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The Ben Lui group (first post): the challenge of balancing planning & savouring

Tomorrow I hope to head North and West up past Stirling, Lochearnhead and Crianlarich to Strath Fillan.  I should be able to park at a little village called Dalrigh just before Tyndrum.  From there I can walk in by the River Cononish for about 7 km to get to Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh, calf hill).  The Scottish Mountaineering Club's Munros guidebook describes it as " ... one of the finest mountains in the Southern Highlands; it stands high above its neighbours, and its splendid shape is unmistakable."  They estimate a bit under 4 hours to the summit.  From there it should be straightforward to head on to Beinn a' Chleibh (hill of the creel or chest).  The forecast is mixed - hopefully low cloud will clear somewhat as the day goes on. 

We'll see.  It's very useful having an up to date forecast, but what it's actually like on the hill can sometimes be rather different.  If all goes well and my body holds up, I'll head back over two more Munros - Ben Oss (hill of the loch outlet or elk hill) and Beinn Dubhchraig (hill of the black rock).  If it's too tough I can always pull out after just a couple of Munros or even after just Ben Lui.

Savouring, mindfulness & flow

In a post on 27 January I wrote about "savouring" - the appreciation of positive experiences. Savouring is, as it's name suggests, a sort of running the positive experience around in one's mouth, really tasting, valuing and enjoying it - a bit like slow, careful appreciation of a good wine. Bryant and Veroff, authors of the key current text on savouring (see below), draw parallels between the importance of being good at coping with negative life experiences and the importance of being good at savouring positive life experiences. Savouring well increases one's happiness, wellbeing and appreciation of being alive. On the fine Authentic Happiness website, Seligman and colleagues discuss three entwining roads to happiness and what they call "the full life". One of these three roads is maximising and appreciating positive emotions - very much the territory of savouring.

Savouring – initial thoughts

Back in my post of January 5, I mentioned that I was looking at Sonja Lyubomirsky's book "The How of Happiness". On pages 73 to 77 of the book she describes a ‘person-fit' exercise to help readers decide which happiness-boosting activities to work with initially. I came up with a whole load that appealed to me, and that mostly I was somewhat familiar with. There are a couple of activities that focus particularly on being present - on ‘flow' and on ‘savouring' (spelt ‘savoring' in this American book).

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