So Sensational!

Written on May 8th, 2008:

“I’ve been fighting with my senses my whole life. All of the human senses are connected to the past. Taste, touch, sight, sound, smell—at any given moment any of these five senses can stir an extremely specific and detailed memory. Even if someone isn’t cognitively aware of such a memory, the senses awaken feelings… suspicions… gut reactions… intuition.

My senses, whether subtly or not, remind me of the past every day. So much of physical sensation, for me, has been associated with fear, anxiety, pain, shame, etc. I’ve definitely learned a lot about how to deal with this in the last five months, but there are still days when I desperately wish there was no such thing as physical sensation. And that’s really too bad. I’ve been thinking about this a lot today. I really need to strengthen my relationship with my senses, and start focusing on the good things they can tell me, instead of always only feeling the bad.

I love the way it smells outside just after it rains. It’s fresh, and clean, and new. It is the smell of a world rejuvenated. It is the smell of renewed life. It evokes a sense of freedom

I sat on my deck, this evening, after the rain had almost entirely subsided. The world was perfectly silver—not grey, but silver. And I thought, “I can actually think out here. I can actually breathe out here.” It’s moments like these where the past is the farthest thing from my mind, and where I can simply, and completely, embrace the present. This is what I mean by freedom.

I don’t know that I’ve ever said this… or ever even considered saying this before today. But I am infinitely grateful for my senses. I am grateful that I can sit on my deck at dusk, feel the warmth of the blanket I’ve wrapped myself in, see the glimmer of the wet grass under the moonlight, hear water gently dripping from trees and rooftops, smell the fresh, post-rainfall air, and practically taste the freedom.  

Fresh, clean, new. Rejuvenation. Renewal. Freedom. These are beautiful words, fantastic feelings, and exquisite sensations. And from now on, I’m going to start looking for these in the things I see, and hear, and taste, and smell… and feel. These are the beautiful simplicities of life. And I refuse to let them be forever polluted by the past.”

Re-reading these words that I wrote almost nine years ago suddenly puts so much into perspective for me. It is still instinctual for me, at times, to connect my senses to the past. But this is not nearly as negative of an experience for me as it was when I was first processing these thoughts back in 2008.

In fact, as I look back on how far I have come in the past nine years, I am so thankful for this moment of revelation that I experienced out on the deck on that peaceful spring evening. It seems that, subconsciously, I have taken that moment with me and continued to learn from it, even to this very day. As I write these words, I am once again sitting outside under the sunlight, enjoying the way my senses have been awakened by the outdoors.

I’m not an overly outdoorsy person in general, but for some reason, being outside always helps me clear my mind and gain focus. Like I wrote about on Sunday, being outside just seems to wake up my senses, and this is something I have learned to truly value over the years.

I mean, have you ever just sat outside, closed your eyes, and listened? Do it sometime. Just listen… and then listen more deeply. There is always another sound to be heard that you didn’t catch at first. Something happening further away in the distance that you wouldn’t hear if you weren’t listening for it.

And then there are the colors. Colors always seem more alive when you are outside in the sunshine. I am a very visual person, so maybe this is one of the reasons that being outside gives me a sense of calm satisfaction.

It’s interesting for me to think about the ways that I have come to be so in tune with my senses, when I spent so many years of my life fighting with them. I have truly learned to embrace them, to harness them, and learn from them. I have learned to let them ground me in the moment, rather than only dragging up the past. I love my senses, and I am so thankful that I didn’t give up on them all those years ago.

What is your relationship like with your senses?

6 thoughts on “So Sensational!

  1. Nicolle says:

    I’m not an outdoorsy person myself, but I get what you feel about the outdoors! When I read that being in nature does more than a session of meditation indoors, I tried to pay more attention to the trees and plants along the road when I walked from my house to a nearby shop for lunch. That was when I suddenly realised all the leaves were such a vibrant green colour that my mind kept thinking they were plastic! And I found this spot below a really tall tree that has a really cool wind each time I walk there (I live in a tropical country), except I realised it wasn’t windy anywhere else (no rustling trees), only where I’m at for a moment. Mysterious!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lexydragonfly says:

    My relationship with my senses has certainly changed over the past few years, that is, since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Because of that my senses are heightened making sounds, light, touch, smells, etc too strong, overwhelming. Conversations in waiting rooms can seem like screeching voices (not actual but reactively, if that makes sense), and restaurants… ugh. I have to always wear sunglasses outside and sitting in a room with loads of light is painful. I need to be touched but it hurts, and I’m cold all the time. If someone is wearing perfume, even if just a little, I’m nauseous. This is why I have to sit at home, in dimmed lights, listening to the quiet monotony of the TV or music usually with headphones to block out other sounds, alone. It gives my senses a break so I can survive the outside world. It’s also lonely sometimes, not always, but loneliness has creeped in more and more as time passes.

    Also, the black tattoo ink covering 60-70% of my body is allergic to the sun so summer is an indoor affair. Going to the woods requires wearing thick sweaters getting to the car, driving in the car, and getting into the shade of the trees, so it’s nearly not worth it. And so I enjoy the windows open and the breeze billowing the sheers. One can always find a positive in the negatives, if they look hard enough, or at least keep their eyes open.

    However, if I make it to the woods, the smells are explosively wonderful, being out in the snow, the silence is magnificent. Getting a massage from someone who knows about fibro almost makes me cry with joy.

    Life is full of challenges. I realized years ago the only way to more forward is to adapt. I’ve adapted, I’m still adapting. My friends, after years, are finally learning to accept my limitations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Talasi Guerra says:

      From the sounds of it, you are very in tune with your senses, at least in regards to knowing yourself, knowing your limits and taking care not to overdo it. That’s a good thing. It’s also very cool to hear about the ways that you find joy in some sensory experiences that work for you!

      Liked by 1 person

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