What’s Pleasure Got to Do with Rewriting Anything?

Is there pleasure even in rewriting

Our theme at the weekly Oasis for July has been Pleasure and Freedom. I usually take each theme to heart, reading about it,  cogitating on it, turning it over in my mind and heart.

I was rewriting my book (it’s due this Friday to my editor!!) and I was getting jumpy, having a hard time staying at my desk. 

I kept wanting to jump ahead and have the writing be done

I love this book so much. It’s the culmination of so many years of writing and thinking, and I wanted to make it sing

Later that day, I went to see my physical therapist, Charlie Merrill. As he was working on my iliotibial (IT) band, between gasps of “Wow, that’s tight in there,” I told him about wanting to just be done; to be over the hump with the book.

I heard myself say, “I like it so much, I almost can’t stand it.” 

He laughed and we talked about how hard it can be when caring so much and loving the work, to relax and enjoy the process.

As I drove back home, the Rockies sharp and blue against the banks of clouds, a question popped into my mind, “Is there pleasure even here?”

It’s a variation of a question I learned from Mark Silver, business healer, master Sufi teacher, and a dear friend who asks, “Is there love even here?”

Is there pleasure even here? In this rewriting phase?

I asked myself the question when I was back at my desk writing and, immediately, my whole body relaxed. I became aware of how much I love finding just the right word,  tearing apart a section to rebuild it, or digging deeper to clarify an idea. “My god,” I thought, “there is so much pleasure here in this rewriting.” 

By asking, I could relax and let it in. I could settle and be with it. Allow myself the pleasure that rewriting brings.

Is there pleasure even here?

Next, I asked this question while I was running. Lately, running has felt like a chore; something on my list of things to do rather than a grand adventure or a chance to push myself.

Is there pleasure even here?

I was suddenly aware of the scent of the creek, the breeze on my arms, the whoosh of my breath, and the green of the cottonwoods. The joy of being able to move! Again, my body relaxed even as I kept running. I felt like a kid. 

I asked while I was sick and sure enough, yes there was pleasure even here. The cool sheets against my face, the breeze from the fan, the heating pad under my neck; so much pleasure even here when my stomach was roiling and my head was throbbing.

Is there pleasure even here?

Why is this question so powerful? I think because pleasure connects us to life, to being alive, and to our desires. It brings us into the present through “loving what the soft animal” of our bodies love. Letting pleasure in calms our nervous systems and reminds us we can always choose how we react to any situation.

Is there pleasure even here? 

I hope you find asking this question as transformative and joyful as I have. 

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