Why is it so few of us enjoy pleasure in our lives? Perhaps it has something to do what we think pleasure is and where it comes from. Many of us think pleasure is just the opposite of pain so we measure our level of pleasure by how much pain we are dealing with. It shows up in how we answer the question ‘How are you doing?’. Our answer often reflects this balance of pain and pleasure in our lives. When we do not think we have any control over what suffering or joy comes our way, we work hard to maintain a balance between how much pain or pleasure we get by what we do, or what others do around us. If we are not getting positive attention at home, we look to connect with other people to feel seen and heard. As a child, if the pain is high enough, we may run away from home. As an adult, we may have (and hide) an affair. If we feel overworked, we may start planning a vacation or even look to change our job.
Our western society has trained us to look outside of ourselves for our pleasure. It may be in the form or a new car, a great job, a compliment, bigger breasts, touch or words of love from another, or from the smell of a beautiful flower. When we think that pleasure is generated from what is outside of us, we can lose ourselves in the seeking of pleasure from the outside. When the object/person/situation outside is no longer available, we feel disconnected from the source that we believe holds our pleasure. When the car is no longer new, the job becomes routine, our partner is away, or the breasts begin to sag, we lose the feeling of pleasure. Then, we begin the cycle of seeking pleasure outside of ourselves again. For years, I thought that emotional and sexual pleasure came from my partner. If he was not doing/being in a way that felt good to me, I felt deprived of the pleasure that I desired.
This is how many of us have created addictions in our lives. When we are unable to access the moment to moment pleasure already occurring in our natural response to life, it may show up in our overuse of food, gambling, work, sex, busyness, or drug use. This addictive behavior can be a strong indication of our disconnection to our own internal pleasure.
What if pleasure is an inside job? Noticing what feels good and what doesn’t, then shifting our resources and attention from that which brings us pain over to that which brings us pleasure. If we don’t know what brings us pleasure, we take the time and space to discover what that is. What feels good to us in each moment? In the body? In what we are tasting, smelling, feeling, hearing, and touching? By turning our attention back inside of ourselves, we can connect to our natural pleasure response which is generated from within us as we interact with the world around us.
You ARE your own pleasure when you allow yourself to feel your natural response inside and then move towards what feels best to you. Which choice has you feel relaxed and expansive? Wool or silk? Tea or Coffee? Lavender or Pine? Sleep or stay up? Metal or Jazz? Flip flops or barefoot? Lights on or off? Married or divorced? Big or small decisions, It’s up to you and you have nothing to justify and no one else to ‘please’ in your choices.
What pleasure will you allow yourself to claim today?
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