December 15, 2017

Pleasure Possibilities

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Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer, cancer and pleasure, love mandala, creating pleasure and love after cancer

At the end of 2013 I suggested that you review the year and look forward, all with the intention of creating your Personal Pleasure Plan for the New Year. In the spirit of pleasure and ideas to inspire and create pleasure, the month of January is devoted to offering you some possibilities for pleasure. Imagine that I am extending my open hand to you and in the palm of my hand are pearls of pleasure. As you examine the pearls, play with those that appeal to you. They are all ways to love yourself and your partner more. As you play with the pearls and discover more pleasure, you are creating a beautiful string of pleasure pearls…

There are so many ways to love and experience pleasure. They all begin with the heart, mind and senses. Open your heart and mind to the idea of creating and experiencing more pleasure in more ways. Today is about visual pleasure and love.

Create a love mandala. In the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, mandalas are geometric shapes that represent the universe. The idea is to use your eyes, hands and objects you have around the house to create a love mandala, to remind you of the pleasure of love.

To begin, play some soft background music. Light some candles or incense if that appeals to you. Take a few deep breaths and tune in to your intuition. Ask what to use to make your mandala. It could be paper clips, the petals of a flower, the socks in your laundry basket, q-tips or the segments of an orange.  Perhaps it’s some crayon stubs or scraps of paper, or some dried pinto or kidney beans. Don’t second-guess yourself. Simply allow your intuition and visual sense to guide you as you collect the materials to make your mandala.

Place the mandala parts of a tray and sit and ponder them as you tune into love and pleasure. Then let your hands create your mandala. Feel happy and loving as the mandala takes shape, and be thrilled by your own art and your inner happiness and love.  Let the experience of love and pleasure inside you come out. You may feel surprised. Relax and know that you are creating love and pleasure visually.

Mandalas are creations from the heart and soul and are meant to be seen and adored.  Tibetan monks create intricate mandalas from sand and then destroy them as soon as they are made. The purpose is as a symbol of devotion. Ask you intuition for guidance about what to do with your mandala ~ perhaps you want to share it with your loved ones, perhaps not. Trust what information comes to you and know that it all comes from love and pleasure.

After you have created your mandala, choose to look through the heart and eyes of love and pleasure as you go about your day. Choosing love and pleasure is an intentional act and you can choose it any time.

May this pearl of visual pleasure and love, and creating a mandala, remind you that you have the power and the gift of creating beauty, pleasure and love in any moment.

© 2014 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Presence and Mindfulness

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As you become more internally integrated between you heart, mind, body and sexuality, you will probably also be more present with yourself and with others. To be present is also to be mindful. By that I mean that you are willing to cultivate the practice of taming the ever-scampering thoughts that run through your mind every minute of every day, by focusing on what’s in your immediate experience.

The average person thinks about 60,000 thoughts a day and about 5-10% of those thoughts are conscious. The remaining 90-95 % are the unconscious thought that really run the show. Most people think things are just the way they are and that’s the way life is. They don’t realize that working with presence, mindfulness and thoughts is a key to freedom.

How to take yourself on in this way? A great place is with our senses. Our 5 senses ~ sight, sounds, smell, taste and touch ~ are portals to the present moment. Next time you’re watching a sunset or looking at your lover’s face, really look at it. Make contact with the full essence of your being as if you’ve never seen the sun or those eyes before, and notice what happens in your body. Smell the nape of his neck, her hair and skin, and take in the effect this has on your pleasure and arousal systems. Listen to the sounds of pleasure as you stroke your lover’s face, see how their expression changes and feel their body relax. Taste their tongue and then your tongues mingle with one another, focusing only on that sensation.

Focusing on the pleasure in your body is a mindfulness practice and it’s designed to give you permission to experience your own pleasure. Really tune in as you sense through your body and see if you can also integrate sight, sound, smell and taste along with touch. The key to presence and mindfulness is to not be ruled by those pesky thoughts that want to intrude. You might say aloud or to yourself, “Thank you for sharing. I’m experiencing pleasure in the present moment.” And then consciously bring your attention back to the sensations. What you are seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting or touching brings you into the presence, the eternal now.

Here are a few practices to help you use your senses to be present and mindful:

  • When you eat your next meal, do it in silence. See, smell and Taste each morsel of food as you bring it to your mouth and gently chew it. Don’t chew your thoughts. Savor each swallow before you go on to the next one.
  • Sit quietly with your lover with eyes open and gaze at them. Really see them and put your attention on your senses as you gaze ~ listen to their breathing and yours, smell the unique aroma of them, hold their hand and feel their skin, look into the center of their eye. As you sit with them, take them in ans savor every sensation in each moment.

Share with us what you notice, what you learn and how that feels to you. We can all learn from each other and be present with each other in profound ways.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Boosting Self-Esteem

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Have you ever noticed that your belief in your self worth dominates your sense of your value in the world? We’re trained from an early age to value ourselves in measurable ways including how much money we earn; the results we produce in the world; how successful our children are; where we live and so on. These aspects of esteem are consistent with the capitalist society paradigm, and with the elements of media-defined beauty.

If we look deeper into genuine esteem, it’s not about social acceptance or material measures. It’s a process in and of itself and we are constantly in touch with it through that little voice in our head that judges and evaluates everything we think, say and do. It’s our narrator, our inner critic and our witness and it is always talking to us. Because the voice is private and no one else can hear it, it seems like it’s who we are. It’s very convincing that it’s on our side and knows what’s best for us.

Every child develops this voice from the messages received from outside itself ~ from parents, school, church, siblings, the media. It doesn’t take long for our natural esteem to become overwhelmed by the power of society. Don Miguel Ruiz calls it “domestication” in his book, The Four Agreements. We are literally trained by these messages to constantly compare ourselves to social status and judgment. That inner voice can become a faulty filter that informs our reality and our actions. It’s such an intrinsic filter that it appears to be reality and truth ~ that’s how powerful it is. I have come to call this my inner terrorist.

Not sure about this? Take an hour and tune in to your thoughts, the ones that are constantly going through your head. For most of us, the voice is negative, critical and judgmental. The good news is that we can endow ourselves with healthy self-esteem. It takes commitment, focus and repetition, and we can literally reprogram that voice into one that’s positive and loving.

How to do this?

Tune into your deepest essential self and listen for the feeling tone in your life that makes you shine and feel whole, that allows you to feel your heart and radiates from there. This is the tone we long to hear from others, and it’s the tone to practice with ourselves. Practicing it on the inside first will then attract it from others. This works from the inside out and that’s why it’s called self-esteem. It’s the tone, the words and the intention that all add up to a powerful and positive shift.

Write yourself a loving letter. Tell yourself all the traits you appreciate about you, all the things that are great about you. Tell yourself what you love about you and how the world is better with you in it. Write the letter on pretty paper or a card and mail it to yourself. When you receive it and read the letter, know that the truth is contained here. Keep the letter in a place where you can see it often and allow it to inspire you with the truth.

When you go to bed at night, tell yourself three things you appreciate about yourself from that day. Tell yourself things like, “My new haircut highlights the beauty of my smile.” “I felt peaceful in my heart in that meeting and others calmed down.” “I made the best dinner tonight!”

When you go to sleep feeling happy and appreciated you will not only sleep better, but wake up feeling happy and refreshed. Over time, you’ll notice that the nature of your thoughts has shifted into more love for you and that translates into higher self-esteem. Have fun with this shift and let me know how it goes for you.

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

The Second Tool

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Continuing with the 10 Tools and Power Tools for Bringing Back Your Sexy After Cancer:

#2. Forgiveness. I’ve heard it said that forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better yesterday. What this means to me is that what has happened cannot be changed, so there’s not much value in hanging on to any pain, fear, judgment or blame associated with it. Easier said than done though, right?

What’s there for you to forgive? Nothing, you say? Here are a few ideas:

  • Your body for getting cancer
  • Your doctors for altering or removing body parts or giving other treatments that have radically changed your body
  • Your breast/s for how they look now
  • God or whatever spiritual principals you follow that would allow such a thing to happen to you
  • Yourself
  • Anything else that comes to mind

There are many forgiveness practices. I recently interviewed Marianne Williamson (author of many NYTimes best selling books including “A Woman’s Worth”, “Return to Love”, “Everyday Grace”). She is a student of A Course in Miracles, which is a powerful spiritual program. She said that forgiveness is the foundation for spiritual health and is a form of spiritual medicine. It is every bit as important that we take our spiritual medicine as the medicine prescribed by our doctor. Yet many of us don’t do this.

A forgiveness practice is a wonderful way to begin. The key is to find one that appeals to you and then to use it. One that I like is a Ho’oponopono chant for forgiveness:

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The tradition is to play some soft background music and then repeat the words like a chant. Repeat it as many times as feels right to you.

You may find that as you begin this or another practice, that other areas for forgiveness rise to the surface of your awareness. Respect your inner knowing about what you need in this area.

Remember that forgiveness is a process, not a one-time event. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you undertake this practice. May it bring you some inner peace!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of TPF, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisors or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advise of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for TPF without compensation.

New Year’s Opportunities

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Now that the holidays have passed and 2013 is upon us, it’s a great time to think about what you want in your intimate and sexual life for this year. Along with using the mind to create pleasure, it’s also powerful to create intentions. I’m not talking about a To-Do list or putting pressure on yourself; rather, this is about letting yourself imagine what you’d like for yourself this year.

Here’s a ritual I do at the beginning of each year ~ I do this in many areas of my life, and for today, we’ll shine the light on matters of intimacy and sexuality ~

Take an hour or so, when you have some time to yourself. Make a cup of tea or some other drink you like and sit in a comfy chair with pen and paper. You can light a candle if you like, or play some soft background music. As you settle in, take some deep breaths and gently close your eyes. Relax and turn your awareness to your body and what brings you pleasure, specifically intimate pleasure… let your mind take you where it will and “see” what’s there. Perhaps it’s taking long baths with your sweetheart, or giving each other sensual massages, or looking into each other’s eyes and breathing as you feel you hearts and souls connect in the absence of words. Maybe you see you in some sexy lingerie dancing a sexy dance, being flirted with across the room at a party…. Whatever is there, let the visions and feelings come.

Open your eyes and jot down some notes about what brings you pleasure. More may come as you’re writing, so write it all down.

Then imagine that it’s December 31, 2013. What has this year brought to you in terms of intimacy and sexuality? What did you learn? How did you grow? Did you try some new things? Did you have fun?

Write yourself a letter dated 12/31/13. Write about what happened for you intimately and sexually during the year. Let your mind, heart and body take the lead  here and write as much as wants to come onto the paper.

Then put the letter away for safekeeping. Giving yourself this gift of time to dream and imagine is a great way to create a vision for what’s possible. Have fun with this and know that this is just for you.

I am offering a *f*r*e*e* ticket for a couple to attend the Feb 8-10 Sexy After Cancer Couples Retreat in San Francisco. This is a $995 value! If you’d like to enter the contest, go to www.sexyaftercancer.com/freeretreat/. Enter your name and email address and send us a brief email telling us why you’d like to attend. That’s it! Enter by January 10 because we will draw the winner on January 11. Maybe it’s you!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of TPF, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisors or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advise of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for TPF without compensation.