Core Value #3 Pleasure
One of the most important core values that I teach is Pleasure. In fact, it really is the foundation of EVERYTHING we do in our classes. We practice moving in a way that feels good rather than worrying about what looks good. In both improvisational movement, as well as choreography, we are always striving to notice what feels good and follow where that sensation of pleasure leads us physically, mentally and emotionally. Often times opening us up to insights, discoveries, resolutions and affirmations.
Pleasure is the orientation of everything we do. It is like a treasure hunt where you gather pleasure clues. You follow the thread of pleasure and when you come upon something that doesn’t feel good you simply let it go and continue looking for where the pleasure is. You will often hear me say in class, “find what feels good and dig-in!” What I mean by that is to surrender. Let yourself go deeper into the feeling. Let go and give yourself to the feeling. Find out how much pleasure you can actually hold.
When we are able to drop into our bodies and feel pleasure it transmits to those around us, we give off a vibration of pleasure and it impacts the world around us. In Move the Earth, our sensual ecstatic dance event, you can see this. When one woman opens to her full pleasure in her dance, she gives other women permission to do the same. From there, there is a ripple effect of permission and soon the whole room is in ecstasy.
In a performative sense the audience can feel it too. A live show is a co-created experience, the performer is expressing something and the audience is responding, it is an energetic conversation. As a sensual dance performer, I practice allowing myself to fill up with pleasure. The audience feels it and they respond to what they feel rather than to what they see, making how it looks secondary. One of my former dance teachers used to say, “as performers we are doing what the audience wishes they could do.” It is a privilege. We get to express ourselves in ways most people never will. In that sense, we are serving them. Giving them access to their own emotions, feelings, possibilities, permission and inspiration. It’s magic.
So often we shy away from what feels good out of fear. We fear people will judge us, we will look bad, we fear we are not “allowed,” we fear we will offend someone, we fear we are going too far, we aren’t doing it “right,” we are being too much, and on and on. We rarely let ourselves feel the full spectrum and capacity of what feels good. We limit ourselves to accommodate others or to protect ourselves. The problem with this habit is that we end up being estranged form our pleasure. We don’t really know what feels good. We don’t trust it. Interpersonally, this can make it hard to ask for what we want and need because we don’t really know. In fact, not knowing our pleasure is also not knowing our pain as no experience is without its opposite. It is very rare, especially for women, to make pleasure a priority and without getting too deep down the rabbit hole, I will just say that I believe it is a highly underrated tool in our healing practices.
This practice of pleasure, is a pathway to accessing other feelings, emotions, and sensations we are having. Whether it be rage, excitement, joy, grief etc. The simple act of creating room to feel pleasure opens the flood gates to feeling everything. Yikes! That sounds kind of intense! Why is that important? Well, it depends on what you value in your life. For me, getting to know myself in a deeper fuller way, allows for a richer quality of life. I feel I am experiencing the full spectrum of my life and that is really important to me. It can be scary and extremely challenging at times but ultimately I feel more free and the price of admission is well worth it.
To follow you pleasure is to say Yes! To accept and love the body and being you are. It is an act of self-love and that is truly revolutionary. You are worthy of feeling pleasure, and you are allowed to feel pleasure, it is your birth-right. I invite you to practice following the thread of pleasure on your own. Notice when something feels good. Take a moment and let yourself slow down a little there. “Dig-in,” to the feeling, see if you can let it expand just a little. Notice when something feels bad. Can you simply let it go? Are there other options that might be more pleasurable in the moment? Try this out and notice how it impacts your life. As always I love to hear your experience. Reach out and let me know how it’s going!