Eat, Pray, Love - Pleasure Vs. Entertainment

italian-foodI am a movie buff and went to see Eat, Pray, Love with a couple of good friends Sunday. In the movie, “Liz,” played by Julia Roberts, goes to Italy to eat (a great past time). An Italian barber says to her, (I’m paraphrasing) “Americans know entertainment but they know nothing about pleasure. You work too much during the week, get burned out and lay around all weekend watching TV. That is not pleasure. You feel guilty, that you don’t deserve to have pleasure unless you have earned it. And, you don’t know how to be.”

How perfectly the barber captured why we Americans obsessively turn to “lite” addictions like the internet, Facebook, hours of TV, or 3 glasses of wine when one would be more satisfying if fully enjoyed. We’re trying to escape the stress and anxiety of so much to do, and we don’t treat the root cause – a growing sense of disconnection from ourselves and each other.

What’s the difference between entertainment and pleasure? Pleasure is defined by Webster’s as “a feeling of enjoyment or delight.” When I think of pleasure, I think of involvement – eating with friends, making love, gardening - not as a task to get done, but for the enjoyment of our hands in the dirt, smelling the air and the flowers.

garden-hammock-woman“Lite” addictions temporarily distract us from the craziness of the demands of life, but is that enough? Take a few deep breaths, spend a few moments defining the pleasures of your life and how to create more time for “delight and enjyment.” I’m heading out to the backyard to my hammock.