Adrienne Maree Brown (episode 12)

Today’s episode is all about the connection between human pleasure and liberation. Here to inspire us is social justice facilitator, writer, doula, and pleasure activist Adrienne Maree Brown.

Adrienne has dedicated her life to freedom and pleasure, writing, black liberation movements, and challenging the government. The current culmination of that work is the upcoming book, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good.

Inspired by an Audre Lorde essay dealing with erotic awakening, it’s founded on the idea that as a society we allow injustice and oppression to persist because we believe we don’t deserve pleasure, and therefore don’t pursue it. Adrienne’s approach is to look at how to turn justice and liberation into the most pleasurable experience a person can have so that they become something we naturally strive for.

It’s okay to love yourself. It’s okay to be good to yourself. It’s okay to choose your life, and your pleasure, and to prioritize those things. Adrienne shares how interconnected we all are with our communities, how we always have a choice, what it means to have personal integrity, and how to build foundational relationships.

There’s a lot to be learned in this episode, and as Adrienne says, “When there’s something to learn, I’m in my life. I’m in my flow.”

More Radical Lessons in this episode:

— Pay attention to moments of raw, natural behavior as opportunities to get in touch with ancestral spirits.

— Strike a balance in the modern world where you can still access magic and wisdom and draw on intangible energy to make the impossible possible.

— We don’t get to avoid challenges and loss (they ripen our lives), but our purpose is to constantly choose to think “I’m alive, what a joy, what a pleasure,” not to focus on suffering.

— Caring for yourself is not self-indulgence, it’s political warfare.

— We all need to be active participants in our own pleasure.

— The joy you feel doing work that feeds directly back into your community is immeasurable.

— Self-care only seems selfish if you’re not taking into account the lack of privilege that is the baseline for most people.

— Create quiet spaces in this busy world to tap into something that feels new.

— Take the space and time to find out what you really care about, find people who care about the same thing, and build relationships rooted in that.

— Race is a construct and money is a construct, but they both have real impact; holding that dual truth lets you shift the systems.

— If you feel unsafe and like you don’t belong, it becomes nearly impossible to turn and face and enjoy your life.

— Our worth is tied up in the places you make critical connections in your life; those connections nourish you.

— When you love people, you let them see you fully and help you. You’re there for each other.


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