Savoring as the soil for gratitude

Yesterday morning I read from Camille T. Dungy’s collection Trophic Cascade, while I waited for a doctor’s appointment. The poem Characteristics of Life, in particular, reached out and grabbed me; luckily, I had a chance to read (and fully savor) her words several times. I might mention that I’m in this strange new phase where lately, I’m processing things at the heart level instead of allowing the mind to race ahead and tell me what they mean. Interesting times.

How many times this week have you found yourself struck by beauty or stopped short in delight? Hopefully, often.

How many times have you chosen to slow down or pause? To allow the rest of your body to connect with something that’s unfolding, even if you weren’t sure what “it” was? Hopefully often, as well.

Meanwhile, spring has arrived.

Can I say, as a nature lover, that every single season of the year astounds me? The May air smells different around Seattle. Daily, I encounter new plants beginning to unfurl; daffodils and tulips fading, now dogwoods in full bloom. I can no longer see my townhouse neighbors across the street, on their hill, with the green opening of the two maple trees between us. I know my neighbors are still there, undoubtedly also enjoying our updated view.

I have no earthly idea what lies ahead in the coming months, professionally speaking. I used to pride myself upon having a business agenda, a five-year-plan. At some point during the past few months, I’ve been transplanted into open, unfamiliar ground. Ask me what I’m up to and:

I will tell you

                        one thing today and another tomorrow

        and I will be as consistent as anything alive

on this earth.

Cammile T. Dungy, Characteristics of Life

Here’s what’s also true: as a gardener, I know exactly where I am. I’m transitioning from the sowing of my early spring crops to hardening off summer transplants and anticipating harvests. I’m designing a fall garden spread – keeping the brassicas together for this year’s rotation, thinking about crop extensions to grow salad greens throughout the upcoming winter.

Obviously, I’m not blogging much these days. Today, the mood struck me. Here’s where I’ve landed.

Something else I’ve noticed in recent weeks – the more I mention savoring, the more I feel like that proverbial finger pointing at the moon. Savoring is available to anyone. It offers many mind/body health benefits, and it’s just as important as other mindfulness practices. And yet how can I describe the positive impact of savoring in my own life?

I’m simply grateful that artists, poetry, and nature exist, so we can be struck dumb (and heart-full) with pleasure.

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