"What's your pleasure practice?" my friend Lynn asked.
We were sitting in a cafe having coffee together. And by "together," I mean I was drinking coffee, which practically landed on her lap after she asked this question and it went out my nose and across the table. Otherwise, Lynn was drinking tea.
"Little personal, don't you think?" I responded.
Lynn smiled. "No, no. I mean your daily morning pleasure practice." She emphasized the "daily" and the "morning." Clearly, there was something I was supposed to be getting, but I still didn't get it. I raised an eyebrow.
"What do you do each day that makes you happy?"
"Oh!" I said far too loudly. I sipped my coffee as I pondered. This time, it didn't go out my nose.
Lynn is the crunchy kind. She speaks in time relegated not to a clock but to the moon's phases. She collects stones in her yard, gives them personalities and bestows wishes upon them before setting them back down to the earth. This, she says, is how she replenishes the world that plenishes her. She does yoga with goats, defines feelings as earth elements and often says I need to invoke water, because I apparently live life in the fire.
I don't know what any of this means. I never know what she means. But I nod as if I do.
I thought about my morning routine, which relies heavily on coffee, work and the morning news — all of which are necessary but don't necessarily bring pleasure.
"It's because you subsist in the orange chakra," Lynn said. I'd been told this before, and despite the fact that I'm always assured it's not an insult, it always seems to be one. And once again, I didn't know what she meant but nodded anyway. "You can't live your fullest life without a pleasure practice."
I asked Lynn what her pleasure practice involves; maybe it would give me some ideas. She listed off a series of activities: yoga, herbal meditation, pole-dancing, chanting, an apple cider vinegar bath. All of that sounded like my nightmare.
When my kindergartener came home from school, I asked him what his pleasure practice involves. He didn't snort coffee out his nose. Why would he have? He's only 6, and he doesn't drink coffee — that I know of. Instead, he seemed to think this was a perfectly normal question. Before running off, he answered: "I made three new best friends this morning. We were lemurs."
He's been making "three new best friends" nearly every day. I don't know the last time I made three new best friends. And I certainly can't remember the last time I made one who would be a lemur with me. A sloth, perhaps, but not a lemur. Making three new best friends daily would certainly count, in my book, as a daily pleasure practice — but it's one that doesn't quite seem attainable.
I work from home. And I work a lot of hours. Lunch with an already acquired best friend or my husband happens once a month if I'm lucky. I don't see many people, and when I do, it is during activities related to my kids' sports and hobbies.
Lynn invited me to her 5:30 a.m. hot yoga class, assuring me there would be lots of great people there. I passed.
But I did know that Lynn was onto something. It's so easy to forget yourself in the hustle of life. Engaging in something each day that makes you happy and brings pleasure should be a priority.
I looked around my house as if in a game of hide-and-seek, expecting to find three new best friends hiding behind the door of the coat closet.
And as luck would have it, they were.
Hiding away, practically giggling as I craned my neck around the corner, were my hiking boots, walking stick and trusty tourniquet — three things that bring joy and make me feel safe.
At some point every day since having that conversation with Lynn, I have engaged in the pleasure practice of taking a hike. When a friend cannot join, I'm still on my trek with my three best friends, Bootsy, Mr. Walker Stickman and Kit.
Maybe Lynn isn't crazy when she gives rocks names and personalities and returns them to the earth. Or maybe, in my own returning to the earth, I have joined the madness.
It's been a pleasure.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.