Have you ever visited www.StuffOnMyCat.com? If not, sashay on over for some great belly laughs.
You'll find cats buried in stickers, coat hangers, babies, action figures, post-its...you name it, some feline’s covered in it.
Even though I love the photos, I don’t need my bifocals to see that these cats are not happy campers, even with all their Stuff.
I looked like one of those cats when I was younger. I thought that pleasure was about The Stuff. You know the drill: I'll be totally happy when my life looks, metaphorically, like one of those inundated cats. Right house, right husband, right job, right kids, right car, right clothes...
It took me a loooong time to REALLY get it that pleasure and happiness are not about The Stuff. It seems to takes most of us a half-century or so, given our Stuff-crazy culture.
One of my clients discovered that it’s not about The Stuff simply by clearing out her closet. Grace was bogging down in her pleasure journey, so I suggested she literally make more room for pleasure to come in.
Bingo! Grace said she had a closet crammed with great clothes that dragged her poor spirit down each time she opened its door. I led her through a visualization where she realized that the clothes themselves didn’t light her up, even though she had thought that the more great clothes she had, the better she’d feel.
What she discovered gave her pleasure, instead, was the experience of wearing clothing that was beautiful, sensual, and comfortable. These three words, she said, gave her the feeling of purring like her cat.
Grace quickly realized that about 2/3 of The Stuff in her closet wasn’t purr-worthy. Saturday afternoon she turned off her phone, lit a lavender-scented candle, made herself a great latte, and put on some Joni Mitchell. She then went through her closet piece by piece and noticed what felt beautiful, sensual, and comfortable. No purr, no keep: the clothing went in the giveaway pile, no matter how much she felt like she “should” like it.
Grace then had a delicious time deciding where the clothes could go (remember Pleasurefesto Pillar #7, “Your Pleasure Lights up the World”), feeling like a bountiful queen with her largesse. She donated the clothes to an organization that helped battered women find good jobs.
Post-giveaway, Grace found that just looking in her closet elevated her. “I was so amazed,” she told me in our next session. “I really had thought, ‘more clothes, more pleasure.’ Now I know pleasure is my own experience of wearing clothes that make me purr.”
Over and over, both I and my clients discover that pleasure and happiness are about experiences, not Stuff. When I reflect on my trusty pleasure list, everything there is ultimately about the deep and sustaining happiness of connecting with others, of creating, of the nourishing eroticism of touching, smelling, seeing, of pure play.
After 50, The Stuff no longer holds its illusory sway over us, promising us that she who has the most toys wins. God bless the stuff--I'm not advocating for an ascetic’s life--but I can't find anything on The Pleasure List that isn't ultimately about an experience of pleasure.
So if pleasure isn’t about The Stuff, what about The Stuff?
Grace came back to me after the closet clearing with this important question. I invited her to play with paring down her Stuff to that which gave her the experience of purring. Once we realize that more Stuff doesn’t equal more pleasure, we can look at Stuff through our life-seasoned eyes and make pleasure-worthy choices.
At our ages, ladies, it’s quality, not quantity. And we get to decide what makes us purr.
I remember my own mother, at my age now, giving family jewelry and other treasures to me. And me, at my daughter’s present age, being confounded by her happily letting go of her Stuff.
Now I understand.
I get so jazzed thinking about having a purr-worthy home that here’s what I’m doing, and I invite you to play along. I’m going through my house, 10 pleasured minutes at a time. No making a chore of it. I’m simply going to notice what makes me purr, and what makes me feel like one of those beleaguered cats.
If it’s just Stuff (beleaguered cat), I’ll ask myself where it could go that would delight someone else. And invite myself to add more pleasure to the world by giving it away. This will include giving my daughter, with great love and pleasure, the same jewelry my mother gave me with such great love and pleasure.
I don’t want to look like one of those poor cats. Sisters, I’ve got better ways to love the time I’ve got left.
It's not about The Stuff.
It's about the purrrrrrrrr......