This summer while taking some down time, I reflected on my Unlock Pleasure project. When I started it in late fall of 2014, I had a general idea regarding what it was about, but now 2 1/2 years later the project has evolved in both scale and scope.
The Start of Unlock Pleasure Project
It began as a legacy project. Answering the question: from all the work I’ve done in my career, along with personal interests and focus, what do I think is most important and what would I like to leave as a legacy from my life. After a few false starts in other directions, the idea of pleasure came to me. The original thinking went like this: pleasure gets a bad wrap; we both over and under value it in less than helpful ways, and it needs greater awareness brought to it.
So Unlock Pleasure began. Most of this time I’ve focused on what I call the “daily presentation - everyday pleasures.” Promoting the idea that pleasure is good for us, even essential for our wellbeing. And if you happen to be a person healing from trauma or other mental health issues, pleasure is a core ingredient of the process. This means pleasure that’s not coupled with negative outcomes – clarifying that pleasure is not indulgence, or being able to just do whatever the hell you like (well, sometimes it is).
I really appreciate how so many of you have tuned into this topic with me.
Your reflections and experience in the exploration of pleasure has helped me keep going and going deeper with the topic.
So, at this juncture here’s what’s revealed. There are three levels to the topic:
• Everyday Pleasure: The practice of discovering, creating and receiving pleasure. On a daily basis holding an intention towards taking in the life nurturing qualities of pleasure that are right before us.
• Erotic, Sensual, and Sexual Pleasure: touch and intimate connection with another, is essential to our wellbeing. At every age and stage of life we are evolving as we grow and develop this aspect of our ourselves. This level of pleasure is intricately connected to our sense of identity and how we show up in the world. It impacts our aliveness, creative capacity, emotional wellbeing, physical health, and spiritual growth.
• Spiritual Aspects of Pleasure: a few basic premises: if we take a broad, inclusive definition of spirituality, one that espouses that everything is sacred, we cannot exclude pleasure. If we understand spirituality as increasing awareness and consciousness, growing into our wholeness, then when we hold the three levels together, one not more important than the others, we have a lens through which to embody our spiritual quest.
What excites me about this articulation is that the pleasure topic has a wider and deeper scope than I thought. Equally I feel excited about the journey ahead with you. Together were creating a legacy.
Next entry: The Four Seasons of Pleasure
Previous entry: The Curious Stats on Women’s Sexual Experience
“I had signed up for the workshop with a vague idea of validating whether or not beekeeping was something I wanted to get back into, so wanted the real experience and ‘instruction’ around hive life. But I also wanted to spend time in the imaginative life of beekeeping – so the poetry, and your story of bees as a significant part of your healing journey was really important. Sensing into your relationship with them - the calm, the respect, the love – was an important part of witnessing how a relationship with bees teaches those very things. I loved how the different activities dove-tailed so well into one another. The ‘energy meditation’ of approaching the hive taught me well about respect for boundaries, and the deep purposefulness of their lives. We can co-exist beautifully as long as I ‘let them bee.’ “