Advent 6: Enjoy Enjoying

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More from Rick Hanson, who says “our brains are like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones…We’re designed to over-learn from bad experiences while under-learning from the good ones.” So part of becoming healthier and happier human beings is learning how to encode good experiences, making them stick as persistently (or more so) than the bad ones do. From a neurological standpoint, he says we can flag experiences as “keepers” for long-term storage by intending to receive enjoyable experiences—being open—and then by letting them sink into us, going over them in our hearts and minds and allowing them to become part of us.

This time with Emily in the Bay Area are days I want to encode. I want to enjoy enjoying them, like photos I take out. Some moments I want to remember:

  • Helping Emily with her Tinder profile on the train

  • Doing the StoryCorps (!!!) interview she set up for us, encoding the story of our friendship and what we love about each other in front of some amazing facilitators and witnesses

  • Swimming together in the early morning with steam rising off the pool

  • Going to the Stanford Hospital Hanukkah service and singing “Grant us peace” in Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic

  • Watching “Green Book” in the theater and going into the ugly cry

  • Doing morning, midday, and evening prayers together

  • Laughing our asses off with the college students who shared our Lyft ride

  • Dancing around the altar at St. Gregory’s

I think we’ve both had the rare experience of actually knowing we are in the present moment with one another, and how beautiful. To enjoy enjoying. I wish the same for you during this Advent season.