You have a right to feel good in your skin. It is, in fact, a divinely given right bequeathed to you via your senses, who, like tiny angelic messengers, are constantly bringing you a bounty of sensations upon which to feast.
Your breath | Your skin |Your sight | Your taste |Your hearing | Your smell.
We live in a culture that is terrified of pleasure. “It’s…sexual,” we’ve been told in furtive tones, “It’s just indecent! If we let it take over, who knows what will happen next!” Our pleasurable responses have been strapped down and brow-beaten until they are anemic and sickly.
Because pleasure is power.
Wars are fought over the restraint of pleasure. Women enshrouded head to foot, both sexes circumcised, emotions shoved down, sexuality twisted into dysfunction. So when we do have the occasional pleasurable moment, we almost immediately revert to shame (“You shouldn’t have eaten that cake/ slept with that man/ bought that velvet couch”) or start dreading its imminent demise (“This can’t last/ I don’t deserve to feel like this”). We don’t dare trust that we could actually feel good and not be somehow punished for our impertinence.
You have a right to pleasure.
And not just sexual pleasure; you have the right to claim the subtle pleasures that are embedded in the fabric of every moment. The pleasure of breathing and feeling your lungs stretch, the smell of your coffee, the feeling of your favorite sweater, the taste of your food, the sound of your children’s voices. Most of the time, we rush past these delicacies and move on to “doing something important.” I, for one, have eaten far too many un-tasted meals.
But we have to be brave. When we allow ourselves to feel, we get present to NOW and WHO we ARE, which is utterly exposing. And feeling pleasure may open us to feeling other emotions that may not initially seem quite so appealing. Fear, anxiety, sadness, longing.
But here’s the wild paradox: you can feel pain and pleasure at the same time. You can be uncomfortable, sad, even devastated – and still marinate in the deliciousness of your life. In fact, those emotional colors will actually heighten your ability to feel pleasure more thoroughly, more completely, and in every moment.
Imagine a world where we dared to claim our right to pleasure. Where we didn’t have to wait to be perfect, or pretty enough, or successful enough to embrace the sensations of our lives. Where we are already beautiful, delicious, and fully sexy. Feeling pleasure makes the preciousness of our life unavoidable. Having a greater connection to our feelings leads to empathy, joy, truth, and deep relationship. Ultimately, feeling pleasure will lead us to joy and peace.
We must actively cultivate our capacity for pleasure.
We must practice opening ourselves afresh to the exquisite sensations of being alive.
The Pleasure Manifesto:
- I am a delicious and miraculous child of the Universe.
- I claim pleasure as my birthright and accept full-heartedly the gifts of my senses.
- I relish my body’s aliveness, sensations, and vibrancy.
- I discard shame as an antiquated social imposition, and I feel the pleasure of each and every moment.
- I am brave and choose to live more fully, freely, and passionately NOW.