At the end of May, I had this cute idea: I noticed I tend to rush to get places and that I pack a peck of projects into my days and wouldn’t it be funny, I thought, so smart and right for the times, to write about being a Rushin’ Refugee. Aren’t I clever and yet simultaneously profound and all that?
I should know better. I should know by now that whatever I focus on shows up either right in my face or biting my backside. Or both.
What began as a cute title to a blog post has expanded into an exploration of savoring that has included the malleability of time, the delight of taking things one step at a time, the difference between looking and seeing, and the richness of nourishment. My personal inquiry delved into my habits of drinking and eating and driving, and the difference between efficiency and rushing. In this month, we’ve celebrated lots of birthdays and marked the passing of my shero, Maya Angelou. We danced in the summer solstice and as a community created a strand of prayer flags of gratitude and welcome for another hero, Michael Franti. Personally, it’s been a month of holding space and staying present while many people I love are in terrible pain, including my beloved Frank.
For someone who is practicing non-rushing, it sure looks like a lot went on in these 30 days.
Not so fast, lambkins.
It may look like this month was full-to-bursting, but that’s just what life looks like sometimes. What has really emerged in this month of savoring is simple: savoring is a living meditation. Savoring is really just about awareness, about paying attention, about receiving and allowing what is so to be so. There are lots of ways of exploring it and talking about it and explaining it, but savoring is simply choosing to be present and live life as a meditation.
Which sounds kind of high falutin’ new agey and even a little heady, I grant you. But bear with me. Living meditation, like many core human experiences, is simple and not always easy. Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote that life is like a raffle: you must be present to win. That’s all living meditation is: the moment-to-moment choice to be aware and present.
This savoring, this living meditation is a state the most of us come in and out of. We forget and then we remember. We get distracted and then we come back. Maybe Jon Kabat-Zinn is present all the time, maybe the Dalai Lama stays in awareness from dawn to dark, but for most of us, it’s a practice of remembering to come back. Over and over.
It’s been a full and rich month that has, at times, sucked royally. I’ve discovered untapped sources of love and support and strength both inside me and around me that I’m now tapping like crazy. I’m noticing that some long-held habits of hurrying are beginning to release their anxious, mindless grip. I’m sure I will come in and out of them. I’ll forget – perhaps even for long stretches of time – and then I’ll remember to savor again. The practice isn’t about staying present and centered and savoring, it’s about remembering to come back when we inevitably forget.
Whatever this month has held for you, I hope you’ve done some savoring. Remember that no matter what is happening, there is always something to savor. And if you’ve forgotten completely about savoring the whole month, that’s fine. Remember now.