Does pleasure make you nervous?

I’ve been getting some great questions as the beginning of The Great Pleasure Challenge approaches on December 1st. If you’re thinking about joining, but you’re a little hesitant or intimidated, this one’s for you!

Is The Great Pleasure Challenge scaring you?

‚ÄčIs the thought of joining The Great Pleasure Challenge making you quake in your boots? Are you worried that participating means your children will go hungry, your pets will be forlorn, you’ll lose your job because you won’t show up anymore or your family will hate you for not being your usual make-everyone-happy self? Or are you worried that I will make you do things that you really don’t want to do?

Oh, babes. Those would be really scary!

Let me put you at ease. I’ll take these one by one.

Pleasure vs. Obligations

First of all I recognize that we all have responsibilities that we can’t shirk, even if they bring us no pleasure (though take note of what those responsibilities are. I have a special exercise for them in the Challenge). Every one of you will get to create parameters for yourself and your life so that the Challenge can work with your specific set of circumstances. (And I should make it very clear that doing what is in your pleasure will never mean doing anything to someone else without their express permission. Expansion is only possible in safety, and expansion is absolutely what we’re going for)

When I conducted the experiment that inspired the Challenge in my own life I had a set of rules for myself, one of which was that I had to feed my child, no matter what. That may not sound like a big deal but if you have kids then you know that sometimes meal time is ROUGH and very much something it would be nice to shirk. My simple rule meant that my kid would eat no matter what. I was never very fearful of becoming a negligent parent, squalidly bathing in a hedonistic indulgence of my desires (that sounds pretty fun though, honestly) because I knew that the whole reason I was conducting such an experiment was precisely because I possessed an outsized sense of responsibility and obligation.

Setting Rules to Create Safe Exploration

You get to have rules that keep the people (and furry creatures) who depend on you safe and well cared for. The first day of the challenge we’ll take some time to establish what your particular rules are because maybe your children are perfectly capable of feeding themselves. Or maybe rather than children, it is aging parents who will need to be provided for. Or you absolutely must show up for work no matter what (this is shocking and you should reconsider your career – PLEASE KNOW I AM KIDDING). The point is that you get to engage with The Challenge according to your own life circumstances. Such a a relief, right?

Ruffling family members’ feathers

Now, regarding family hating you: I sincerely hope that is not the case. But some ruffled feathers might happen. If you’ve been people-pleasing for a long time (maybe your whole life) then it’s possible that people in your life have come to depend on you showing up in a specific way. It could shake things up a little. I would argue that is a GOOD thing but I’m aware that there’s a lot of pressure at the Holidays to make things perfect (which is another reason why running the very first Pleasure Challenge this time of year is so radical and edgy). It can be helpful to give your loved ones a heads up about what to expect from you for the next three weeks. In fact, I would say that if you live with other people PLEASE give them a heads up about what you’re doing. Communication and knowing what to expect will go a long way towards preventing any rufflement. (Note: Challenge participants will be receiving some helpful scripts to make some of those conversations easier).

But really the BEST way to avoid any of that is to invite them to take the Challenge with you. Make it a family affair! I can’t think of a better way to engage meaningfully over the holidays than to encourage the people I love to do what is going to light them up.

Everyone’s pleasure looks different

And finally: if you’re worried that I will make you do things that you really don’t want to do please be clear that NO ONE should be making you do things you don’t want to do. This challenge will look different for every person who takes it because pleasure is deeply personal. What will make you happy is going to be different from what will make me happy. How could I begin to assume that I know what you need and want? Outrageous. And while it’s fun to imagine myself as The Pleasure Police and that I will come and spank anyone who is doing pleasure wrong I assure you this is not the case. Whether you join us or not, from here on out let no one else judge what feels right to you. Let no one yuck your yum.

Today what was in my pleasure was having a long, tearful and vulnerable conversation with a friend, cleaning my kitchen and then looking up Great British Baking Show gifs for this email. Don’t yuck my yum, I was super into it.

The real juicy stuff

The Great Pleasure Challenge is going to be about growing your awareness of the things you find deeply satisfying. It is going to be about nourishing and nurturing yourself more deeply than you may have ever before. It is going to be about being the kind, lovely, generous person you surely already are without betraying yourself. It is ultimately about being more intentional with your actions and showing up in the areas of your life that matter most. And only you can decide what those areas are.

It’s not too late to sign up!

Feeling better? If I’ve relieved you and you’ve been holding off, go ahead and register for the challenge now. If you’ve already signed up (woohoo! It’s so fun to watch the list grow!) consider if there’s anyone in your life you’d like to take this challenge with and invite them to join you!

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