The Daily Groove

Authentic Pleasure Is Priority One

The single most powerful thing you can do to make parenthood (all of life, actually) into a joyful journey is to decide that feeling good is your top priority.

It's more important than being right, paying the bills, saving the world, and even being a good parent. Yet when you put authentic pleasure first, you're inspired to right action, you attract prosperity, you make the world a better place, and you're more creative as a parent.

One caveat: the shift to pleasure-orientation unfolds more joyfully when you shift from the inside out. In other words, as you reach for pleasure, don't shift your actions until you've shifted your thinking.

When your thinking is aligned with your Authentic Self, you feel authentic pleasure, and you're inspired to actions that serve the greater good.

For the next few days, pay close attention to how you feel. Notice when you're tolerating stress and re-affirm your top priority: to seek authentic pleasure from the inside out.

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Re: Authentic Pleasure Is Priority One

I've always felt that the greatest gift you could give to your children is to be happy.

How does this fit in with breastfeeding, though? What if one mother breastfeeds, but really resents her children and her life, but another mother dos not breastfeed and is very happy with her life and her children in it? Which children are better off?

Re: Authentic Pleasure Is Priority One

You cannot calculate which child is better off — there's no formula for that. (No pun intended!) All you can say is that the more authentic and aligned the parent is, the more it helps the child stay authentic and aligned. And even that isn't necessarily "better" for the child in the big picture, because early life challenges can, in some cases, be a catalyst for enormous growth and later life accomplishments.

Another big factor is why the mother chooses to breastfeed or not. Mother Nature designed breastfeeding to be very pleasureful, to insure that mothers would want to expend the time and energy required to nurture their children at the breast. There's the emotional/spiritual pleasure of intimacy, and there's physical pleasure, too. Some mothers may feel aroused or even have orgasms while nursing, but few will talk about it openly because of our culture's negative attitudes towards sexuality. Similarly, the intense emotional intimacy of nursing may overwhelm some mothers because of unresolved emotional pain associated with past intimacies. And many nursing mothers have diminished pleasure because they feel social pressure to breastfeed, i.e., they experience breastfeeding as an obligation that limits their freedom rather than as a source of pleasure. Nursing mothers for whom nature's pleasure principle has not been disrupted (in these and other ways) are more likely to enjoy nursing and less likely to become resentful.

The above is a bit oversimplified and doesn't do justice to this topic. (Add it to the list of books I'd like to write someday!) What I hope it does convey is that the creative pleasure principle is a complex phenomenon that works on many levels and aspects of life. You don't have to figure it all out, just follow your path of least resistance to the highest, most expansive pleasure you have access to, and continually upgrade your standard for what feels most authentic.

Related: Natural Breast-Feeding: Lovemaking Between Mother & Her Baby