Last week, I promised to give you the 5th and most important step in creating a pleasurable experience. To recap for those of you who are tuning in today for the first time, the creation of a pleasurable life is not easy. In fact, it is actually easy to live a miserable life — do nothing, and you will have a miserable life.
But pleasure requires discipline, it requires attention, it requires practice. We all want pleasure, but because we live in a world that celebrates you for how hard you work, how busy you are and how much multitasking you are capable of, pleasure is like a stepchild, kind of like Cinderella — she never really gets a proper invitation to the party. And just like the Stepsisters, everyone feels a little funny hanging out with her — kinda like they’re doing something a little bit wrong, which is assuredly frowned upon.
On the other hand, a life without pleasure is a life devoid of meaning, devoid of color, devoid of deep down soul satisfaction. (Click to tweet!) Pleasure makes the mundane magical. When I am faced with a sink full of dishes after a huge dinner party, if I open a bottle of champagne, crank up the music, grab a couple of friends to help, and get them to all sing along to the oldies, doing the dishes becomes Part II of the party. The mundane becomes magical.
The ingredients of every pleasurable experience are always the same:
4. The Big Event
Bonus: If you have hit all your marks, and have done 1-4 really well, default pleasure will land in your lap.
(To review last week’s post, click here.)
The 5th and final step to creating pleasure is the most important step of all. It is also the most commonly overlooked part, and we have all paid the price for its absence. For example, last week, when Mastery completed, I was so happy and high. I had not only had the greatest teaching experience of my life, but I was working with my amazing new team who hit all their marks, and then some. And Mastery is complicated — there are over 300 students to register, 5 entrances to plan, slideshows, 25 Big Sisters, 40 volunteers, online support, lunch reservations, guest speakers, and Sisterhood to create. And the assemblage of women who have come together to form Spring Mastery 2014 is sublime — I feel so honored to meet them and excited to get to know them intimately over the next six months.
And we crushed it — hit it right out of the park!
And the very next day, after the curtain came down, I got hit with a huge honkin’ cold.
Two days later, I was in my office, celebrating Hannah’s birthday. We each do favorite frames of the person whose birthday it is, and then we dance. I demanded that we each take a solo runway, in honor of Hannah, and when it was my turn, I danced so crazy-like that I tripped on the carpet and fell backwards, catching myself with my wrist and spraining the schizz out of it.
Some people might call this an ‘upper limit’ problem, which is when you hit the upper limits of your ability to handle the goodness in your life, and you need to create some negative experience to bring yourself down, which is what happened to me. But more accurately, this was a digestion problem. The 5th and final step of creating a pleasurable experience is so powerful that it can blow the lid off of all of your upper limits.
What is this magic bullet?
This missing ingredient?
This cherry on the sundae?
What did I forget to do, which led to my cold and a fast trip to the ER?
Digestion. Otherwise known as Acknowledgment, Appreciation, Gratitude.
When we take the time to really and truly digest and ingest the goodness of the pleasurable experience we have just had, the digestion acts the same way your digestive experience works — it allows you to metabolize your experience of pleasure, truly take it in, and then, if you really digest well, you can make room for even more. Why would you want to do that? Well, it’s always fun to have a life that tops even your wildest imagination. And just like digesting a big meal creates room for another one, digesting your pleasurable experience makes room inside of you for more fun. (Click to tweet!)
I had not digested, adequately, the goodness of my weekend, which led to my cold and my unfortunate dance break.
How do you digest properly?
Well, in all my courses, we do something called ‘Favorite Frames.’ What are favorite frames? That’s when everyone goes around the room, and has a moment to describe an experience or an insight or an interaction that was meaningful to them. When you give voice to a pleasurable experience, you actually metabolize it and make it part of the fabric of who you are. We expand our capacity to receive pleasure with each bit of pleasure that we digest. If we don’t digest it, we can throw off our whole balance, and end up feeling cranky, irritated, or worse.
So, let’s take a moment, right now, to catch up on our good.
What have you been sitting on, rather than celebrating?
Whether you’re in Mastery right now or not, use the comments below to digest, acknowledge, appreciate and express gratitude for the goodness in your life. Acknowledging the pleasure you have makes room to receive even more pleasure.