As I spend time stepping back, I have come to recognize that my experience of the world is so multi-faceted. The colors and sights I see, the abundance of tastes I enjoy, the delicious smell of the world (in and out of the kitchen) and all of the many ways I connect with the earth below me, the air above me and the connections I make to my environment through my hands. Then there is the cacophony of sounds that I hear – the sound of my breath, the voices of those I love, the waves coming in from the Pacific, the music in my ears.
Ideas, thoughts and beliefs are shaped by the meaning I make about the experiences of my senses. They are truly my connection to the world. The senses are also a powerful tool in delivering me away from overwhelming thoughts and limiting beliefs that may lead me to feel stuck.
When I connect with what I hear, see, touch, taste, or smell, I’m not focusing on the running thoughts and inner critic that can rule my brain. I’m likely just noticing what color the wall in front of me is, or what the ground underneath my bare feet feels like (I’m almost always without shoes). With practice, I have used my sense anchors to remind me WHY I am doing something, WHY I am here.
Every time I see, touch, hear, taste, or smell my anchor it’s a moment of truth: “Am I making the best choice for myself in this moment?”
Connecting with your body can serve as a reminder that you are so much more than your thoughts and your mind. Try this sense-guided question sequence to connect yourself with your environment using all five of your senses. Notice how powerful it can be to finding grounding in the moment and help loosen ties to whatever script is running through your brain.
SIGHT: What do you see? First start with your eyes closed. What colors do you see with the eyelids draped down? Now open them just a little and let the light peek in… what does that look like? Open your eyes fully and scan your environment. Are there any interesting colors or things that immediately grab your attention?
TOUCH: Connect with whatever is supported beneath you. If you’re standing, how does the ground feel beneath your feet? If you are seated, what does the seat beneath you feel like? Where are you holding your weight or your balance?
Notice the air above you. What does it feel like on your skin? Is there are breeze blowing or is the air moving? Is it warm or cool? Are you holding anything? Connect with how it feels and your grasp upon it.
TASTE: Take a moment and just connect with your sense of taste. Even if you haven’t had anything to eat or drink recently, there may be a lingering taste in your mouth. Move your tongue around and notice how closely the sense of touch and taste are tied.
SMELL: Take a deep breath in through your nose. What do you smell? Connect with a smell that you love – a perfume, a flower, an essential oil, a food. Take note of how you feel. It’s said that smell is your strongest sense tied to memory – take in the present moment through your sense of smell and relax your whole body into it. Take a moment to appreciate your ability to breathe deeply through your nose.
SOUND: What do you hear? Can you hear the sound of your breath? Is there music playing, or someone else talking? What about the sounds outside of your immediately environment?
If you’re looking for sound, add this playlist to your ears!
The Recital that Never Happened – Khruangbin
Transform – TJ Rehmi
Looped – Kiasmos
So Many Details – Toro Y Moi
Ukiyo – Hermitude
Midnight on the Run – BoomBox
Aftergold – Big Wild
Porcelain – Moby
New Person, Same Old Mistakes – Tame Impala
Keep on Running – Gabriel Garzon-Montano
Counting – Autre Ne Veut
Childs Play – SZA, Chance The Rapper
Waiting – Alice Boman
Tomorrow’s Song – Olafur Arnalds
Lotus Garden Spaces – Desert Dwellers
Mineral – Sylvain Chauveau