I love the ritual of New Year's. Getting dolled up, lighting sparklers and dancing like no one is watching will forever be my preferred way to ring it in. I am also a sentimental person, so I love remembering special moments and honoring periods of hardship. It feels good to recognize the passage of time and feel the momentum of life moving onward.
What I don't like about our New Year traditions is the impulse behind reflection that ends in resolutions. Why do we spend so much energy at the beginning of a new year trying to change something about ourselves? We focus so much on what we don't like about ourselves that we lose the joys and pleasures of what a fresh start can be.
I think it's safe to say that 2020 is going down in the history books as one of the most challenging years of our lives. We had a global pandemic, an uprising, a contentious election, and then on top of all that, life continued as it does with all the everyday hardships that accompany being human. I am looking back on this year and celebrating how strong, brave and resilient I am, and I am looking at 2021 with pleading eyes begging for more ease and softness.
So this is how I'm getting that vibe started:
Instead of doing a cleanse or joining some 30-day boot camp on January 1st, I'm going to spend the first month of 2021 reflecting on what brings me joy and allowing myself to immerse myself in those pleasures. I'm going to take my time peeling an orange and really savor each section bursting with flavor in my mouth. I'm going to smell the oils that orange peel leaves on my fingers and let the joy of it take me away for a moment. I'm going to allow myself to be seduced by the notion of eating another orange and wonder if my pleasure will be greater or less than what I experienced while eating the first. I'm going to give myself permission to find out - or not - depending on my whim...
I'll be posting my daily pleasures on Instagram as part of my "30 Days of Pleasures." I want you to join me in bucking the tradition of "fixing" something in yourself and seek joy in your everyday life instead. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in doing with me, here's how to participate:
- Express a pleasure you experience every day for 30 days, starting January 1st. These can be small joys (i.e. first sip of coffee in the morning) or big acts of pleasure (i.e. spending an entire day cooking), but every day be present with the experience of it. Be as specific as possible - that last sip of coffee really isn't as good as the first! Try to recognize pleasures that engage all your senses: taste, touch, smell, sound and sight.
- Decide on your medium. You can make a photo journal or a written record of your pleasures. I will be sharing my 30 Days of Pleasures on Instagram and using the hashtag #30daysofpleasures to keep my posts organized. I invite you to do the same and encourage you to tag me (@jessehaasnutrition) so I can follow along and relish in your joys with you.
- Commit to not filtering yourself. If you find joy in french fries - awesome! If you find pleasure in a vibrator - sweet! If you find joy in lounging on the couch stinking to high heaven and rolling your tongue around a mouth of unbrushed teeth - fantastic. Allow yourself the space to truly experience the pleasure of it with no judgment, shame or guilt.
- Give yourself time to reflect on the experience. Make some time with these questions at some point through the experience. You might opt to do this weekly or just at the end of the month. You may prefer to talk through your responses with someone going through this practice with you or settle in with your journal to write them out:
- What do I notice in my body when I allow myself permission to experience pleasure?
- What thoughts arise when I indulge myself in my pleasures? Where do those thoughts come from? Do they have a story to tell about me/my experiences?
- What would happen if I continued experiencing joy and pleasure in my daily life at the end of this 30-day experience? What am I afraid will happen if I do/don't?
- Optional: Gather your people (Feel free to make this a solo practice if that feels best to you). Invite your family, friends, colleagues, faith groups, neighbors and/or social networks to join you. Consider making your joys and pleasures social and visible - imagine how much the world would change if we all shared our joys out loud and proud! This is also a way to build some positive accountability in sticking with it, inspire others and also share your experience with people you love and trust. The more the merrier!
Here's some language you can use on Instagram or Facebook to make the invitation to your crew: “I’m joining @jessehaasnutrition in #30daysofpleasures. Grab a friend and join us in bucking New Years resolutions in favor of savoring tastes, smells, sounds, sights and other sensations that bring you pleasure."
If this practice resonates with you and you'll be joining me in it, please let me know! Shoot me an email or tag me on Instagram (@jessehaasnutrition). It is one of my pleasures to witness joy, so you'd be helping me in my own savoring practice!
This is going to be FUN!