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Most of us have learned well how to make our bodies conform to the needs of our minds. Our entire educational system is set up this way. In our school days, we taught ourselves to sit still in our chairs, use the bathroom only during designated breaks, and devote all our attention to the teacher. Discipline, or training ourselves through practice to develop a habit, keeps us focused on doing what we think we're supposed to do. However, we're not designed simply to think about and take actions that support everyday survival, or that please others. Nor are we designed to sit still in chairs for hours, staring at screens. Our brains are wired to allow us to connect with the life force and experience rejuvenating pleasure for ourselves. We have forgotten the importance of pleasure and we need to remember how to experience it regularly—as a daily part of life.

Not long ago, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., gave a presentation that turned into a viral video and then a book in which she talked about the disorienting but delightful experience of having a "stroke of insight" that shut down her rational, thinking brain and allowed her to feel the wonder, mystery, and euphoria of an activated right hemisphere. We've learned to quiet the activity on the right side of our brains. That has reduced our ability to relax into pleasure and the sheer joy of being alive and participate in the ongoing creation of beauty that is our true nature. In her book Dying to Be Me (Hay House, 2012), author Anita Moorjani explains that after her near-death experience—in which she literally was pronounced dead of terminal cancer—her insight was that we are here to enjoy life. Asceticism, frugality, self-denial, and ignoring the desires of the body should not be our goals. Siddhartha, a wealthy prince who became the Buddha, discovered this as well after trying asceticism and living on as little as a grain of rice a day. Renouncing his riches didn't lead to enlightenment—sitting on the earth under a tree did. Think of that as a metaphor for getting back in touch with Mother Earth and her nourishing energy.

As long as we're living beings on this planet, we should relish the simple pleasures of feeling present in our bodies and connected to each other and the earth. Our bodies are actually designed to thrive and repair themselves through the earthly pleasure of being in a body.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., board-certified ob/gyn, former Assistant Clinical Professor of ObGyn at Maine Medical Center , New York Times best-selling author, is a visionary pioneer and the world's foremost authority on everything that can go right with the female body! Dr. Northrup is a leading proponent of medicine that acknowledges the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit; internationally known for her empowering approach to women's health and wellness, she teaches women how to thrive at every stage of life. Dr. Northrup stays in touch with her large community worldwide through her Internet radio show Flourish!, Facebook, Twitter, her monthly e-letter, and her Web site, www.drnorthrup.com.

**This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. ' 'All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.