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Throwback to February when I originally wrote this…I wonder, given current events and circumstances, if anyone has been able to embrace more pleasure | joy | fun amidst the long pause we’ve been experiencing? 

A friend and I chatted about the need to loosen up, to feel more joy, to have fun in the domesticity of everyday life. She related watching her dog joyfully playing with a curtain and noticed her first instinct was to admonish him. Yes, he may have been ruining her curtains but for him he was just completely consumed by joy. Can we, as human adults, find ways to connect to that innate sense of joy, fun and pleasure? Could life really be as simple as following what sparks joy within in you? Without ruining fabrics of course.

I found myself locked into the nap battle with Edie. This is all too common of an occurrence, in my opinion. On days where she resists napping I can easily become completely consumed with attempting to make her sleep — our day can be a blur of feeding, changing, tucking into bed, soothing, rocking, tucking back into bed, changing, feeding, tucking into bed, soothing, soothing, soothing — and suddenly an entire day has passed me by and I’ve accomplished nothing. I’ve let myself sink into the misery of having the productivity of my day completely ripped away from me, I’ve let myself feel exasperated by the lack of control I have. It’s happened more often than I want to admit. I KNOW that it is always up to me to see the situation as I want to see it, to reframe my perception, notice the trigger, breathe through and choose again. And to acknowledge the powerful work that is being home with children, raising up babies, all consuming and completely productive in the greatest sense of the word! But sometimes I get so stuck in the pissed off part that it’s hard to come to surface. Changing the scenery is my simplest trick to guide this process.

I’ve often popped a baby, one of my three at various stages in their lives, into their car seat and gone for a long country drive. Stopping for a favourite coffee, maybe a cookie if I’m feeling it, turning the tunes up loud enough to not hear those nearly-asleep-whimpers (yes, I’ve done that). And as baby girl finally gives in and nods off, I feel a peace take over my body and start to loosen up the tightness that has overcome me in these moments of desperation. In the quiet I can really see my surroundings, can take in the country homes, the farms, the ambling horses at the fence, the dirty woolen mounds of end-of-winter sheep, taste the buttery sweetness of the cookie. I can realize that nothing that this baby is doing is a personal affront, even though there is the triggered part of me that believes it is, and I can see that when I get us both out of our worn-in ruts, we can experience peace. Her; sleep. Me; solitude.

On this day, after talking to my wise friend Stephanie about creating more fun and pleasure, I took current baby girl out for a stroll. The nap ninja that she is was just not relinquishing to my pleads for peace so into the stroller she went. The winter just starting to ease, a bright blue sky above us, it was the perfect day to choose a different outcome. Loving the music I’m hearing, feeling the sunshine, spotting the buds on trees and robins hopping happily along. I also notice the overall drab look of houses and wonder about our aversion to colour. In a climate that sees nearly more winter than any other season, wouldn’t it make sense to at least have vibrant colour to break up the bleak grey days?

Remember winter?

In my part of the world we’re overall a buttoned-up society, rigid in our expression, afraid of being bold. And I mean bold in a really low-key way. I have soft pink kitchen. The cabinets are dark, the counters are granite, the built in breakfast nook is white and classic but the walls are pink. I can’t tell you how many people have told me I’m brave to have a pink kitchen. I think brave might be a stretch. We’re brave when we face adversity or speak our minds or defend ourselves, but for painting our kitchens? It speaks to this level of sameness that we have become accustomed to living. We’re used to being inhibited so much so that even choosing a cool colour for our car or a wildly printed dress would cast as a different. There’s fear in being different, and I guess that’s what keeps us the same.

But I think we’re all dying for a little bit of fun, a little bit of joy, to take pleasure at least sometimes if not everyday.

If we’re not feeling allowed to dip into pleasure on the daily, it builds up to bursting. Does it make you squirmy to even think of the word pleasure? It speaks of sensuality but that maybe doesn’t mean what you think. The texture of material, the sweetness of fruit, the sounds of nature, sunshine soaking your skin — these are engaging your senses. Finding enjoyment in your everyday life, that’s pleasure. Why do we avoid it, what story do we have about how it’s unacceptable to live a life that you fully enjoy?

Our culture seems to look down upon having a glass of wine with lunch but embraces getting blotto on the weekends. When we don’t give ourself the joy of everyday pleasure it’s so easy to tumble down the rabbit hole of drinking (and drugs) to excess. There’s no easy space of casualness, there’s no allowance for feeling good just for the sake of feeling good.

Hope you got this recipe in your email! TOO GOOD

What if we did more of what made us happy? What negative outcome would happen if we: > ditched the diet and ate the birthday cake > sipped a glass of Prosecco on a patio at midday with a friend > found a way to move our body that felt fun and wonderful > gave ourselves the 10 minutes it would take to find silence with our morning coffee > turned off the tv at night and talked to your partner > painted our front door robin’s egg blue > bought yellow rain boots > listened to loud music > had a dance party > slept in > took our kids out of school for the day

When we buck the system it causes major discomfort, I know it! But if ultimate happiness topped our lists the ripple effect would be massive. What are your favourite ways to find joy, fun and pleasure in your daily life? Tell me in the comments!

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