When in Tuscany I feel this great sigh of relief, delight, joy and peace all at the same time. From this ahhh feeling I am able to focus my intention on learning or relearning the art of enjoyment. Now I thought I was pretty good at it already, but being in Tuscany shows me I still have a long way to go on my Masters degree in Pleasure. Just like yoga, practice helps. Whether this means finding bliss in celebrating simple but amazing meals without hurry or becoming more present to the quiet beautiful moments like applauding the rising of the moon at night.
Now you should know my Father was born in Italy so I know firsthand that the Italian people have a deep respect for the philosophy of enjoyment. This is the idea of IL BEL FAI NIENTE which means “the beauty of doing nothing.” Remember this passage from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love
“Generally speaking, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. Of course we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure.) Americans don’t really know how to do nothing.
But against the backdrop of hard work, il bel fai niente, has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. You don’t necessarily have to be rich in order to experience this, either. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.”
So ask yourself how do you define pleasure? Enjoyment? Joy?
Are you living life “self-specific” or still making everyone else’s opinions more important than your own?
For when you live life on your terms you find the flow. You step into the currents of grace. Rumi says, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” For many of us Savasana is that first experience of il bel fai niente. It is as Sarah Powers described her first savasana, “naptime, that she experienced an unusual peace, which she pinpointed to an absence of longing, it was clarity with joy underneath, and she decided she had to come back to yoga, that it would be hard but hard didn’t mean bad.”
I hope you join me on our upcoming Tuscany Yoga & Wine, Cycling and Cultural Adventure June 23-30, 2012 to practice the art of enjoying your life! Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia