We live in a world of polarities. Everything is black or white, all or none. That was me until a little over a year ago. This way of being is not healthy nor does it serve our becoming the best version of ourselves.
The two extremes are this…. complete hedonism. If it feels good do it and who cares what the consequences are as long as I’m feeling pleasure. The other comes, often from religion, that says pleasure should be avoided. If it feels good you probably should NOT be doing it.
What I have learned is that pleasure can be a pathway to tremendous healing, growth, and connection.
The key to experiencing this is consciousness.
What do I mean by consciousness? Being totally present and aware.
How do you do this?
Examine the why behind the desire for pleasure. Example: if you are eating food examine why you are eating it. Are you truly hungry? Are you feeling stressed? Are you bored? I’ve learned that there is no wrong answer when you are truly aware and conscious. Instead of feeling shame if I have a piece of chocolate when I’m feeling stressed I feel love for myself as I’m in that place. I know this sounds counter intuitive if you are trying to eat healthy but what it has done is helped me learn that I can self soothe and choose what my body really needs. Usually my body actually wants to just sit and breathe and allow the stress to move through me.
Every time you are experiencing pleasure notice. Use all of your senses to make it even more intense. Doing this will create a level of body awareness that will do NOTHING but good things in your life.
Learn to be extremely present during pleasure. I don’t care if you are eating food or making love, presence will intensify your experience and help you avoid using pleasure as a way to avoid emotion. There is a tendency to numb out with food and sex. This creates all kinds of undesirable issues.
Why would you want to do this?
Because you will be able to heal your relationship with things that often cause suffering. For example, your body, food, your sexuality, and often, other people, including your spouse.
Because when you experience conscious pleasure you are able to uncover the reasons you have been using pleasure to avoid pain and reverse that. Pleasure can actually be a tool to heal pain.
Just like the way we can get into a cycle of pain, we can get into a cycle of pleasure. We attract what we give our attention to. When we are constantly thinking about our suffering then the suffering continues and often grows. When we give our attention, in a conscious way, to pleasure almost everything can become pleasurable. (I do not for a moment believe that all of life is pleasurable. We are human and will experience pain. Yet when we are attentive to pleasure it is much easier to return to a pleasurable existence and not stay stuck in pain for long periods of time.)
Why do I say treat pleasure like it’s your job? Because I believe how we do anything is how we do everything. Show up. Do the work. Decide that you will be the best version of yourself. Then the results show in every area of your life.
I know this is a totally different way of viewing things but trust me when I tell you that PLEASURE HAS CHANGED MY LIFE in ONLY good ways. I believe that pleasure can be a practice. It takes time to develop a healthy relationship with pleasure. To unwind the conditioning that says it’s something to be avoided. It also takes time to reverse the behavior of using pleasure to avoid pain. But friends, your relationship with pleasure is crucial to an amazing marriage. For me it was also crucial to a deep spirituality and connection with God.
This sounds so weird, I know, but I can help you understand and start to implement practices that will begin to create a new way of being for you too. You are not too old and set in your ways. All you have to do is decide you want more. You want better. You want to live a life tuned in to your pleasure. It is so worth it friends.