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Mindful : October 2018
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barry Boyce is Editor-in-Chief of Mindful and loves things both sweet and savory. The word “savoring” crops up a lot in instructions for mindful eating, but why stop there? Inspired by the notion of taking more time to appreciate things, I recently decided to challenge myself to a week of savoring. As I started out, I began to see that I was automati- cally leaving lots of things out—things that were, well, unsavory, less than pleas- ant—so the challenge had to undergo some immediate reengineering. It would have to become about savoring everything. Yikes. That immediately led me to the understanding that if I was going to savor the unsavory I would have to be thankful somehow for whatever came my way. I would have to make “thankfulness” the default mode. And not just a “Yeah, thanks,” kind of thankful- ness, but a fully welcoming kind of thanking, what I came to call “savory thank- fulness.” A mouthful, yes, but it captures the spirit of the thing. IfIweretodothis,I would have to embrace the artificially sweetened (but still valuable) “attitude of gratitude.” It was a bit of a revelation. What I was pre- pared for was taking time to really enjoy things, in the present moment. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much it would chal- lenge underlying attitudes and assumptions. When the week was over, I came to some conclusions about how savoring can reach into every area of life. Here’s a little of what I learned about savory thankfulness (some of which may just spill over into life during weeks when I’m not explic- itly challenging myself ). 1 WHEN THINGS ARE GOOD... Savor the Joy This might seem like the most obvious. When things are good, it should be easy to savor them. In fact, that was not my experience. It took more effort to savor some- thing I already appreciated than I would have imagined. Our office just moved from an old-fashioned downtown office building to a small, recycled building in a quasi- residential neighborhood, and now I can walk to work. I love it. On my new walk, it was easy to savor the air and the light coming through the bare branches of trees and to imagine the pleasure of slowly seeing the seasons change. A friend had been coaching me in Alexan- der Technique, which is used by a lot of perform- ers and teaches you to appreciate the feeling of your own body parts working in alignment, of inhabiting your body fully. It also taught me to walk with more spring in my step. All right! I am savoring this. It’s delicious. But then I started to notice just how focused I still was on getting there. The Carly Simon WHAT I WASN’T PREPARED FOR WAS HOW SAVORING EVERYTHING WOULD CHALLENGE MY UNDERLYING ATTITUDES AND ASSUMPTIONS. 52 mindful October 2018 insight