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An Uncanny Route to Increased Pleasure…

October 21, 2019

I gotta say, pleasure has been on the mind lately ????. With the upcoming launch of our new course, SATIATED: 6 Weeks to Optimum Pleasure, I’ve been really getting to the core of how I’ve managed to increase pleasure and infuse my life with more bliss.

Even with an ever growing To Do List, commitments, and an intimidating dreamline, I’ve still managed to create some of the most delicious and pleasurable experiences I’ve had in my life to date. And still… there are still times when I’m painstakingly aware that I’m suffering unnecessarily. Just this morning, it dawned on me – What’s at the core of most of my suffering? Efforting.

After weeks of contemplating the teachings from Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, I realized that at the core of my discontentment and frustration is a general impulse to excessively “effort” through my life. Even in love, I find myself trying to force outcomes. I try to force things to look “ideal,” like all the romance novels and movies I’ve consumed. In business, I’ve tried to push myself to a deadline, just because it makes me feel “important” and “professional,” even though I’m literally my own damn boss – like who the heck am I trying to report to and impress here? The all-seeing internet God in the iClouds??

Despite our better wisdom and knowing, we all find ourselves in these bouts of struggle and frustration. And one thing is for sure: Efforting is the complete opposite of what it means to practice radical acceptance.

What is Radical Acceptance?

As described by Tara, radical acceptance is the practice of bringing a kind and clear presence to your inner and outer world. It is being in full allowance of everything that exists inside and outside of yourself, including anger, violence, love, impatience… everything. Dare I say it? Radical acceptance calls for the end of efforting as we know it.

Acceptance: The Uncanny Route To Pleasure

Now, when I say “the end of efforting,” I don’t mean we stop doing, creating, and living. All of life requires some efforting, a reasonable input of energy and action to exist and thrive.

The efforting I’m talking about is the push to fix ourselves and alter our realities out of fear that what we currently have just isn’t good enough.

Efforting is born from comparison. The only way we can deem something not “good enough” is by having something “good” to compare it to. Now, we place a ton of blame on social media for our modern obsession with comparison, but, if I remember correctly, Jane Austen novels were basically the high tea version of Gossip Girls ????

Turth is we’re birth into this world with no clue what life is “supposed” to be like, so we spend much of adolescence figuring that out, then all of adulthood trying to recreate someone else’s recreation of the “perfect life.” Talk about a mind-fuck.

Efforting becomes the incessant addiction to forcing and manipulating what is into what “should” be. And even when successful, we’re left feeling dissatisfied because we’re now comparing how we got what we wanted (aka with hella effort ????) to how we “should” have gotten it (aka with ease and flow). Not exactly the path you want to take to increase pleasure…

Increase Pleasure: Get on the Path of Least Resistance

When I practice radical acceptance, I feel my body relaxing into the present. The tension I held in my chest and arms dissolve and I’m at ease with myself and the world. I can feel irritation and anger and be judging the heck out of myself and others, but when I come into a space of radical acceptance, I begin to approach all these behaviors and patterns with kindness and sometimes a generous sense of humor.

I’m amused by the child-like tantrums I throw to try to get my way. I welcome my desire to be more Instagramable. I’m in allowance of my critiques of my body and the little and big ways I shame myself into conformity with societal norms. It’s all life. It’s all beautiful.

By getting on this uncanny path of least resistance, I’ve found immeasurable pleasure. I delight in the ways my life isn’t perfect or photo ready (literally EVER ????). I give free reign to my cravings and lustful desires, allowing them to have their place and say within my body. In fact, following Tara’s teachings, the more acceptance I bring, decreasing the perpetual effort to change, the more I really see that all these sensations, thoughts, and impulses are simply a product of the human experience and are not mine to hold onto or over-evaluate.

When we come into full acceptance of all that shows up in our internal and external worlds, the opportunity arises for greater compassion and pleasure as we see that everything we’ve been resisting, has only been wanting to be seen, acknowledged, and experienced… before going on it’s merry way, giving way for the next wave of sensations to unfold.

This Week’s Challenge

Put an End to Efforting, Stop Resisting What Is

Though Tara’s writing and teachings are truly beautiful and deeply transformative, I’ve found that when I’m not listening to the audiobook, it’s hard for me to recreate the same space of acceptance that I feel while listening to her words. You’ve probably experienced this as well. You pick up a book and you’re launched into the author’s reality. You begin to see the world as they do. Colors change and even your perceptions of the people in your life shift right before your eyes.

And then, you put the book down and you start to feel the depth of understanding slip away and your old way of being reforming in its place…

Well, though many of us may not be so acquainted with a zen state of “radical acceptance,” we all know what it’s like to force, push, and effort.

We may not know what it feels or looks like to accept, but we sure do know what it feels and looks like to resist.

This week’s challenge is to put an end to efforting and, subsequently, organically increase pleasure, by noticing when you’re resisting your current reality.

Feel where the resistance to your life and internal world (i.e. thoughts, emotions, behaviors, etc.) live in your body. Is it in the shortening of your breath? Or the slight lifting and tensing of your shoulders? Do you feel it in the hardening of your abdomen? Locate and observe the sensations in your body. Then, when you’re unsure of whether or not you’ve successfully entered a state of acceptance, do a mindful body scan to access if the cues of resistance are present in your body and shift accordingly.

This week’s intention: I am in full allowance of my present reality, all that exists within and without.

Efforter’s Warning: Recreating Suffering Through Acceptance ????

Because we’re oh so predictable, know that there will be a time when, just like with your meditation ritual and yoga practice, a little voice will creep in and go, “am I doing this right?” Efforting may be reintroduced into your life through an attempt to snuff out this voice or “get it right.” When this voice arises, simply nod and say “this too.” Accept even the doubt! Experience it and eventually it will shift.

Additionally, know that radical acceptance will not always increase pleasure and certainly not immediately. It may very well lead to lots of discomfort.

However, there is one guarantee: By nature, emotions are only meant to be experienced for a period of time. They are like waves of energy, moving through our bodies. And the ocean within us is full of infinite waves of varying intensities. To stifle the flow of one is to stifle the flow of the next. Eventually there will be a wave of pleasure, eventually a wave of sorrow… The art with which we ride these waves, allowing them to rush over and through us in one marvelous event, lies the secret to pleasure itself.

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