For most of my life I have struggled with the concept of pleasure.
What is it? Should I have it? Should I not have it? Is it good? Is it bad? Is it spiritual?
In the human energy body, pleasure is all about the second chakra. This would be your pelvic region, lower abdomen, lower back and reproductive organs — that general area.
The second chakra is an energy center that is about emotions, sexuality, sensuality, nurturing, desires, needs, creativity, reproduction and the element of water. The gremlin (shadow) in the 2nd chakra is guilt. The second chakra is highly feminine. It’s the the high seat of receptivity and flow; allowing intake, as opposed to making things happen. (That one’s 3rd chakra and we’ll tackle that one another time.)
I was brought up in a Christian Protestant culture of “work until you drop” and “you have to earn it.”
Pleasure had to be justified. Always.
This led to a lot of guilt and shutting down; even frowning upon people who “indulged.” (Ah, how weak they must be!) As if cutting off pleasure was somehow more commendable, more pure, more noble.
It was a case of “work hard, play hard,” which created a toxic condition called, “I’ve been a good girl and played by the rules for such a long time, I deserve that dress/quart of ice cream/glass of wine,” (even if it kills me).
However, compensatory pleasures are not really pure pleasures. They’re driven by a need to make up for something else. A void somewhere, a feeling of lack.
For me, it was about being so deep in my emotional and spiritual closet that I didn’t even have a clue where to start unraveling that undefinable “longing for something.” So I nurtured myself in the ways I knew and had been taught: food, sex, entertainment and consuming things. As a result, I went through some years of bulimia, depression and a pretty scanty bank account.
But I kept asking questions and exploring. Here are some thoughts and discoveries that emerged from those questions…
Advertising sells us pleasure by “original sin.”It’s guilty, you shouldn’t really have it, so have it before anyone sees you. Your dirty little secret. Or, it sells us pleasure through rebellion to guilt. I know you think I shouldn’t have it, but I’m gonna have it anyway! Look at me have it all! Or, it sells us pleasure through sex. Even ice cream is sold with female nudity these days.
I’m wondering, does the sensual always have to be sexual?
What if pleasure had nothing to do with sex or spending money?
(It could, but didn’t necessarily have to.) Guilt takes away the pleasure. It drives the need for pleasure, but when you have it, you don’t allow yourself to really enjoy it.
Or you enjoy it with a feeling of rebellion, which is also the same as not really allowing it, since you’re positioning yourself against an outer set of rules that dictate what you get to want and have and what you don’t. Which again, makes you want more, since you’re not really satisfied.
What if pleasure was actually about awareness of the moment and about the ability to receive?
Our society teaches us how to want and what to want. It’s like a parent teaching a child how to play. The child already knows how to play, but the parent is exerting control by putting up rules about what playing should look like. Media is engineered to do the same.
But what if you could unplug from that matrix?
What if your pleasure was primarily yours, not subjected to a checklist of possible wants and needs provided by someone else?
What if your needs and wants and desires are particular to you? What if you could find pleasure in the most surprising things and places?
Learn to jump into pleasure like a child. Receive it as if you absolutely deserve it. Because you do!
I was walking on the street the other day. I was walking down a road that had recently been repaved and the tarmac was still a bit sticky. As I walked it stuck to my soles and as my shoe left the surface it made a funny, crinkly crunchy sound. I was mesmerized by it. I just couldn’t get enough of that sound. Every step was a childish pleasure.
Pleasure is creative. it’s playful. it’s innocent. It is everywhere, it is eternally accessible. We just need to tune in to it.
How creative are you with your pleasures?
The pleasure body.
What if your bodily pleasure wasn’t for someone else to look at or judge?
What if your body was beautiful and eternally deserving of pleasure?
Today, it is widely accepted that women have the right to sexual pleasure. The right to own a mind-blowing orgasm. But what if this was only a small part of what constitutes bodily pleasure?
For example, when did you move your body just for the pleasure or moving it? When did you dance just for the pleasure of moving your body to music, without anyone else watching or participating? Or did you decide at some point that your steps were the wrong steps, or that the kind of body you have isn’t supposed to move the way it wants to?
When did you shame yourself out of the pleasure of movement? When did you decide that your dance sho`uld be “sexy” or “choreographed” or “any-other-label”?
When did you touch your own skin with love? So often we wait for other people to touch our skin. As if that’s the only touching that counts. As if, if you relate to your own body by touching it, it would only remind you of the lack of another person’s touch. What if that was all wrong? What if your skin was here to be touched by you yourself, first of all?
When did you last touch your own skin? Start right now. Hug your belly. Or give yourself an oil massage. Take time to massage warm pure oil into your skin. Take at least 15 minutes. Take extra care with parts of your physical being that you feel critical about.
This is especially healing for women. Re-defining our relationship to our bodily pleasure is a work of forgiveness and healing. It’s saying to ourselves and our bodies: I’m so sorry I’ve been driving me so hard and driving my needs away. I’m sorry I haven’t been listening to my own brilliant feedback, my quirky, singular, unique needs and whisperings. I’m ready to start this sensual journey with myself now. I’m ready to unplug from what other people tell me I want, and discover what I truly want and need.
Relationship of pleasure.
What advertising capitalizes on is our need for love, nurturing and connection. We see commercials where perfectly put together families eat together, or lovers share a treat. If we didn’t have that kind of family ourselves, we might make the assumption that the product will give us the connections we crave. (I sure did.)
But that never happened, and it will never happen. The love is not in the chocolate, it’s not in the pasta sauce, it’s not in the candy. It’s just not there. We provide the emotional framework for our own wanting. Connection only comes from connecting. Love only comes from loving.
Sure, we can enjoy a nice meal while we’re at it, but the product is never going to still the need of authentic connection, of being seen and understood. How do we detox ourselves from these lack-based dreams, without having to go to the extreme of renouncing the physical world altogether?
I walked into this great chocolate shop for some chocolates for a party. I was taking my time browsing the selection, I had a nice conversation with the shop lady and as we spoke she offered me a piece of chocolate to try. It was the most perfect, unplanned pleasure. Spontaneously connecting to another person, being offered this lovely piece and the pleasure of having it as well as the pleasure of sharing the experience.
What if you could find pleasure in all kinds of relationships? What if it was easy to connect with other people – opening the door for someone, exchanging a smile, giving a compliment or receiving one? What if there was no boundary or judgement; only the pleasure of connecting to another person?
Where pleasure becomes spiritual.
Breathing deeply is a profound spiritual practice and one of the biggest pleasures of being alive.
We have moved out of the patriarchal frequencies of “mind over matter” and into the Aquarian frequency of embodying spirit. This is a feminine principle; an exaltation of the earth, integrating the realm of the body with the spiritual dimension. Opening our eyes to accepting the body as our spiritual engine. The vessel of our spirit, the holder of our energy body – our chakras, energy channels and the anchor of our etheric bodies.
Spiritual pleasures are light. They carry higher frequencies than the purely physical. So it can take some awake-ness to start being awake to the pleasures of your soul.
When did you allow yourself to feel devotion? To chant a psalm/hymn/mantra/spiritual song on the top of your lungs? To connect to your heart? To connect to Mother Earth by burying your toes deep in the earth, or by leaning against a tree?
Because spiritual pleasures are so light, we don’t always recognize them for what they are. We might not even believe they’re possible for us. An acquaintance once commented: “Me, spiritual? The only spirit in me is the wine I drink with my dinner.”
Yet, when this person had the experience of connecting to spirit by chanting sacred writings, she told me, “I just couldn’t stop. I was crying and reading and I just couldn’t stop.” Something stirred in her soul so deeply, but she wasn’t awake to it; she didn’t recognize it as a need and a pleasure of the Soul.
Sometimes we take on someone else’s spiritual rules and values and don’t allow ourselves to make up our own. When have you denied your spiritual needs and pleasures because of what someone else said or made you feel about your spirituality? When did you stop talking to Jesus based on what some bible-basher told you?
When did you stop connecting with your Source because of what others told you about God? Knowing yourself as a child of the Universe is one of the greatest pleasures of existence. It is an inner coziness that can never be taken away from you.
Connecting to your personal pleasure is a revolution. Connecting to personal pleasure as a woman is something that will change the lives of generations to come. Because as we start taking our needs and pleasures seriously, we start raising ourselves to a new standard of self-respect, sovereignty and leadership.
As we define our own pleasures, we don’t need others to define them for us. Our lives become filled with pleasures big and small, as we keep recognizing them in every moment. We open ourselves to the abundance and prosperity of the flow of life. Life becomes cozy and magical. We deserve it. It’s why we came here.