Getting Back to Your Senses
This article originally appeared in my September 2008 newsletter.
Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. – Oscar Wilde
As a cool fall breeze whips past my face, the scent of fresh pine fills my nose and the leaves crunch under my feet, and I feel completely alive. The deer crossing my path is not an image I see often, and the wild berries I pick and snack on along my route remind me of the wonder of nature.
I love this time of year. Cool nights, bright sunny days, it is the perfect time for getting back to your senses. Your 5 senses – sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell – that is.
I also love matching up an activity to the sense; savoring the cinnamon and sugar flavors in my mom’s homemade apple pie; seeing the red, green and yellow of the tree leaves as we drive north in October, feeling the soft fur of my cat through my fingers as he sits in my lap as if to say “Nap time, mommy.” In today’s fast paced society, it’s very easy to numb our senses, and yet they help us truly experience our lives. Here are a few common examples of how we numb our senses:
- We eat on the run, eating not to enjoy and nourish but because it’s fast and convenient
- We walk fast, heads down, talking on cell phones, occasionally bumping into people
- We are involved in a conversation, yet our minds wander and we don’t hear a thing the other has said
Getting back to your senses may mean slowing down to pause and observe your surroundings. It may be the streets and sidewalks you travel down every day or slowing down to savor each bite of your dinner. It could be running barefoot across your lawn to feel the grass tickles the bottom of your feet. It may even mean noticing and nurturing that headache that attacks after a long stressful day. Maybe it’s about connecting with others and experiencing how that feels.
For me, being out in nature is the ultimate sensory experience. And sometimes that’s a long hike, other times that means sitting in my back yard.
When was the last time you engaged all 5 of your senses and really noticed the scene around you? Have you stopped to really notice the joy in your child’s voice as he plays, the aroma from the stove as dinner is being prepared, or the soft towel or robe wrapping you in warmth as you exit the shower?
Fall is the perfect time to connect back to your senses, to feed your soul and simply enjoy all that life offers. Over the next few days begin to notice different sensory experiences, to see how they make you feel. Become aware of your experiences and get back to your senses.