Thursday, September 19, 2013

Origins of Pleasure

I really enjoyed this - it really made me think:

After watching it, I wondered whether one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because my dear brother Talmadge sent me the link and said he'd really enjoyed watching it as part of the Positive Psychology Masters program he recently started.

The origin of the video - it's recommendation by someone I love and its inclusion in a top-tier university's Master's program - likely made me enjoy it more.

 And my enjoyment of the video was also likely heightened because I watched it during the precious few minutes of me-time that I allow myself every morning after I get the kids off to school. When I get home from dropping them off, I sit down and watch a TED talk or a talk from LDS General conference or something else thought-provoking and meaningful while I eat my breakfast (I realized long ago that eating breakfast with the kids just wasn't realistic - I've got to be doing hair and dealing with tons of little details while they eat breakfast so we can be on time for school...). I ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal, yogurt and fresh sliced peaches that I got from the Farmer's Market on Saturday. I'm sure my enjoyment of this talk was heightened by watching it while enjoying my tasty breakfast and my pleasant moments of piece after a crazy morning of getting kids off to school.

It's helpful to think about what really gives us pleasure and why. I think we're meant to experience a lot more pleasure than we generally experience in life but we don't really think about making joy and pleasure a goal. Perhaps if we set ourselves up for pleasure more, we'd not only experience it more, but we'd also be nicer people. Hmmm.

There is that scripture, "Men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:27). Is this scripture making a statement - that we were created to have joy and that joy is our right? Or is it more of a commandment - saying that we are supposed to seek out joy, to enjoy the beauty God created for us, to appreciate all that life brings us and gain the huge joy and pleasure that is to be had in gratitude, to prioritize pleasure sometimes, to work hard towards important things so that we can experience that uniquely wonderful joy that comes from achievement and helping others...

On another note, I realized I'm odd in some ways. If the origin of something I love is that I found it for a great deal and it's fake but I really like it, I think I actually like and cherish that thing more than if it were a really expensive original that I'd have to worry about the kids damaging.

I love this "painting" and I get tons of compliments on it when people come our house:

While it's a factory-produced piece (canvas with what looks like real paint applied thickly on top - nice texture and looks quite real) and I don't even know who the original artist was or whether he/she experienced any fame for his/her art, I love this painting. It's just really beautiful to me. But then as I think about it further, perhaps some of the reasons I love it have to do with its origin when I think of origin on a more personal level.

I've been to Sweden where my ancestors are from and when I first spied this painting at Ikea, it totally reminded me of Sweden and it's somewhat stark but sweeping beauty hit me just right. I was with Jared and the kids and we were visiting SLC from St George. I told Jared I really wanted the painting. He agreed that it was nice but brought up that we wouldn't be able to fit it in the back of our van to get it back to St George and that if we put it in the passenger area, the chances of it surviving a 4-hour drive next to the kids was pretty small. But with some tetras-style maneuvering, we fit it quite nicely in the back of the van and found it a spot in our house in St George. Then when we moved, it proved to be absolutely perfect above the fireplace in our house here - totally opens up the living room that is otherwise a bit dark and feels sort of smallish.

 So while this painting doesn't have beautiful origins of its own, it's developed meaning and history for us and therefore offers us as much or more pleasure than an original painting would...

I think that whether things in our home, the gifts we receive, the names we have and give our children, or the experiences we have come to us with history and meaning already assigned to them or whether we assign our own meaning to them, origin and meaning is important and does heighten pleasure. I know that when I tell my kids how hard I worked on dinner or even involve them in that hard work, their enjoyment of that dinner is definitely heightened. I know that when I come up with a gift or plan an activity for someone that has some history and meaning behind it and I share that history and meaning with the receiver, the pleasure involved in the gift is heightened for both the giver and the receiver.

 Just some random thoughts for the day!


Brooke said...

I think I need to find more pleasure in my life. I might be more patient with my kids. Thank you for the reminder!

On a semi-related note- which masters program is Talmadge in? I have a little brother who is still in undergrad but his ultimate goal is to do a masters in positive psychology (which, by the way, I love is actually a whole field now).

Eyrealm said...

Love that painting too. It just calms me! Thanks for the pleasure! Sure glad you managed to get it here!


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