Day 11: Consume Less Savor More

Let’s do an exercise really quickly, think about your two favorite pieces of music. Let’s say Mariah Carey – “Hero,” and Beethoven – “Symphony No. 5: I,” rate them on a scale of 1-10. So maybe Mariah Carey is an 8, and Beethoven is a 9. What happens to your score when you combine the two pieces of music? You get a 17 right?

Wrong.

What happens when you combine these two pieces of music is that you get noise. The music disappears and what appears is tumultuous babel. That’s what is happening in today’s society, especially in the big cities, we are surrounded by so much but forget to really take our time to enjoy them individually. We’re consistently looking for the next best thing instead of cultivating and savoring what is right in front of us.

How many times have you taken out your cell phone in a social outing in order to be social in a media platform? How many times have we took out our cameras to capture the moments instead of living it? How many times have we viewed a concert through our camera phones instead of actually experiencing the music and flowing as one with it? (It’s even worse when someone does it on an Ipad).

“The more we interact in social media, the less we interact in real life.” Michigan Psychologist Ethan Kross found that as we interact more on social media, we become lonelier and have less life satisfaction than before.

It is vital that we enjoy the moments we have with each other and stop trying to capture all of it, because when we do, it all becomes so much less. Fireworks become a poorly pixelated rendition of explosions in the sky. Great times become a row of “cheese” smiles on your wall.

“Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” -Thich Nhat Hanh.

We have five different senses, it’s important that we utilize them in experiencing the world around us. Take Helen Keller, who is an author that is both deaf and blind, she asks her friend to walk through the woods in Cambridge and then asked her “What did you see?” Her friend responded “Nothing in particular,”

To which she wrote, “I wondered how it was possible to walk through the woods for an hour and see nothing of note. I who cannot see, find hundreds of things: the delicate symmetry of a leaf, the smooth skin of a silver birch, the rough, shabby parts of a pine, I who am blind can give hint to those who see: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you will have been stricken blind. Hear the music of a bird, the mighty strings of an orchestra as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail, smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel as if tomorrow you could never taste or smell again. Make the most of every sense. Glory in all the facets and pleasures and beauty which the world reveals to you.”

I highly recommend Henry David Thoreau’s Walden to anyone that really needs to understand what it’s like to savor.

Or try this exercise – take a piece of dark chocolate, and let it slowly melt on your tongue. Notice its earthy notes, hints of citrus, the richness of its texture as it melts in your mouth. Take a few minutes and do this in silence, then be mindful of the things you should be savoring through the rest of your day.

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