No sooner did I sit down in my favorite chair to record a dream in my journal, when a gentle rain began to fall. The sound of water hitting the windowsill provided the perfect melody as I scribbled words on the page. Cozy and content, I folded my legs underneath me and examined the story and its possible meanings. Within minutes the wind picked up and thunder rumbled in the distance. I cracked open the window next to my chair just enough to lose myself in the sounds of the early summer deluge.
Writing to rain is magic. Writing to a storm, even more so. Wind-swept water splashing against the house, trees bending in the wind, rain pounding the roof in fits and starts all join forces to become the perfect muse. As the weather made its way through the neighborhood and I finished writing, I sat back and closed my eyes to take in the experience. I’ve grown to appreciate the art of sensual living and it has made me a faithful servant to my senses.
Sitting in the chair listening to the rain, I thought about all the years I spent living in my head rarely coming down to visit my body and all the wonder and beauty it had to offer. The practice of presence is changing that. As I’ve become reacquainted with my whole self through my senses I’ve discovered a myriad of ways to experience pleasure. Growing applemint and lemon verbena in the garden and using it to make summer iced tea. Putting fresh sheets on the bed and slipping lavender under the pillow. Enjoying an outdoor shower in moonlight. Or staring out a window long enough to see a young buck emerge from the tall grass. These moments become memories that stay with me long after the thrill is gone.
Even life’s most challenging events can be beautiful when we pay attention and engage our senses. I can still recall the feeling of my husband’s hand holding me steady as we walked into the church for my father’s funeral. Or the strange healing sensation of being emptied of sorrow after crying my heart out when we lost our cat, Poupon.
We live in a noisy world that goads us into a constant state of alert, forcing us to live from the neck up disengaged from the senses. But, we have the power to change that… and our lives. When we learn to stop, drop down into the body, and come home to ourselves, we become acutely aware of what we see, hear, feel, smell, and sense. And it’s this holistic engagement with life that affords us a rich and meaningful encounter with the moment.
Life is meant to be experienced, not analyzed or strategized. Feel your life. Listen to it. Breathe in the scents and take in the sights of your own backyard or current surroundings. Allow tiny moments of wonder to reach you and teach you about the art of sensual living.