Reprinted from SHORTCUTS TO INNER PEACE: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity by Ashley Davis Bush by arrangement with Berkley Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright 2011.
TRIGGER: For all beverage breaks.
TOOL: As you take your first sip of a morning beverage, stop for a moment, take a deep breath, freeze the frame (make a mental or audible camera click sound), and think, Life is good. As you take your fi rst sip of your lunch drink, your afternoon coffee, your evening drink, create the habit of stopping to take a mental snapshot. Feel the liquid go down your throat. Notice, breathe, absorb, and savor the tastes as well as the moment. Imprint on your mind the happiness habit of noting to yourself, Ah, this is a good moment.
When I was in college, I had the great fortune to spend my junior year in London, England. It was a fascinating year in most regards, full of adventures that felt fresh in ways that only twenty-year-olds can experience. Walking down a crowded street and riding the underground subway (affectionately called the Tube) were thrilling adventures for me.
Having never lived in an urban environment before, I was fascinated by the many sights and sounds of big- city living. But one curious association that I have with England is the complete enthusiasm — nay, near worship — that the English have for their beverages.
The Brits are, of course, known for their abiding affection for tea of all varieties, but they have equal enthusiasm for their blackberry juice, cold colas, and pints at the pub. Yet it wasn’t just the mere consumption of liquids that struck me. It was the ritual, the courtship, the rapture. Whether it was the “ah” reaction to that first sip of tea perfectly mixed with sugar and cream or the reverent first encounter with the foam on the top of a pint of ale, I thought to myself again and again, These people know how to appreciate their beverages.
If you’re old enough to remember the Lipton “plunge” advertisements from the 1970s, you’ll remember that sense of “ahhhhhhhhhhh” as the happy tea drinker fell backward in a pool of cool water, refreshed and satisfi ed with a glass of iced tea.
Multiple times a day we have just such an opportunity for complete satisfaction... if we remember to stop, notice, and savor. Every fi rst sip can be a moment of inner refreshment, of utter delight. So swirl your beverage as a fi ne-wine connoisseur would do in a tasting, open your senses to the experience, take your mental click, and give thanks for the nectar. “Ah, this is living.”
PURPOSE: This tool helps train our minds to focus on a moment of simple pleasure. It identifi es a happy moment and holds it in our consciousness, creating an imprint of positive experience. It cultivates gratitude, a quality highly correlated with peacefulness. Finally, it creates a “pause” which momentarily stops the physical and emotional spiral of the day.