“Memories establish the past; Senses perceive the present; Imaginations shape the future.” ~ Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
Earlier this month I attended an annual gathering of Master Coaches and other Professional Masters. It was held at a beautiful San Diego property. One evening while seated at an outdoor reception (ten attendees to a table), we were provided with random written prompts (as if we were incapable of initiating conversation). 🙂
The prompts were creative and thought-provoking. And they stimulated an interesting range of perspectives and responses. Then our table was presented with an age-old question: If you were to lose one of your five senses, which would you most regret losing and why?
I suspect most of us have fielded this question and have a fairly good idea how we’d respond. And I did, too, until I listened, carefully, to others describe their personal experiences and rationale. Several of the explanations shared, I’d not previously considered. And I found myself being open to yet more ways of thinking about and appreciating our physical senses.
There are many gifts in life that we take for granted. Or at least, that we don’t often reflect upon. Until we lose what is precious to us, we simply surmise that “it” will always be around.
It doesn’t hurt to rekindle relationships with what matters to you. In fact, it may be a timely reacquainting. So here’s an exercise you are welcome to try. It’s about engaging your five senses, for at least one minute each (just estimate the time). The point is to focus on the present moment and how each sense is being activated in that moment.
Hearing: Begin to relax by just noticing all of the sounds around you. Give yourself permission to suspend your judgment of the sounds. They are not good or bad, they just are. Are you now hearing more than you were when you started? Subtle sounds may have previously gone unnoticed. Can you hear them now?
Smell: Now shift your concentration to noticing the smells of your environment. Is somebody cooking lunch in your building or home? Can you detect the electronics smell of your computer or fresh air coming in through your window? Try closing your eyes so you can focus on the subtlest of scents.
Sight: If you closed your eyes a moment ago, open them now and notice the colors, shapes and textures of your surroundings. If you really look, just about everything has color variation and texture that may have gone unnoticed. How many shades of blue and red? Any color missing?
Taste: You can do this one regardless of whether you have food to put in your mouth. If you don’t have food, just notice your tongue in your mouth, your saliva, and your breath as you exhale. If you have a snack, take a small bite and notice all of the flavors and textures that arise. Run your tongue over your teeth and cheeks – what do you notice?
Touch: Where did you place your hands when you first started this exercise? Notice the sensation of where your hands meet something solid like the fabric of your clothes or the surface of your desk? Notice the pressure between your feet and the floor. Try feeling the textures that you noticed by sight a moment ago. To fully ground yourself and bring the exercise to a close, stand up and bring energy and sensation to all parts of your body.
Quite simply, your senses are amazingly valuable. Heightening awareness of them, renews your appreciation for their worth.