“We should learn to savor some moments to let time feel worth existing” – Munia Khan
Julia Cameron in The Artist Way teaches us to improve our creativity through the use of tools including Artist Dates. This is simply going somewhere alone and doing something that feels satisfying to your inner artist. When have you last done this? For a recent artist date, I went to a French café, drank a latte, and ate a spinach croissant. I sat by the front window listening to French music and watching people walking past. I felt just a little bit French, nourished in every sense of the word.
I ordered my latte the way the French would—a small size, made with whole milk and, since I like mine sweetened, a bit of real sugar. There was a time, not long ago, when I would order my lattes with skim milk, decaf coffee, and Splenda rather than sugar. Then I wondered why expresso drinks in the United States didn’t compare to those in France and Spain. After reading the book French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano, I now order expresso drinks with full-fat milk and real sugar. A small latte made this way is more satisfying than a larger one with substitutions.
Ms. Guiliano tells us that the French savor their food and drink. They eat real food, not packaged food with a long list of chemicals. She encourages us to eat fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, eat fish–and enjoy a piece of dark chocolate, a glass of wine, or good French bread. She suggests we pick our pleasures and aim for balance. For instance, if I want dessert and a glass of wine, I can skip bread that day and take a brisk walk later. And I don’t need to eat every bite of the dessert—I can share it with someone or leave some on my plate. She tells us that sitting, eating slowly, and savoring our meals can help us feel satisfied without overindulging.
These ideas appeal to me as a way to live a healthy lifestyle without having to eat light bread that tastes like Styrofoam and has a similar texture. Why not eat good food in moderation and savor it?
Summer is upon us, and this is a perfect time to savor the fresh fruits and vegetables from farm stands, farmers markets, and even the grocery store. What else can we do to savor summer?
My summer is already filling up with activities, but it is worth the effort to slow down and savor the moments. Otherwise, the season goes by too fast. My family bought me a recliner lawn chair for Mother’s Day, and my goals include relaxing outside in it and reading. My summer plans include going to outdoor concerts. I also can’t wait to enjoy a fire in our fire pit and enjoy a glass of wine on a cool evening. I will savor my walks, too, noticing all the beautiful flowers and listening to birds chirping. Can you tell I love summer?
What about savoring life? Why not savor nature, our homes, our friends and family? As Ms. Guiliano says, “In France we have a saying, ‘Joie de vivre,’ which actually doesn’t exist in the English language. It means looking at your life as something that is to be taken with great pleasure and enjoy it.”
I’ll take her advice and try to live with joie de vivre. If you find me at a French café, feel free to call me Suzette.
What will you savor this summer? Do you have joie de vivre?