Pleasure means different things to different people. A few weeks ago when my canoe camping trip was being planned, one woman in the group wrote to say: “Nope, I won’t be there. Camping in a tent does nothing for me.” I love to hear people say clearly what does or doesn’t work for them.
If you feel like pleasure is a bit of a mystery to you, or that it’s hard to get, here are two things I’ve learned.
You have to take the time to really explore what gives you pleasure. You may notice some tried and true things that light you up, and some of those things will change over the phases of your life. You have to be willing to let go, to let yourself change, to be open to new possibilities.
Trying things on sometimes means taking a risk. I’m not talking about dare devil feats, although that may be your particular doorway to pleasure. I’m talking about daring to get out of your rut, daring to put yourself into less than comfortable situations, to allow yourself to be stretched. What would that mean for you?
Last month I was preparing for a poetry concert. A poetry concert is when you memorize favorite poems – in my case, poems that reflect the different aspects of pleasure – and offer them to an audience with your own particular flair. My concert includes cello music along with the poems.
I had never done a poetry concert before. I was going to get up in front of 40 or so people and recite 13 poems from memory. It’s not a particularly comfortable thing for me to do, but oddly it feels incredibly pleasurable. I love to speak the poems. I love to share the power of a poem’s message with others. I love the energetic space I get into when I speak them out loud. I have a passion for speaking certain poems and deeply believe people need to hear them.
I don’t know exactly how this would go. I maybe I’d flub some lines, I could even go blank. I couldn’t predict how I would do, or what would happen, but I want to find out. There was pleasure and fear, but also excitement in the adventure of it all.
Not all pleasures require taking a risk, but some do. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to get to it? Do you even let yourself know those things that you both fear and long for? Are there places you just don’t let yourself go? These very things may be your doorway to pleasure.
What risks have you taken that led you to pleasure?
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“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.’ “