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Session 1 - GRATITUDE: Saviour life’s joys and count your blessings

Once again, we’re comfortably sat together in the hall: anticipating what the concepts of savouring and gratitude might mean for this course. It almost sounds simple really; everybody feels like they savour moments regularly, it’s just a fancy word for enjoying something, right? 

Well, no. Early on in the session, we were read a section of Touching the Rock by John Hull (his diary about going blind). The section, entitled RAIN (pp. 22-24), was really well written: lines such as “the steadily falling rain creates continuity of acoustic experience” and “there is a light cascade as it drips from step to step” really jumped out at me. These lines themselves were an experience to savour. As I sat with my eyes closed listening to the piece, I didn’t just allow a picture to form in my head, I found myself enjoying the words themselves. In his piece, Hull goes on to talk about how the rain for him is an experience to savour because it helps him distinguish his surroundings. Hull is essentially completely giving himself over to his sense of sound. As one person on the course put it, savouring is complete ‘sensual immersion’ in something enjoyable. This could mean taking extra time to appreciate the colours of the sky, or savouring the intricate flavours of a well-cooked meal. Savouring maybe doesn’t even need to be only applicable to one sense at a time. At a rock gig, someone may find time to love the sight of the band’s passion and the feel of the crowd dancing, as well as the sound of the music. 

Another thing that struck me about Hull’s piece was how thankful he is for the rain, as it gives him something extra to savour in his blindness. This also relates to the other idea in this session: ‘count your blessings’. The main idea is that by focusing on the things in life we can be thankful for, and showing gratitude regularly, we generally have a more positive frame of mind. Both concepts (savouring and gratitude) have their own chapters in The 8 Secrets Of Happiness, yet they were combined into one session. The reason these two were combined into one session is because of how well they go together. The lesson I took from yesterday’s session was that savouring is not only a brilliant experience at the time, but it gives us a lot more to feel thankful for, which further encourages positivity. It was a session that was well worth going to, and I look forward to next week.