This activity helps you increase awareness and stay completely present by immersing in your senses and body.
Itʼs an excellent tool to bring yourself back if your mind has been wondering with stressful thoughts or counterproductive worries.
Soften your eyes. Blink once or twice and look left and then right.
What do you see? You are your eyes. Look around you with your whole self. Look at your hands and move them around a bit. You are the watcher of your body. See all five fingers. Are your eyes tired or dry? Look down at your stomach and your feet. Wiggle your toes; see how alive you are. What color is your skin? This is your body, your form. Do you see scars or freckles on your arms? What are you wearing? A blue shirt?
Whatʼs in front of you? Your eyes are miraculous, allowing you to see life. If you are outside, are you beside a tree? Is it green with flecks of orange flowers? What do the leaves look like? Are they swaying in the breeze? Look, there are bees and insects. Watch. Perhaps youʼre at the ocean. Can you see each ripple on the water as the wind passes over the sea? Are there sailboats gliding by? Look over the horizon and realize you are the observer. Perhaps you are sitting inside your home. How bright is your couch? See how many different colors you notice, different shades and hues. See everything as if for the first time. Take one object and notice it in greater detail. Youʼll notice beauty, youʼll notice flaws, shape and texture.
Now close your eyes and listen.
Listen with your whole body, and youʼll see that silence is very alive. Become one big ear. What do you hear? The sound of your breathing, children playing, water running, a humming refrigerator, crickets? Do you hear a combination of noises like traffic, your ears ringing, a voice inside yourself? Close your eyes and take in those sounds as if you had no form and life was made up of only sound. Close your eyes and listen to your breath and anything you hear that comes into your space. Notice the myriad and subtle nuances of sound. Thereʼs a clarity and musical harmony from the steady hum of noises that rise and fall. Like ingredients in a soup, the different noises are separate, yet seem to be part of the same medium that links everything. Listen to the silence and space between the sounds—a space which has a distinct, deeper hum.
Now focus on how you feel at this moment.
You might feel cold or warm. You might feel slightly uneasy or anxious on a deeper level. Touch your hands. Are they smooth? Feel the ridges, the sensitivity of your nerves. Trace your face, your cheeks, your nose and mouth. Touch something in front of you. It might be a soft blanket or a rose petal, a tree trunk or a wooden table. Does the atmosphere feel thick or light? If youʼre outside, feel if thereʼs a breeze across your face. Touch the ground, feel yourself becoming grounded in the earth, keep your hands there. Is there any vibration? Touch the soil if you can. Soil is life.
Take a deep breath and move to your sense of smell.
You could be at the ocean and smell the salty, slightly fishy, scent of the sea, or you may be at home and smell the sweet rosewater you just spritzed, or last nightʼs garlic pasta. Maybe you smell the cologne of your loved one who left for work. Take another deep breath. Taste and smell are connected, so focus on any taste sensation you have along with the smells around you. Is there a distinct taste in your mouth? Are you thirsty? What is the primary flavor: sweet, bland, salty or metallic? Maybe your nose is congested. Perhaps you smell gas in the air. Does your space smell clean and fresh? Do you smell your two cats and new white puppy? Try not to judge the aromas, and just let them come and go as part of the space around you.
At this point, go deeply within and see if any of your senses stand out concerning your intuition.
Is there a quiet inner voice trying to get your attention or are you getting a message in the line of a popular song? Itʼs possible you hear an answer to a question youʼve had about your job or a warning to not head in a certain direction. You might have a sinking feeling in your stomach or a slight pain somewhere. Maybe you see something trying to get your attention, such as a phrase that stands out, a particular color or a bird that catches your eye. Perhaps a smell reminds you of someone, is a sign to go ahead with a project or triggers some creativity in you. See which sense feels right for your intuition and explore any messages you might be receiving. Stay present as you do this and donʼt project into the past or future. The object is to stay where you are and keep your mind there.
Now breath deeply.
Rub your hands together, lightly rub your eyes, tug at your ear lobes gently and swallow. Stretch to move your energy through your body and smile. You are left with a sense of calm and connectedness that may inspire deep gratitude, love and further creative exploration.
Nicole Weinberger has a B.A. and an M.A. in English and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has written poems, articles, musings and community news. She is a poet, writer and occasional make-you-laugher. Most of all, she hopes her writing touches you in all the right corners.
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Ed: Wendy Keslick/Kate Bartolotta