Last week, my daughter and I sat on the deck by her pool and commiserated about the impact of the pandemic and how it will go on. We are both entrepreneurial-minded, and so we batted around ideas about ways to CCOVID-19-proof our work and income. We mused about what will be the trends and unexpected upswings in the economy during this pandemic time. Trends that will emerge as we continue to adjust to this new world.
Later that day, she sent me a note to say she’d visited Faith Popcorn’s website – remember Popcorn – the predictor of trends to come. Apparently, there’s been a trend afoot called Pleasure Revenge.
Of course, I was curious – but Pleasure Revenge – What the bleep!
Popcorn coined the phrase “Pleasure Revenge” to reflect people’s reaction to feeling hard done by - and oh my, aren’t there a hundred ways we can feel that right now? So, we can seek our revenge for this misfortune by pursuing pleasure.
And here we’re talking capital “P” Pleasure. Twenty-course meals with wine pairings, luxury item purchases, virtual rooms were any and every sexual inclination can be indulged. I think you get the drift.
According to Popcorn, Pleasure Revenge is on the rise. As she puts it, “Consumers are mad as hell and want to let loose again.” As well, as much as we say aspire to “living well,” it’s now become synonymous with hyper-indulgent excess.
From my perspective, this trend represents a delusional course, a vicious circle of “trying” to “get” pleasure to feel better, and when it doesn’t work – well try harder! For those of you who have taken my course, you know about the futility of this, how it flies in the face of the principles of true pleasure.
So, where to begin?
For all the exploration I’ve done around pleasure, one tenant seems to hold true – slow is fast and less is more. Meaning, for what gives us pleasure to really support feeling good, it needs to be savoured. It’s not about quantity – it’s about quality of experience.
Pleasure is not complicated, and as much as sometimes something new, or a splurge is satisfying, pleasure doesn’t necessarily require buying anything. My experience is stimulus to pleasure abounds, but we do need to acclimate ourselves to this reality and slow down to take it on the sensory level where it can affect well-being.
From my point of view, pleasure is an inner state we open to – available at any moment - once we attune to this inner state. Pleasure is also one of those involuntary responses that’s tough to “make” happen from an outer will place. As in, “Now I’m going to have pleasure.” That just doesn’t work. We can’t “make” ourselves have pleasure, any more than we can make ourselves feel happy or get creative inspiration. This state is beyond the will function.
And it’s not that I’m against hedonism. I think it’s gotten a bad rap. From my perspective, hedonism is just an orientation to wanting to feel good. That’s a basic instinct and a positive one, as well. Hedonism is also about opening to the sensuous experience – so, hell yes to that too.
But why does it seem to get coupled with excess? In my experience, the effects of pleasure linger and in-time imprint leaving me feeling fulfilled. It’s not a hole of deprivation that needs to get filled over and over again. Unless the “pleasure” I seek isn’t really satisfying, then I feel the need to keep seeking.
Popcorn’s musing about our future relationship with pleasure perhaps is an indicator of some bigger issues that are afoot in the world. I know I’ll be reflecting on pleasure revenge for a while.
And I’m curious about what you think – What role does pleasure play in soothing feelings of being hard done by? And what truly gives you pleasure?
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Madeline combines her experience as a gifted teacher and facilitator with her exquisite sensitivity to guide us into unlocking pleasure. In her gentle way she helps us to make friends with our bodies, softening the places where we feel resistance, shame and pain and learn how to tune into the myriad sensations of pleasure. She embodies her teaching and the expression of her own pleasure is contagious. Madeline creates a safe space to (re)discover that we are wired for pleasure and can overcome the negative conditioning of fear, trauma, and messages of “not good enough”.