Friday I flew to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then Ubered (I’m pretty sure it’s a verb now) to Madison. I was presenting the Flourishing Treatment Approach and conducting a workshop on two of its tools for diabetes educators at the American Diabetes Association conference.
I arrived just in time for the 5 PM reception. Well I’m no fool! Actually, it’s my way to get a feeling of the room, meet some people, ask how they’ve been enjoying the conference, find out their expectations, what they liked, what they didn’t like.
The next day as I presented I saw heads nodding throughout the large banquet hall and minds shifting to entertain this different way of working with patients. At the same time a Scandinavian invention called Hygge was happening. It continued during the bathroom break where several people reached for me and told me how inspiring I was. It was present during the workshop as participants grew closer to each other working together, as my heart space grew even wider.
In both Danish and Norwegian, hygge (pronounced hue-gə or hoo-gə) refers to “a form of everyday togetherness, a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow.”
I flew home Saturday late afternoon arriving at my apartment at 11 PM. The next day I was having two friends over for brunch who hadn’t seen each other in 31 years. It promised to be exceptional in any number of ways.
The next day after 5 hours of leisurely eating, chatting, sharing confidences and laughter in my little brick-walled (no fireplace) living room I mentioned hygge. That morning the TV program CBS Sunday Morning had done a story on Denmark, the happiest country in world, giving a nod to hygge. And there we were, as the light outside my window was fading, basking in the hygge threads we had woven.
I try to make it a practice, my spiritual practice, to be kind, and now I’m adding to practice hygge. To take the time to savor the simplest moments – with friends, with family, with my extended work network and colleagues, with strangers. I’ve already been doing this for some time when I write something and reread it days later just to experience the fulfillment again of having created something I’m pleased with instead of just rushing off to produce the next thing.
You most realize the value of these simple moments when you also realize, much to your dismay, that there are more years behind you than in front of you. If you’re lucky, after the panic and anxiety sweeps over you, you also know that it is the simple moments that matter most.