We know that resilient people rosewash, looking for and focusing on the positive aspects of a situation. Well, here’s another thing they do when something goes well: they juice it for all it’s worth. Resilient people anticipate pleasure, enjoy it in the moment, and reflect on it afterward. They savor.

Two researchers at Loyola University, Fred B. Bryant and Joseph Veroff, have dedicated their careers to studying savoring, noting four key elements: basking, accepting congratulations and admiration; thanksgiving, in which we acknowledge the ways we are blessed and communicate our gratitude; marveling, reveling with wonder and awe, and luxuriating, deriving protracted pleasure from sensory experiences.

So the term “savoring,” when used in the world of positive psychology, isn’t just about slowing down to enjoy something — although that’s part of it. Instead, it’s something you do in the past, present, and future….

Can you create a protracted moment that is about how great something is? Remember, savoring has three parts: a past, a present, and a future. You don’t have to wait for something good to happen. It can be as much of a joy to recollect something good that has already happened or to plan something to look forward to: grab a photo album and reminisce, or plan a brunch with a bunch of friends you don’t get to see enough of.

Why is it so hard to savor? Part of it, I believe, has to do with that cultural bias against positive feelings. But a lot of it has to do with a strongly puritanical vein embedded in our culture, which manifests in a disapproval of pleasure. I strongly believe that we must challenge the idea that it is somehow hedonistic, dangerous, or recklessly irresponsible to value, seek out, enhance, and bask in that which is pleasurable in life.

— Alicia Salzer, Back to Life, p. 179-182

Twinkle Lights

Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments — often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light….

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.

— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. 80-81

Of the Race of the Singers

It is nature’s decree that all youths and maidens shall, for a period, be it long or short, become aware that they too are of the race of the singers, and, in the journey of their life, at least pass through the zone of song. Some of them recognize it as the region of truth, and continue to believe in it still when it seems to have vanished from around them; others scoff as it disappears, and curse themselves for dupes.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 178

Allowing Creativity

A woman must be careful not to allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 333

Multi-Volume Sets

Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success. Listen, learn, go on. That is what we are doing with this tale. We are listening to its ancient message. We are learning about deteriorative patterns so we can go on with the strength of one who can sense the traps and cages and baits before we are upon them or caught in them.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 237

A Call to Feel

Living by duty to please God just doesn’t work. It didn’t work for the rich young ruler, so why do we think it will work for us? And even more important, God is not pleased with our efforts. He wants so much more for us, his precious children. As he said through his prophet Ezekiel, “I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.”

So put off the shackles of duty, legalism, and your attempts to be perfect. Jesus didn’t call you to a life like that. Take on a life of delighting in God and loving him….

Jesus calls you now to unshakable love, to unspeakable joy, to hope in sorrow, and ultimate delight as you dwell in his presence. Lift your voice with me now and let’s cry out to God that he would open our hearts to all the abundance in life he longs to give….

Stop struggling to keep your emotions in check, and start living in and through and with them. Emotion is the only motivation that is able to propel us toward a radically obedient and abundant life.

— Matthew Elliott, Feel, p. 46-47

Changed by Reading

A book on virtually any subject, when written well and falling into the right hands, can produce a transcendent emotional response. And one such experience can lead to another and another, in a delightfully unpredictable way that is different for each person.

It is said that no love is sincerer than the love of food. Perhaps no love is vaster in its particulars than the love of books.

As adults, we can use the power of book love not only to entertain us, but also to inspire us to do new things, and to make significant changes in our lives. We can even use our love of books to help others, and maybe save a bit of the world.

That’s what reading is all about — the pure pleasure of it, how it changes you, how you live your life differently because of what you read.

— Steve Leveen, The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life, p. 8