I have just returned from Burning Man. For me, this summer has been a series of adult events that are designed to allow people to express themselves, to play and to experience pleasure. This summer I got to play a lot, between Michigan Women’s Music Festival, Burning Man and Where Women Gather–not to mention other events I didn’t even make it to like FetFest, Dark Odyssey, Floating World and so many more adult environments where participants are encouraged not to come and watch, but to participate, to let loose, to connect and to express themselves more fully.
In my work, a lot of what I do is help people to experience pleasure, to play, to be free. I give them permission to do all of that without guilt. Most of us need the permission to step out of the confinements of whatever limiting behaviors we have been taught, and when we do, we find parts of ourselves that were lying dormant, wanting expression.
I consider myself to be a pleasure activist. Pleasure is one of the primary reasons we are here, and yet many anti-pleasure religions and organizations teach us to suppress our desire for pleasure, or to judge our desires so harshly that we do not allow ourselves to bust out and bask in the joy of feeling good.
We all have the right to the pursuit of happiness, and supposedly, that’s part of what brought the Europeans to the Americas to begin with. Yet, when they came, so did a puritanical buttoning down that kept the chastity belts tight and the drawers on.
Stop judging yourself because you have desire. You are supposed to have desire. We wouldn’t feel moved to do anything in the world without desire. We’d spend our whole lives stuck without desire. Desire is beautiful. Pleasure is our birthright. Whether you believe in a “God” or not, I don’t think any God would be so cruel as to give us the ability to feel pleasure and desire, to have orgasms, to experience ecstasy and then point a finger at us and tell us “NO! Don’t do that!” That would just be ridiculous. We are meant to use what we have and experience the ecstasy that is possible in nature, in love, in sex, in orgasm, in the divine, in creativity. How wonderful for us.
Give yourself permission to feel good. As long as you are not hurting yourself or someone else, there is nothing wrong with feeling good…in fact, there is everything right about it. Give your self-judgments a break and release the tightness that keeps you from pleasure. Touch your body. Engage your mind. See beauty. Eat deliciousness. Pleasure is your business, your birthright, your calling. Whatever it is that does that for you, take a bit of time for it today, and everyday. Otherwise, really, what’s the point?
If you need some permission to feel pleasure, allow me to provide it: we are not here to suffer! Pleasure is GOOD — it’s part of what makes you whole and connects you to all that is. And then hopefully, you’ll learn to just give yourself permission, because you really don’t need it from me. Go on and enjoy your day now. With Pleasure!