What’s Your Take on Pleasure?Aug 07, 2023
Does pleasure seem frivolous? Indulgent? After all, isn’t there serious work to do? And what about all the problems of the world, the weather, our workplace and the difficult people around us?
No, not actually. There is no serious work to be done, although there may be tasks afoot. You bring the serious to it, usually because of an inherited attitude of survival. Who did you inherit from? Usually, parents or grandparents who faced dire circumstances and likely passed on that mentality to you. Surviving the Great Depression, emigration, and refugee status: all traumatic times in our ancestors’ lives.
From people who lived through scarcity and survival, we learned about scarcity and survival.
However, likely, if you’re reading this, you have enough food and a roof over your head. You’re in no danger of being eaten by a saber tooth tiger or pillaged by a conquering army. You probably have a stable address, even a job and income. Those qualify you for “above survival” status.
Then why does pleasure, just one short step up from survival on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, seem so suspicious and frivolous? (If it doesn’t, congratulations!! Play on!)
I think it’s because we don’t really understand pleasure.
Pleasure is simply, that which makes life worth living.
Like salt enhances the flavor of bland meals, pleasure boosts the deliciousness of life.
There’s no rule that says you have to survive in a bland world. Nothing that says boredom is here to stay or that your appetite for something spicy can’t be fulfilled. Maybe what you’re longing for is pleasure! Pleasure adds zest to living.
Let’s look at some actual ways you may experience pleasure.
Energetically, pleasure equates to safety. Feeling safe, you can relax. You can play. A full belly and a roof overhead is already beyond survival, it’s safe. When a person is past survival, they can now engage in play, pleasure, procreation, recreation and sensuality, all a similar vibration to safety.
Pleasure is really the ability to have fun.
It’s not complicated.
We can reach for it in any daily task.
Instead of using regular salt when making your meal, try truffle salt or Himalayan salt.
What about taking a break for five minutes to dance every hour?
Instead of taking what life has dealt you, how about you find out what you yourself desire?
I’m going to challenge you to a Pleasure Game, in which you conduct pleasure research!
Maybe you’re interested in expanding your diet. You can conduct pleasure research on your favorite new cuisine by dining at several restaurants. Say you desire a travel adventure. Research where on the planet you dream to visit. Want to have more fun raising your kids? Investigate how other cultures celebrate “coming of age”.
Put your attention towards finding out more about what you are curious about.
My latest pleasure research is on friendship. One quality I love in a friend is, she has exciting ideas about places to go and suggests we go together. I started by looking at who fits that description. Then I reached out to those people to connect and discover what we can create.
Another way to research is, WHAT do you desire? Find out what and then make up when, where, with whom and why. Then execute. You’ll have created and delivered a pleasure project for yourself.
A pleasured life is all about coordinating with others to take effective action to fulfill your desires.
If you’re not getting what you desire, either you need more support or, perhaps more education. Which is it for you?
Can I leave you with this little package? Just as a hearty kitchen smell whets your appetite and makes your mouth water, so pleasure research kicks your vitality into gear. Have you experienced this? The week before you leave for an exciting adventure, your energy picks up, you become hyper-effective at getting things done and you’re almost like super-(wo)-man.
That’s what pleasure research does for you and that’s what pleasure is all about. It stimulates excitement (the good kind). It increases your hormone levels (the good kind). It gives you something to look forward to.
To quote one of my favorite sayings, “The key to happiness is something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.”
Here are a few prompts to start with:
“What would I love to be looking forward to?”
“What’s an exciting adventure I could create for myself today?”
“What do I long for?”
The easiest ways I’ve found to do this? Use a prompt for a writing exercise (10-15 minutes) or ask a friend if you can talk about it with her/him. You may be surprised what comes up that excites you! I can already see you now, sailing off into an ocean sunset, surrounded by dolphins and whales…and maybe a rainbow or two.
Pleasure is the spice of life, without which, your days are filled with gray laundry and drudgery. So do your pleasure research with gusto and share your research far and wide. I cannot wait to hear!
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