A common misconception about pleasure is that something has to be over the top fabulous and exceptional, to give us pleasure. However, most of the time the pleasure we experience is from the common and ordinary things of life. But it could be so easy to overlook it. What’s there for us might not have any bells or whistles to catch our attention.
A Simple Pleasure
I notice that here in Oaxaca, Mexico. Let me describe a scene for you. Yesterday, I sat at one of my favourite lunch venues, a small, open to the street, little restaurant run by an elderly couple. It’s very low key and traditional. They have their menu del dia. I walk in and pass through the kitchen first, where Abuelita (grandma) is making fresh, handmade tortillas on the on her comal. This is the smooth, flat, woodfired griddle typically used in Mexico, Central and parts of South America to cook tortillas. On her stove, five or six covered pots hold the offerings of the day. I lift the lids and peer in, which is how I decide which of the simmering dishes will be my lunch fare.
Once ordered, I pass through to the dining room and take a seat. To the left of me, grandpa has a small counter, where he’s selling fresh chickens from the farm. Steadily he’s chopping up the whole birds that come out of a cooler kept under the counter. There’s an equally steady flow of customers, housewives of the neighbourhood, who drop in to buy their meat for the day.
Taking in What’s Right in Front of You
This day their daughter drops off their granddaughter, still in her school uniform. She looks about eight years old and will hang out with her grandparents while Mom either goes back to work for the afternoon or goes off to do errands. The little girl carries on a lively conversion with her granddad and follows him everywhere peppering him with questions too. He’s very attentive to her, and smiles quietly, at her rambling commentary.
As I eat, I’m taking in this scene. I muse about the enormous pleasure generated, taking in this very simple everyday Mexican street scene. But to do so, I have to notice it. I could be absorbed in a book or pre-occupied with thoughts in my head, oblivious to my surrounding, as I sometimes am. But this day I’m present to the life around me, and it pleases me to no end.
My sense is this goes on all the time. There are endless possibilities for pleasure when we’re available to it. I’d love to hear about your daily, small pleasures. Tell me what catches your eye, tickles your fancy – especially the small, ordinary, everyday ones.
Next entry: A Take Away from Mexico
Previous entry: The Price of Admission
Madeline combines her experience as a gifted teacher and facilitator with her exquisite sensitivity to guide us into unlocking pleasure. In her gentle way she helps us to make friends with our bodies, softening the places where we feel resistance, shame and pain and learn how to tune into the myriad sensations of pleasure. She embodies her teaching and the expression of her own pleasure is contagious. Madeline creates a safe space to (re)discover that we are wired for pleasure and can overcome the negative conditioning of fear, trauma, and messages of “not good enough”.