EARTHLY DELIGHTS: NO MORE GUILTY PLEASURES

Be kind to yourself and indulge says Kate Horodyski, as questions why they must always be guilty pleasures… Artwork: Marcus Allen

A few years ago, I was flipping through a celebrity magazine, and on one of the pages, they’d asked different celebs what their guilty pleasures were. Most gave the typical answers like wine, chocolate, or online shopping, but one person, I wish I remembered who, wrote: “I don’t have any because I never feel guilty about my pleasures.

The perfection of this caught me off guard, and it had such an impact on me.  I’ve actually seen it quoted by a few different people since then, but the origin isn’t important. What’s important is how profound and amazing a concept this is.

Living things are hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Obviously, right? It’s a survival mechanism, but also, what would be the point of living if it weren’t for pleasure? Somewhere along the way (many would blame organized religion, but that’s a whole other topic), the idea arose that pleasure was to be avoided and that to “indulge” in pleasure must require a healthy dose of guilt.

The message this sends is that we can’t be trusted around pleasure as if it will derail us, or something.  In this scenario, guilt acts to protect us from ourselves and keep us “safe and in line.”

I’d like to propose though, that instead of only occasionally indulging in pleasure, while also feeling guilty about it, we just fully own it and make our lives as full of pleasure as possible. I think if we made pleasure (which translates to happiness) a priority, the world would be a much better place.

Because we’re so stingy with it, we’ve come to associate pleasure with selfishness or greed. But if we were more open with it, we’d see that it’s the exact opposite! Pleasure is like rocket fuel for our lives and the more we embrace pleasure, the happier and more loving and generous we can be.

How do you feel after a day of hard work, having also denied yourself delicious food, rest, or play?  Are you full of energy and ready to help others? Or do you want to simultaneously cry, sleep, and eat a tub of ice cream? Now compare that to how you feel after a day of chatting with friends, eating delicious food, being outside, and having some great sex (or whatever it is that you find pleasurable). You probably feel happy, at peace, and more open to helping others.

Pleasure doesn’t have to be an expensive or lengthy process (i.e. it doesn’t need to involve a trip to the spa or a five-star resort). It can truly be as simple as taking a few deep breaths, making yourself some tea, or hugging someone you love. The beauty of pleasure is its simplicity. Pleasure means caring about yourself and offering yourself the love that you deserve.

While I write this, I keep pausing to check in on my breath and any tension in my body.  The more I breathe and relax, the more pleasurable anything and everything feels. Practicing presence is practicing pleasure.

I also believe that we should be able to eat chocolate, drink champagne, take mid-day naps in the sun, go for 2-hour massage appointments, and buy ourselves beautiful things. We are spiritual beings living in a physical world, and the best way to celebrate this is by diving head first into the pleasures that this physical world can offer. We are here to have fun!

Most importantly, I think it’s important that we don’t see these as guilty pleasures that we only earn by putting in a hard day’s work. I want us to see pleasure as our prerogative, our birthright, and a celebration of what it means to be alive. I want us to know that pleasure doesn’t have to be earned.

I used to take life so seriously and having fun just didn’t seem overly important. But life changed for me, not all at once, but gradually, when I changed my perspective on pleasure. It got a whole lot more fun and a whole lot more amazing. I’ve made fun and pleasure my spiritual practice, and I am never looking back.

DREAMS BECOME REAL: A READING FOR THE VIRGO FULL MOON

The February 22 Virgo Full Moon is our annual opportunity to ground our wildest dreams into our everyday reality, says Hannah Ariel.

“When you are far away from reality, your fantasy won’t work.” – Yogi Bhajan

February 22 there will be a Virgo Full Moon, a sign that is exacting in its every endeavor. Virgo energy works out of necessity. This mercurial sign is the very fabric of our reality; Virgo does exactly what makes the most sense based on the current circumstance – and yet, acknowledging that circumstances are always changing, can change its mind accordingly to fit each twist in the tale with masterful perfectionism.

A Virgo Full Moon is precious in its ability to clue us right into the heart of the matter. It reveals what works to make our lives a better experience while clearly showing us also, what is obviously not working. Keeping an ever so discerning eye on the lookout for where an adjustment is needed, with the ability to point out any singular detail that may be otherwise overlooked, Virgo can be our BEST FRIEND when it comes to manifesting.

Opposite to the moon, the Sun will have just entered Pisces where we can also easily experience the fluidity of our imagination and tune into higher realms of consciousness. This in turn can inspire us to follow our intuition as we take action to adapt to all that is changing in our lives. When it comes to actually manifesting anything of lasting value, once a year we tap into the most formidable tool in our cosmic toolbox – the VIRGO/PISCES axis – an inspired balancing act between the mystical and the material.

While Pisces can foresee and imagine all possible outcomes, Virgo takes direct action, focusing on what can be clearly understood in plain daylight, here and now. Together they are masterful co-creators of an ideal reality. One cannot exist without the other. This week, find how they can come together in synergy. Create your own divine intervention in one form or another. Fine-tune the details of your reality, your relationships, to work with our most outrageous visions.

Coming off a brilliant New Moon in Aquarius, this Virgo Full Moon will bring us down to earth, deepen our integrity, help us take practical step-by-step measures to keep us committed to making changes we may have been inspired to embark on during the past two weeks, strengthening a realistic resolve inside of us.

Virgo in its full capacity knows well that no matter how cosmic your vision, no matter how revolutionary your realization, or how noble your intention; it amounts to nothing without both feet on the ground, managing the details, managing the outcome. This week we will be shown how things can really come together for us in our everyday lives.

So much of this is about simply adjusting what we do and with whom we do it. Every circumstance that has outstayed its welcome will complete itself now. Every circumstance that needs to be salvaged will begin to be fixed. You will know which is which because at this time, our intuition will express itself as simple common sense. We find what FEELS out of alignment and we have a golden opportunity to get CONSTRUCTIVE about it. Also be mindful that this Virgo Full Moon means we will feel every nook and cranny of our current reality.

We will be pulled into our bodies. Our nervous systems will speak to us clearly. We will receive acute signals that have the power to change everything. Pay attention to ALL your interactions and all your experiences this week, and listen to how they make you feel. This will be as simple as noticing what is really happening and what really needs changing – for good, for the future’s sake.

Though the moon has moved on, Mercury and Venus will be lingering just a few degrees from one another in Aquarius, still coordinating the futuristic intentions of the last New Moon. This adds to a cosmic scene that’s allowing us to experience unmistakable lucidity. It will suddenly be obvious how things can and will come together at this Virgo Full Moon, if we stay rooted in reality.

So keep your feet on ground, but remain flexible. Breathe deep. Tune in. It’s the little things that will make a MASSIVE quantum difference at this time. Expect your every fantasy to be served well and moved into the future.

To book a personal reading with Hannah contact: [email protected]