Fortunately, I heeded this incredible wisdom. I scanned the guests, noticing the sweet gazes of our many friends and family. I turned to look at my parents beside me under the chuppah (i.e., a canopy above a Jewish couple during a wedding ceremony), and my four brothers standing just behind them. I especially remember holding eye contact with my brother Eddie for a few seconds longer, as he smiled widely and curiously back at me. It was a beautiful moment I will always cherish.
In turn, I shared this same wisdom about savoring the moment with both of my daughters, before their Bat Mitzvahs, and with my husband, in the green room, before he went on stage to give a TEDx Talk. I even include an entire chapter in my forthcoming book about the importance of savoring our accomplishments and growth.
Unbeknownst to me, until I heard a podcast a few days ago, “savoring” is actually a psychological technique. According to psychologist Fred Bryant, savoring is defined as “the capacity to attend to, appreciate, and enhance the positive experiences in one’s life.” Savoring goes beyond simply experiencing something positive; it is both appreciating and paying mindful attention to that moment or event. It is precisely what I did under the chuppah before I said my marital vows.
But savoring need not be limited to big, defining events. We can savor an amazing cloud formation, pausing to explore their shape and nuanced colors, while appreciating this incredible gift of nature. We can savor a favorite song, beyond just thinking “I love this song,” by cranking up the volume, feeling the excitement in our bodies, and singing along. And we can savor a delicious dessert. Instead of simply groaning in delight after the first bite, we can take our sweet time, and savor the texture and layered flavors of every single bite thereafter.
Summer is awash in delights to savor – walking barefoot on the beach or in our backyards, swimming in the ocean or pools, or eating watermelon and corn on the cob. If we have kids, and they are still home, we can savor our time together. And, if and when they return to school, we can savor our quieter (and cleaner) homes.
I invite you all to join me in a spirited experiment of practicing savoring. During these waning days of summer, I am committing to savor at least one thing each day, until the Summer Solstice, on September 23. Yesterday, I savored the experience of picking figs from my tree and this morning I savored the beautiful view atop Cowles Mt. with my daughter and husband, by my side. Both were delightful.
Are you in? If so, tell me what you savor in the days and weeks ahead.
Wishing you all many moments awash in savoring and joy.