A Mindful Pause for Pleasure


Just a friendly reminder to stop and smell the roses. Literally. Stop. Smell those roses next time you walk by some.

Yesterday I stopped and lay in the shade of this palm tree. It wasn’t on my schedule of things to get done — I was driving by and inspiration hit. Yes, that’s inspiration. How often do I ignore it, I wonder, in favor of my to do list? The heat from the sand was orgasmic on my skin. Melting, melting, melting. I couldn’t move. My to-do list called. I almost moved, but then I remembered my practice of pleasure. What would happen if I just lie here and let the sand and the breeze and the sky work their magic for the full thirty minutes my parking space permitted. What would happen?

“Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.” — Agent Dale Cooper, “Twin Peaks” by David Lynch


The first thing that happened is I stopped wanting to think about anything. My plan was to make some notes about right relationship to ego, an exploration my zen meditation teacher suggested following my last retreat.. Suddenly, that seemed like a terrible idea. Stirring up trouble really.

Then nothing happened for a while. Yeah, that takes some getting used to. And it’s sublime.

What is pleasure anyway? Pleasure = satisfaction, delight, happiness, fun, joy, contentment, amusement, gladness.

For me, it is also an experience of the senses — taste, touch, sight, sound. Pleasure is whatever we deem it to be. Pleasure is when we remember to notice the simple things that delight, amuse and satisfy us.

Singing loud and out of tune to your favorite song, when you are alone in the car; singing for no one but yourself, for your own pleasure.

That first sip of coffee in the morning, or in my case, a frothy unsweetened chai latte with locally made almond mylk from my favorite coffee shop. Pleasure.

Crawling into clean sheets at the end of a long day. Total pleasure.

The end of a challenging (fill in the blank) hike, yoga class, 10th grade, grad school (someone once described this to me as type 2 fun). The fun comes at the end, when it’s over. Satisfaction. Pleasure.

This is an invitation to stop and notice.

We can cruise through our days oblivious to that which is pleasurable, only to come to the end to find that pleasure was there all along — we just forgot to notice it. Has that ever happened to you? You look back on a time in your life and realize there was so much sweetness, but in the moment all you could see was the crap? I have.

And now I practice pleasure.

All that needed getting done yesterday got done. I even got a bunch of free supplements. The guy helping me at the store said just take em all, as he handed me enough free samples for my upcoming trip. Awesome.

Oh and my mom called too. She has some cash for me. Enough for my trip (to Norway with my parents and kids), which I planned without knowing really, how I was going to pay for it.

There are still some pretty big unsettled things in my life, and sometimes I get a little freaked out about them, and then I remember pleasure.

Follow pleasure.

Sometimes following pleasure is soothing the part of me that is freaked out.

Things are always working out, I remind myself and then I see all the ways that is so.

And finally, a word on guilty pleasure. Rated R for repeated use of salty language.

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic.’ It is cool to like Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.” ― Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters

And with that, I’m off to Norway. I’ve prepared some posts for while I’m away and if time and my tech skills permit, will share photos from my adventure along the way.

Thoughts? How do you practice pleasure?


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