, I am being disruptive, seeking to cause change.

It occurred to me that, along with other reasons that I want to write my book to promote travel (such as a larger connection to other peoples and cultures of the world), both travel and deciding to travel disrupt our lives in a positive way. That is the reason that some folks desire to travel and it is also the reason that others avoid it! I am clearly a member of the former group.

At the end of the weekend, before heading home, I asked Renee if, when I’m ready to publish, she would be willing to write a blurb for my book. She said, “Yes!” Later, I asked my friend, Sara, if she might have said yes, just to be nice. Sara assured me, having read Renee’s notes on multiple ways to say ‘no,’ that she certainly knew how to say no and chose to say yes.

So, back to my two main points, taken from this weekend of recognizing, remembering, and enjoying pleasure. First, on repetition, I repeated this weekend and did not find it to be boring, but the opposite. Yes, it was familiar, but reinforcing, even more enriching than the first weekend with Renee. Second, on disruption, I have a new awareness of its importance in my life and its place in my forthcoming book, the center of which will be my description of one of my extreme pleasures, swimming in two-mile-deep ocean, 1000 miles from land.

Copyright ©️ 2023

Published by cyrein

Quaker, adventurer, wife, mom, sister, friend, special ed teacher, learner

10 thoughts on “Pleasure and Disruption

  1. Carole, you so beautifully captured our weekend! Thank you! Loved reading this, and I love all that we share together. I’m so grateful to have you in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

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