What do you think of when you hear the word ‘pleasure’? Do you think of fluffy blankets, delicious meals with friends, a good film? Or do you think of pleasure as being something a bit naughty, slightly scandalous, or something you might get in trouble for?
And what about the word ‘hedonism’? Does this word make you think of self-indulgence and selfishness? Of people who live only for themselves, going from sensation to sensation without considering if their actions are affecting others?
People tend to think of hedonism as being all about physical pleasure – a bit of a ‘sex, drugs, and rock and roll’ sort of vibe – and often confuse pleasure with this version of hedonism. Interestingly, hedonism originally simply meant living a life motivated by pleasure, as opposed to living a life motivated by pain. MOTIVATED being the key word here.
I’ll spare you a detailed explanation of the different philosophies of hedonism, but this idea of living a life where pleasure is your driving force is something I fully support.
Does this mean you have no pain? No. Does this mean you avoid pain? No.
It simply means making decisions from a place where you have the awareness of what will actually bring you pleasure – in the long term and in the moment.
To do that, you must first truly know yourself. Put simply, that means being honest with yourself about what you would like out of life.
Then you need to figure out what brings you pleasure, so you can find the most pleasurable way to approach the challenging things in your life.
Does this mean it will make it easy? No. But it will make it easier.
Now you might be thinking … the idea of living from pleasure sounds a bit decadent, maybe even self-indulgent, perhaps selfish and shallow.
I firmly believe living from pleasure allows you to find your purpose, passion, and path in life.
Many people have made the mistake of craving constant comforts, believing that this is what it means to live from pleasure. This is a mistake.
Seeking pleasure means to find the most pleasurable way through a task, a situation and job. By seeking what brings you pleasure, you discover what lights you up and brings you joy – and this is how you find your calling, your purpose and mission in life.
Seeking means you have your mind focused on a pleasurable approach as opposed to doing something because you are afraid of a particular outcome. That is what I mean by being MOTIVATED by pleasure as opposed to pain.
When you are motivated from pleasure by following your desires, you discover treasures within yourself that can lead you to your bliss.
So how do you figure out how to move from pleasure? No need to worry; I’m here to help. (You’re welcome.)
Grab a notebook, and let’s do a bit of journaling. (Or, as I like to say, ‘Let’s get journally!’)
I’d like you to take a moment and imagine what your life would look like if it was filled with pleasure. Be detailed – where would you live? What would you wear? What sort of meals would you eat? How would you spend your days? Really enjoy this visualisation, and write down what you imagine. Go ahead and pause this if you want – I’ll be here.
Now, look at what you’ve written. What themes or elements do you see repeating? What stands out to you? What are you most drawn to? When I say ‘drawn to’, I mean more than just what takes your fancy. I’m talking about what really pulls you in and feels like a fire in your belly. This is your pleasure, your desire calling out to you. It’s time to listen.
It might feel scary to think of living in pleasure at first. You might worry about seeming self-indulgent, or you might be confused by some of the ideas you’re pulled towards. But this is where the magic happens – this is your intuition speaking to you.
Intuition speaks loudest when you connect to your body through a listening and awareness movement practice each day.