Building Happiness through the Wisdom of Savoring
The wisdom of savoring has been on my mind since the start of the year. That’s when I discovered that the words savor and wisdom share a root word (sapere).
Sapere means to taste, and not just in the culinary sense.
It’s a lovely invitation to taste all that life brings to us.
And while I’m no etymologist, I imagine that when we embrace savoring in this way, we move towards discernment (another word that’s related to taste) and deepening our wisdom.
Hence the link between wisdom and savoring.
Thankfully, this discovery came right at the beginning of the Women’s Wisdom Tending Circle that began in January.
Now, months later, I see that even though our conversations and writings in the circle have explored many themes, we always tend to return to this enduring relationship between savoring and wisdom.
Just yesterday I pulled out my journal from our first evening together, and revisited a passage I wrote about savoring…
My senses are my bridges to the world. They tell me to stop and savor. Go to the old trees. Walk up the path. Stop. Listen. There’s a bird perched high on a branch, I can just barely make it out. But I hear it–calling to the other birds in the grove, calling me, inviting me into their secret world. The wind whispers gently in my ear, speaking a language I don’t know yet but I’m learning. I’m learning to translate bird language, wind language, tree language. Bird and tree and wind capture me in a whirlwind of energy, light and sound.
You might be wondering: has focusing on the wisdom of savoring actually made us wiser?
Of course I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally I’m noticing that even though I may not be any wiser, I do have a deeper understanding of what makes it easier for me to savor and what gets in the way.
I’ve discovered that the wisdom of savoring (for me) is about entering into the stream of life, putting myself in situations and places where there is much to savor.
Pausing to let my senses awaken, instead of just going about my routines, putting one foot in front of the other.
Measuring my days not by how much I’ve accomplished, but by how much I’ve savored.
And when I feel rushed and overwhelmed, stepping back to remember that peeling an orange is not an imposition, but rather a gift, a rich moment of delight (I actually had this experience the other day).
Happily, we all know instinctively how to savor.
After all, weren’t we born this way, with the great capacity to delight in the smallest things? To be touched and moved by what’s right in front of us?
Then, as we get older and enter into the race of life, our skills get a little rusty, our savoring muscles don’t quite work the way they used to. We’re kind of like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz: we need a good oiling now and then.
In the past months my savoring muscles have gotten some much needed oiling. Now, I want to deepen into it. And as I look ahead to continued practice in the wisdom of savoring, there are a few things I want to pay particular attention to.
In fact, if you’re yearning to experience the wisdom of savoring in your own life, you might start here…
- Pause and deeply breathe in the experience you’re savoring
- Imagine (or find) an image that reflects your appreciation of this moment
- Notice any details you want to remember
- Ask: What memory do I want to make from this?
- Share what you’ve savored with someone else, or journal about it
As your own savoring muscles loosen up you’ll likely move towards ongoing, moment-to-moment experiences of the wisdom of savoring. Then, it will be far too much to expect yourself to stop and capture every experience.
But engaging in this practice once a day, or even simply a few times a week? Not only does it feel really good, but it’s great for your mental health too: it boosts positivity and builds happiness.
These are just tiny moments, and the positive emotions associated with them fade…but they don’t have to. We just have to savor them.