Indulgence, pleasure and reading erotica
This post might be verging on TMI but I think you can handle it. So, I’ve never been one for indulgence. “What’s the purpose?” is usually the first question out of my mouth, to be quickly followed with, “What’s the impact?” and “How productive have I been today?”. Needless to say, having fun for fun’s sake was never high on my priority list. In fact I used to cringe at the word pleasure because of the frivolity I’d wrapped it up in. (These days I’m all about pleasure, though I’m still on the hunt for a better word that doesn’t also conjure images of pink rose petals and feather boas.)
And yet, yes yet, it turns out that indulgence isn’t frivolous at all. (Check out this NYT piece if you don’t believe me.)
Truth be told, taking down time, i.e. indulging, gives us more room to create, and more space to bring our best to the next big project. It’s indulgence that sharpens our skills when it’s time to return to “getting shit done”.
And so with this new idea held high, I’ve started reading erotica. Yes, sexy erotica that does NOTHING but make me happy. At first I felt guilty, wondering what productive good was coming out of my steamy afternoon reading, and then I realized, “I’m happy. This is enough and besides, isn’t that what we’re all seeking in the first place?”
We exercise, meditate, eat well in hopes of feeling better and scraping together bits of happiness. And then, bizarrely, we judge what makes us happy. We wonder what good our indulgent activity is providing. We want to know how it’s advancing the conversation and changing the world. I’ve thought about this a lot and here’s what I’ve come up with:
My indulgent, full-blown happiness heals the world. It makes me kinder and lighter which reverberates out to the people in my life. My indulgence gives others permission to experience their own self-expressed happiness rather than believing they must be constantly “productive” and “useful”.
What is being wildly happy is as useful as you need to be?
And so I ask you, what’s the one indulgent thing you never let yourself do? What’s something wild you’ve wanted to try but always deny? Where might you only give yourself one source of joy while keeping the others at arms length?
This week, do something indulgent and frivolous that is only for YOU. See how it makes you feel and how you engage with the people in your life after you do it. I promise they’ll appreciate your incredible mood and will ask where they can get a swig of the goodness you’re drinking. To which you’ll generously reply, “Oh, it’s a bit of indulgence. It works wonders. Try it.”
And if that’s not healing the world, I don’t know what is.
P.S. Know someone who could use a bit of indulgence? Send them this.
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