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An Invitation to Pleasure
September 8, 2016
I remember being in college and hearing the now familiar Joseph Campbell quote “follow your bliss”. To my young ears that seemed obvious. Why wouldn’t we pursue the things we most love? Life seemed full of endless possibilities, an open book to write in. Yet as I entered deeper and deeper into adulthood it seemed that responsibility and obligation became the prevalent themes of daily life; raising children, paying bills, navigating social interactions. Fast forward to mid-life ( Hey, aren’t I supposed to have a crisis here?) and many of the things I passionately loved were either thrown to the wayside or barely breathing. Through all of this a call to pleasure started pressing against all the walls of my life that were still unlived. I started questioning the decisions made from responsibility and nagging fear and felt that unless I stepped into the truest vision of my life I would be barely living.
Enter pleasure. The pleasure of realizing that often our deepest desires are the gifts we are supposed to give the world. As I stop and ask what brings me pleasure a new map of the possible guides me. One where I can align with my authentic purpose by following my heart’s longings. This feels like a radical reimagining, letting go of all the “supposed tos” to enter “what ifs”.
Pleasure can be the sign post leading us to purpose but it can also be the thing that changes our daily lives from drudgery to gratitude. What if today I really listened to my body and eat what it’s asking for? Will I choose a restorative or vigorous yoga practice because that’s what would make my body happy today? Can I listen to the call of pleasure and give myself moments of sublime solitude or engaged intimacy knowing what I really want? Sometimes it’s the everyday pleasures that become the building blocks for joy. Just for today, what brings you pleasure?