Mindful Savouring!

This post is taken from my business blog www.clearmindco.co.uk/blog on Mindfulness and savouring the moments that make life worth living and boosting our well-being and positive thinking – and feeling!

Me savouring the moment in Ibiza .. on my own the day before meeting my daughters coming back from a year away, enjoying the peace, relaxation, meeting them again, sunshine, chatting with a new waitress, the scenery – I remember everything because I took time out, savoured it all – sounds of chatter and music, the sea and beaches, smell of meals and taste of my cocktail when it came!  May 2016

We are told often to avoid negative feelings and thoughts, put them away, let them pass through our head and not hold on to them.   But that doesn’t apply to our great and lovely experiences and thoughts, does it, our hopes and dreams, positive and helpful experiences?

Yet, do you hold on to those feelings, those thoughts, ideas and upbeat moments of ‘flow’ – bliss, perfection, ideals?

Moments might be..

  • Your child laughing (I have a picture of my eldest at 3 doing that!)
  • Beautiful scenes of waterfalls and lakes, mountains and jungle (did that too!)
  • Listening to music
  • Watching a play
  • Remembering or watching a favourite film
  • Spending time on your hobby or interest that boost you up
  • Time spent with a lover
  • Moments of discovery or achievement!
  • Something you’ve created – all yours, achievement, beauty…
Fred Bryant, a social psychologist at Loyola University Chicago, 
Savoring: A New Model of Positive Experience, is the father of 
research on on being mindfully engaged and aware of your feelings 
during positive events.  He says these will increase happiness 
in the short and long run.   
“It’s been presumed that when good things happen, people naturally
feel joy for it,” he said about his research but that people don’t
always do this and respond to positive experiences so 'miss' them
and the opportunity to maximise our life.
  • Better relationships
  • Learning new positive behaviours
  • Believing more strongly in good in the world around you -people, options, ideas and information
  • More hopeful and positive outlook on life and people, opportunities for good
  • Greater effort towards achieving more positive experiences and emotions if they are possible
  • Creative problem solving and find options and new solutions in your life
  • Mental and physical health follows these positive emotions and outlooks!

  1. Share your good feelings

Tell someone your good news, your happy times and positive experiences!  When I did this with my travel adventures, EVERYONE loved it too and experienced these moments through me and it enhanced my experiences with a different perspective too!

  1. Take a mental (and actual!) photograph

Pause for a moment during the experience, savour it and take that mental picture that becomes a memory!  A reminder of good times – again, this is something I personally experience now from my travels – and the achievement of living my dream!  You can bring this to mind – to conciousness – than leave it in the unconcious where many daily experinces are stored because of the brain’s (mind’s) limited capacity for storing and processing conscious thoughts.

Our thoughts create our feelings, evoke our emotions – thinking of a good time, remembering that moment and seeing that mental picture (and photo!) reinvents those feelings within us – body as well as mind!   We ‘feel’ the warmth again, the pleasure, the pride or excitement!  It becomes physical again and this is good for you!

“It’s about saying to yourself, ‘This is great. I’m loving it,’” says Bryant.

  1. Congratulate yourself

Why not pat yourself on the back and take credit for your hard work and achievements? Pride is not a sin!  It’s necessary as with all our emotions and feelings – it serves an important purpose in living life and developing us into our true and full selves!

Savour, share and remember the achievements and outcomes!   Show others it’s possible too and this can motivate and inspire people to try more, or do things they have previously doubted they can!   The ripple effect of your good feelings can become infinite out into the world!

  1. Sharpen your senses to take it all in

‘Touch’ your feelings is a phrase I often use with clients.  It means feeling the feeling even if the event hasn’t happened – good and bad!  Bad ones lose their impact and ongoing limiting influence on you whilst reinforcing positive good feelings and memories boosts us up and improves our well-being!

Memories i.e. experiences, are not sensed with just one but ALL our senses!   Sight, sound, touch/ emotion, taste, smell.  Our sixth sense too maybe – the unconscious, spiritual aspect of good moments – those in flow, when everything works well, all goes well and we wonder how it happened in that short ‘moment’!

If you savour your experiences – eating, drinking, talking, laughing, doing, seeing, feeling and more – you will take greater pleasure in it!  You will then benefit from recalling it and reliving it!  You will boost your immune system, increase positivity within and with others, improve relationships (people like happy and positive rather than down and negative!)

*Slow down, stop a moment and reflect on what is happening for you, around you, within you. Look at others around you and the environment you’re in; sounds, smells, tastes, sights and feelings.  

*Experience each sense one by one, then as a whole, then in parts if you can. These are all memories – and our body as well as our mind remembers these feelings too(remember, you never forget how to ride a bike!)

*Share the experience, listen to how others experience it and enhance yours this way

  1. Shout it out and share it loudly

Laugh out loud

Jump up and down

Shout for joy when something good happens to you

Outwardly express what you feel and think! Enhance the experience by exaggerating it!

I remember doing this unexpectedly at Machu Picchu!  There was 
a group of young people - in their 20s or late teens maybe - 
near me as I wanted a photo (being on my own) of me with the 
backdrop of the site.   I saw them take theirs of each other, 
laughing, calling and then waving their arms up and holding 
them above their heads!  It looked great!  I knew what they 
felt as they shared with friends and me, with outer around them!     
When the young man took my camera (iPad) and pointed it at me, 
he said Smile, enjoy it and it was infectious what I'd just seen
 - and I just put up my arms above my head in that victory stance 
of achievement and celebration because "I had made it!" I had done it
 - gone there, the inspiration for my travel dream & achieved my dream! 
They all cheered support and that sealed the memory, the moment, 
the emotional moment of achievement and excitement that these strangers 
helped me create!

   

“People forget what you said, and forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel!”

People who outwardly express their good feelings tend to feel extra good, because it provides the mind with evidence that something positive has occurred. Culture informs how we behave (as with plane etiquette) – country to country, beliefs and expectations, business versus sports etc etc. but we know ours and sometimes even pushing that and doing our thing in the ‘wrong’ place can be good for us in building that strong experience!  Respect, consideration too though!

  1. Compare the outcome to something worse.

We are often reminded that ‘things could be worse’ or ‘think about others who don’t have this’.   This reminder – however irritating when told to do it – can, if we choose to compare it, can boost the positivity for us of that experience.  (This again is something I’ve brought back with me from my travels …children sleeping on the streets, men living in their tuk tuks, families split up and lost, lack of education and opportunities, harsh experiences that I could only imagine!)

Comparison is about having a reference point to see how much further – how much better – things are than for some or even for you in the past or future!  This can be motivating as well as satisfying and inspiring our gratitude to the universe. Our current place is better than it might be …

  1. An Attitude of Gratitude

Developing that attitude of gratitude with such experiences ensures we will get more.  How?  We feel we deserve them if we acknowledge them, and give thanks for them (to the person, the universe, to God or something similar).

We appreciate the feelings, the opportunity, the experience.  We are grateful for that and for being able to know the feeling and experience – not everyone can (i.e. comparison and reference points..)

  1. Become absorbed

Becoming absorbed in an experience, an activity like reading, planning, creating something new is addictive!  We love that feeling, don’t we?  Those are moments of ‘flow’ when all goes well, when great things are achieved.  And we have all our senses engaged in the task – e xperiencing it to the full, inside and out!

Children are particularly good at this without distractions of responsibilities and duties, unless adults pull them from it!  Then they lose that feeling of flow and satisfaction …

 

  1. Time goes quickly

…and we might miss some things unless we make the effort to fully ‘experience it’.   Good times seem to pass too quickly and less so for bad ones… or is that because we concentrate on those, worry and wonder, hold on to the thoughts and hence create and notice the feelings!

Stop and change that!  Hold onto and savour the GOOD feelings, the positive thoughts, and the belief that good things abound!  This is positive thinking and the ‘art of happiness’ (a book I read by the Dalai Llama).

Savouring the moment connects you to the past and the future, as well as the present!  Fully in the moment, here and now, before and then, and recalling takes it into the future when we want to recall it – we have the option!

Enjoy the memories, the feelings, the experiences every day, every month, every year!

Amazon camp!

When we camped, which is usually the last night of the tours – hadn’t been sure whether to go or not, and Susan and Tom had returned to Iquitos the previous day – I didn’t realise this and just thought I was going on a new jungle walk so didn’t tale anything like extra clothes! So the cotton trousers I wore, with my only long sleeved shirt for mosquito protection, were all I had for a hot, sweaty walk through the village and jungle from the boat. Only when we were heading to the same place we dropped people for camping, did I begin to realise! Nearly at the camp, luckily, we stopped to see a huge 400 yo tree, and I bent down for something…and my pants tore! He tried to look how bad but I wouldn’t let him, so we carried on and then as I stepped over a tree log they ripped again! Nightmare!!!

A 400 yo tree we passed on the way to cam, first tear behind me…!

By the time we got to camp, luckily me walking behind him, I had no butt in my trousers!!!! He was chuckling, but I was sulking! He started to set up our beds and nets, whilst I found a cotton sheet to tie round as a sarong or skirt! He wasn’t impressed with the look 😬!

Just as I felt cooler then, he then told me we were off to the lookout, so I made the sarong into a skirt just tied round my waist and put on my sticky shirt again! We rowed out to the lookout – me looking less than cool in my skirt, from the look on his face! – and we climbed out of the small aluminium boat (again I didn’t realise at first this was not always flooded) onto the first level of the three storey wooden lookout, and he tied up the boat at the steps. I climbed up and he followed, and at the top, 45 foot up, we were above the tree canopy looking over to south east over trees and the dark lagoon and creeks below, to the western horizon where soon a beautiful sunset would develop, and to the southeast and northwest behind us looking down through trees into dark, still waters – it was stunning! As I took photos, and very excited, he gently moved me to the right …away from the tarantula in the roof above me!! I took a photo but was glad I’d moved as it was hunting and moving around!

Sunset starting over the canopy, and view down from the lookout…

We sat with out legs hanging over the edge, wellyboots off so we didn’t lose them (oh yes, turned down wellies completed my cool jungle outfit!). We chatted, he pointed things out, I just grinned (as usual, apparently) as it was cool to be out in the wild jungle with nothing and no one else around, almost alone!! He asked if I’d be ok now sling in the jungle, and I said yes, having got over my sulk, and seen the camp lodge and beds …and his trusty machete!!!

We watched the sun set over the Amazon jungle…then we had to go as it was getting dark. Really dark!

He helped me tidy my skirt, making a better fit, then helping me down the steps, and he rowed us back to the camp there was a full, or almost full moon, and stars glowing through the branches of the tall trees around us, and dragonfly larvae glowing like fairy lights on the grasses floating on the water all around us!! Just the lapping of the dark waters against the paddle, the frog noises and other sounds of the jungle, it was beautiful!! He shone the torch ahead and again, impressed he could find his way, especially in the dark!

Front window view from the camp and camp being prepared, bedding on the right! 

As we arrived, there was music from the village; he said it was good at the village parties – then pointed his torch at my skirt, laughingly saying I was dressed well for a dance! It felt good to me, tighter and safer now it was tighter, so I just wiggled my hips at his comment!

We both went to the jungle loo before bed – even though it was relatively early – and I slipped and slid in the mud, hiding in the bushes near the water to do my thing!  Mistake! Later when I went, I made sure I was on firmer ground, and next day behind camp in the jungle bushes before we left!

Ashuco saw me into bed – two mattresses as there were only two of us (I had heard it was hard with only one thin mattress and buggy covers from previous campers!) – and made sure the net was tucked in and no spiders around like there was when he was getting the bedding sorted from the pile and a huntsman sized spider was on there! He got into bed and just lay down and went to sleep. (I assume, as he didn’t move). I wasn’t tired as it was relatively early, maybe 7pm?? My watch was in my bag on the bench in the middle of the ‘house’ so not sure. I lay on my tummy looking out, through the ceiling to floor netting, at the lovely view over the water and the two boats on the shore, only about 15 feet away. The dark water, trees and ground visible in the moonlight from my left, frog noises and birds maybe, stars through the trees and so peaceful. It was lovely.

I remembered I had to take my lense out and get my water that I need to sip in the night, so slid out of the net in my sarong-cum- cover, and got sorted. Still no movement from Ashuco so at least I didn’t think I’d disturbed him. I hoped if anything scary did come he would wake up though!!

Later, however, other noises were a little scary, and Ashuco looked sound asleep so felt a little less safe other than being able to call him if I needed to! I needed the loo in the night, too, so luckily with my mini torch and the full moon I dashed out but stayed near the hut!

I slept, but woke a couple of times, sounded like something was in the hut next to us, another big ‘netted house’ on stilts about 4-5 ft off the ground, but no door like we had (although it didn’t close properly!). I thought I heard a panting go through the camp on my side but didn’t dare get up to see! I wish I had, and maybe sat up outside the netted bed maybe, but afraid of the many mosquitos I’d been told about by the other guide, Rene, just before leaving (and still didn’t twig I was due to camp!) I didn’t want to chance it, but I dud have my strong DEET repellent on.

In the morning we were apparently up early and at the boat again for six, and when we got there a young local was waiting to drive us back to the main camp lodge in a small motor boat. Ashuco got up and tidied everything away, sent me to the loo when we were about to set off – pointing his machete at the jungle! – although I was going to wait til we got back as I had to wear my pants again but with the sarong tucked in at the back. I felt and probably looked silly, hopefully thinking we might not see anyone as it was early – but they generally get up with the light, so we passed a few people through the village (but I didn’t look back!) The inly snigger I heard was as I got off the boat and walked the planks, and heard Ashuco quietly tell the guides there, I guess, I’d split my trousers the night before!!! Again, I just didn’t look back 😳!

After that, it being my last extra day for relaxing, I showered, breakfasted, and then lay in a hammock rocking, reading and chilling till lunchtime, then back to Iquitos and reality at 2pm, my jungle adventure almost over 😞

I was sad to go, and wondered about extending my stay, or coming back!! I asked about it and it was my birthday next day and I had hoped to spend it somewhere exciting like the Amazon but timing hadn’t worked, and then Ashuco said they would give me a good deal if I wanted to come back next day – and by the time I got to Iquitos, I’d decided to go back as my own birthday treat! 🍰😊

Ashuco was booked with another tour so I would have a different guide, and that was ok for a different experience, but would miss Ashuco’s company and expertise perhaps.

Moments….

Moments come infrequently – even when travelling.
This evening  was a moment, frozen in time for me!

image

Arriving in Te Anau at th e lake about 1.20 pm today, from the lovely alpine town of lively Queenstown, the beautiful glacial lake – 342 m around, 400 m deep and sitting 300 m above sea level – is just, well… stunning! The mountain views as we drove through, the cloud shrouded mountains or sun-reflections of 1500 metre mountain peaks – again, just wow!!!

Continue reading “Moments….”

Fascinating Fauna

Out last night to see the kangaroos come out at dusk, we saw about 80 just round Molly’s Run, the fantastic ‘b & b’ where I am staying with a friend. Just four guest rooms, I am in the top room overlooking farmland leading to the sea, on the north of the island near Smith Bay.

image It is outwardly an Italian style villa, and inside a warm, cosy but fashionable farmhouse look with beamed ceilings, tables and floors, and served breakfast and dinner either in the kitchen/lounge area or the outdoor courtyard with a tinkling fountain and croaking frog I didn’t see! I love sitting in the open doors f the balcony looking out to sea, or down in the front seating area under the gazebo, the seats around the garden or walking the property exploring the bushland fields and partly dead forest to the back!!

Smith Bay is so named because a young 17 year old convict from England escaped with 3-4 others, seeking whale boating transportation and landing at Kangaroo Island to build a small stone home, the foundations of which are stll visible. Chosen as protection from the open sea winds, next to a freshwater creek, and yet close enough to walk to the beach to fish or swim, he learned to watch for boats with whom he traded. He learned to get gum leaves and black boy plant gum to sell as gunpowder addition, and other such useful resources, to exchange for skins and drink perhaps.

image

An amazingly cute echidna snuffling fir ant vibrations in the soil, not a bitbperturbed by me and others following him around to photgraph!

And my two new friends, boxers Tikka and Taj, I greet them each morning and when we return from trips with Paul. We took them to the nearby secluded beach for a swim, surrounded by boulder rocks and protected a little, dipping in the cool waters once past the seaweed here it was clear green water yet again!

An amazing place to live, or just stay for a few nights seeing the island attractions and wildlife.

image

This crow landed next to me as I walked and ‘talked’ to mefor a while, unsure why or what he wanted or threatening but certainly a unique encounter for me!!!

sitting in the rain…

Sounds silly? Whatbabout in swimsuit, by Cairns sea front and a swimming laggon?? Between the showers coming with the imminent wet season, I sunbathe in hot sun but its too much.

image

Lounging in the deeper water, sitting by the wall watching pelicans feding and grooming on the mudflats opened by the tide out, it is still a lovely view!

image

There is a family of pelicans living here I understand, whilst ealier this week everyone was thrilled to see 15 of them on the tiny beach out  front!!  They were happybto be close as long as no-one went too near on the sand, thenthey just took to the water.  Amazing to see unusual wildlife so close and regularly!

Today there was also a crane looking for foods at the front as the tide brought new fish in that kept jumping to the surface,  offering easy feeds for all birds.

Just Another Paradise…

Ah here on koh Pha-ngan (pronounced Panyan) from Samui, its just beautiful too in a different way!!! The ferry trip across clear geen sea took half an hour, and met an English teacher who lives on Samui!! How lucky.  She was off to Koh Tao, yet another linked island paradise I believe, to see her boyfriend.

image

We got chatting when I gave her a plastic nag (you can’t have too many lol!) to cover a scraped arm from rain induced skid last night at Chewang, whilst windy at Lamai and I could see the rain on the other islands, it didnt reach me!!!

Amazing places to live…

When I arrived, messing about with finding my bag I was last off, but a bike taxi found me and drove me to Green Peace bungalows, again on the beach.  The owner was shocked to hear I was going to the Full Moon Party – “my moyher (points over), she no party!”  then in surprised tones I could hear, tells all the other staff Im going!! ☺️

image

But a shortbtime later, after lunch and a dip in the shallow sandbank waters, under the brollies in the sea….came a very dark, threatening cloud and downpour in the distance….then a wind that got so strong it blew the brolly down next to mecand Imup and left, passing two English guys who stayed.  Hmmm, I cant see if they are still out there but hope not, and doubt it!!!!  😯

image

Koh Samui

On the 23rd Sept I took a trip round the island, at least the bottom half, to see Big Bhudda, lady Bhudda with many arms and the temples, the sea viewpoint at Lamai and a basic cliff waterfall where some rode on elephants. We saw the famous grandmother and grandfather rocks, naturally created that look like genitalia, and a ‘monkey show’ where trained monkeys climb trees and break off coconuts for farmers but this was just for show sadly. We got to shop or lunch, but so e of us did both, and drove through Chewang, La,ai, Nathonand Bo Phut, too.

image image

We were held up in traffic and realised it was a fatal accident, on the way back, and looked to be a child or young person on a bike, as many youngsters have bikes even at school. Very sad to se but for the lack of road rules, there are. it as many as you would expect but a child especially is so sad.  Then a,umified monk!!

image       image.

Next, Im off to Koh Pha-ngan (koh is island, pronounced panyan) for the famous Sunday 27th Sept full moon party!!! I like to dance, have never dancec on the beach or attended enough festivals, so have to visit this one!! Its also a blue moon, two full moons in one month, and a blood moon with a lunar eclipse!!! Should be interesting, and apparently a great view of the full moons from Had Rin ( Rin beach). Outfit bought a d prepped!!!! 😉

Ubon Isaan life

Had a lovely chilled day today at Kammah’s sister’s home – a real Isaan village home and food but chicken for us ‘farang’ (foreigner).

I watched as her BIL cooked fresh fish over charcoal fire pots, herbs and pastes prepared with mortar and pestle, and then boiled or bbq on other small charcoal pots sitting on seats or slabs near the pots. They made noodle dishes, salted fish, vegetables and we took fruit and drinks too.

It was delicious, and varied, and I used sticky rice to eat the spicy dishes that they were impressed I liked and could eat!!! They liked that we chatted, joined in when we could and joked with them with translations and body language.

Not all ‘farang’ speak to the Isaan locals, but I wonder if thats because they are shy and uncertain if they cant speak Thai, so they thought Ray and I ‘nice’ when in fact they shared their home, lifestyle and company with us!!

We saw the catfish they grow, frogs, and rive fields, the herbs and spices and fruit in their small holding.

They were friendly, interested and happy to show us how they live, including neighbours popping in to join us. A real and lovely experience for me… Continue reading “Ubon Isaan life”

Adventures Unexpected

5th Sep 2015

Booking a trip eventually to see the irrawaddy dolphins indigenous to the Mekong, and the waterfall on Don Khong we started our mini adventure. A bike tuk tuk across Don Det and the bridge to Don Khone for about 30 minutes, then a boat to the the main island. We saw several dolphins or at least the five that stay there, a few times as they curled out of the water, sitting on shore and the boat. On the way back, our boat missed a tree and got caught up in the propeller so we were at the mercy of strong steady currents!! The two men, one, our guide, quite old got an oar and piece of wood to row the quite big boat to shore, where we got out and walked through a village to the boat dock again, and our tuk tuk ride.

image

Rode back and again enjoyed the ride and views, then after a short wait we were told to go to the steps to get in a a small motor boat the locals use, to e bike to get to Don Khong, which was cool as I’d wanted to try one! So close to the water, and feeling the currents….

Then from there we got a bike tuk tuk where I got to sit on the back again, Rebecca in the truck part. As we rode about 20 mins to the fall, there was a storm brewing to the right, heavy dark clouds and then a wind built up ( the first time I felt cold for a month or more!) driving into it on the bike and Rebecca put on her Go Pro head camera!!! I was chasing a storm too now!!

We got to the waterfall park under dark clouds, imminent rain. We set off on the path towards the fall, stopped to put my stuff in plastic in my broken bag.
Seeing the water pouring over the falls we took pics,brolly up, then just as we got to the viewing platform already busy with sheltering people, it poured down. We watched the raging river pour over the rocks, the power impressive! The huge Mekong higher up looking still then into the torrent of four falls 15 m high!!!

imageNot the boat but similar size to the dolphin watch..

Setting off back the rain subsided and skies cleared into stunning formations including a tower of clouds, and the promised sunset began. Riding back on the bike tuk tuk, skilfully avoiding many potholes with the bike and carriage, we got back to the boat stop and climbed in to the seatless boat to sit on the now soaked mat!!! Still fun and got out having a fun and interesting day 🚤 on the road and on the water!!!

Got back, changed and ate with Rebecca, then went to sit at Happy Bar and got chatting to Tom and Jake from UK. nice guys, cool visit like the lagoon and places visited, life and travel.

Great day!!!

Moving Day…

Today I’m in Kanchanaburi Thailand and visited the Bridge on the River Kwai – although the Thais changed the Oliver’s name to match the famous film and book and not confuse the tourists! Plus the JEATH museum run by a monk and supported, after a change of heart but a little late, the commander of the local Pow camp near here.   I also saw the moving exhibits of the Death Railway Museum including personal effets, clothes and letters rem fine real soldiers – naval and air and infantry etc – who were caught And then sent to work on the rail line.  Completed in 16 months instead of the 5 years estimated, men worked 18 hours a day for up to three years, on two cups of salted rice often rotten too.  Disease, skin and bone, lacking vitamins they were forced to clear jungle, build mounds to lie the rails along and carry heavy wooden or metal beams and rails in tropical heat and rains!

Punished harshly if they couldn’t work or slacked off, thousands died between 1942-45 with British, Australian, Dutch, American and Asians in the main.  The personal stories, relics, keepsakes they kept and carried, and photos, Ames and numbers all recorded on paper, metal later, cigarette tins,or mess tins and even drawings by a dying man…

Well worth my time and energy and to walk on from the bridge into the jungle track a little, where I was photographed in exchange for photographing a young Asisn boy, who may have been himself Japanese.  I had read somewhere on Facebook this week that we cannot hold current generations to blame for the actions of their people or families years ag …so true today then if he was…

i will post photos from  my phone via Facebook and then here soon….