Your (musical) guide to seeking pleasure (and why to stop feeling guilty about it, too)

Quick Question: What are your top 10 personal ‘cure-alls’?

Below are my little ‘go to’ for pockets of pleasure:

1. The aroma of yellow buttery dahl from a Bombay café
2. Wearing turquoise anything
3. A cumbia bass-line that beckons a groove
4. Roger Federer in all-white
5. A quirky foxglove
6. Speeding around the Cornish coast in a 3-Series
7. Playing the opening lines of Copland’s Duo for flute and piano
8. Sunday Times in bed on a mizzly morning
9. My higgledy-piggledy seashell collection
10. Marguerite’s Hatch green chile rellenos eaten straight from the fryer

They’re kind of like baking soda for the soul: useful for any daily scenario and a miracle cure-all for tackling most things. They’re handy to add even more bliss to an already A+ day. Or oppositely, when the day feels all wrong and I am defeated, deflated and depleted. Experiencing these bits of pleasure is how I ‘go home’ — to myself.

You see, I’ve been pondering the subject of pleasure because it’s been said by mystics over the ages that

‘Your own power lies is in the very pleasure you seek’.

(Did you also feel that same resistance that I had upon reading that for the first time?)

According to this philosophy, you are on a downhill road to dis-empowerment every time you curb pleasure and pretend that other things are more important. For me, I notice I put mundane chores first– for example rummaging through my cabinets to find a new electric toothbrush head–before scratching my dog’s soft belly, or playing some flamenco music.

I am learning that side-lining pleasure is a sure-fire way to constrain
fetter
hamper
limit
control
infringe
bind
my spirit in the long term.

(Yikes).

It’s not such a bizarre a philosophy when you acknowledge that every potential joy-tapping moment that you seek produces an immediate soul-settling, optimistic, heart-mending state of being.

Or, if you prefer, a release of endogenous opioid neuropeptides.

It’s not a new thing, either. Rumi– a musician, theologian, Sufi mystic and poet—noticed that even back in his day (that is, 13th century) avoiding pleasure in life—the things we know we love, yet ignore—was a common act. I adore this poem below because he tackles it head-on about music-making, in particular:

Where is my wise musician who plays
only for love ignoring all requests?
Hoping to see him I have grown old and weary
and may have to take my wish to my grave.
If you see him wondering alone on the seashore
please convey to him my longings and tears.
Only the love of a passionate heart might draw him near.*

With the theme of pleasure-seeking and divining the observations of the late Rumi, this month I am on a pleasure-seeking mission. Will you join me for más amor, por favor?**

Meanwhile, the dishes can wait. Maybe your flute playing beckons?

That’s me for now. May your August be full of empowered pleasure-seeking activities,

With Love,
Jessica x

*from Rumi’s Little Book of Life: The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit

** It’s easy. All you have to do is respond in the comments below what lil ’ pleasure you will be reaping for yourself today.


A thank you to Mysticmama for use of the photos above.

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