What does the politics of sex have to do with the purpose of our work?
They are connected with one simple shift: voting for PLEASURE over PRESSURE.
Politics of sex, and work
Patriarchal power dynamics pervade our current reality: at home, at school, at work, and in our communities both online and offline. It doesn’t matter whether it’s saying yes to sex on the third date or saying yes to working all weekend to meet a deadline. Both men and women have been conditioned to subvert their true needs and desires to the demands of the dominant culture. Compliance to these norms feels so natural that we don’t even notice we’re doing it.
How is our relationship to our work changing now, as we unlearn the lines for our tired old role in the patriarchal play drama? Well, those forgotten parts of us that have long been silent are speaking up. We are getting intimate with our deepest truth. The natural side effect of that shift is: more of us are now starting – or staying – on a path of purpose.
We are beginning to say NO to pressure, more and more. And we are beginning to say YES to pleasure, more and more. We are in a time of reckoning, of reclaiming.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by this tectonic shift in our political and social landscape. But our personal reality is shaped by repetitive, small choices – the way that we vote every day. Here are three ways that we can start voting for PLEASURE over PRESSURE, more and more each day.
Move your body
Most of us are not that connected to our body wisdom. We are used to spending a lot of time in the world of the mind: analyzing results, articulating arguments, expressing ideas, explaining concepts, making presentations, writing reports – or blog articles ;)
One shortcut to seeing whether you are acting in the interests of pleasure or pressure is to be embodied. What does it mean to be embodied? Feel your body. Move your body. Use your body. Enjoy your body.
Stop what you’re doing, drop in, and breathe. Stand up, step away from your screen, and shake your booty. Taste your favorite food or wine, slowly. Get into loving, physical touch with yourself, or with a lover. Walk, run, swim or sweat your thoughts out.
Forget what you know to be true and forget what you are supposed to do. Go out and wander around in nature without knowing where you’re going. Your body knows a lot more about pleasure than your mind does. Connecting with body wisdom gives us a different kind of information; it can help guide our choices from another source.
Relax in trust
Our people-pleasing instincts (and self sacrificing habits) are often activated when we're under pressure. When that switch is flipped, it usually translates into pushing a little too hard, controlling a little too much, or driving a little too fast.
Overdoing comes from our efforts to play a specific role, participate in a larger plan, or meet someone else’s demands. In other words, hyperdrive happens when the source of our drive is external. It happens when we're trying to gain something or get somewhere, but it's not quite working the way we'd like it to.
High pressure mode clicks in when it seems like we’re failing at those things that we “should” be doing. Of course, that is when we tend to fail ourselves. By giving in to pressure, we often sacrifice our health, our peace, or even our values.
If you suspect pressure is running the show, try to slow down and let go of more. Drop a few balls... on purpose. Know that surrender doesn’t mean defeat; it doesn’t mean giving up.
Surrender is a posture of allowing, and an openness to receiving. You can surrender by simply loosening your grip on things and leaning back a teeny tiny bit. Quiet your inner CEO just enough so that you can feel yourself being held in the flow.
Savor the process
“Life is a mystery.” (Source unknown.) This universal truth has been often quoted from the lips of the likes of Madonna, Osho, and the Buddha, to name a few. In other words, mystics, enlightened masters and pop culture icons all love to remind us: it's not about arriving at the answer; it's about traveling the path presented by the question.
Ultimately, we don’t know what is in store for us at the end of the road. And we will never be able to know. We can only know that we are on our way. We are always here, in the real present. We are never there, in the imagined future. So pause and ask yourself what motivates your “doing” in this moment: are you IN JOY? or are you simply ON a JOB?
We deeply know that life is the mysterious unknown unfolding. And we get that the results that we work so hard for are not guaranteed. Yet it is so easy to lose sight of this. Western education leads us to get overly fixated on the goal. We measure our success and view our self worth based on outcomes.
We get so laser focused on the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow. That pot of gold is a wonderful and inspiring vision to have. Maybe you never would have started walking this way without that vision. But as you're walking, just remember to look up and appreciate the rainbow.
Pleasure over pressure
As we learn to cast our vote for PLEASURE over PRESSURE, we are remembering that yes we can (and yes we will!) say yes to ourselves. Yes, we can… stand up for the kind of life and love and work and world we want, with courage and conviction.
So, let’s connect with our body intelligence; because when it comes to matters of pleasure, our body knows best. Let’s trust in the flow of life, allowing ourselves be pulled by what we desire instead of pushed by what is expected of us. And let’s make sure we are having a helluva good time along the way – enjoying our life as we earn our livelihood!
We no longer need to mold our behavior to feed a system. No more striving to meet the needs of someone else’s story. No more betraying our desires to fulfill someone else’s plan. From that place of freedom, our service to the world comes as a natural byproduct of our self-love and self-care.
Say NO to pressure, and say hell YES to pleasure!