Well, I am stuck with the 15 years (or so) of 'pilin' as a verb, with nearly half of its uses in 'pilin e ni:' followed by indirect discourse. In this world, 'pilin' as a noun or an adjective is definitely derivative and to explained by reference back to the verb. A pilin is just the sort of thing that can be DO of the verb: a thought or an emotion or a contact sensation. And a pilin object is one that can be or is the subject of pilin. Modifiers then all go back ultimately to the verb: 'jan li pilin pona' means, idioms aside, someone does well at pilin. If the pona were about a pilin in the nominal sense, it would be a DO. And it still would not be what 'pilin pona' is taken to mean in the idiom.
In your revision, you essentially agree with the literal meaning of 'pilin pona', albeit with different nomenclature, and assign the usual, idiomatic, meaning to 'pona pilin' (again with different nomenclature).
I don't quite follow you move from "I feel an object" to "I make an object felt". Even if 'pilin' were basically a noun or adjective, it wouldn't be "felt". The nearest would be "tangible", which doesn't work from the pu definitions and is remote even from the old forms. Of course, if 'pilin' did mean "felt", the 'pilin e' would mean "cause DO to be felt", so that part works. But the basis is absent. And, in any case, no one want to make goodness -- or whatever -- felt. Felt by whom? tp abhors passives and for just this reason -- that they leave events floating free. I don't think your private understanding of 'pilin' is sustainable in the community and could lead to some confusion if propagated.