~by Odessa Pilar Trevino Elizarraraz
Pleasure. Many of us that are in the throes of parenting long forget what that word means and if it’s even applicable to our daily lives. It’s sacriﬁced on the altar of being a good mom or dad.
Yet being in our pleasure is what makes life sweet and attractive. When our children see us in our pleasure, they learn how to be in theirs. They learn that it’s ok to experience all that life has to offer us, and enjoy God’s gifts from the simplest offering of the warm of the sun on our skin to the deep embrace of a loved one.
Pleasure is scary to many of us. If we allowed ourselves to experience the delight and fullness of this life, where would this take us? Would we abandon our values and forget what matters most? This latter question reveals to me that for too long I’ve lived from a place of rules and caution. I haven’t allowed myself the freedom to live in my joy… the place the Spirit resides because what if after experiencing life through my senses, it’s deceptive, and I lose my way. The rules and rigidness is present to keep us from taking that path. It allows us to be safe and presumably guarantees that we’ll have the life we’ve been promised if we keep the rules.
Yet, I’m curious about God and God’s pleasure. It was from God’s pleasure that God created the universe and our earth. God delighted as God created each living being and brought it all together in perfect synchronicity in the wonder of God’s playground. The existence of each human creature is pleasure realized for God. God’s orgasmic expression is in all that we touch and know in creation.
Does this bother us? As we sit with the idea of pleasure and consider for a second what would bring us a depth of pleasure to our life, what keeps us from taking that step? And if that step would risk the security of the life we live, what may be behind the pleasure that may be the deeper calling. What could that expression of pleasure heal for us?
I’m seeking to explore the depths of pleasure that call me… and mine does risk the security of my life as it is right now. As I dig deeper, I uncover areas of my past where grief and loss live. The pleasure was present for me to heal these, and I’m on a journey to ﬁnd ways to meet those pleasure needs and honor my loved ones around me. It is not an easy journey, and one that holds for me many tears and fears coming to the surface.
With pleasure also comes the child with her stories that damned the playground of her youth. Our child being told to put away child-like ways and grow up already before her time. Maybe that was the warmth of a special ‘baby’ toy or savoring the mess of mud and nakedness in play. There’s shame around being perceived as being younger than we are, and we value instead pressuring ourselves to be older. And there’s the damnation of pleasure because to live in our bodies and experience life sensually is sinful and the road to perdition.
I reject those narratives now. I lie in wonder as I hold on to my inner child and the woman while being within the new narrative of God as creative and powerful in pleasure and joy. A God whose laughter of delight would soften the heaviness of living and remind us of the ease of God’s yoke. What would it look like to simply live a life that experiences pleasure in all we do? To recognize that when we give to another, it’s also for ourselves and we are unashamed of that. To enjoy the beauty of others around us, and acknowledge it as pleasurable. To allow ourselves to take a deep breath when we receive the embrace of another – enjoying that touch instead of holding our breath and stepping away at the second it’s done. To buy ourselves a beautiful gift like ﬂowers or our favorite food in order to remind ourselves of how amazing we are.
This is a new pleasure story I now embrace. My God experiencing us unabashedly. I choose to experience the pleasure that surrounds my life.