Is Pain Really Our Greatest Teacher?
This stuff of earth, you know, it’s a lot of things, but it’s anything but easy.
Life sometimes can be downright painful.
But pain is not our only teacher.
Yes, it teaches us to muscle our way through.
We refer back to our scars like a roadmap, tracing our fingers over these memories as if they are the only way to Get Through Life.
Setting up consequences if we fail…
Only rewarding ourselves if we succeed — these can be veiled pains, often in the name of motivation, obligation and endurance.
Not to mention guilt trips, or following plans that are so tight you can hardly exhale.
Self-talk that is less than all-loving (I’m so dumb, so stupid, so needy, I could have, I should have…).
Every word, hurting you.
Have I painted the picture?
Now, Forget It.
Because pain has a direct opposite — so wildly oppositional that it’s irresistible, if you dare…
P L E A S U R E.
Pleasure heals. Pleasure makes all of the (seemingly) unavoidable hardships of just.being.here. so much easier.
Pleasure (of the wholesome variety) can also light our way and offer meaningful clues.
Pain teaches us how to survive, absolutely.
But Pleasure? Pleasure teaches us how to THRIVE.
Pleasure teaches us how to surrender. How to move with trust. How to act intuitively.
“No pain, no gain?”
I say: No pleasure, no treasure.
Pleasure reveals our natural inclinations and gifts and reminds us of what’s good and what’s EASY (and while there’s a lot to be said about doing what’s hard, there’s also a lot to be said about doing what’s easy).
Pleasure coaxes us into expansion, makes us brave, let’s our soul sing.
Your pleasure EMPOWERS you.
— Danielle La Porte
Don’t hold on to past pain as proof of survival, don’t cling to it as if it’s a passport to future success.
Do not overrate your pain.
Do not bind yourself to it.
Do not look upon it with indiscriminate pride.
Honour your pain, yes.
But do not shirk your relationship to pleasure in the name of the perceived bounties and safety of pain.
Because pleasure is the way towards thriving.
After years of being hard on ourselves and staying stuck in deep seated patterns and cycles, pleasure-making is courageous.
And let me be clear here.
When I say pleasure I mean: the things that light you up, expand you, relax you, settle you into yourself, reacquaint you with your true nature.
Think: brushstrokes of paint on canvas, or dancing, or sitting in a circle with friends… Or dropping lines of poetry onto a blank page, or an insightful meditation, or a muscle-melting massage…
Or pillow-talk by candlelight with your lover. Or an hour of uninterrupted play with your kids… Or reading a book made of actual paper, or cooking a meal with intention… Or being of service to others.
Thems the real pleasure in life.
And these are the pleasures that lead you toward thriving not surviving.
So when you’re going through hell, find whatever might be luxurious at the time — a day alone, an abrupt departure, therapy, art, being witnessed in a guilt-free rant, rest.
Reward yourself for failing — with comfort, with what you planned to do if you won.
Look at yourself and say, “All is forgiven.”
Forgive yourself for quitting, for asking someone to do something that you knew was impossible, for taking more than your share.
You’re learning. You learned.
Integrate your hard lesson with PLEASURE.
Reward yourself because you’re here.
You showed up to master light.
You showed up to know pleasure.
Let me turn this to you now, beautiful.
How does reframing your pain and living your life in a state of (wholesome) pleasure feel for you? Hit the comments below and let me know.
Until next time, have a beautiful moment. Right now.
Sometimes, we need a friend to say, Hey, get to know pleasure. If you’re that friend, forward this article on.