Pleasure is a food group.
We need servings of it every single day. And most of us aren’t getting it. We’re malnourished of Vitamin P. We’re actually starving for pleasure. By taking care of everyone else. By striving to be loved, liked, approved of, to be the ‘good’ girl, to be the ‘bad’ girl. By seeking to numb ourselves and distract from what's here. It’s exhausting, we're exhausted, and all this clouds out pleasure. We don’t receive pleasure when we do ‘shoulds’, have ‘to do’s, or when we try to fit in, suck it up, suck it in. Low carb and pureed kale. Shoes so uncomfortable they make you want to cut your big toe off. The job that looks good on paper. Faking it in all the many ways we do. Denying our self what we truly hunger for. This is where so many of us live and this is a pleasure desert.
What we need is to feel good. To feel delicious. To feed our our five senses. For me lounging in bed. It’s turning my face to the sunrise. It’s a steaming mug of chai. It’s a skilled massage. It’s face oil that smells sweet. It’s practicing seeing beauty in every person. It’s sudden laugh attacks. It’s playing bingo at the senior center. It’s clean sheets. It’s ranunculus. It’s bearded wirey dogs. It’s dancing with my daughter. It’s the smell of creosote in the desert after it rains. It’s a firm mattress. It’s the rare day where I do absolutely nothing. My five senses and your five senses require pleasure.
Pleasure is quite simply a daily medicine needed for living well and being full.
And we need to be intentional about it. Not just taking what crumbs of pleasure come our way. We need to live has sensualists. We must treat pleasure like we do drinking water - essential and something we don't apologize for needing.
Think of how your life might be different if you got a mega-dose of pleasure every day? Would you have more bounce in yours step? More radiant energy? Less tension in your muscles? What if you asked yourself each night before you go to sleep: “What will please me tomorrow?” What if you started each day by asking yourself: “What would please me right now?" Or "How can what I wear today bring me pleasure?", "How can what I eat today be a full-on pleasurable experience?", and "Is the music I'm listening to releasing my endorphins?" Ask yourself: "How can the everyday moments in my life, the ones that string together to form what we call “busy” be pleasurable?" Moments like taking a shower. Like getting dressed or eating breakfast. Moments like driving in the car. Start small (or big). Eat pleasure. Listen to pleasure. Feel pleasure. Smell pleasure. Look at pleasure. Surround yourself and infuse your life with pleasure. This is a life with luster and this is a big part of what makes life worth living.
Pleasure teaches us that life doesn't have to feel like swimming up stream. I used to think it did. I used think that toxic levels of stress, a wildly abusive inner critic, and days spent striving for perfection were normal and what life was all about. No. More. With pleasure as my carrot I don't need a stick. And neither do you.
Stuck on what you’d find pleasurable? Don’t use your head. Use your body. Like a homing beacon just continue to tune into what FEELS good.