I was cleaning my apartment last week and pulled out a box under my bed. In the box I found a forgotten creative project: a little handmade book I made about seven years ago. I had handwritten on the cover “My Pleasure Book.”
In the book, I drew pictures of things that give me pleasure. “Being Flushed/Feeling Alive (from exercise, a new hope, a flirtation, etc.)”; “Head massage: wow-yay”; “Refrigerator Full of Food (Yum! Don’t have to go to the store)”; “Chanting at Yoga Tree on a Friday night.” I have included the actual pictures below. If you are reading this via email, click to display images. Or click here to see the post. The pictures are not to be missed!
I had completely forgotten about this little treasure, and as I flipped through the pages, I was so happy to be reminded of what gave me pleasure in 2006. Some of those things I still do. Other not so much. Remembering that a full refrigerator gave me pleasure then inspired me to do comprehensive grocery shop the next day.
The big theme of my current book project is pleasure. You will be hearing more from me on this theme as I write along. We need pleasure.
We need pleasure in our lives in order to glow. To feel good. And to be good. A person whose pleasure tank is running dangerously low has a hard time being sunny, generous, or caring about others. The inability to feel pleasure is technically called anhedonia. Pleasure fuels us, so we need to pay attention to what gives us pleasure. For our own sake, and for the sakes of those around us.
Here are the pictures of pleasures from my pleasure book.
Here are instructions for making your own pleasure book
1. Gather these ingredients:
— some nice quality paper that is nice to touch and feel (pleasure even here)
— pens, markers, or crayons that are pleasurable to draw with
— your wonderful self
2. Give yourself an hour to sit and ponder, what gives you pleasure? Make a list. These can be sensual, sexual, daily life things, anything at all, fresh-cut flowers, the smell of baby powder, a zumba class, anything.
3. With your list, draw an illustration for each one and write under the illustration what it is about this thing that gives you pleasure. Do not worry about doing this well, do this in a way that you just enjoy and feel no pressure around.
This will be a great little book to take out now and again when you are suffering from anhedonia, to remember where to put your attention and amplify the pleasure in your life.