Savor

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Savor

“Thank God for walking the dog,” was my first thought as I looked back across the days tracked carefully for standing, sitting, exercise, sleep, indoor and outdoor time.

 

As a contractor working from home, despite my extensive training in movement and human psychology, I still fall out of habit. Between writing papers, proposals, blogs, emails and phone-based executive coaching sessions, it’s easy to slide through an entire afternoon of desk work.

 

But Sheba, whose internal clock is more sensitive than my own, has an impeccable sense of timing. It’s been a few hours – time to go out! Four pm on the nose… dinner! I’m struck by the reliability of her instincts when it comes to keeping both of our senses of well being in tact.

 

I’ve known it for a while. When I am living in motion I am healthier, happier, more focused and more creative.

 

John Ratey, psychiatrist, Harvard professor and author of the book Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization, argues that when we go outdoors, change the scenery or spend some time in connection with other people (or animals), it serves to re-generate a kind of physio-emotional electricity that we don’t recoup while hacking away at an important project alone at our desks.

 

What are we built for?

Something other than sitting for hours on end. My body can and will attest to that.

 

But what about flow while working?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I can access a deep sense of flow in my writing. Yet no matter how energizing I find self-expression through the written word, I still find myself needing to pause and move in order to keep going at length. What’s more, it doesn’t seem to be enough to simply get moving. The ingredients of presence and enjoyment also make a difference.

 

For example,

this morning while walking with Sheba through the local park, I caught myself thinking about the desk work I needed to finish when I came home. Sheba, on the other hand, was enjoying the early fall breeze, sniffing at fallen leaves, and greeting other dogs along the way. When I woke up and noticed my lack of presence, it struck me that she was getting a LOT more out of our 30 minutes outdoors than I was… even though we were on the same walk!

 

Sheba, I realized, knows how to savor.

 

For her, there is nowhere else to be but here. So we might as well enjoy it.

 

Like the Slow Food movement that urges us to be present, taste, touch, and feel through our experience of dining, our experience of movement affords a similar opportunity. Not only does this practice turn the tables on an otherwise potentially monotonous set of actions (yes, Sheba and I walk the same neighborhood loop most mornings), but, by increasing the pleasure we take from the experience itself, savoring can also increase the likelihood we will want to do it again.

 

And when we’re talking about exercise, upping our desire for more couldn’t hurt, right?

 

This week I invite you to savor what you do. Breath. Open your eyes. Notice the colors of the trees. The temperature of the air. The texture of your clothes as they brush against your skin.

 

In your movement practice, pay attention! Don’t add anything… just up the attention you place on whatever movement you’re already doing. If you tend to get lost in thought, choose a particular sensation and focus your 5 senses. Like a moving meditation, continue bringing yourself back to those sensations. For example, can you feel the expanding and contracting of your lungs as you breath. How does it feel while dancing? Running? Swimming? Practicing yoga?

 

What do you see? Hear? Smell? Literally, allow your self to be fascinated by the colors as they pass by your eyes. Get lost in the drum beats as they pulse through the canal of your inner ear.

 

There is so much to savor. Why not indulge? Drink it in.

 

In life, take a moment to notice what stops you. If you’re anything like me, there can be a subtle feeling of guilt that creeps in – as though if I give myself fully to the feeling of THIS moment then I lack some kind of overarching responsibility for the other 20 things I know must get done today.

 

What if that wasn’t true?

 

Test it out. I dare you. If you fully indulge in your 30 minute exercise routine (or your 15 minute coffee break), are you more or less effective in the client meeting that follows?

 

I’d be willing to bet that at worst it doesn’t hurt…

 

And at best? You’ve regained the pound (and a few extra ounces) of JOY that you’d convinced yourself there wasn’t room for this week.

 

 

Savoring these last few lines,

 

xoxo

 

LeeAnn

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. Yes, it is good to savor! Each moment has so many facets, so many possibilities, so much promise. Grab some!

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