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The Pleasure of Living

She sees a woman lost in the pleasure of this fuzzy baby duckling or gosling, soft and downy...

One really interesting movie is “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Frances meets Katherine in a market place in Italy. Frances is captivated by a woman she saw while in a loud, busy market place, full of the smells of fruit and other market place smells. It is a very sensory place. She sees a woman lost in the pleasure of this fuzzy baby duckling or gosling, soft and downy, with stripes and colours like a young tabby kitten.

She was cupping the little bird in her hands. Her eyes are closed and she lifts the little duckling to her cheek to feel the softness of the fuzzy down against her skin.

It is sad that in the movie she is shown to be eccentric because true pleasure is not accepted in the world unless you can be excused as being odd. Society frowns upon pleasure and it is thought very much as being synonymous with sinful behaviour. A child is filled with delight, full of new discoveries every day. Their world is bright and they have a precious and  personal relationship with living.

When you are in touch with these kinds of experiences you wake up as a child wakes up and you greet the day with bright hope!

(Image Above: by vuongbibiptp @

Pleasure is like the blush on a rose. It is the downy colour on a bunch of grapes. It is in the soft fuzz of a sweet peach that drips juicy when broken open. It is the smell of strawberries in a field. It is cut hay and woodlands filled with the wet earthy smells after a summer rain. This is the earth in its pleasure and you can open yourselves up to this, to this, as your laughter becomes the pleasure upon your lips, freely cascading from your heart the way gay streams laugh over stones in the river beds as they make their way through meadows and forests.

When you are in touch with these kinds of experiences you wake up as a child wakes up and you greet the day with bright hope! Pleasure is the feeling of satisfaction in living; even more so, it is being the fullness of life and it spontaneously expresses as pleasure.


“The Pennyroyal Mint was written some time ago, but perhaps you can see the feelings I am talking about. There are so many depths and nuances of pleasure and this is on one end of that.

The Pennyroyal Mint

The Sun filtered down through the leafy canopy of the ancient tree which spread its boughs over the dwelling where I lived. One afternoon I had been sitting on a wooden chair nearby a window which looked toward the cobbled street. Lace curtains framed the window. A soft breeze gently lifted the lace now and then. Small dust particles collected in spots probably  where raindrops had once sat. My pennyroyal mint sat in a white pot on the wooden sill where water had left the brown paint peeling ever so slightly. Perhaps it was the translucent light, or maybe it was the dust motes stirring lazily on the afternoon breezes, but it seemed as if the tranquility of the moment became a moment when all the earth was still. It was a precious moment when I could hold it in the palm of my hand like one would hold a rainbow within the heart; like a loved ones’ kiss.

I touched the green pennyroyal, the vibrant lime green of the leaves which were softened by shadows and dreams. How long I sat thus, gazing with wonder at such a small plant I do not know. Dusk had come and shadows deepened around me, hiding the plant in the evening. Soon I heard the crickets and after that the rains came again. The smell of dust churned up by the rain rose up into the evening. And then the stars were twinkling in the dark blue of the night sky.

It was about then, that I arose and turned in for the evening.


Pleasure is the experience of deep well being which spills over into a kind of gentle ecstasy. When you think of a fruit like a bunch of grapes, they are the fulfillment of the plant. It is a success, but it is a success in the fullness of life. When you listen to musicians write about the celebration of spring, you accept that. You think it is a celebration also, but in order to give it a voice through music, that musician or composer needs to be the celebration also. Spring celebration is gay, light, hopeful and full of vigour. This is the pleasure of spring.

When you sit on a porch and the sun warms your skin, the breezes moving the tiny hairs on your neck and face, and you can feel your breath as it moves to meet the day, this too is pleasure. It becomes more of a pleasure when you participate with the day, become one with it in other words. It is a kind of surrender to the experience. Many people are unaware of the senses in a timeless way. When I think of what some people feel alive in, or where their awareness is, I see that they go to work, and have sex and they eat. Everything else is cerebral. That is a very limited sensory awareness!

These pleasures I am talking about here are physical pleasures, or the experience of love
and fullness through the senses.

What is pleasure of the spirit? If the in-breath is God being love, then the out-breath is the physical world as the expression of love, the manifestation. As a composer who can touch the pure thrill of spring and dance in their soul with complete gaiety, can you not then experience the love of God in a similar manner and to know that what touches you, what dances within you, that celebration is the manifestation of the spiritual pleasure of God? Many spiritual traditions recognize the magnificence of God in a flower, in a dew drop, on a mountain top, in grasses alongside water. These are often used to help people find peace and serenity. This is a type of spiritual pleasure when the world rests and is in contemplation of God deep within.

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