The deeper I go into the Unlock Pleasure Project the more I see it as spiritually informed and a legitimate lens to open to spiritual healing, growth and development.
What is Pleasure?
Pleasure is the intention to acknowledge and receive the goodness of life. It’s the practice of what the Pathwork calls, “holding the 50/50.” In terms of pleasure, that means that we don’t use pleasure as a spiritual bypass – needing to see the world through rose-coloured glasses because we can’t bear the pain that life sometimes brings. All spiritual paths direct and support us towards unity – pain AND pleasure. Duality says it’s either pain OR pleasure not pleasure and pain.
Typically, if we’re experiencing one of those painful times that life can and usually does put in our way, then we disconnect from the equal reality of pleasure – we think it’s either all pleasure or all pain. The practice is to hold the two together. Tall order – yes; but when embraced as a practice, it’s a capacity we can strengthen.
Pain and Pleasure
The reality of life is that pain and pleasure always sit side-by-side. Grief is a good example. We only grieve losing what we have valued and loved – a person, a place, a life stage, even our cherished possessions. Life is impermanent – a constant round of coming into being and dying away. In times of grieving, we can, if we choose, access the pleasure our love and devotion has created in our lives. The pleasure is still available to us in memory and through honouring our lived experience.
Neuroscience tells us our brains are more wired towards the negative: what is hard; what has or could be lost; threats to our safety, and well-being; in other words, the potential or real painful aspects of life. We’re compelled and often mesmerized by this spectrum of life. We actually have to work at remembering and giving equal measures to the “goodness of life” – a catch-all phrase for pleasure.
The Pleasure Pause
One practice that supports this is what I call, “Take A Pleasure Pause.” Something that gives me pleasure is playing with colour, words and design. I keep updating my poster that’s intended as a visual reminder to frequently stop, look around or intentionally remember some aspect of goodness in your life. The most important thing is to hold your attention there for 45-60 seconds and notice what happens in your body. Pay attention to the sensory impact of this practice. Do it frequently and notice how that pull to the negative gradually begins to diminish in your psyche.
Please share your experience with this practice with me. What do you notice? What happens over time?
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“As I step into the classroom with Madeline, I am aware of a spaciousness that few other facilitators offer, giving adequate time for self-reflection and digestion of the material. The spaciousness is well-supported by experiential learning and practical teachings. Madeline’s work—both within her own life and in facilitating others—speaks clearly through the profound space she holds for learning, and healing, to happen.”