I have an oracle card on my desk that depicts a shower of rich red rose petals and one word: SAVOUR (okay, let’s be honest, it says SAVOR – but I mentally alter it to the UK spelling every time I see it!). I plucked it out at the start of a magical retreat called Blush Love Blooms. It resonated deeply as I have a nasty tendency to race through things. I constantly project forward, rather than being in the moment.
You may be thinking, ah, but being in the moment? That’s mindfulness. And yes, it is. But savouring has a slightly different feel to it, doesn’t it? Mindfulness can feel a little dry and worthy somehow. It feels like something we ought to do. Savouring feels deeper, juicier, more pleasurable.
Savouring was easy at Blush Love where everything was pure bliss. I relished every mouthful of the sublime food. I felt into my body and, instead of getting cross at what it couldn’t do, I savoured the way it did move, the way it danced and stretched through yoga and Qoya. I treasured each magical moment of the wild fire ceremony we had on our last night. I even savoured the journey home, stuck in bank holiday traffic.
That got me thinking. It’s all well and good savouring the lovely stuff: savouring is simplicity itself on luscious retreats. But what happens when you get home and are caught in the day to day? Well, how about savouring that too? It’s where gratitude nudges its nose in, isn’t it? Gratitude that we’re alive, that we are breathing and moving, even when it’s not exactly what we might have on our vision boards.
Then there’s the tough stuff – the wrenching sorrow, the flashes of anger, the tsunami of shame or guilt or frustration that can flood over us. Well, you know what? I think you can savour those too. We all know that squashing down feelings is not a good idea. Yet we are often so uncomfortable with our difficult emotions that we will do anything rather than feel. For some of us that means damping them down with alcohol or food or binge-watching television. For others it’s making ourselves so busy with work or family or friends, that we simply have no time to notice them. Some of us even avoid them with ‘healthy’ pursuits such as exercise, yoga and, yes, even meditation.
How does it feel when you simply sit and allow those feelings to emerge? How does it feel when the tears slide down your face; when you smash your fist into a pillow; when you allow your body to express the unspoken, the unspeakable? Yes, it can be exquisitely painful but I’d suggest that it can also be a gift, something to be savoured. It means you’re a human being. It means you’re alive.
So, right now I’m savouring. I’m drinking in the bliss of every stunning sunset, the softness of my dog’s fur, the smile on my son’s face, the scent and taste of my coffee. Yet I’m also sitting with the shitty stuff and savouring that too. I’m learning that every tear, every flash of anger comes with its lessons. There’s a poem that expresses this perfectly. It’s called The Guest House and it’s by the Sufi mystic Rumi. Savour it.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
This first appeared in my column for Natural Health magazine.
Sadly BlushLove retreats are no longer being run. The two goddesses that ran them are now offering their delights separately and I suspect they are just as delicious. Find out for me and report back?
Kate Taylor can be found at Creative Living on Your Own Terms
Gail Love Schock can be found at G-Love