“Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.”
~ James Joyce, Dubliners
Like a funny little pet we keep our whole life long, our body is to be fed, exercised and brought to the doctor when it’s due for a checkup.
It’s to be controlled and monitored—and both loved and hated.
It’s a source of amusement—swimming, sex, playing instruments and tickling babies.
It’s also the source of much bitching—too fat, too thin, back pain and cavities.
But mostly, we prefer to ignore it as much as possible.
The thing is: the body is a deeply attuned system, equipped with senses that not only give us information about our environment, but also have the ability to provide intense, soul-fulfilling pleasure in any given moment.
Our bodies are infinitely wise and are capable of giving us everything we yearn for—if we just let them.
The abilities to see, smell, taste, touch and hear are ways to experience profound fulfillment and, they’re seriously underutilized.
Take the example of an orange.
Without agenda, look at it. Notice the color and shape, the funny little dimples.
Now, feel it in your hand. Feel the weight in your palm and the texture on your fingertips.
Now, peel it. Inhale the bright, sharp tang.
And eat it. Notice where you taste it on your tongue, and how your mouth lights up with the juice.
What happens in those tiny moments, fully felt?
Expansion. Relaxation. Ease.
We’re tuning into the moment and the fully felt experience of the senses. We’re vibing with the divine.
It’s like a mini-savasana, minus the 90 minutes of twisting, breathing and sweating it out.
All it takes is focusing on and opening up to the good stuff coming in. Purely felt, without mind stuff getting in the way (a la criticism, judgment or that long list of to-do’s), senses link us to and feed our souls.
For more sensory and soul-reviving pleasure, here are eight more ways you can connect in anywhere and do anytime:
1. Consider Beauty
It’s been said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, right now look up from where you’re reading this and find three things that you find beautiful. Look at them, enjoy them. Take them in: their color, texture, light and shadow.
2. Immediate Touch
Wherever you are, right now, feel what is touching you. Or reach out and touch something right in front of you—the keyboard, desk, your shirt or your own hand. Notice the texture and the way it makes your fingertips feel; experience the tingle of connection.
3. Slow Drink
With whatever drink you have, take a sip and hold it in your mouth for just a moment. Savor the feeling of liquid, the weight of it, how it makes the sides of your mouth feel. Swallow. Notice how your insides expand or contract to accept, or reject, what you give it.
4. Mindful Bite
When you’re eating, take one bite and really enjoy it. Just one. This isn’t about pressure or adding to your Should List. This is an invitation to straight up enjoy your food in all its tastes and textured glory.
5. Count the Sounds
No matter where you are, there are sounds. Even when you’re in a quiet place, there are sounds. Listen for them. Listen to your environment. How many sounds can you count?
6. Smell Around
If you’re anything like me, I have a habit of shutting off my sense of smell unless something smells strongly. But there are always smells. They’re everywhere. What do you smell right now? Sometimes we can’t identify the smell—that’s ok. How do you define the smell of an office, a waiting room, your car?
When listening to music, choose a song for just a minute, and listen. Can you feel how sound infuses your cells and lights them up? Try this with headphones, shut your eyes and let your hearing take over.
Even when we use our five common senses, we often ignore our body’s ability to feel. You know—that other sense. Try this: close your eyes and scan your body, or just a body part, with your mind. What does it feel like? While scanning it’s not uncommon to notice tingling, swelling, slight pain or an ache. Or nothing at all. These are all messages your body is sending you: this is how your body feels.
This infinite wisdom is available always, and you can choose to listen at any time.
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Assistant Editor: Kathryn Rutz/Editor: Bryonie Wise