When I first heard that Cynthia Loyst from CTV’s The Social was publishing a book about how to bring more pleasure into our lives, I was reluctant to read it. As a regular follower of the TV show, I thought I had a pretty good handle on her philosophy of life and wondered what more could possibly be said. But I was wrong. Having now read her recently released Find Your Pleasure, The Art of Living a More Joyful Life, I can definitely recommend it as a worthwhile read.
Most boomer gals probably read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach nearly thirty years ago. It was a contemplative stream-of-consciousness collection of daily essays aimed at taking our minds off life’s daily grind and transporting us into a world of peaceful thoughts, kindness, and reflection. Loyst’s book has the same effect. There’s nothing new or earth-shatteringly revelatory in the book but it’s a gentle reminder that we’re all entitled to peacefulness, love, and, obviously, pleasure in our lives. And, significantly, it’s up to each of us to ensure it’s part of our lives.
The book is a fast, easy read, liberally sprinkled with gorgeous photography to put us in a positive frame of mind. One of her early points that I can vouch for is carving out a space of your very own in your home. Many boomers gals are now widowed or divorced and for those who live alone this is not an issue, but for others it’s very important. That’s why my husband and I have separate televisions in separate rooms. We each have our own space, which contributes to a happy marriage.
There are abundant references to the joys of being a parent. Loyst has one son who is six years old so it’s a major component of her life. Again, boomers have left that part of our lives behind. Pets also play a huge role in keeping us happy and healthy. Now that we’re not going to work and leaving pets alone all day, we have the time to enjoy their company, laugh at their silliness, get some fresh air and exercise when we walk them and nurture them like the substitute children they become.
We’re encouraged to love our seemingly imperfect bodies. They serve us well and we should be grateful. And when we ignore, disrespect or mistreat our bodies and our minds, they have a way of getting our attention through illness, pain, or even a breakdown. I have a feeling many of us have realized this even more since we’ve been locked down for the past couple of months during the pandemic. We’ve always craved alone-time and now we have more than we could have wished for. There’s a message to be received here and learned from, particularly for younger people who are still working and caught up in the consumer and rat-race culture.
Each chapter of the book is only a couple of pages long so it’s easy to pick it up and read a few random paragraphs, or pages. And the beautiful photographs separating each chapter are like slipping into a delicious, warm bath with scented salts and candlelight. We’re reminded to be grateful for our blessings. This was also addressed in Simple Abundance. Each day offers large and small blessings and recording them in a gratitude journal helps remind us of the pleasure to be derived from simple rituals like a lovely cup of tea, indulging with delicious body lotion, receiving a call from a friend, or a hug from someone you love. Journaling these pleasures is a positive tonic and reminds us of how fortunate we really are.
Loyst sums up each chapter with a signature thought or suggestion. Even though Find Your Pleasure is a quick read, I book-marked dozens of pages for later reference. Lots of meat but not too heavy to digest and savor. One of the suggestions she had for younger women in overcoming a lack of confidence is one I can personally attest to. Back when I was still working, I took many courses and attended numerous seminars over the years to improve my business skills. I once spent an entire fall, winter, and spring attending Toastmasters’ weekly meetings to learn to speak in public with confidence and a degree of skill. That was one of the best things I ever did and I highly recommend it to my younger readers.
There are many issues covered in this book that are no longer relevant to retired baby boomers because they relate to the work/family balancing act, but it’s reassuring to read Loyst’s perspective on them. Much of what she advocates, we’ve already learned through personal experience over the years. In many ways, it was harder for us because we were fighting discrimination (think Mad Men) and other societal norms that we helped change. And, there was absolutely no mentoring system for women in business when we were advancing in the sixties and seventies. We became mentors to the next generation of young women later in our careers.
Find Your Pleasure is a lovely book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It would also make a perfect gift for a girlfriend, a sister, or someone else you know. It’s a little bit of escapism with a meaningful message. Pour yourself a glass of wine and take pleasure in reading this book.
If you cannot access these books from your local bookstore or library, click on the image below to order from Amazon. Disclosure: If you order from these links, the book will be delivered right to your door, you will receive Amazon’s best price, and I may receive a teeny, tiny commission. Thank you.