Desire is longing, anticipation, yearning, having and not having.
When I write about desire I often feel it as an ache, an empty space waiting to be filled, a delicious potential.
Pleasure is in the moment, embodied, felt and received.
When I write about pleasure it is in my active voice, it is something I have, something experienced.
I’ve been curious of late about the differences between these two, and the relationship between them. Why I am drawn to write about one more than the other. Why it sometimes feels more comfortable to write about longing than it does fulfilment.
Perhaps it comes down, in part, to owning the fact that – ultimately – I am responsible for my own pleasure. It is something inside of me, not something out there. My pleasure is something to be created rather than found. Yes, I can choose to co-create with a willing and enthusiastic other, but I can’t expect them to bring me my pleasure (like the old TV advert where the man swings through the high-rise window to present his chocolate box offering “all because the lady loves Milk Tray”).
We’re not taught this though. We are taught that desire is a sign of something we are lacking and need to obtain. We’re not taught that desire is a signpost to our inner world.
Desire is the seeds that we plant in our inner landscape. We nurture them. We attend to them. We allow them to grow and, when we are ready, we can enjoy the fruits and flowers of pleasure that harvesting them offers us.
It feels radical to know that my pleasure is already within me, waiting to be harvested.
And what about when I choose to share that pleasure? When I choose to add my fruits and flowers into the garden of another Eden where someone else’s seeds have been nurtured and grown too? We can share our mutual harvests but we need to each bring something to the table: I can’t expect to feast solely on their offerings and neither can I allow them to feast solely on mine.
We co-create our mutual pleasure, grown from the seeds of our individual desires.
Pleasure is embodied. And that means I have to allow myself to feel it. To feel excitement, joy, delight, rapture, and love.
Those are big feelings. Bold feelings. Courageous feelings.
Pleasure is not passive. Pleasure needs to be received, allowed, accepted. Desires can remain dormant until they are given the attention and actions they need to grow, evolve, and – if we choose – be realised.
I’ve been taught how to brush the feelings of want and longing under the carpet, to shift my focus away from them and onto something ‘more important’. But if I never nurture my desires, how can I allow myself to fully understand and enjoy pleasure?
And pleasure is important! It feeds into my vitality, my wellbeing, and my ability to make my contribution to the world. We all benefit from pleasure. We each remember who we truly are – touch our soul’s magnificence – through pleasure.
Walking my desire lines is my active pursuit of pleasure. But my desire lines are also about more than just pleasure. Walking my desire lines is my path to self-awareness and self-understanding, my path to self-expression. Ultimately, walking my desire lines is my path to embracing more than just the potential for pleasure; I walk to step into pleasure, bringing the whole of me on the journey – body, mind, and soul.
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