People often ask me – “What is the most common obstacle to creating a better relationship with pleasure?” Pleasure can be fraught with guilt, denial of the need, vague and unarticulated fears and negative associations. But the most common block is the dance we all do between the desire for pleasure and the resistance to feeling, for want of another word un-pleasure - the challenges of life: loss, disappointments, painful interactions or situations. These are the hurdles and obstacles that we believe block our ability to have pleasure
Most people believe pleasure and pain can’t co-exist
It’s hard for most people to break the mindset of believing if there is some kind of pain happening then pleasure must go out the window. Dissolving the paradox of pain and pleasure is the key to more pleasure. I regularly remind people that pleasure is available in any moment, if we’re willing to look for it, and take it in.
We need pleasure in challenging times
In fact, challenging times are when we need pleasure the most. It’s the balm that can make the painful situation bearable. Pleasure builds resiliency and softens the weight of pain.
Oddly, there is an additional dynamic of depriving ourselves of pleasure as a way to register our protest with life for the pain that inevitably and periodically comes our way. The more we demand that life be only pleasure, and no pain, the more it creates an obstacle to that very thing we most want.
These dynamics can run under the radar. They’re not very rational or logical, but if you listen to the undercurrents of that “crazy little voice in your head” the next time life goes array, you might just unearth it. When you do hear it, befriend this part, and take the time to listen and interact with it. Bring truth where presently illogical and outmoded beliefs and strategies currently exist.
The antidote to the pain ~ pleasure paradox
“Face the inevitable pain that life brings and pleasure will follow – be undefended towards what life sends your way. This puts you in a state to be receptive to pleasure.”
The attitude that is conducive to pleasure is one of “quiet confidence, calm receptivity and expectancy, patient and un-anxious, unhurried and unworried”. * In other words when life is challenging lean into it rather than resisting and protesting. Accept the un-pleasurable with an undefended attitude, and pleasure will follow.
This is a tall order at first, and requires trust and faith to imprint this new stance over and over again. In this action, we address one of the most fundamental dualities of human life – pain and pleasure. Support to make this shift can be helpful. This is what I do in individual sessions of Unlock Pleasure. Consider that you’re attempting to imprint a whole new relationship with pleasure and with life. I’d love to support you in your movement to find the unity in these long-held dualities.
A supportive resource is the Pathwork Lecture on this very topic. *The quote above is taken from this lecture called Pleasure: The Full Pulsation of Life. You can access it at: https://pathwork.org/lectures/pleasure-the-full-pulsation-of-life/
Let me know how I can support to heal your pain/pleasure paradox.
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“Madeline offers a safe space to explore what it is that blocks our capacity to live in pleasure. She supports us to recognize our unhealthy associations with pleasure, so we can finally open up to that which provides real power, serenity and love.”