I was woken from a deep sleep, in the very early morning, by thunder and lightning. I turned toward the window and watched and listened to the sound of nature.
Lying there in the dark, I was fully aware of the gifts of sight and sound.
Recently, I saw two video clips. The first was of people being able to hear for the first time. Their expressions were incredible as a new world opened up to them. In the second clip, color-blind people were able to see all the hues of our world because of special eyeglasses. Their visual reality transformed into a vivid experience.
I cried both times.
The human body is astonishing, and our five senses—the ability to hear, see, smell, taste, and touch—are often taken for granted. It’s usually not until one of those senses is compromised, or lost, that we often truly honor it.
Through sound we absorb information that we then disseminate into our greater world. Unfortunately, we often don’t really “hear” what’s going on around us. Unless we pay attention, the sounds that are elements of day-to-day life simply become part of the mise en scène—the background noise of life.
Do you actually hear the birds chirping, the refrigerator running, the train passing by, the children playing outside, the sound of laughter? More importantly, what do you choose to listen to? Do you become “hard of hearing” when those you love talk to you, by tuning them out or practicing “selective hearing loss”?
When we visually meet new people, our first experience of them is to assess them with our eyes. Everything—their hair (or lack thereof), clothing, skin color, piercings, tattoos, accessories, even the “look” on their faces—is fodder for judgment. I’ve always believed that if we didn’t have the gift of sight, we would (sadly) find another way to make initial judgements.
Do you look at the other person you’re talking to? Do you see the hungry person on the street, the Mom struggling with her little ones, the older person trying to open a door, or do you turn the other way? Do you see the beauty around you? Who do you look through? What have you lost sight of?
The sense of smell gives us the ability to detect or identify different things. It’s part of our chemosensory system and its cells have a direct connection to the brain. From a food perspective smell is tied closely to taste. From a protection perspective it gives us the ability to smell danger (smoke or gas or even a skunk).
Do you literally stop to smell the roses? Do you smell the air on a spring morning, an orange right after it’s peeled, the ocean, the spices that you cook with? Do you remember the scent of someone you loved who has moved on to the spirit side? Or, do you take all those experiences for granted?
When people have conditions that don’t allow them to actually taste the food they’re consuming, the act of eating changes dramatically. Those of us who have never had this problem, probably take for granted how much taste adds to our lives. Have you ever thought about how you’d love to get back to a particular restaurant and have a dish you really enjoyed?
Do you forget to slow down to actually taste the food you’re fortunate enough to be able to consume? Have you lost a “taste for living”? Most of us have the ability to experience and savor life. Let’s never take that for granted.
The late, family therapist Virginia Satir wrote, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival….8 hugs a day for maintenance….12 hugs a day for growth.” How many people don’t receive even one hug in a day?
Do you ever allow yourself to be aware of the sensations of touch—like walking barefoot on the sand, finger painting, throwing pottery or the tangibility of turning the pages of a book? What does the way you reach out to people say? Is it a warm embrace or a hurried handshake? How often do you forget to reach out? Whose life could you change by simply holding a hand or offering a hug?
Living intentionally has a lot to do with honoring our senses; recognizing that they aren’t guaranteed; that there’s fragility in the ownership.
As I sit at my desk, I’m aware of the rain still falling.
I take a sip of my tea and really taste the ginger and peach mixed with tea leaves—all harvested so that I could enjoy them on a rainy morning.
I hear the raindrops ping off the grill on the deck, and the chirping of birds announcing, “the storm is coming to an end.”
I see the clouds that still hang low in the sky, and the leaves that are a more vibrant green, washed fresh and satiated after a very dry month.
I smell the freshness of the rain through an open window and the wafting scent of flowers that have been shaken up.
I run my hand across the desk I recently refinished and feel the smoothness of the wood.
I touch the keyboard beneath my fingers.
As I take in my surroundings, I am more aware that what I’m experiencing in this moment is only because I’ve been given all these gifts—endowments that I sometimes take for granted but that make my life more beautiful. By being more in tune with—more intentional about—how I use what I am blessed with, I honor life.
All my senses swirl together creating a time in space, and I recognize that no matter what the vicissitudes of life, I aspire to always be:
And, for that I say, “Amen”.
©2016 peace full home™/intentional living
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