I'm taking a one-week pleasure reboot workshop from health coach Jenna Abernathy (www.divinehunger.com) and she has some very wise things to say. I was attracted to the workshop not only because I know Jenna (she was my yoga coach for a while) but because the Enneagram workshop I attended 10 days ago made it really clear that for Ones the spiritual path lies through pleasure. We are really good at hard work and problem-solving and actually pretty lousy at having a good time. So I thought I'd take some lessons.
One of the first things Jenna said really struck me. "Eating to run away from stress is not pleasure." Wow!
It made me think about all the alcohol and food I have consumed greedily, desperately, untastingly. I wasn't looking for pleasure. I was looking to get numb. In many ways, sex was the same thing. And work. I didn't want to be feeling what I was feeling so I drank or ate or worked until the feelings went away or went further in. Yet I would have said that I enjoyed all those ice cream bars or cookies or caramels or glasses of wine or things checked off my to do list.
And maybe, in my own way, I did. But if eating or drinking or working to escape the negative is not a positive, then I think I will have to admit I may not really know what pleasure feels like. All these many years I have equated it with relief, with making that discomfort, that loneliness, that sadness, that anger or fear go away, when it may have just brought me to neutral.
One of our challenges this week is make a list of pleasures for ourselves. No wonder I'm stymied.