Publication date : 23/05/2019
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Much is written about appreciating the simple things in the present moment. I agree whole-heartedly – theoretically. In practice, there’s a caveat. For if we are too concerned with our physiological needs (food/sleep) or needs for security (employment/health/family), (as per psychologist Maslow’s ‘Pyramid of Needs’), it can be difficult to think of anything else. Attending to the fundamentals is the baseline for pleasure. ‘The basics’ could include: a roof over our head/ ‘enough money’-organised finances/ healthcare/a secured income…and having the administrative things settled. Drinking a cold beer after that’s settled- surely a relief if not a pleasure?
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Outside the window, two magpies are constructing a nest. Nature’s reminder we need ‘A Room of One’s Own’ as Virginia Woolf wrote. What are your physical spaces like and do they bring you pleasure? Do you prefer or feel at ease in a leafy cathedral of trees, a cozy cushioned-clad nook or just your sofa and your TV-watching the Champion’s League? I expect most of us need to mix it up. Knowing after which we have a home to return to, a sanctuary, enveloping, a place you are always welcome. A place where, as Nina Simone sings, you can: ‘Sleep in peace when day is done’.
You know when you have, say, a bad cold, in that moment fed up in bed, the only thing you wish for is to feel better. The following week when you are well again, you forget the pleasure of feeling healthy. A bit of movement, taking time to rest, plus nutritious food is at once supportive to other pleasures and absolute pleasures in themselves. So, get yourself aproned-up and dance in the kitchen while you cook, followed by a good night’s sleep.
Maslow’s third layer of needs refers to belonging. You may get this sense of belonging from your choir, your running club buddies or the people you play chess with. Nourishing and attending to those relationships- is so much of what life is made of and certainly the support and source of pleasure. Yet these relationships require attention and effort. Dedicate some time to the relationships you value and want to nourish and new friendships you hope to develop.
With one to four established, savour the twinkling and the warmth of moments. Trust yourself to continue these practices regularly. From there acknowledge how much choice you have for your next step and the potential for your next steps.
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