New Year’s Temptations

Hello, it’s Andy here. A very happy New Year to you, from me, and as Tessy has said already, from the Mindapples team. I’ve been taking a break from computers, ideas and work since 19th December and now feel much better thankyouverymuch. Hope you had a good restful break too.

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about ‘resolutions’, but following Tessy’s earlier post, I have an alternative proposal for you: New Year’s Temptations. One of my intermittent Mindapples is ‘give into temptation once a day’. I guess it’s a variant on ‘treat yourself’. But in the astringant, pleasure-fearing Protestant Western tradition at least, ‘temptation’ is usually seen as a Bad Thing.

And that’s why I like it. Allow me to explain…

For me, Mindapples has never been about forcing myself to do things I don’t like because they’re Good For Me. It’s about finding the things I like doing anyway, and then identifying which are good for me and doing more of them, and less of the bad stuff. Eating fewer burgers, and hugging my friends more. I like chips, but they’re bad for me. But I also like cabbage, and that’s good for me. So I eat more cabbage. I don’t eat celery, because I hate it – even though it’s healthy. I think I can look after my body by eating what I like: all I need to do is like enough stuff.

My friend James once told me that when the Japanese say something is delicious, they mean it is nutritious and nourishing to the body. The idea of separating nutrition and taste is stupid. (I have no idea if this is true, but as the Sufis would say, in the spiritual world it happened.) Imagine how easy it would be to take care of ourselves if all we had to do was give in to temptation?

So that’s my suggestion for 2009. Do what you like, but select from a rich pool of options. Explore the world, think about things you’ve enjoyed before, maybe try a few new things. Find more and more things you enjoy, and you’ll find more and more things that are also good for you. And then, give in to temptation.

I’m going to try a variant on this for a while and see how it goes: do something pleasurable for each of my five senses each day. White chocolate-covered raspberries, jasmine flowers, hot baths, winter sunsets, early Billie Holiday. A focus for my temptations, a guilt-free way to indulge myself. I’m not being weak: I’m being nice to myself. Well done me. 😉

Best of luck to all of you in 2009, and let us know what you want to do more of this year. Come on, you know you’re tempted…