Pleasures and Ponderings

Monday, September 24, 2007

1. Eleven Guidelines for Pursuing Pleasure

As an ex-Catholic, I’ve had to practice giving up guilt around
the conscious pursuit of pleasure in my life. I tend to agree with
Napoleon Hill in Think & Grow Rich: "Ask life for great gifts and you
encourage life to deliver them to you." I made up the following list for
both a speech I gave and a column I wrote. I’m not elaborating much
on any of my 11 principles here, because I hope you will put your
own imagination to active use in seeing how they apply personally.

My 11 guidelines include:
1) Grab your pleasure when and where it shows up. Don't
have a set idea of how it must look. If you have your schedule set to
accomplish 17 things today, and you get a free ticket to a concert
you’d love to attend, drop those last 13 things if you must, and exult
in your good luck. Do know and honor your & others' boundaries and
values in the process.

2) When you see something you want, ask for it. Do it as
easily as you'd place your order with the waiter. Assume if you want
it, you're meant to have it. Ask Life to be your waiter from now on.
It’s easier to get a “no” than to wonder for the next three months
whether you might have gotten your desire if you had asked.

3) Go for what you can have when you can't have it all.
The sunny part of the rainy day; the friendship if not the lover; the
soup when the entree is too expensive.
Pleasures and Ponderings

4) Get out of your serious adult and into your playful child
every chance you get. How would that look for you? Who would you
invite along? How can you make playfulness a regular fun habit? I
hired the Bubble Man to do a bubble show in my back yard for my
59th birthday party; the five kids and 30 adults oohed and ahhed over
his tricks and the tools he entertained us with. I mark in my annual
calendar in April to find out which day Ben & Jerry’s is giving away
their free ice cream cones. Once a friend in a green foam sombrero
and I in my rainbow colored wig gave away free tickets ("to nothing")
at a local street festival. It was great fun for us and also for the
receivers of the unusable tickets. What sounds playful to you?

5) Take pride in what does work for you instead of putting
yourself down for your limitations. When I was in Siena, Italy, and
geographically challenged, I feared I'd never find my travel partner
Dee again when I went off looking for lodging. I retraced my route
the long way, but found her. How can you reframe a criticism of
yourself into an approval/ acceptance of you just as you are?

6) Plan for, and insist on, breaks or rests to make the
demanding times less stressful. That goes for at work, on a hike, and
meeting a deadline. What kind of breaks work for you? It could be a
cup of tea, a three block walk, a trip to the store, five minutes of
stretching, or even a nap.

7) Don't limit yourself by another's belief on what is
enough. Go back for Life's seconds. Stop when you have had enough.
Only your own self-judgment keeps you from going for what you
want. In Conversations with God, God says “I don’t care what (work) you do; all I care is that you fully express all of who you are." Does
that mean being active in six major projects? Going out to concerts
and dinner and meetings four nights a week? You get to decide.

8) Don't make snap judgments about people or places.
There is good and not so good in everything. Give it a chance to
shine. When a man I met through the personals sent an inappropriate
email card, I didn’t ditch him, because I knew he had a good heart.
Some people take time to open up.

9) Tune in to the little things. Look and listen for what
soothes your spirit and quiets your busyness—star or cloud gazing,
daydreaming, birds flying, lilacs, a water fountain, the variety in a
garden center, or classical music.

10) Do whatever it takes to figure out what fulfills you.
Then give yourself over to it. Examples that inspire or fulfill might
include the artist Gaudi in Spain; Journaling; Barbara Sher's books;
Tony Robbins, B. Kipfer’s 14,000 be Happy About and The
Wish List.

11) When you experience bliss, wherever you are, embrace
it. Don't put conditions on it. Let it come; let it go. When I was in
Europe a couple years ago, I had only three days to spend in the Swiss
Alps. I would have loved extra time. But I got total delight out of
those three days. Preferences are fine, but —delight in the day.
Moreah Vestan

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