Did you know that #teamMDS has a resident Pleasure Sorceress? If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you already know – that’s me!
The team bestowed that title on me because of my commitment to learning from pleasure, finding the pleasure in the painful moments, and allowing others to recognize and emphasize how pleasure plays a role in their own growth.
All of this means I’m constantly exploring the edges of my own relationship with pleasure and how I prioritize it on my personal growth journey. (I call this the Pleasured Path.)
We’re used to learning from pain. Life is so full of difficult, painful moments that we immediately try to find the meaning: “There must be a lesson in here. There must be something I can do with this pain.” The pain has to be “worth it.”
There is tremendous power in pleasure, and the potential for growth and healing within it is almost inconceivable.
I know this because I’ve spent the last two or three years exploring the depth, breadth, and potential of choosing the pleasured path through conversations, observing my own experiences, and even looking into scientific research.
It turns out that learning from pleasure is tricky because it’s so outside of what we’re used to.
When something amazing and magical happens to us, we don’t think, “There must be a lesson here. There must be something I can do with this pleasure.” Not only do we not think the pleasure has to be “worth it,” we rarely think it’s worth much of anything at all.
There are so many ways we ignore or bypass pleasure. We don’t even stick around long enough to ask what the pleasurable experience taught us because we’ve moved on to gratitude or calm or finding the meaning in the next painful moment.
It’s also uncommon for us to do something simply because it feels good. And this, I realized recently, is where my current edge is.
Even knowing how much value there is in choosing pleasure, even with all the research and anecdotal evidence – I was still afraid of fully trusting pleasure, exploring, and deepening pleasure in my own life.
I was still getting caught up in the old stories I had about pleasure being frivolous, play being pointless, and success being meaningless if it did not come from suffering and sacrifice.
Given how much darkness has surfaced recently all around us, I suppose it was natural for me to reconnect with those stories in such a big way. And yet, moving through all this darkness requires an even stronger commitment to the light. How can we return to the light if we forget or refuse to acknowledge that it’s there?
What can we do when we see that we’re pushing against a personal edge in our growth and development?
Usually we know we’re at an edge because things start to feel uncomfortable around that particular area of our life. Perhaps it’s earning more money, receiving more love and attention in a relationship, or simply how we experience something in our lives – like me with pleasure.
These are often the areas where we do the most “work” in our personal development, and while they can leave us feeling frustrated (“Didn’t I do this already? Haven’t I been here before?”), there’s usually pure magic on the other side of it. I’ve started to think of it as the calm before the pleasure explosion, because, why not?
I’ve identified three key things I love turning to when I’m pushing against an edge. These three steps keep me feeling empowered along my pleasured path.
1) Get to the core of what’s happening
No matter how ugly or painful it might be. In order to grow through any edge, you need to become clear about what’s going on. Why is it an edge? Where is the opportunity to connect more deeply with yourself and your truth? What stories have you wrapped up in this area of your life? For me, freewriting and EFT/Tapping are the most powerful tools to get to the bottom of all of this. Both of these have the ability to provide an easy access point to reveal all the crap festering inside of you. Once you’re clear on what’s going on, you can move on with more confidence and clarity.
2) Say yes to any opportunity that gently pushes against that edge.
Usually, once you’ve come up against an edge, opportunities that push you even more into it start to pop up naturally. This is happening so that we can choose a new way forward and grow through whatever that edge is. So, if earning more money is the edge, a new opportunity might manifest that causes you to say, “This feels amazing and so fun! But how on earth will this work?!” In my experience, saying yes provides the opening you need to explore the “how.”
3) Stay curious and open… and keep choosing pleasure.
Everything happens in layers, of course, so it’s not as simple as, “Well, I learned that lesson forever. Go me, I’m done!” I’ve found that if we approach every experience as a learning opportunity and approach things with childlike curiosity rather than judgment, we open ourselves up to a more pleasurable and impactful experience. In that way, we can honor our growth and continue to expand as easily and naturally as possible.
Is there an edge you’ve been coming up against lately? I’d love to hear how you deal with these growth opportunities.