On Hedonism

What do seaside hot tubs, fresh goat’s milk, and long walks through flowering forests have to do with the so-called quest for creative liberation? (There is a connection, I promise.) In my mind, the parallel lies within the concept of exploring this question: What feels good and right to me?

In our daily work, this isn’t a question that many of us very often get to ask. And even when we do, how many of us can actually answer it? We are usually so numb from doing things that bore us silly that we can’t even remember what stokes our fires.

Part of why I set out to travel alone is so that I could ask this question over and over again, with no interruption and no judgment. I am convinced that by doing so, I will be led to a more important truth about myself, i.e., that the answer to the bigger question starts with smaller ones:

Talking to this nice Estonian woodcarver feels good and right to me.

Starting the day with a Finnish sauna feels good and right to me.

Meditating on the sound of the million birds of Muhu Island feels good and right to me.

Of course, everyone’s answers are different. I have an older brother whose running list would probably include hitting golf balls at the driving range, riding go-karts, and drinking beer at the lake. Fair enough. The thing is, he does these things regularly, and he’s plugged into a job he finds extremely satisfying, as a school administrator. Is he–a strong leader who shapes the lives of dozens of kids every day–a prime example of how feeding yourself can actually feed others?

Maybe I shouldn’t feel so guilty about that mud wrap I had the other day at the spa on Muhu.

Another way of saying all of this may be that sometimes we all need to loosen up and have a little fun. I am in Helsinki now, and apparently that’s a pretty good place to do just that ….

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