How do we learn to savor life? MaRiza Noyama-Zee has some ideas.
I remember the first time I heard the term “Skills of Savoring”. It was only a few months ago at a meeting we were participating in for our daughter. Our oldest kiddo, Ivy, is autistic and we have been on quite a journey to access the kind of support we need to make our family’s life, and her life, filled with a balance of positive experiences and growth opportunities.
Life for our kiddo has been hard in ways; full of rejection, overwhelm, lack of support, lack of diagnosis, long waiting lists, and systemic insufficiencies. But here we are, after a year of leaning hard into the perceived limitations, and after many calls, emails, meetings, and basically hard work, we find ourselves on the other side with a whole system of support surrounding her and us.
We are a part of a Wraparound team with an angelically loving case worker running monthly meetings to help us address our deepest needs, challenges, and growth edges with our daughter. Our team is made of representatives from every arena of her life; from school, from home, from extended family and friends, to professionals like her therapist, peer support workers, and the newest additions ~ direct support staff. Our team contains anywhere from 9 to 12 people at any given moment. To say we have left an old life of being a lone raft bobbing on an open ocean, to being a single boat in a well equipped fleet on a specific mission, would be a colorful understatement.
We have been found by our fleet, and we are not alone.
So several months ago, while filling out an assessment on Ivy’s behalf, our case worker asked how our daughter’s savoring skills were. I was flabbergasted. Savoring skills? What are those? She explained that the question was referring to Ivy’s ability to be present in the moment and enjoy what she was experiencing. Wow. What a great question!
So how are your savoring skills?
This is a complex and evocative question, as life zips by, and we feel little encouragement to slow down enough to savor. As women, what does it mean to stop and savor the moment? Smell the roses? Slowly prepare a meal while listening to your favorite music? Taste one delectable bite of food at a time?
Isn’t there always more we should be doing, something that still needs our attention? Isn’t time always not enough to fit the life we are trying to live? Who is it that gets to slow down and savor? Is our self-worth entangled with our ability to hold it all together and keep moving forward without respite?
It brings back a memory of a conversation I had with my late grandad after his retirement from 50 years of working for GE. I asked him what it was like to be retired. And he said, “Well, I sit in this chair, watching my shows and trying to relax. But my wife is always on the go. She never stops. And watching her is exhausting”. My grandad ended up going back to work as a consultant, because being faced with the reality of my grandmother’s life as a “homemaker” was too intense to witness!
So when do we rest? When do we savor? And how do we give ourselves permission to change?
Like anything else, the moment we become aware is the moment it begins to shift.
I started to ask myself questions around my own savoring skills. What brings me pleasure? What feels safety-producing for my body? What is my relationship with beauty?
I have discovered that I like to look at nature. Even taking 30 seconds to stare out a window at the way the wind moves the trees is nourishing. Taking time to let my heart roam over the rolling hills and touch the sky as I drive my kids to school feeds me.
I have discovered that smells and sounds matter to me. Some smells and sounds make my heart sing and others make me want to scream. I have become committed to surrounding myself with good fresh scents and heart-resonant sounds and quickly addressing displeasurable ones.
I have discovered that a warm drink and a fun piece of fiction by the glow of our gas fireplace is the best way to love myself at the end of the day. Sometimes I even nestle in when the dishes aren’t done and tell my partner, who has less difficulty engaging in pleasurable recreation after work, that I will not be doing the dishes and either he can have a go at it or we can deal with it in the morning. My hot cocoa and book time has become too important to me!
This is a work in progress, as with every other part of life. But one thing I know for sure is, I cannot hope to teach my kiddo “skills of savoring” if I haven’t developed any of my own.
I want to feel pleasure simply for the sake of pleasure, and I know I am worthy of it.
It isn’t something that needs to be earned. Pleasure is something that is a baseline potential for all humans as a gift for being here. I want my kids to feel pleasure too, so in service of my family, and potentially all of humanity, I am on a mission. My mission is to explore pleasure and the ability to savor life as much as possible while I’m here. Will you join me?
MaRiza Noyama-Zee is a Holistic Relationship Coach and Founder of Full Awakening LLC. Find out more about her work at www.fullawakening.net