We are so focused on outputs and production and perfection. We are driven by what needs to get done. By function. By outcomes. By what can be measured.
We tick boxes and do reps. We look at things critically and analytically. We spend our time "wisely," by which we mean, productively.
Working, exercising, cooking, cleaning, constantly pursuing productivity. It’s true that some of these tasks may have a side-effect of enjoyment (the home chef who loves cooking, the writer who loves writing, the body that loves moving). But mostly we concern ourselves with functional activity. We are very rarely purely in pursuit of pleasure.
But at the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of this life, what will you reflect on? Are memories and meaning made and measured in moments of productivity? Or rather, do they rise out of those rare pockets of pleasure and presence in our lives? The moments when we just… let ourselves have the moment? The occasions where we slow down enough to notice the subtle ecstasy of the everyday.
The slow mornings in bed. The bowl of freshly cooked food eaten on the grass. Just-cut gardenias. The unhurried moment. Tea drunk hot. Dog-eared pages. Kitchen table conversations. Handwritten notes. Silk or sunshine or seawater on skin. A spoonful of honey. Laughter in the dark.
I, for one, don’t want delight, beauty, pleasure and presence to be afterthoughts or side-effects in my life. I refuse to make order, productivity and outputs the measure of my life. Because, as John O’Donahue put it, “a life without delight is only half a life.”
I want a fully-lived life. And I believe that delight is evidence of the divine. I want to make space in my life for that grace. I want to be in conversation with joy. I want to make a regular date with delight.
Will you join me?
What would that look like for you? To open yourself to something purely for the pleasure of it? What if pleasure was your priority? What if joy was your first concern? What if you were incited by delight?
What joy will you find? What gratification awaits you if you give yourself permission to truly delight in your life? How much more satisfying might life be?
Let's find out the answers to those questions, shall we?
Here's the invitation: Make a date with delight. Invite it into your life.
Delight is defined as "a high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture" or "to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly." So let yourself do something totally delightful each day - even if only for 10 minutes. Something highly, purely pleasurable and absolutely, unapologetically unproductive.
Bonus: Document your delights! Just as you might start your day with a gratitude journal, you can end your day by noting down the day's delights.
A simple sentence scribbled in your journal is enough to chronicle your dalliances with delight. And the more you notice it, the more you celebrate it, the more you become attuned to the (otherwise missed) opportunities for delight in your day. Delight becomes a daily practice. Which adds up to a more delight-full life. Enjoy.