I have to credit Cheryl Richardson with this wonderful idea. I learned about this just the day before yesterday while on a run (great place to learn about new things - trouble is always remembering them by the time you get home..ha ha).
The concept is that we should be paying attention to what is happening and what we are experiencing now, right now - NOT what we “might” experience when x, y, z happens. I think experts cause this being “present”. If you combine this paying attention to the joy you are having at this moment with the idea of seeking pleasure, you can have a beautiful day every day and you don’t have to wish for or wait for the future. You really can have instant gratification as long as you are willing to look at things differently.
Make finding pleasure in your day a priority and record it every day. You can use your Gratitude Journal or have a completely separate Pleasure Journal to record all the pleasurable things in your life. These are not necessarily big or major things although that could be great too. It may be things that you do every day but until you pay attention to what you do all day long you don’t even realize what pleasure this thing brings you.
I’ll give you a perfect example. Today was my “long run” day and my plan was for 14 or 15 miles. It started out ok but I quickly realized that for many reasons it was not going to be a good day. What were my options at that point?
- I could stop and turn around and go home - NOT an option at all since I wanted to at least cover the distance
- Continue on and just mull over how cruddy the run was and how I wasn’t getting my endurance back or how my breathing was bad or whatever negative thing I could find - that would have made it an even more miserable day
- Continue on and find things to enjoy starting right then when I made the decision - this is what I picked. Why?
- I wanted to do the distance but I didn’t want to be miserable for all those hours
- I wanted to apply this “finding pleasure” concept and see what a difference it made
- I had plenty to “work on” on my MP3 player and in my mind and wanted to take advantage of that
- It was a beautiful day and I was so grateful that I was able to be out there and running even if it wasn’t as well as I wanted. At least I was still out there.
- I wasn’t going to build my endurance by complaining, griping or moping around
You know what? It ended up being one of the best runs ever - not because my endurance or breathing improved because they didn’t but because I looked for so many things to find pleasure in. There were several times it clouded over so the mid nineties temp didn’t feel like that any more. There were times I stopped on the way up the hills because of my breathing but I used those opportunities to send myself emails with reminders on stuff I had just read or thought of (for my upcoming program). So, instead of just standing there swearing at myself, my body, my doctors for my situation I moved up to the positive end of the emotional scale and excitedly journaled my ideas in an email. Did that help my time or endurance? Heck no…lol…of course it didn’t. But since it was already a day that would not go in any record books, I was making the most of it and enjoying the heck out of it.
So what are some of the things I’m making as my first entry in my pleasure journal? Forgive some redundancy.
- The breezes coming up the hills on the way out and then on the way back
- When it got overcast, it felt so beautiful
- I got great ideas for my new program and was able to remember them by sending myself emails (it was too bright out to use the recorder like I did yesterday)
- I listened to several audios that I had been wanting to listen to
- The sun was glorious and it felt so wonderful to be running in the sun, feeling it generate sweat on my body - that felt outstanding
- I saw my “friends” the long horn cattle that I had not seen before last week. I talked to them again this week.
- I had the courage to ask someone to open a bottle of gatorade for me - it felt so good to stop struggling and just approach a terrific gentleman and ask him to do it
- My cold water tasted so refreshing as long as it stayed cold
- I loved having my phone with me and being able to use it for notes/emails
And then there were more pleasure entries when I got home - especially that exceptional salad I had been looking forward to and much, much more.
Even though I only wrote down a few items, there were multiple times that each of some of them occurred, e.g. drinking the cold water, feeling the breeze, exalting in the sun shine etc…
Try it. Get yourself a journal, carry it with you, and record your pleasures as the day goes along or at the end of the day.
Thank you Cheryl Richardson