One of the suggestions in “the Artist’s Way” is to “treat” ourselves for there are times we get caught up in the daily doing of our responsibilities, so to keep the flow moving we need to treat ourselves.
Julia Cameron writes; “In order to thrive as artists – and, one could argue, as people – we need to be available to the universal flow. When we put a stopper on our capacity for joy by anorectically declining the small gifts of life, we turn aside the larger gifts as well.” She goes on to explain further, “What gives us true joy? That is the question to ask concerning luxury, and for each of us the answer is very different.”
My greatest joy comes from my relationship to Ailsa, and I have certainly had many other joys, many other things to occupy my attention.
I have enjoyed flying, skiing, sailing, cycling, tramping, photography, reading, carpentry, metalwork, electronics, computing, reading, mathematics, logic, psychology, philosophy, golf, fishing, hunting, observing nature, observing people, talking, writing,……
There so much in life one can enjoy, that is why it is so easy for me to imagine living thousands of years and beyond.
And I have had more than my share of not so enjoyable experiences, like being trapped below deck on a vessel on fire, having fingernails torn out by a chainsaw, bone shattered by impact with rock, loss of friends and family etc…. These things give contrast.
It seems to me that joy is largely a matter of choice, and can occur in any instant that we are willing to give up our barriers to it, our insistence at some level that reality ought to be different than what it is (as distinct from choosing to work towards bring something new into reality).
It seems to be one of the fundamental traps derived from making the distinction “value”, as in a class of functions that can be used to rate alternatives. We tend to apply it to present and past events, rather than reserving it for assessing possible futures (where it has high utility). When used to assess present or past events it is a waste of effort, as they are what they are, acceptance is required.