Making sense of our senses

I am fascinated by how we sense the world and am committed to living a more sensual and pleasure-filled life and help women do the same. I’m reading a terrific book–Brain Rules by John Medina in which the author describes sensory stimulation and how it works in the brain.  He’s a molecular biologist and is able discuss complex material in such a way it makes sense to my non-scientific mind.  While he primarily applies his research to learning (and by the way, he says we are designed to never stop learning and exploring), I’d like to expand on his insights into the realm of pleasure in our lives.

Our senses evolved to work together–for example vision and hearing are partnered in a learning situation, (which explains why PowerPoint  slides and a talking head in the front of the room have become so popular, albeit with shortcomings).    He also explains that our brain takes in sensory signals and stores them in parts of our brain to reconstruct them later. However, due to their own unique past experiences, two people may perceive an event very differently.

So what does this have to do with us delighting in our feminine essence?  As time goes by,  we tend to “forget” the incredible value of all our senses—for example, color, texture, and scent  in our homes or wardrobes.  Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel catalogs seem to dictate the season’s colors.  Very often, I don’t even like the colors. Are they your favorite color?  How do you experience those colors?  What do they feel like to you? Today’s fashion palette simply may not please you.

Scents, whether candles, air fresheners, perfume or flowers either make us feel better or worse.  Notice how you feel when you light a beautifully scented candle you love; or when you wear a perfume you adore; or as you walk into your home and inhale the scent of a bouquet of day-lilies on your table.  In these moments I truly cherish my sense of smell.

I always wear perfume even when working alone in my office writing.  And I listen to lovely classical guitar while I work.  While Mr. Medina doesn’t specifically say that perfume and music make me smarter, I feel that I am and think my writing is a bit crisper and insightful that day.   What can you do today to delight your senses….and improve your brain?

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