There’s a lot more to be enjoyed.
Do you have a dominant sense? When you manage to get out of your head and into the present moment, do you find yourself enjoying the present via one sense more than the others?
I tend to be very visual. When I remember that the answers don’t lie in my ruminating about the past or obsessing about the future – when I remember to breathe – I see things more clearly. I see colors more vividly. I notice contrasts and shapes.
I’m also fairly tactile in those moments, enjoying the physical sensation of my breath, the touch of fabric and water and skin.
Today I chaperoned a teen rafting trip down one of the calmest stretches of the Willamette River. At one point our guide asked us all to spend 20 minutes drifting down the river in silence.
At first I took in the visual beauty of the river, the sky, and my fellow floaters in a way I hadn’t before when I was distracted by conversation.
And then I couldn’t help but notice the sounds I hadn’t heard before. I noticed the soft whirr of wind in the trees that seemed to flow like water. Birds made sounds entirely new to me.
Something shifted and I began to experience the world, well, more.
When we paused to take a swim and have a snack on the river bank I started skipping stones. Accustomed to that riverbank habit, I expected the stimulation provided by selecting the right stone and slipping it just right. What I didn’t expect was the sound. The way each stone’s kerplunk was its own note. The way a handful of tiny stones tossed just right sounded like some sort of stringed instrument.
I came home this evening to a power outage (ironic given that my Florida family in Irma’s path still has power and here I am in Oregon with clear skies and a 12-hour ETR).
I can see so little tonight, but I can hear so much. There are many more chirping bugs here than I realized. The neighborhood is breathing. Shouts and barks and reprimands lift up out of the night like firecrackers from beyond my open window.
I can hear. And taste and touch and smell, too. And I can sense, a feeling that is at once all of the senses and none of them.
Remember your other senses, my friend. There is so much more sweetness beyond the doors of perception we’ve forgotten to leave open.