If you’ve been following along at home and are tracking the last couple weeks you know that I’ve been looking into joy, pleasure, and my recipe for growth. 

As odd as it has been for me to discover that in order for me to experience more joy that I’d have to lean into discomfort, that’s exactly what was needed. I’ll remind you, growth = pain + time + intention. And growth meaning going from one way of being to another. 

I think I’m really onto something here so I’m sharing some additional discoveries. 

For a really long time when I was asked what I did for fun I would reply that I loved going to the gym. And I thought it was pleasurable and that I felt joy. It started not making sense after I was called out for doing something that most considered painful and torturous in the gym. The truth was, it wasn’t fun and it sure wasn’t pleasurable. The practice of fitness did provide benefits and I’d been misinterpreting benefits for joy. Not the same. 

Another thing that I realized was that I like high sensation experiences-adrenaline junky in street terms. My intention is/was to create intense feelings in myself in order to not feel other things, things like pain and grief from trauma that I’d experienced. This is known as hyperarousal. Basically it’s a distraction, a simple coping mechanism to avoid deeper pain. Smart, simple, and resourceful. 

To add to all of that, it made me seek out ways to continue to get hits of dopamine. That little feel good bump from some minor but continuous feed of the next thing. And the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. 

The problem with this is that my world became about finding relief from pain and grief rather than facing it and healing it. I experienced the lack of pain as joy except that joy and pleasure are much different. They aren’t the absence of something they’re the presence of something, and/or even deeper, a state of being. 

The world that was created from all of this was that of distraction, discontent, and a hunger for the what’s next?

I’ve been sitting still for a long time through regular meditation. For years I’ve reaped benefits from it but there was an opportunity for something else. What was lacking was the intention to face my pain and hunt it down rather than hide and hope that it would someday just become less powerful through desensitized living. Spend time with that part of me. Sit down, shut up, and get cozy with the discomfort. 

Most of this was the result of believing that I don’t deserve to be happy or to experience deep pleasure. When I came close to either of those I’d simply shut down. I’d disassociate, get into my head, and not “experience” pleasure. 

Discontent is a funny animal. I mostly thought that it was a result of not enough. For me, contentment is recognizing that I already have all I need, as a matter a fact, more than I actually need. When I hold that in my consciousness I get a lot more intimate with gratitude. 

The low hanging fruit in all of this is that I don’t need more when the easiest thing to do is to more fully enjoy what I already have. I only experience anywhere from 50%-80% of the joy available to me so I don’t deserve to have more pleasure if I can’t appreciate the pleasure I have.

Beauty is all around you, so is love, and yes, pleasure too. Where are you missing the boat?

The opportunity:

Do you have a regular practice of pleasure?

How much are you sitting still?

What is your biggest cause of imagined disconnect?

Thanks for your time, have a great day.