Stories About Pleasure

Jan 09, 2018

Stories About Pleasure

On New Year’s Eve I went to a Labyrinth walk at the Anglican cathedral here in Ottawa. It was a great way to bring in the new year. I walked in silence with a group of people, in a dark, candle lit space. Classical guitar music held a background tone. After everyone had walked, the facilitator invited us into the middle of the circle to speak a word for the new year; a word that would reflect what we needed or wanted to enter into 2018.

My word for the new year

A few words came to me and I spoke them out loud, and then I thought - I want to say “pleasure” too!  But somehow there was a hesitancy in me. I looked around the circle of “good Anglicans.”  There were a number of families with young children too. Somehow it felt daring to bring the word pleasure into the moment.
I had to breathe and just take a leap - I said the word. There were a few smiles and a laugh, around the circle. But I was surprised and caught off guard by my own reluctance to say the “P” word in this setting. Why did it feel like I would be some kind of agitator, a rebel, to say that word in what was sacred space?

I know in my bones that pleasure is sacred, but somehow in that moment I dubbed it inappropriate. I’ve been musing about my response ever since.
I know my task with the Unlock Pleasure project is to disrupt people’s conventional notions about pleasure. I want to reclaim both the word and the experience of pleasure for the sacred elixir that it is. People often say to me it’s just the word that puts them off – couldn’t I call it by something else? And I persistently say, “no.” I want to explore our conflictual sentiments to pleasure – both the word and all the perceptions that go with it.

What makes pleasure uncomfortable?

I’m so curious about how it came to be that pleasure makes many people uncomfortable. How did we become so reserved, so fearful? How much are we influenced by social conditioning, we’re perhaps not even aware of?

There are places we can talk about pleasure and places we mustn’t. What are the stories we tell ourselves about disturbing the status quo about pleasure? How did we come to this place?

My main professional goal for 2018 is to write a book about pleasure. To share in-depth what I’ve been learning over the last three years in the Unlock Pleasure project. I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and feelings about pleasure. I want stories – yours – and mine to make the book accessible and relevant to the reader. We all have our story about pleasure.

My word for the new year

A few words came to me and I spoke them out loud, and then I thought - I want to say “pleasure” too!  But somehow there was a hesitancy in me. I looked around the circle of “good Anglicans.”  There were a number of families with young children too. Somehow it felt daring to bring the word pleasure into the moment.

I had to breathe and just take a leap - I said the word. There were a few smiles and a laugh, around the circle. But I was surprised and caught off guard by my own reluctance to say the “P” word in this setting. Why did it feel like I would be some kind of agitator, a rebel, to say that word in what was sacred space?

I know in my bones that pleasure is sacred,

But somehow in that moment I dubbed it inappropriate. I’ve been musing about my response ever since.
I know my task with the Unlock Pleasure project is to disrupt people’s conventional notions about pleasure. I want to reclaim both the word and the experience of pleasure for the sacred elixir that it is. People often say to me it’s just the word that puts them off – couldn’t I call it by something else? And I persistently say, “no.” I want to explore our conflictual sentiments to pleasure – both the word and all the perceptions that go with it.

What makes pleasure uncomfortable?

I’m so curious about how it came to be that pleasure makes many people uncomfortable. How did we become so reserved, so fearful? How much are we influenced by social conditioning, we’re perhaps not even aware of?

Will you share yours with me?

There are places we can talk about pleasure and places we mustn’t. What are the stories we tell ourselves about disturbing the status quo about pleasure? How did we come to this place?
My main professional goal for 2018 is to write a book about pleasure. To share in-depth what I’ve been learning over the last three years in the Unlock Pleasure project. I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and feelings about pleasure. I want stories – yours – and mine to make the book accessible and relevant to the reader. We all have our story about pleasure – will you share yours with me?

Next entry: The Rhythm of Expansion and Contraction in Unlocking Pleasure

Previous entry: 4 Essential Keys to Pleasure for You in 2018

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”.

Ingrid Schirrholz, – Senior Faculty. Pathwork Vermont, Burlington, Vermont