Monday, November 13, 2017

The Sweetness of Savoring

StockSnap via Pixabay
In the first year seminar I teach, we are reading Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. My students always enjoy this book, and I do, too. One of the best things about using it as a teaching tool is the fact that I get to give fun homework assignments.

Last Friday, for example, I told them their homework for the weekend was to savor something. What they chose to savor was their choice and the details did not have to be reported back, merely experienced.

One of the best parts of homework assignments like these is that I get to participate, too. As I lay in bed on Saturday morning, I took a moment to savor the opportunity, from the fact that I was in bed later than usual to the warmth of my blankets and the softness of my pajamas.

So often, in the rush of life and the crush of things to be done now, we forget to even notice what's around us, let alone savor it. We walk past the same sights, drive the same vehicle, see the same faces, and toss our keys into the same spot without noticing any of it. While I'm not advocating finding all of our joy in material things, it's nice to take time to appreciate what we have.

How many times have you wolfed down a meal, barely tasting it? Driven past the same trees without noticing the color of their leaves? Purchased something you had to have only to be bored by it within a week?

Me too.

It's human nature to become accustomed to what we have, whether it's something, someone or a state of mind. (Psychologists call it the "hedonic treadmill"). Fortunately, we're also equipped to purposefully override the treadmill simply by stopping for a moment and taking time to appreciate the people and things around us.

Savoring is something I always mean to do, but often forget to do. Luckily, I have my own homework assignments to remind me that it's time to stop, look, listen, taste and experience.

How about you? What will you savor today?

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