Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE – 11.16 – Easily Pleased

Caterpillar-wREFLECTION: Over the years, I’ve grown to enjoy the ‘one a day’ practice. I’m not talking about an apple a day keeping the doctor away, or a one-a-day vitamin to keep the body ticking along. I’m referring to what are often called Day Books.  They’re collections of short essays or readings – one for each day of the year. These reflections shine a light on ideas or offer new ways of thinking about or looking at things. The best of them spark new perspectives to carry through your day.

One of the first Day Books that I dipped into years ago was a gift from a fellow ‘balance-challenged’ friend – a volume by Anne Wilson Schaef titled Meditations For Women Who Do Too Much. I’ve enjoyed many different Day Book types and topics over the years.

This year, I’m dipping into The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.  The author’s struggle with cancer and his study of the human spirit have brought a laser like focus to his thinking about life. He’s an insightful observer and a skilled writer.

The sign of a good reflection is when its impact lingers beyond 24 hours and past the next reading in the book. It’s three weeks now since I read Mark’s January 20th treatise, and I keep coming back to his idea.

In his piece titled ‘Being Easily Pleased’, Mark points out that cultivating a worldly sophistication as an arbiter of good taste (a keeper of high standards) interferes greatly with our ability to enjoy life.  He suggests that if, instead, you treat everything that comes your way as worthy, you will find yourself more easily pleased. This doesn’t mean that lofty goals and high standards are irrelevant – only that value lives everywhere if we pay close attention.

This approach is so apparent in children. Not having been exposed to the ‘finer things in life’ – haute cuisine, designer clothes, or exotic holidays – they nevertheless find joy at every turn. A fuzzy caterpillar, a drippy ice cream cone, and a discarded bottle top are all likely to elicit squeals of delight.

ACTION: There is no age restriction on being enthralled and elated by simple slices of life. The next time you find yourself facing plans gone sideways, experiences gone sour, or relationships that disappoint, try challenging that grown-up, discerning, adult, judgmental mindset.

Look for a bit of joy or value nestled deep in the hardship or irritation. Try treating yourself to the ‘One A Day’ experience of being more easily pleased with what you find in front of you today.


“One key to knowing joy is to be easily pleased.” -Mark Nepo

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.” – Soren Kierkegaard

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: The Book Of Awakening – Having the Life You Want By Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo. Published by Conari Press. 2000.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Life Balance, Life in General, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

No Responses to “PAUSE – 11.16 – Easily Pleased”

  1. Lori Reichert

    Hello Pat:

    This weeks Pause resonated with my personal resolution to be more mindmind, be more present in every moment, and to be intentional in all aspects of my life. I appreciated your comments on children. Since I was a teenager I said I wasn’t going to grow up if it meant I had to give up my sense of humour; of being able to smile and laugh about simple, silly fun things that happen every day. Why do most adults allow this to be a frustration? A drippy ice cream cone – oh I’ve ruined my shirt. A discarded bottle cap – oh look at our dirty city, why doesn’t anyone clean it up. I actually know some 20 somethings who love to collect neat bottle caps and this makes me smile. Your pause this week also makes me smile. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  2. Pat Katz

    Hi Lori
    More smiles, giggles, and laughs in this world. That’s something worth cultivating!

  3. Doug

    Hi Pat:

    Just before opening this weeks Pause blog I wrote the name of a book I’d recently glanced through at the mall onto the back of my hand. As I considered how I might access a copy I began, with astonishment, to read about the very same book in your article. Methinks I might just scoot asap toute de suite down to library and answer the funny little nudge of this strange coincidence. Brings a touch of hope that I might find forgotten value and joy currently squashed under the millstone of a failed relationship (despite valiant as Don Quixote attempts lol the other would not be so easily pleased)
    Thanx for Pause i Luv it


  4. Pat Katz

    Gotta love those serendipitous events! Enjoy the book.

  5. JF

    Hi Pat – always enjoy this weekly newsletter, and today’s reminded me of a conversation that I recently had with my mom. We were chatting about my grandfather, and she was saying how he was still held a gudge of sorts with him because a few times when I was a child (probably going back 30 years now) he had promised to take me to the farm with him, and then he hadn’t shown up. I was shocked, and told her so, because I had no recollection of the times that he didn’t show up to take me to the farm, but I had such great memories of the times that he did. I’m sure I may have been briefly disappointed as a child, but that disappointment surely didn’t last long as I moved onto something else to occupy my time and delight myself. Children have such an amazing resiliance, and I try to remember this each day as I come across something that I could let disappoint me, usually it’s not worth the time moping about, and quickly move on to something that will bring me joy.
    Thanks for this reminder to keep this attitude each day 🙂

  6. Pat Katz

    That is a superb example of resilience and forgiveness, June. It can be so easy – as your Mom’s example notes – to stay stuck in resentment. It only burns us up from the inside out.

  7. Stephanie Staples

    here, here – I wholeheartedly agree! My word of the year is ‘delight’ and I have challenged my self to find something to delight in every day and write it down. It has made me much more aware of the wonderful ‘goings on’ in my world! Keep on inspiring!

  8. Pat Katz

    Stephanie – Delight is a wonderful word. Drawing attention to the delights of our days is a fabulous exercise. A few years ago, I declared a Year of Celebration, and set myself the same task of noting one thing to celebrate each day. You might be interested to dip into the Celebration Logs that I posted in the library on my Pauseworks site. There are 12 months of them – this is the first: There’s also a blank Celebration Log in word doc and pdf for visitors to download to start keeping their own record of celebration.

Leave a Reply