Pleasure

20170401_190211

Latin again? ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, yes, although English just mangled a French version of it. But oh, just the research of it was indeed its name. I have read about Hedonism, Schopenhauer, Buddhism and I have just scratched the surface of a word expressing something that is so intuitively normal that one has to wonder at the amount of paperwork that exists in order to analyze, explain, opine or otherwise debate the subject. Basic or elevated, frowned upon or exalted, pleasure has baffled many and upset even more ๐Ÿ™‚

And isn’t it ironic that what I heard about people like Schopenhauer, while remaining true or at least truthful, comes nowhere near the begrudging agreement with some of the ideas of the man himself ๐Ÿ™‚ Out of my comfort zone? Well, yes, I am an agnostic, compassionate, cynical humanist, of course some of those ideas take me out of my comfort zones. It is easy to call him a mysoginist when I was born so deep in my century that I have no idea about his world. Anyhoo, back to pleasure…

Besides being normal (not only in the absence of pain) pleasure is of course individual. De gustibus… and all that. And I have always enjoyed hearing about but have never practiced the list making of pleasurable things, to be taken out and explored when the road ahead of us is rough. I never practiced it because I seem to just do it. Like the baby of the zodiac that I am, I do not have to learn to be in the moment, because that is where I am ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have been in pleasurable contact with babies and animals, then you know all about the luxurious stretching, the trusting floppiness that signals impending sleep, the silly expressions and strange positions that seem to give them an inordinate amount of pleasure. But even for me (self described as happy) it is easy to differentiate between happiness and pleasure. Different ends of the spectrum, different stage of being, different intensity and emotional involvement… really, more differences than similarities!

Bone tired and snuggling into a warm bed is so pleasant I wriggle about trying to feel it with all my body. But learning a new thing or having old things rearranged into a new scenery raises that pleasure into happiness.

A song heard for the first time and immediately liked can keep me humming for hours, even days. But a piece of music that reminds me of a friend, of times of joy, of love requited, albeit lost… ah, that is treasure indeed, and so much more than pleasure.

The little things that children do, making something with my own hands (jam, a scarf, a puzzle), a plant that was almost dead but in the spring pulls through, โ€œthese are a few of my favourite thingsโ€ ๐Ÿ™‚

But seeing the little one grow, writing a poem or cooking my own produce… these I put on the same level as those dreams I have of travelling and absorbing art and walking with a friend through rain and wind while discussing the state of the world as we know it…

I guess what I am trying to say is that pleasure can make life bearable. But for true living, it is not enough, not even nearly…

Luck

20170312_194507

The fun part is how new this word is ๐Ÿ™‚ Just the word though, the concept and controversy regarding luck is millennia old.

And now for the analysis, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought it up ๐Ÿ™‚

I am lucky. Very, outrageously lucky! It always appears to me that I do not control this luck, that it is somehow outside of me despite it happening to me. There is a good measure of self-fulfilling prophecy in there. I am by nature an optimist and my natural state of mind is happy. So it stands to reason (and to rationalists ๐Ÿ˜› ) that I should feel lucky and thus influence my actual life in that direction. That’s fine, I don’t actually have a problem with this kind of self-fulfilling prophecies. And I recognize them when my intentional actions are actually part of whatever is happening in my life. Like choosing a pathway, listening to my intuition, stumbling over the right approach with a person based on many years of experience.

Where I actually talk about luck is where my actions, while intentional in the context I made them, have far-reaching consequences that no amount of intuition would have been able to predict. Like when I took my husband’s car one day and had an accident. My husband’s car escaped unscathed, but the accident would have seriously damaged my car… which said husband was taking to the mechanic, who lifted it and discovered two bald tyres.. I don’t want to know what would have happened had those tyres exploded on the big drive we had planned for the weekend… yes, it had been my suggestion to take my car to the mechanic in preparation for the big drive, but I couldn’t have predicted the accident, now could I?

So I am lucky. I have been lucky all my life. It really doesn’t mean that I win the lottery (small prizes, yes, when I can be bothered to play โ€“ rarely. That is chance, not luck as I describe it. It also doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to me. They do, and the effects are no more and certainly no less than for anyone to whom bad things happen โ€“ that would be everyone. Some of my personality traits (optimism, happiness, also an ability to see the good in situations) make it easier for me to deal with the bad stuff. But I don’t think that has much to do with the fact that I have become accustomed to hearing at least once a week from various people about how lucky I am. I have to pay attention. That is another factor, I notice how lucky I am, I feel it and I therefore act in possibly a more confident way which in turn opens more doors and makes me aware of more opportunities. But I am no more likely than others to get that job I have been looking for. Again, that has nothing to do with the luck I am describing.

Another thing is that feeling that luck comes from outside of my control, actually from outside of me. Like a gift. So I do no subscribe to the โ€œdon’t say you’re lucky or your luck will disappearโ€ theory. On the contrary, I often acknowledge my luck. There is maybe a bit of superstitition in there, a reversal of that theory I described above: if I don’t acknowledge my luck it will disappear. I like to think that I am courteous though, so I acknowledge gifts ๐Ÿ™‚

Fun analysis remains so if it’s brief. I am not complaining or try to understand my luck โ€“ no interest or benefit for me. I am intersted in the limitations (ah, that lotto ticket!) and grateful for the gift. I am also aware that I need to share it with others. Perhaps one gloomy day when things go wrong from the beginning, when you get discouraged and upset at โ€œmeaningful coincidencesโ€ (Jung’s definition of โ€œluckโ€) that don’t coincide, I could come and tell you that things are going to get a heck of a lot better… and, knowing me, I will be right!

PS. Little bad things, when they do happen, always come in threes… I could have a bit of fun with that analysis, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

Days

DSCF3305

I can loll, cruise and procrastinate with the best of them. Nothing like deciding to banish all responsibility, plop yourself on the couch with a good book and just paddle into the kitchen when you want a snack, a cup of tea or a box of chocolates. Then in the evening, order some pizza/Chinese/Indian etc., open a bottle of wine and watch a movie, listen to music or check your Facebook account, just because. At the end of the day you will probably feel rested. I have this theory that it’s because we don’t pay attention to our bodies and the environment as the industrial revolution is only slowly giving way to more humane schedules. Rain, hail, shine or storm, we go to work if it’s a work day and we are that way employed by ourselves or, more often, by others. Does anyone else think it’s just slightly silly to do so? I imagine the birds sheltering in their nest during a storm look very puzzled at the soaked human beings rushing towards their various places of money earning, as if they couldn’t wait for a better day.

But I digress ๐Ÿ™‚

So here we are, refreshed after a day of blobbing, but feeling rather guilty, some of us anyway. Because we’re adults, and responsibility is our middle name, whereever we are in the civilized world.

Then there’s the other sort of day. When we have plans but for some reason or another the Universe itself is conspiring against us. The beautiful day it has been forecast turns to drizzle that puts an end to clothes drying so your house starts looking like an obstacle course with clothes horses taking up precious, scarce space. The previously healthy toddler starts throwing up and looking miserable when you are trying to get the housework done. The usual discussion at the end of the day with your special people turns to an argument involving killer eye contact and slaming of innocent doors.

I tend to smile because the Universe enjoys sending these things in threes, so I kinda know there’s no point in fighting too much, I just try to ensure I don’t kill anyone accidentally. This has worked so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then we have those days! When I have a plan. Everyone who needs to be involved is there more or less voluntarily. Everything goes smoothly, things get accomplished and are visible to the naked eyes of others (show-off that I am! ๐Ÿ˜› ). The Universe sends a kind glance and the world is wonderful. A productive day in an expected sort of way, with tiny, mundane surprises that happen anyway when people work together because they want to. Synergy, you might call it ๐Ÿ™‚

Evening comes, and the last experiment turns out beautifully. Tired and happy, I am off to bed.

To fantasize (in the human way) of a day when I don’t have a plan, but beautiful special people happen to do amazing things and I get lost in a maze of brightness, and love, and spontaneous happiness I am at a loss for words to explain.

Discontent? No, just a desire for what we know ourselves to be capable of, that happens but rarely, due to responsibilities, and plans, and routines. There is so much potential for happiness in each of us… and so much fear that this means breaking the dams of our control…