Ecstasy as a Spiritual Discipline

It is an ordinary day, a Sunday streaked with rain and dismal with muddy snow in the streets, but like many other days in my week, it is a day that I have designated to beauty and sensuousness. Saffron incense is gently releasing its perfumed breath, my favorite music is on loop, and a soft light illumines the burgundy velvet on my desk. Today is dedicated to the sweet soul of the Goddess within, the Eternal Self that is alive and pulsing, responsive to life even during challenging times. A wise person once told me that happiness is a spiritual discipline, and as true as this is, to say that ecstasy is a spiritual discipline is even truer.

And the most beautiful path we can choose.

Spiritual dedication can sometimes prompt adherence to dogmas that oppose the deepest Self. This Self is told from an early age that emotions, sensuality, and beauty are distractions from, or obstacles to, enlightenment. She might have been told that her body is a temptation, a vehicle for someone else’s pleasure or birth, and never good enough. The whims of society also creep in with soiled hands, dirtying our purity of identity, and we grow up afraid of the mirror, afraid to cry or show anger, afraid to feel pleasure, afraid to speak, and afraid to exist for something outside of everyone else’s needs.

Ecstasy as a Spiritual Discipline by Marlaina Donato

Our female bodies are meant to dance, scoop handfuls of joy from the storm, and rejoice at the sensation of rain on our breasts. We were meant to live succulent, lush rose-velvet lives. Our mothers and grandmothers did not tell us this because they did not know this secret, and if they had, they probably would have believed that to even utter it would mean they were being selfish, ungodly, or that someone else would suffer. Sadly, on the contrary, when we do not live from the energetic deliciousness of our wombs and creative power, everyone else around us suffers. Irritability, angry outbursts, addiction to busy-ness, unspoken bottled-up resentments, dried up libido or impulse affairs, and boredom are only a few red flags that tell us—and everyone else—that we have put ourselves and our joy last.

It doesn’t take money, a lot of time, or an easier life to live fully awake, so awake that our hearts burst into bloom on a regular basis. We don’t need a perfect body, a Tantric lover, or 30-something hormones to live a juicy, orgasmic life. All we need is to breathe, to use the gateway of our senses, and to make one simple decision: Be our own Beloved.

Speak to yourself as you would a cherished lover. Touch your body with appreciation, reverence; stop blending in by wearing baggy sweats and let your curves out of hiding. Take longer showers and longer walks. Buy something lovely for your desk. Place your favorite scent by your bedside. Listen to your favorite music every day. Taste your food, nourish your body and soul. Seek pleasure again, trust your sensuous longings, touch yourself without shame; make peace with your desire and unlock the gate to your secret garden. Fill every room of your everyday life with natural scents, gorgeous colors, and inviting textures. Feel the sun on your face, talk to the wind. Thaw and yield, allow and receive…everything. Run your hands through the grass, throw off your shoes, feel the stream of hot water through your fingers. Surrender to the wiles of the seasons, buy roses or snip daisies along the wayside, press leaves in a book, walk in the snow, follow moon phases. Make out with crazy plans, make love to life, feel the pulse of possibility between your thighs. Greet every day as your lover, and on the most difficult, rest in your beloved’s arms—which is beauty.

Ecstasy as a Spiritual Discipline by Marlaina Donato

When I turned 40, before our peculiar age of “selfies”, I stopped journaling for a year and only took photographs to preserve my days. At year’s end, I looked back on the stream-of-consciousness diary and never again took up pen and paper. On my most challenging days of chronic illness or life’s curve balls, I picked up my camera and indulged in Goddess self-portraits. It was better than therapy and a way to love myself through creative expression. I invite you to do the same—to wrap your glorious body in flowing or sensuous fabrics, go to the woods, a beach, or a quiet corner of your bedroom and just click the button until you forget that you are the photographer and only remember your essence.

We live in perilous times—and what threatens us most is the annihilation of our individuality, our core reflex to respond to life as full human beings. Jam-packed schedules, financial struggle, compromised health, the illusion and isolation of social media, and being plugged in with obsessive constancy all take their toll on our creative, ecstatic potential. Only if we allow it. The power is in our hands, and it is a gentle, beautiful power, the power of minute-to-minute choice.

Ecstasy as a Spiritual Discipline by Marlaina Donato

On this day, wherever you are, let down your resistance and give in to your deep longing, that deep-aching for something more. Our moments of emptiness speak louder than the cushy, safe distractions we wrap around them. Sit down with your boredom; invite your sadness to tea; look disappointment in the eyes. And brainstorm how you all can take the first step to claiming your ecstasy. You were born for it, and it is waiting for you.


Author Marlaina Donato Author Marlaina Donato

Marlaina Donato is the author of Goddess Consciousness, Spiritual Famine in the Age of Plenty: Baby Steps to Bliss, and several other books. She is also a visionary painter, instrumental composer, and essential oil therapist specializing in clinical applications and custom perfumes.
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Ecstasy as a Spiritual Discipline by Marlaina DonatoEcstasy as a Spiritual Discipline by Marlaina Donato

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