Category Archives: Awareness

Sense of touch: Fabrics

In my quest to find the very best ways to invite others to experience their senses in the very rich, intense ways I myself do, I give you this: 

Velvet, cotton, angora?
Doesn’t matter.
The point is to touch it.
Feel it. Experience it.
Know the difference
Between each one
As you feel it
Beneath your fingertips.
Try a caress.
A grab.
A fistful of it.
A snuggle against the fabric.
Which one most reminds you
Of who you are?
(Wear that one!)
And revel in your sense of touch.

Sensing Again

After days turned to weeks and then months of not keeping up with my writing, I will be making a concerted effort to share my sensory pursuits more regularly. i have so very many to share. In April, we took a trip to Utah, and I saw something beautiful and majestic every day. I’m still sorting through pictures and reliving the astounding memories, some of which will find their way to this blog.

A preview:

Bells Canyon, waterfall, hiking, Utah, UT

Bells Canyon, UT

Somewhere in Upper Black Eddy

Fall drive, Sunday afternoon

On the way to visit some friends we passed this area in Upper Black Eddy-Bridgeton. Loved what I saw outside the window so started snapping a few pictures. Here’s the ones that were decent. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it and become an expert iPhone photographer ūüėČ

Going out into the World Without Glasses

Over the weekend, I had the misfortune of having ripped a contact lens, with no replacement available to me. I was about two hours away from home and hadn’t brought a pair of glasses with me either. My eyesight is bad enough that I could not go the entire day wearing just¬†one¬†contact lens without having other repercussions (in the form of an extremely bad headache). So I resorted to what seemed like the best option at the time- I took the other lens out and went sans vision enhancements. This is something I haven’t done in years. It was definitely disconcerting even while only dealing with the world inside. When I ventured outside, it was nearly frightening. I was astounded at how little I was able to see and read. Naturally I wasn’t doing any of the driving, but I was shocked at how difficult it was for me to even be able to see that there were letters on the street and highway signs, much less be able to read them. All the street lights and headlights looked like huge lit-up snowflakes. It was all I could do to even keep my eyes open.

I tried to look at it as an opportunity to engage my other senses more intensely. It was actually pretty difficult to do as I was so focused on the ill state of my ability to see. Perhaps I am more moved by my sense of sight than I ever realized.

Work of the Hands

I have a family friend who became a nun later in life. I remember going to her first profession and final profession of vows when I was younger, and lo and behold, this year marks her 25th year of religious life…which will be celebrated as a silver jubilee!

As with any celebration, I like to commemorate with an appropriate gift. And what does one get a nun? Surely she must have an ample assortment of religious jewelry, knick-knacks, and stationary. I started my search online with some terms that might help me find an appropriate card. I knew “Congratulations on your 25 years of religious life!” was not going to be common fodder at my local Hallmark, but the vast expanse of internet certainly had a few options from which to choose.

With that part complete, I continued searching on the site to take a look at the gift items. I was intrigued by the Abbey scented soaps, made by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. There were so many different scent varieties- it was truly remarkable! I wish I could smell them all through the screen (though the descriptions helped a bit, as did my imagination). These handcrafted items are not only made with natural ingredients but also a dose of holy water, and each batch is prayed over. Interesting!

As the story goes, what started out as something they made out of necessity became a source of value and joy that the nuns rediscovered in the present day. They use modern techniques to make the soap but with the same careful attention to detail that they use in all their handcrafted items. A motto is included on each product listing: “The work of our hands- made for your hands and body.”¬†

I delved a little deeper to find other everyday products that are handmade by those in a religious calling. There are several that I became interested in- lip balm, body scrubs, jellies, chocolate truffles, and Mystic Monk coffee! I just think there is something to be said about products made by human hands  with intention, and using that work as a form of prayer or meditation. Whether I am religious or not or believe in the same tenets as the artisan does, does not really matter to me. I find products made in this way to have a unique appeal- almost a mysticism about them- and that they are just as affordable as those that are mass-produced. I can see these hand-forged items becoming affordable luxuries on my shopping list, as I not only engage my senses as I use them, but reflect on the way that conscious intention yields results different than those generated by workers who are mindlessly and dispassionately completing their tasks.

Getting back to my family friend’s gift, ¬†I ended up purchasing some of the fancy, carefully handcrafted essential oil infused soaps, a “Woman of God” pen and bookmark, and a few other items to create a gift basket. I carefully decided upon a mix of mainly “consumable” items so as not to take up too much space, create clutter, or be one more Jesus mug to add to the collection. I am thrilled that I was able to find some items that touch upon a religious motif or history but are still “layperson items”. ¬†I hope she finds them as unique as I have!

Stargazer Lilies

Today’s post focuses on the senses being engaged in both a pleasing and unpleasing way. A prime example is the Stargazer Lily. I find them beautiful to look at, especially the ones that were recently gifted to me. They stayed folded within themselves for a couple of days before slowly starting to bloom out and reveal their big, beautiful white petals and center.

 

photo 1 (16)

 

Carefully looking at all its contours, one could quite simply go into a reverie.
Until, of course, the moment when met with its fragrance. How could such a beautiful flower emit such an odor? A heavy, waxy, funereal smell.

This got me to reflect on the idea that not all sensory experiences have to be pleasant. The very instant¬†that I have been moved by a sensory trigger, whether pleasurable or otherwise, is something to be noted. Our senses take us on journeys not only to deliriously sensual escapes but also to nostalgic corners of our past, to faded memories and unfinished business. Our senses allow us to experience all of life, and use those experiences to learn more about ourselves and the world in which we live. It is through our senses that we learn which herbs and berries are poisonous, which animals to stay away from, and how to “feel” a storm that is approaching.

So I decided today to embrace the unappealing odor of the stargazer lily and remember that with every sniff, I can reflect in such a way that it becomes a teachable moment. Perhaps that smell is a cry to look more closely at the petals. To practice patience and stay open-minded about what could be next. stargazer lillies

 

stargazer lilies2

2 stargazer lilies

Teal for Today

A long-time online friend recently let me know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and today is the day to wear teal for ovarian cancer awareness. While I’m not always one to jump on the bandwagon of these types of campaigns, today I comply:

Wear Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Wear Teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

 

I personally know only one person who has had ovarian cancer, the mother of a friend with whom I’ve lost touch. I know little about her personal struggle aside from it being her second or third time around with a woman’s cancer of some kind, and the latest diagnosis was extremely rough on her (as to be expected). For this reason I sensed a quiet call to wear teal today.

 A little bit about the color teal:

Teal is a color for healing, devotion, and trustworthiness. Teal is also the color of Sexual Violence Awareness, so if you purchased an article of teal clothing for one cause, it can do double-duty!