In a study of the white-winged chough, an Australian bird, I learned that it engages in mentoring. The older birds spend four painstaking years teaching the younger ones how to probe with their long beaks down into the soil in search of grubs. While studying the honey guide bird, I learned how it engages with a badger to create a win-win situation for both. The bird finds a beehive; then it locates a badger and calls to it. The badger follows the bird and tears open the hive to eat the honey. The bird dives down and eats the bee larvae.
While studying a wide range of bird habits, I realized that each species of birds has a world unto itself. Often we humans take the birds and other animals around us for granted. We go about our days and see them flying or scurrying about without realizing how specific their behavior and habits are.
Just this week, I noticed a squirrel running alongside my car while carrying about 20 pieces of hay in his mouth. I smiled as I thought about how difficult it would be to carry such a load up a tree. However, I imagine that, by now, that squirrel has completed its home and is ready to deliver some babies – another, even larger, task.
Those of us who take time to observe, enjoy, and learn from nature know what it is like to savor time. If only we can learn to do the same in dealing with fellow humans. I am guilty of rushing through my days while taking others for granted. It is so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on tasks rather than on the persons involved in them.
A few weeks ago, I read the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey who is an expert on planning calendars and accomplishing tasks.
While much of the text of the book is spent on stating how we can better do our jobs, it includes the importance of uncovering the reasons we do our jobs – why do we serve others, how do we serve them effectively, what do we gain by discovering our motives for engaging with others. I was glad to see this emphasis on human interaction.
When we think about it, each of our days is a world until itself. The time we spend in service to others needs to be savored, not rushed. Then, when we look back on each of the days, we find we have enjoyed them to their fullest; and we feel a sense of accomplishment, no matter how great or small the task.
On Friday evening, after a long workweek, I attended a work-related banquet. Even though I was tired, I focused on enjoying my conversation with the people near me. One of my acquaintances mentioned that she was going to Pensacola, Fla., for the weekend. She remembered that I have children and grandchildren living there, and she invited me to go along. Normally, I would have declined, but I considered her proposal. The trip would give me a chance to get to know her better, and it would give me a chance to savor some time with my family. Savoring time with a new friend and family – what an opportunity. I said yes.
We drove to Pensacola on Saturday and enjoyed talking, eating along the way, and looking at the new spring foliage. By 2 p.m., I was at a beach park with my grandchildren. By 4 p.m., I was at a birthday party eating pizza with other new friends. By 7 p.m., I was relaxing with my son and daughter-in-law in their home. My friend and I drove back Sunday and had two adventures. We drove through a storm and took a detour from backed-up traffic – two circumstances that normally would have frustrated me. I arrived home relaxed and happy. There is something to this savoring of each moment.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.