The Pleasures of Pleasure

hand holding painting brush coloring
by Amaya Pryce

I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex. ~ Oscar Wilde

In society’s endless quest for everlasting joy and happiness, I would like to suggest that humble pleasure has taken a backseat that it doesn’t deserve.
Simple, everyday pleasures are often overlooked but, in the end, they are what give savour to our lives. Pleasure often has to do with the senses, and always with the here and now (even when reminiscing about the past, the pleasure you feel is in the present moment), so it’s a great mindfulness practice. Taking note of pleasure also sparks gratitude, which leads to an overall increase in your sense of wellbeing.
One of the most fun practices I know is to make an ongoing list of all the things that bring you pleasure. Anything is allowed, but you get bonus points for items that are calorie-free and don’t require money! Let your list be as quirky as you are. Here are some questions to get you started:
What things please your senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing?
What aspects of the seasons, weather and time of day do you love?
What holidays and traditions?
What did you love to do as a child?
What feels like luxury to you?
What do you like to do when you’re alone?
What do you like to do with friends and family?
What could you spend hours doing?
What subjects spark your mind?
What do you like to read or watch or listen to?
What are your favourite colours/animals/landscapes/stores/pieces of clothing?
Here is a (very) partial list of my own favourite pleasures:
1. Campfires
2. Birdsong
3. The smell of roses
4. Christmas tree lights
5. White chocolate mochas with whipped cream
6. Snow falling
7. Road trips
8. Fascinating documentaries
9. Empty churches
10. Hearing wild geese fly
11. A hot bath
12. Outdoor music festivals
13. A real afternoon tea
14. Walking to get ice cream on a warm summer’s night
15. The smell of pipe smoke
16. Cozy slippers
17. Riding a bike (downhill!)
18. Taking a nap
19. Frosted shortbread cookies
20. Window shopping on a sunny day
21. Bookstore/café combos
22. Any baby animal
23. A loudly purring cat
24. The sound of running water
25. Children’s books with wonderful illustrations
Keeping a list will help you recognise and savour pleasures that might otherwise pass by unnoticed. Make it a daily practice to seek out the small things that bring you pleasure, because those small things are what ultimately add up to a happy life!

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