Pleasure is so… well, enjoyable! Is there anything better than a Sunday morning cuddle with your partner, a delicious meal served in front of a roaring fire, or an ice cream cone with your kids on a hot summers day? Pleasure is so luxurious and beautiful we’re naturally drawn to it. But when your pursuit of pleasure goes haywire, it can lead to some painful and uncomfortable issues.
Pleasure is the driving force of the Id, the part of your psyche driven to satisfy basic needs such as sexual impulses, appetite, and comfort. Within the realm of your unconscious mind, it demands immediate gratification making certain pleasure-seeking behaviors hard to resist. If you struggle with a nightly pint of Chunky Monkey, blame your Id.
Working with clients, I inevitably discuss the importance of pleasure. If they’re addicted to dieting, prone to periodic and drastic dietary changes such as eating flavorless baked chicken and boiled broccoli, they’re bound to boomerang back to pizza because they’re denying their innate need for pleasure. Instead I encourage them to look for satisfying and delicious ways to make healthy eating enjoyable in order to achieve and sustain their health goals.
There are other ways though, to satisfy the pleasure principle that have nothing to do with food. Embracing these luxuries regularly will help you delight this primal need.
My mother is a great example of this. Pleasure lives at her core yet she never struggled with her weight, never had an addiction and exhibits such restraint, she can make a Chunky candy bar, weighing all of 1.25 ounces last for days. But Chunky’s are a treat for my mom, not an impulse. Her pleasure comes in more profound, soulful ways and her outlets are limitless.
To understand the primary way my mother finds joy, check out my blog about my cousins wedding hosted in my parents backyard. A more creative and talented gardener does not exist and she regularly brings clippings of her gorgeous blooms indoors to brighten a room. In her home good china is used and expensive furniture sat on regularly, breakage or ruin be damned. These things are to be enjoyed she always says, not put on display worthy only of some elusive and unknown occasion. And years ago, when she received letters from her sisters in Cuba, well, that pleasure could carry her for days such was her thrill. I’m convinced that my mother’s ability to feel bliss in such simple ways is the exact reason she’s so measured in the hedonistic pleasures that undermine so many of us such as eating and drinking.
It took a while for me to learn these lessons because let’s face it, ice cream is too good to pass up. Or it used to be. Somewhere along the way I learned to replace the immediate gratification of ice cream with more satisfying and soul enhancing pleasures that dot my life. When I wake before dawn I light a candle to bring soft light and warmth into my kitchen. At dusk, I’ll burn incense to close the day, and hardly a cold night passes that I don’t light a fire. Sure, I still want a treat from time to time but when I do, I make it from scratch, enjoying the pleasure of creating something delicious and satisfying.
If your efforts to embrace a healthy diet are being thwarted by habitual impulses of the Id, consider ways you may include enjoyment in your life that have nothing to do with food. What you may find in time is that these simple joys are profoundly pleasurable.
I’d love to hear from you! How do you derive pleasure? Do you find joy in simplicity and beauty? Does your garden, kitchen, children or a hobby give you a thrill? Let me know in the comments below.
Wishing you a blissful week!
Here’s a delicious recipe that is pleasurable and healthy.
- 2 ripe pears; peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 4 small-medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- ½ tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 3 tbsp grade B maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup shredded coconut flakes
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 375’
- Mix the filling ingredients together well and fill a 9×9 baking dish evenly with the mixture. Set aside.
- Mix all but the coconut oil and maple syrup for the topping ingredients together until well blended. Then using clean hands, massage the wet ingredients into the dry until chunky and coarse.
- Spread the topping over the filling until evenly distributed.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Serve on your finest china, with a nice cup of tea for maximum pleasure ☺