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Field Notes on a savouring mindset, part of a slow(er) approach…

In the age of the 30-second attention span and the clamour for instant (often virtual) gratification it’s a challenge to allow sufficient time to savour an place, object, emotion or moment, and be fully aware of the particular pleasures of each. There’s a need therefore to deliberately focus our attention upon and demonstrate that such experiences are of value by carving out sufficient space to relish each thoroughly and mindfully. And, then allow time to re-visit and remember that pleasure too.

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Strategies that might support a savouring mindset include:

A Quiet List: a list of positive, immediate, realistic and accessible actions that calm you down and provide focus – so no foreign trips or expensive purchases. Here’s a few of the ideas that might be included in my list:

  • Open the window and take a lingering moment to look at the sky…
  • Tend a plant…
  • Pick up a pencil and doodle…
  • Read a chapter…
  • Enjoy thinking about the ‘tower’ of new books waiting in the wings…
  • Have a poem on the go…
  • Tidy your (psychological or actual) desk…
  • Go to a quiet place and close your eyes…
  • Make a brew…
  • Savour trees in all Seasons…
  • Learn more about native flowers…
  • Look at maps…
  • Take a walk by water…
  • Write up a Journal…
  • Drink a glass of (very) cold milk…
  • Turn on the radio…
  • Stop…
  • Grab a stick and play…

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Being present: our minds aren’t simply linear processors, they naturally wander and our thought processes often bear little resemblance to a single straight line, they meander, the line goes off, on a walk at a tangent. Our minds are lazy, habitual, crowded and chaotic. They’re multi-stranded, with each strand fraying at the end into countless other threads. When we’re busy/stressed/hassled the threads snarl up and knot together and we end up failing to see the woods for the trees and struggling to see the big picture in the surrounding mass of details.

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Savouring an Object is about gently closing off the noise of the world and re-focusing on pleasure.

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Freeze-Framing: acknowledging the positive when it happens is surprising difficult. If something good or enjoyable happens it’s all too easily to accept the fact with a shrug and move on. To pass over it or to focus on what went wrong and ignore the fact that many positives happen too.

It’s one of the reasons why I take masses of photographs. Photographs, for me, are critical artefacts, they act as an antidote to a damp squib mindset. Photographs freeze frame moments to be savoured later. A photograph has the ability to begin a totally other story.

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