What do I like about summer most of all? Time to savor. This week I co-facilitated a self-care retreat and the focus was on play. Just like summer time, play wants a savor space. One of our activities was to take a Sense and Savor Walk. This walk can be taken anywhere, but my suggestion is that the walk takes place outside. A walk like this takes about ten minutes, and its purpose is to simple notice. To notice the leaf that calls you. To notice the color of the sky or the ladybug slowly working on a blade of grass. To notice the intricate patterns and color of a bud and the flower next to it in full bloom. To notice the ground underneath your feet. During the retreat we walked in a backyard, all of in different parts of the yard, noticing the world. In ten minutes we were more focused, more in touch with the world around us and more in touch with ourselves. More ready for life--and for this retreat, this gave us space to be more ready for play. I live a fast paced life and don't always notice. This ten minute walk could be done as a part of my regular practice, not needing summer to give me time and space.
Below are a few of the pieces of nature I noticed on my Savor Walk. Photos are not necessary to savor...what is happening on the inside as I slow down is. Notice that on this Savor Walk I mostly viewed things close up. Next time I think I would like to notice things as a whole, in groups and in sweeping views.
Summer is approaching. And with it comes the space of time. One thing I am most looking forward to this summer is time to draw in my journal. I am not an artist. Actually the products I produce are not great at all. Yet drawing gives me a way to slow down and notice. I can't draw in 10 minutes--I need a stretch of time. Drawing allows me to really look--just like my savor walk--but only closer. If I am drawing a flower, I look at the lines of the flower that create it's shape and try to replicate them on my paper. This takes time and focused attention for me. I have to really, really look and then take what I am seeing to transfer it on paper. I try to notice and replicate texture and depth in the flower. The flower moves in and out in its beautiful shape and in my drawing I try to make my flower look the same. I first use pencil to get the outline and shape of the flower. With my pencil I try to make a black and white picture of what I am seeing. Then I also try to match the color of the flower. This takes some experimenting. I work with the color on a scrap paper, looking at the flower's range of hues and experimenting with colored pencils, crayons, markers and paints. Last year I began to use water color pencils and I felt happy with using this tool. I didn't always match the color exactly, but I liked the result and the tool helped me to really notice the color.
Below is a photograph of a drawing I did last summer. I am looking forward to slowing down to draw again this summer.
What happens in my drawing is that I loose all sense of space and time. It is just me and the flower and the drawing. Somehow time stops and I am present. I savor. It doesn't matter how good or bad the end product of my drawing is. What matters is the space I am in when I am drawing. Almost like a prayer.
For those like me who are busy, where time is of the essence, and life is go, go, go...taking time to savor is not only important--it is necessary. How can you find time to savor. Can you stop and take a ten minute walk--it can be in your backyard so you don't have to go far, it can be at the park next to your workplace, or it can be at the beach on vacation. The important part of savoring is noticing and slowing. And when can you build in those bigger times to savor. For me I do that in the summer with my drawing.
On Thursday my school year ends. We are packing up our books and preparing to end our classrooms. We are thinking about next year. We are finalizing report cards and thinking about moving up ceremonies. Life is wonderfully hectic as we prepare to close. I wonder what I can do to savor this school year and the children in my school one time before I release this year into summer.
Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for dedicating space and time for teachers and teachers of literacy to come together to share ideas, practice and life experience.