The Howells Group Blog

A Call to Savor

Savor the Moment

Sharing my Christmas experiment I hope to extend to all of 2014……

One of my favorite communicators, Mike Roth, gave me a gift this Christmas season. It’s a gift that I’m holding onto; longing to have it shape all of my new year about to begin. Mike skillfully revealed our human tendency throughout centuries to grasp for more; more time, more money, more excitement, more things; more whatever. To gobble and to consume life; only to find that proverbial hole still occupying our hearts we thought we ourselves could fill.

I left that morning acutely aware of how much this often describes me. Even in my grateful moments, I move too quickly and restlessly to the next thing. Contentment regularly eludes me. And there is always a “next thing” on the list; work to do, people to call, household chores, self-improvement, social engagements, endless obligations – you know the drill.

So, this Christmas week I conducted an experiment on myself. We were away for our bi-annual Christmas trip in a beautiful Central Oregon vacation home with most of my extended family. The only goal was to celebrate the season together in fun and meaningful ways. I challenged myself to observe my level of contentment throughout the week’s activities. To observe how much I was actually IN the activity I was actually doing without my mind wandering to my proverbial “to do” list or what was next. Instead of “gobbling and consuming” the food, moments, entertainment and gifts – to actually savor each crumb and bit of the week’s experiences. Savor defined means “to give oneself fully to the enjoyment of the best things in life”. Basic, easy, right? Well, for me, not so much. I am often so overloaded trying to “do the most”, and frankly then I “miss the best”.

I decided the first step to savoring was to RECOGNIZE when my mind was wandering to the “what’s next” and to practice quickly REIN it in to the “right now”. I noted I had multiple opportunities to practice this; at the movies, during meal prep, driving up to ski, shopping, wrapping, riding in the car and even in the ritual of gift opening. Each time, I took a deep breath and submerged myself back to the beauty of the “ right now”. I’m a bit embarrassed to report the level of effort it took, but I’m delighted to report the satisfaction that followed when I was successful! Mental habits are powerful practices and the more I practiced a new one the more I realized what an unconsciously strong habit the old practice was! Bottom line? It was one of the most enjoyable Christmas celebrations I’ve had; even without the snow we’d all hoped for.

So I have several days more of delicious vacation. Today, I’ve stopped myself multiple times “from the tyranny of more”.  I’ve enjoyed the needed email catch up, writing a few thank you notes, reading my new Christmas book, calibrating my January calendar, towards sanity, a nap and writing this blog. The warmth and quiet of our decorated home fill me up. I’ve resisted the urge to “see how much I can get done today” and replaced it with “see how much I can savor what I do today”.

So, for many of you who struggle like I do, I’m personally inviting you to join me in my “experiment” of savoring vs. gorging. I’d love to compare notes, successes and challenges. Cheers to a beautiful bright New Year that’s never been before! And a year that finds me and you savoring EACH magnificent gift and experience that unfolds.

One Comment

  1. Patti Widener
    Posted December 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Ahh Karen, you hit the nail on the head. I have been thinking about awareness , being in each moment. I love the word savor, as it describes HOW to be in each moment. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with this.

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