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On My Path to Pleasure

The path from the outside in is clear; now only the path from the inside out is blocked.

Finding and following my pleasure isn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Following pleasure, I mean, how hard could that be?

I’d imagined myself blissfully leaping, light-footed into the air with a feather in my hand. Flowing white dress with fringe swaying sexily in the warm, sunny breeze. Hair splayed out and suspended in mid-air. And the path before me! Luscious deep green, moss-covered stones with a clear path leading towards the sun, rays pouring out between the trees that stand like sentinels, their leaves waving in an ecstatic ovation as I pass by, reveling at the ease of my blissful journey.

The screeching sound of an old tape cassette rewinding jolts me from my reverie, pulling me backwards in a reverse leap from air to ground as I am unceremoniously returned to February 7th, 2021. I look around at the household debris left after only one week of mega-multi-tasking: the dishes that accumulate in one day alone from six-minute breaks between Zoom School for my eight-year-old, timed free-writing breaks for my students at Lehman College, and all the myriad responsibilities of running my own business and home. The piles of clothes that need washing before “school” resumes on Monday along with my son’s tears over what seems like endless, unsatisfying school days and my frustration that I can’t just be a mom and help him through this crazy time. The loneliness lies in chocolate wrappers, unmade beds, and unanswered text messages from friends...outside the snow falls like angels and Covid-19 lurks beneath it all, making me wonder if things will ever be the same and if in fact I will even survive this with my life and family intact.

In moments like these, it’s no wonder I chose as my New Year’s non-resolution to clear and follow the path of pleasure (see blog post Clearing the Path to Pleasure).

It is not quite as easy as I thought, but I’m not the kind to be deterred once I get my arrow into something—full-on Sagittarius here—half horse, half womyn, with a bow and arrow in my hands. Once my sight has been set on something, I’m loath to abandon it, at times to my own detriment. Mostly, though, this arrow-like focus gets me where I want to go.

But pleasure is a different breed altogether. Not the fierce forest beast I must hunt down and conquer—rather a gentle, timid creature whose power grows with attention and tenderness, not force. Pleasure, I am learning, is something to hold gently in your hand like a wispy seed pod that might float away on a single soft breath.

But pleasure is also resilient, like me! Like you, too. She is a force of nature that will peer out from a mound of snow as a single, joyful stalk, or rest upon its surface, taking the form of a shadowed tree.

Pleasure stretches from the softest touch and most delicate smell to the raging jagged birth of a snow-capped mountain cutting through the Earth’s crust. Pleasure lies waiting for us to join her, to find her—in silence and sound, in air and ground.

My hands search, splayed out on the cold winter snow, palms across the Earth, searching, seeking, touching, reaching. My flight has been grounded, but this is only my first attempt to follow the Path of Pleasure. I will find my way.

And look! Just outside my window where I write these words sits a Mourning Dove. Her grey-brown feathers match the grey-brown branch. I almost didn’t see her. She turns to look at me and blinks her tiny eyes as the branch sways ever so gently beneath her. The wind picks up, the branch sways more wildly, but she turns her head away and closes her eyes against the sun, shining warm on her fluffed-up breast, and tucks her head in for a nap.

And just like that, pleasure returns, reminding me that she is all around, even in a bird napping in a tree outside my window.

Pleasure is in each tiny moment that makes up the roiling, train-like days that gather force the faster and further they go between stops. The train won’t stop if I don’t pull the cord. It will keep on racing forward, catapulting me through time as I grasp the edges of each day, trying to slow it down, trying to hold on.

All I’ve got to do is reach out and pull the cord. But what if I loosen my grip and fly through space, unmoored? My limbs outstretched and body spinning slowly through space like a womyn on the moon, cut loose from the tethers of earth?

I’ve got to take the chance. I loosen my fingers and reach for the cord. I grab on as if for my very own life, and pull.


Would you like to join me on your own journey towards pleasure? Reach out that hand and pull the cord if you desire to "pause" for a moment to celebrate yourself on Valentine's Day weekend (Feb 13th). Or reach out a hand to a loved one and come on the journey together!

Click here to register:

Photo Credit : April Hopkins

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