Advice from a Sage: Cultivate Pleasure

Months before my retirement from school nursing, I sought counsel from my friend Jennifer. She’d retired from teaching and had a couple of years on that journey into her next chapter. She’d found her way from taking those first awkward steps to arriving at her new life. I shared with her my plans that included developing my life coaching business at the same time as my writing business. I’m sure she could hear the ‘striving’ in my voice, as I described my detailed plans for completing the tasks to set up two different endeavors. Eventually, I asked her what advice she had for me.

In her quiet and thoughtful way, she responded, “Let this new chapter in your life flow organically.”


That was such a contrast to my automatic-goal-directed-way of doing things that it gave me pause. Later, after I finished those final days of work and attempted the plans I’d made, my energy was zapped and I only had interest for writing. I didn’t foresee how tired I would be, how I needed time to rest before moving forward. Jennifer’s advice came to me many times during those months of transition. What happened in that flow of life was not like anything I’d planned; it was not what I’d envisioned for that new chapter.

Similarly, I have been stepping into a new chapter over the past few months since my separation from my husband. Again, I sought out wise counsel from women who’d been down this path before; I returned to Jennifer, my personal sage, for advice.

We met at Foster’s restaurant for an early dinner and ended up sitting on the porch through a thunderstorm while they. were closing inside. From her experience of separation and divorce she had this advice:

“My mantra became Cultivate Pleasure.” She had to find new ways to bring joy into her life while going through those tough days.


I’ve considered her wisdom and how to balance my current stress with finding ways to enjoy life; How do I harvest joy while walking this difficult path?

I think about my yearly solo journeys and what I’ve learned about what pleases me during those days. Each morning, I pray that God will bless me and the people in my path. Then I watch for who will show up as I go about my day, letting it flow organically. I don’t plan who those people will be, I just wait to see. Now it occurs to me that I will benefit from letting these days unfold in the same way.

As I describe in the first chapter of my memoir, during my initial journey to Sedona, I found that by letting go of a planned schedule I was able to travel freely ‘as the Spirit led.’ Instead of an itinerary, I was led by my energy and free to move about in the space of unplanned time. I did things that brought me joy– like driving down country roads just to see where they led. How I enjoyed finding a pasture of horses grazing while the slanting sunlight shone on the red rocks.


Now, I feel lucky to have a friend like Jennifer, who has known me for years and has provided the right word for me at critical times. Putting her two pieces of advice together, I feel I have help with letting go and flowing in this river of life. I’m aware of the necessity of nurturing myself, finding ways to Cultivate Pleasure; This is the opposite of striving– it’s aimed at thriving as much as possible during this time that is not what I envisioned.



How about you?

How can you let go and let your life flow organically?

How can you Cultivate Pleasure in your life?

My Memoir is Available in Paperback and Ebook



15 thoughts on “Advice from a Sage: Cultivate Pleasure

  1. Beautiful. What amazing advice and what a wise friend you have. Transitions are hard but joy, joy comes in the morning. I’ve been choosing a word of the year for the past several years and I often find that God makes something very different out of what I thought I would be learning. Sounds like you found a phrase for 2019 and maybe longer. Love and light to you. 😘❤️


  2. There are things we have to endure and experience with each chapter at which we see ourselves. You are at the point where you feel the need to take over and guide. I have no license to offer any suggestions for a path. I do understand that letting things happen, experience the now, and accept the outcome without judgment is a method of finding a meaning. When things start to move off the path of expectancy there may be the need to let go of the wheel and see where you end up. With any circumstance, you will be able to move back to where things seem normal or you may want to remain in the “out of focus” stage. Your faith will take you where you need to be. Hang in and not on. Best to you.


  3. Jennifer sounds like an absolute treasure, Connie! You might know that I totally agree with her wise words – going with the flow and cultivating pleasure (or finding Joy) have been my way of getting through tough times and good times alike. If you’re used to planning, I imagine it can take a while to feel comfortable with flow – but I have every faith that you’ll get there! ❤️


    • Hey Julia,
      Yeah, you’d like my friend, Jennifer. She is an example to me of living peacefully in that flow. I am slowly learning to give up my plans– because things just don’t seem to go that way in life.
      Hope you Cultivate Joy this week in your life.
      Best to you,


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  5. Sometimes in our busy lives of “doing” and “accomplishing,” the challenge lies in being able to just “be.” Cultivate pleasure ~ to gather it ~ simply great advice!

    I’m learning to lean in and savor vs. rush through and check the box! ~ MJ


    • Hey MJ,
      Thanks for reading and sharing. I love your comment, that you’re learning to ‘lean in and savor.’ Rushing through just to check the box doesn’t provide the deep satisfaction that leaning in does. I’m going to add your ‘lean in and savor’ to ‘Cultivate Pleasure.’ When we slow down for the things we enjoy then we have time to savor.
      Best to you, MJ– and thanks for your great advice!

      Liked by 1 person

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