Collecting sensations of pleasure
In ‘Frederick’ Leo Leoni introduces the world to a remarkably foolish little mouse. Frederick, unlike the other mice, didn’t spend his time collecting grain and corn for the cold winter nights.
Instead, he collected colours and sensations, smells and sounds. When the darkest days of winter came upon the little mice, Fredrick brought out the things he collected. He shared them with the rest of the mice and it helped sustain them through the darkness.
Frederick, according to Leoni, was the artist of the mice. He practised a kind of measured, simple, essential practical hedonism. In conjuring up joyous, filling and by sharing his words, Frederick helped the mice survive without despair. He helped them recall the sensations of pleasure they took for granted once gone.
We all have the opportunity to practice practical hedonism. It can be helpful. In my office I hear a lot of ‘always’ and ‘never’ from people. This is a story they have in their heads. They are always anxious or never feel good - always depressed, never calm.
It’s very difficult to savour the majesty of coffee when incredibly depressed. The sensation of sun on your skin or the smell of fresh baked bread are difficult to notice when one is anxious.
The reverse is also true.
By collecting pleasures we create opportunities to remind ourselves though physical experience that there may be more to our experience of being alive than we tell ourselves.
It’s like the old saying goes:
You don’t need to travel far for something that’s in your back pocket. Unless you forget to check your pockets before leaving.