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What is pleasure? Why does it matter? How does feeling pleasure impact you? Impact your relationship?

If you’re like me, there are times you resist pleasure: You feel like you’re getting more than your fair share, so you minimize your joy in public. Or, privately, when your partner looks into your eyes and all you can see is abundant love, you look away, because you feel vulnerable and overwhelmed. You don’t feel worthy of such love.

Pleasure—getting the things we so desperately want—can feel tremendous. But pleasure is the most vulnerable emotion I deal with in my own heart and in the hearts of my clients. Today we talk about why we resist, and how to practice receiving pleasure.


In this episode

You’ll hear from transformational coach and author, Kirstin Hotelling Zona. Kirstin left the safety of her tenured position as a Full Professor—complete with the security of lifelong health benefits to follow her desire: wherever that desire leads her.

You’ll hear:

  • Why following your desire is always the safest decision you can make (even though it feels terrifying!)
  • The simple—but not always easy—path that connects you to your desire
  • And how to cultivate a habit that tunes you into your pleasure so your pleasure can guide you



Why pleasure matters

“When we are not living in alignment, what that really means is we’re not living in alignment with what we want…And when we’re not in alignment with our pleasure, we’re constantly in a state of distraction,” says Kirstin.

This state of distraction causes us to feel unsafe. So, we erect tons or mooring cables, artificially anchoring us to a life of security.

Pleasure can be terrifying, because what feeds our desire is novelty. Our natural state is to long for more. We long to learn, to grow, to become the next version of ourselves.

Our fear wants to keep us safe. We think that we can hold on to the last version of ourselves where we felt good. But our grasping at the old gets stale quickly. Then we poison even what was once a lovely memory.


Pleasure is the source of vitality: for yourself and for your relationship

Even though it’s risky, pleasure is always the safest thing. But we’re really confused about what safety is.

Pleasure beckons us onto the untrod path. The unknown. The path to our expansion.

If we locate our pleasure only in the safety of what is known, we short-change ourselves. Life begins to feel stale.

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How do we rewire our relationship with safety? And pleasure?

Kirstin invites you to get comfortable with the unknown. Flow in the state of the unknown.

Cultivate the energy of welcoming. Welcome the day, whatever it might bring. Welcome your partner, even when they’re cranky. Welcome your dreams, even as you struggle to bring them to life.

Because pleasure is bound up with pain, ultimately you will feel the deepest source of calm, of invigoration, of passion when you can welcome life as it is. Precisely, exactly as it is.

If you want a secure relationship, overflowing with pleasure, the ultimate safety is to be able to welcome. And to be with. Give your partner your presence. 


Stay for ALL the feels: the pleasure and the pain.

Stop resisting and let yourself receive. Receive all that life offers. That is where the deepest trough of pleasure lives.


Connect with my guest

Kirstin Hotelling Zona, PhD, is a double-certified Life and Leadership Coach, Founder of Full Potential Coaching, LLC, and Trusted Advisor to conscious leaders and changemakers who yearn to feel fully alive. She is a trauma-informed Vitality Mentor and specializes in creating safe spaces in which her clients and students feel deeply seen, lovingly challenged, and profoundly empowered.

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