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Pleasure: The Pathway Home



Fitting for the full moon today (the last supermoon of 2020), I found myself listening to Debussy’s Clare de lune, the title meaning "moonlight", on repeat. A beloved piece that if you don’t know offhand, you will certainly recognize from the many movies and tv shows it’s featured in (stop here if you haven't already, and go have a listen as you read this post). There is something about this piece that makes me feel a certain way. No matter how many times I listen to it, every time, it’s a high sensation experience. I found myself on listen number three feeling chills starting from my arms - almost as if my heart was radiating out immense vibrations it could no longer hold in my chest, and soon feeling every cell in my body, as if “the chills” had covered my body from the inside out. 

As I move through the music, my experience shifts moment to moment. At once, feeling a bittersweet sadness, welling up at the stunning complexity of the composition. Am I sad? No. I feel sadness. What for? I feel a longing for each moment to last longer, and then immediate appreciation for the impermanence of each moment. Each one even sweeter as it passes, creating that longing, that “sad” sensation. The all encompassing magic of this work of art, takes me to the depths of all that is beautifully alive in the world, the sorrow, the anticipation, the gleeful, the struggle, the sweet relief. The entirety of all heartfelt emotions I get the pleasure of experiencing as a human being. 


Now I am a particularly sensitive being. And music, well I’d qualify this by saying ‘good’ music, has it’s way with me - like an intimate lover who knows exactly what I want, who knows what I want better than me - knows my desires well beyond my earthly, mundane imagination. 


Like the most ecstatic love making, all my senses deliver on a magnitude beyond comprehension. I feel not just my personal pleasure, but the pleasures of all existence - like the discovery of this fundamental truth of pure unity. It’s as if for a blissful 268 seconds, I’m on a journey returning to source, remembering who I really am. 


How remarkable that in under five minutes I could return to my aliveness - to the source of truth and become, if even for five minutes, more myself. more beautiful. more alive.


Debussy’s music was a turning point from the Romantic music that had dominated the19th century to the music of the 20th century. When asked what rule he followed, he scandalised his harmony teachers by answering: “Mon plaisir” (My pleasure).

Thank you Debussy, for reminding me that the pathway home is through “mon plaisir.” I invite you to find a moment today to gift yourself a “mon plaisir” moment. 


Until we meet again, 


BE(auti)FULLY ALIVE


[1] Decoding the Music Masterpieces: Debussy’s Clair de Lune

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