My greatest desire is to know life deeply. For my life to be a prayer, for my hours to be spent awake to what's alive in me and what's alive in the world.
I don't wish to simply observe. I want to participate, heart open wide. Forget stoicism or transcendence of the human experience. There is a whole range of experience that I hold and cherish as they pulse through my body - from grief and anguish to the fire in my belly to profound pleasure and joy.
Maybe, like me, this idea of really living - of experiencing the rich pleasures of life: of play, laughter, fierce love and an open, tender heart - have been a little uncomfortable or completely off-limits. I didn't understand just how much I would hold myself away from engaging with life fully until we moved to Hawaii and even when I said hell yes to surfing, to hiking, to blissful enjoyment of living there was a niggle of uncertainty that I was really allowed to experience all of this goodness, all of this pleasure.
We all deserve joy, pleasure and delight.
Here's what I discovered: I was holding a belief that somehow, because I'm not "beautiful" that I don't deserve pleasure - I felt like I was stealing those experiences, that only people who are beautiful are allowed sensual, playful and full-force life pleasure.
This started unravelling when I was reviewing the incredible experiences of pleasure and joy I've had in my life - peak experiences. As I took myself fully into each experience and felt the joy wash over me, that voice (you know the one, we've all got one) boomed, "You don't deserve pleasure and joy because you are not beautiful." Fortunately, I had a moment of sanity and asked myself what beauty really is to me - defining what I find beautiful in myself and in others.
Within 5 minutes, that ridiculous believe had dissolved in my tears of recognition that super-model, blonde, skinny or no - by my own definition, I am beautiful and worthy of the pleasure and delight of knowing life fully.
I know among the people I know and work with, there are these hidden pockets of self-denial. These ways that we've let culture tell us what we can and cannot have, do or be. I believe that's why true pleasure can be so uncomfortable for so many people. The story may be different, but the result is the same - a whole slew of people who've shut down their own access to pleasure, bliss, love, play and joy.
Fuck that, sister. No matter what your story, you can access natural and joyful states of pleasure. But you might have to walk through some really shitty stories to get there.
Let me remind you why you should care.
We, as humans, are built for pleasure. We are built to enjoy life - with a capacity for great love and incredible sorrow. So when I say "enjoy life" I am not referring to numbing out with wine or food or endless TV shows and calling that "enjoyment" - I'm talking about living. Open-hearted and heart-breaking living that embraces the capacity for deep and abiding pleasure and the sensual, very alive nature of all our emotions and the experiences available to us. It's messy. And beautiful. And it's what you are made of and made for.
We are born whole and complete with a wealth of resources and skills that are instinctual. Play and pleasure and problem solving are instinctual - they also connect you deeply to creativity, growth and clarity, three things that 100% of the women I work with want to have access to at all times (because they are a rich source of abundance). So as many stories that may stand between you and claiming pleasure for yourself, it is totally worth it to wade through all that bullshit and let it go.
Do you want to know life deeply, or what?
If you want it, it's so worth it to unravel the stories that make you "forget" to do the things you love or make you "too busy" or encourage you to go numb and stay asleep.
I believe that you have the capacity to open your heart wide and say yes to life and to the world. I believe that you can let yourself have the experiences you wish to have, embrace it all, lean into life and love and pleasure. Your heart is vast enough to hold it all, sister.
It won't destroy you.
Or maybe it will, but it will be glorious - far better than staying numb or asleep or locked up, trying to stay 'safe'. No, it will be heart-opening, beautiful, passionate and utterly glorious.
I invite you to consider whether you are allowing yourself the pleasure of living your life. I invite you to notice what you aren't doing that you heart-achingly want to do. You get to choose. My deepest wish for you is that you choose to say yes to yourself and to the whole, beautiful catastrophe of life. May you know the pleasure of your life and the world deeply, madly, truly.