photo by @jeremybishop
What happens when we as a collective center pleasure as a form of care, justice and liberation? I have been exploring this concept in my life and also in my offerings particularly InterPlay, deeply guided by the work of adrienne maree brown and her book Pleasure Activism.
I have found Pleasure Activism to be an incredibly powerful approach to healing that not only affects the individuals engaging in the practice but all of those who in turn come in contact with them. Pleasure, compassion, and care intersect with each other and promote a more just society where we have the agency and capacity to care for ourselves and each other.
It gives me great hope that I can center pleasure as not only a practice that allows for well-being but as a loving form of rebellion against oppression, a form of individual and collective perseverance and strength for me and so many others in my communities and my ancestral lineage.
photo by @rosiekerr
The permission that is the foundation of the work, according to adrienne maree brown, is a reclaiming of “our whole, happy, and satisfiable selves from the impacts, delusions, and limitations of oppression and/or supremacy.” This reclaiming is in complete opposition to what makes up many principles of capitalism and oppression as it centers abundance, our natural goodness and enough-ness, and tuning into what offers us happiness and making space for that. It is a reclaiming of the gratitude and celebration of the miraculous nature of the earth and all of the earth’s creatures. It emphasizes that pleasure is not related to accumulation, money, materialism, greed, or excess.
“It turns out, being present is the most important part of every single experience in my life.” — adrienne maree brown
I was never taught about pleasure growing up. It wasn’t something I or anyone that I knew placed value on. The value was in acquiring wealth and fancy objects, in assimilating to the dominant culture, in being perfect with the perfect house, career, family, etc. It always seemed so strange to me how acquiring something off that list only bought fleeting happiness followed by worry about what if I lose this or a quick momentum onto the next item on the list to be happy again.
I slowly gave up on the list and began allowing myself to be led by the simple moments of connection, the times of ease and expansion, the present moment experiences of aliveness, that I found great wisdom in and which seemed like sustainable forms of not only joy but vitality. By being with these experiences, I could see more clearly and live in harmony with life, with my experiences, with the universe, rather than the previous disharmony of always needing myself, someone, or something to be different, to be better.
photo by @azharckra
Is it possible for justice and pleasure to feel the same way in our collective body? Could we make justice and liberation the most pleasurable collective experiences we could have? — adrienne maree brown
What’s your relationship to pleasure? Is it something you could make more space for and see as a form of care?
Is it possible to see a connection, a companionship between justice and pleasure and for it to be a collective embodied experience?
Feel into what arises in the body in contemplation of this.
Imagine the type of world we could live in if this was all of our embodied experiences. A pleasure devoid of materialism, oppression, supremacy, greed or narcissism. A pleasure that is simply a reclaiming of the whole selves we always were before systemic oppression and associated trauma, before the conditioning around scarcity and inequities, before the retelling around our good enough-ness.
A world where everyone knows how good enough they truly are. A world where your mere existence validates that fact again and again.
adrienne maree brown writes: “Do you understand that you, as you are, who you are, is enough?” She asks us to be “stay mindful of our relationship to enough.”
What if you could feel that sense of enough-ness permeating into your every pore, your every breath? Would you welcome it in, make space, and invite it to tea? It’s here and available whenever you’re ready. I’m happy to remind you of this whenever you need it: You, as you are, who you are, is enough. Always have been and always will be.