Another Christmas is here so time to slow down and savor the memories from the distant past and this past year. Writing Christmas cards to friends bring up memories of past interactions and activities with those who have been close over the years. Christmas school plays and holiday church services bring back memories of childhood to reminisce while sipping hot cinnamon apple cider. Christmas is a natural time to savor life as it is a holiday season that has so many memories attached to it. Since it is at the end of the year it allows as a good point to reflect over the events of the past year.
Living the more than ok life we need to savor life throughout the year not just at the end of the year. The benefits of savoring life each week is that we lower our stress levels as we learn to slow down and smell the roses in our daily life. Much of our stress and anxiety come from being on the go, go , go track of life and not noticing what is really going on in our lives. Our lack of in the present mindfulness makes our lives disjointed and disconnected which increases our stressed out feelings of being out of control.
Lisa Graham McMinn author of The Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life has this to say about savoring life: “We are surrounded by simple pleasures and the possibility of sipping and savoring our very earthy, very physical life. Contentment awaits us, inviting to savor each moment, and in doing so to honor the God who gave us life”. In her book she gives practical exercises to savor the world around us and to savor our relationship to God. Building up the habit of savoring helps us to see the importance of slowing our lives down, so we can enjoy life and living more.
With savoring, instead of scattering our thoughts continually we learn to take a deep breath and focus on the hummingbird at the feeder; the colored leaves on the tree in autumn; watching the variety of people walking through the mall, while we sit enjoying a cup of coffee. It is appreciating creation and the little joys of life which leads to being thankful in our spirits to the Creator God. Savoring is a habit that brings joy and relaxation into our lives.
Another benefit to savoring it yields the fruit of contentment in our lives which counters the constant urge for more and more stuff in our lives. Christmas has been turned into a consumer buy-a-thon instead of celebrating God’s loves and grace to mankind in the story of Jesus. We can live richer lives in savoring and appreciating what we have instead of a continual angst to desire more and more of the newest commodity to hit the market.
One passage from the writings of the Apostle Paul in Philippians relates to this, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise…. For I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” Be content and savor, soak in all the good in life. If our minds, our thinking, are focused on the good in life and all that is lovely around us we are savoring. We are taking the time to slow down and truly enjoy the life God wants us to enjoy.
I have mentioned slowing down a couple of times. There is a helpful website http://slowdownnow.org on the internet that is focused on encouraging people to slow down and shows the benefits of enjoying a slower life. As this year ends and you work on goals for the New Year make one of your list items for the New Year to take time throughout each week to savor the life around you.
Spend 10 minutes sitting outside still in a chair. Sit upright and close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you. Then open your eyes and stay seated and soak in through your eyes all the details of what you see. Write down your feelings of the experience.
Take a walk quietly through your neighborhood or a nature setting without an I-Pod in your ears. Savor the sights, smells and sounds around you during the walk. Write down the feelings of the experience.
Go to http://slowdownnow.org and jot down a couple of ideas you can incorporate in your life to help you live more slowly.