Five Senses

I have been enjoying Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s free 21-day meditation challenge that started on Monday July 11th. The theme of this series is getting unstuck, a universal message that most of us can relate to at some point or another. Even though I am not feeling “stuck” right now, I am still getting a lot out of the challenge. I appreciate that Oprah and Deepak are so generous, giving away this experience to literally thousands of people.

The meditation for day four was on how to be renewed, with the centering thought, “I embrace the newness of the day.” The message was to consider the limitless potential and wonder of the present moment and the picture was a close up of some variety of parachute seed, perhaps a cluster of dandelions. After meditating, I set out for my walk that morning ready to practice reveling in “the now.” An exercise that I started several years ago to help me stay in the present is to simply tune into any one of my five senses (I mentioned this in an earlier post on YBL). My body can’t “be” in the past, or in the future, but only in the current moment. And my senses anchor me into my body while at the same time plugging me into my surroundings. I start by isolating my focus on one sense at a time and then either shift to a different sense or attempt to layer my awareness of two, three, four or all five at once. A walk or hike is the ideal venue to enjoy this game since nature provides so many stimulating options, but it can be done in any setting and at any time.

I was not even a minute into my walk when I happened to glance down at my feet and noticed a fluffy parachute seed, much like the one in the photo for the day. As if on cue, the pom-pom floated up off the ground, stopped for a second to acknowledge and greet me, and then gracefully began riding a soft breeze and swaying back and forth a few inches in front of me. It made me laugh out loud, and I felt light, open and happy. The little puff of seeds kept gliding higher, past my head, but still moving forward with me for about two or three minutes as I continued to walk. The wind eventually carried it over a fence and out of sight. I can still see her in my mind’s eye and re-create the feeling of expansion that experience gave me, smiling as I type even now.

As I continued on my walk, I listened to the birds singing and calling out to one another, and then heard the cicadas and crickets, all producing a melody of sorts. I enjoyed this orchestra for a while, until a rosemary bush up ahead caught my eye and invited me to take a few light strokes over some of her stems, leaving a pleasantly sticky residue on my fingertips. A deep inhale of the lingering oil offered an earthy and aromatic burst through my nostrils, skimmed my palate and then like a miniature table cloth, spread and settled over the center of my mind. It was a sunny morning, and the tree-lined street of my neighborhood provided the alternating contrast of sunshine touching my skin with warmth and then the softer grey shade immediately cooling it. Warm and cool, back and forth, warm and cool. And last but not least, as I had done many times as a child at my grandmother’s house, I picked a bloom off of a honeysuckle bush that was growing wild next to the Highland Mills Montessori School and enjoyed a tiny taste of sweet nectar found at the base of the petals.

I can’t think of a better way to start and continue living a day.