The Sacred Art of Savoring

BY Stewart Blackburn        September 18, 2015

Lately I’ve been savoring peace and serenity. It’s such a wonderful feeling that I seek it out often. But it’s just like any other wonderful feeling, in that the intensity of the feeling grows with holding my attention on it. This, of course, is the nature of savoring.

The process of savoring, that is, taking the time to truly and fully enjoy something, has been on my mind a lot lately in general. To me it’s a sacred art that is a non-intellectual way of connecting to the transcendent. By simply feeling the depth of pleasure, about anything, we open to that greater part of ourselves that is connected to all.

But, I also find that even though I have been focused on savoring for many years, there are things that seem too big to be savored. For instance, when I try to savor the love I have for my friends, or family, or even my dog, I lose focus after a short while. That love is so overwhelming that I need to expand my sense of myself before I can enter that vastness.

I find that there is an intensity to savoring that can be daunting. Full savoring, that is, feeling that pleasure throughout our entire body, means that we are aware of the core of our being as well. If we haven’t fully accepted who we are, as is the case with most of us, then it can be hard to look at ourselves fully and see all the things we’ve been resisting all these years.

So savoring can be a practice, a form of yoga, where we incrementally open more and more into the greatness of our being. Savoring breakfast is a very good start. Savoring the work we do is also a good one. And then savoring the really big stuff, the stuff that is the most wonderful aspect of our lives, like love, takes patience and practice. But, oh my, it is so worth it!

I was working with a man recently in a workshop when he revealed that he couldn’t find his passion and that all the lovely things I was saying about feeling the great things in life didn’t resonate in his body at all. He was clearly a very intelligent man who didn’t express any great traumas or serious blockages to life. He just didn’t feel much and didn’t know how to go about doing so.

I had been pointing out that all the great things in life – love, peace, happiness, harmony, joy, compassion, to name a few – are all feelings. This discussion was in the context of manifestation, and I was also pointing out that there were one or more feelings that were desired, underlying everything anyone wanted to manifest.

What may be fairly obvious is that each of these feelings is intense. We have to be willing to experience great intensity in order to swim in these wonderful feelings. But the not-so-obvious piece is that in order to feel the intensity of wonderful feelings, we have to be willing to feel the intensity of all of our feelings. If we only are willing to feel the good stuff, then somehow we are limited in our ability to feel.

It seems to work very much sliding doors, like the ones on elevators and metro cars. When one side opens, the other side opens equally. They work in tandem.

In terms of feelings, we have to open to the full range of feelings in order to feel the full intensity of the feelings we like. That naturally means being willing to feel all the yucky stuff as well as the cool stuff. Being willing to feel the pains, the hurts, the angers, and all the other scary feelings doesn’t mean we have to hang out with them. It simply means we need to be willing to feel them enough to heal them before intentionally turning our focus to the feelings we prefer.

So the man I was dealing with in the workshop was very careful to only allow the good feelings into his life and wondering why he didn’t get very far. When I pointed the nature of intensity and its sliding door aspects, he understood that to reach the passion, a very intense feeling, he’d need to open to all his feelings. He was a little disappointed that I couldn’t just fix it so that he could just feel what he wanted to and not deal with the difficult stuff. But he was smart enough to see that he could go where he wanted to just by opening more fully to his feelings in general.

Savoring then is more than just taking the time to enjoy one thing thoroughly. It is also the expansion of our ability to feel more fully. It is the gradual breaking down of our resistance to ourselves and to life. It is a step towards our own self-realization.

"A friend told me that each morning when we get up we have to decide whether we are going to save or savor the world. I don't think that is the decision. It's not an either-or, save or savor. We have to do both, save and savor the world."  - Kate Clinton

 

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Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is a Shaman of Pleasure. That is, he primarily works his shamanic healing magic through the instruments of pleasure and joy. He is the author of The Skills of Pleasure: Crafting the Life You Want and numerous articles on pleasure, shamanism, and consciousness. He has taught hundreds of classes on Hawaiian shamanism and dozens of workshops. He primarily does his healing work through counseling and shamanic journeys. He now lives happily in the jungle on the island of Hawaii with his dog, Pono. You can find him at www.stewartblackburn.com, plus “Shaman of Pleasure” and Stewart Blackburn on Facebook.

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