We had a long weekend here in Singapore for Good Friday. After each such weekend, I wish that every weekend was a long one. Most regular weekends are spent flitting between tasks that seek to ambush and bombard me. A three-day weekend gives me a chance to slow down and breathe deeply instead of rushing from one ‘must-do’ item to another.
I had promised myself that this weekend I would keep my schedule open in order to savour.
Not indulging; savoring. Not food; conversations.
The art of savoring
My word of the year for 2022 is savor. I chose this word so that it could serve as a reminder to do things slowly and deliberately. I wanted to enjoy the small pleasures of life. To shift the focus from quantity to the quality of my experiences regardless of whether it involved reading, writing, cooking, eating or interacting with people.
For most of my life I didn’t understand why I felt so exhausted after attending social events with a large number of people. My natural tendency is towards introversion, although I am not averse to connecting with people.
It’s not the people per se that bother me, it’s the number of people at any given time. To be completely honest, for the past two years, I was quite pleased with the Covid-19 imposed restriction on the number of people gathering in any place.
To take my resolution to a higher level and learn to savor more than mere consumption of things (books, food etc), I decided to apply it to human connections.
Instead of organising get togethers, this year I consciously set up one-on-one meetings with old friends and new acquaintances. It didn’t matter whether we met in person or online. The goal was to savor conversations.
I hoped that without distractions, these one-on-one interactions would allow me to listen deeply and be fully present during our talks. Of course it was designed to be inefficient and certainly would not be considered a productive use of my time. Another reason to do something out of character.
Yet, this counter-intuitive format helped in 3 ways:
- We could do away with small talk that is the hallmark of large groups that meet occasionally
- By minimizing distractions of tracking and answering multiple questions simultaneously, I was able to focus on the person in front of me
- We were able to have in-depth conversations about a topic and get to know each other better. We found we had much to share and much to learn
Want to know more about the kinds of conversations I have savored in the last few months?
I have a biweekly Zoom call with a writer friend who lives in California.Given our 15-hour time zone difference, we make sure we have at least an hour to catch up.
We talk about writing, share links to interesting articles and discuss both current events and ideas for our essays and op-eds. We share successes and boost each other’s confidence when the going is tough.
Talking about reading
I made several new friends after publishing my book. Many readers and some writers (who attended my memoir writing class in Singapore last month) reached out and expressed the desire to connect. I have been for a walk in the beautiful green corridor locally with one reader, have had online and phone conversations with others and shared a lovely cup of tea (and cake) with another inspiring lady this weekend.
The most unexpected reward has been getting to know women readers who are considering, going through or have obtained a divorce. I am thrilled each time someone who has read my book reaches out and connects with me. There’s so much to talk about, regardless of whether it’s online or in person.
We both learn from and about each other, safe in the knowledge that the other person will understand us.
Each of these intimate conversations feels satisfying because of the exclusive attention we are able to give each other. Sometimes we order coffee and cake. At other times, we bond over a meal. But every time, we feel heard. That’s enough reason to continue with this new habit.
Do you agree? Have you savoured the joys of deep conversation?
Photo credit: Pixabay