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?
Well, it’s raining this week in northern California. I love the rain. The smell of rain–fresh and clean. The sound of rain tapping on the garden shed outside. The feel of rain as chilled wet drops hit my face. Even the taste of rain….now that’s pure and refreshing! Watching rain as its hits the ground, it seems to bounce up. All my senses are at play when it rains.
While many find rain inconvenient to our busy lives, I feel more alive. It reminds me we live in a natural world that simply ignores those previously calendared (outdoor) events. It heightens all my senses and puts me more ‘in touch” with what is around me. I notice cloud formations and where the sun is or isn’t. I am more focused on my driving and my surroundings when I’m outside during a rain storm. I feel more alive, more connected to the world and to life through my senses.
How alive and aware are you of your surroundings? When you enter your home after being gone for several hours—-how does your house smell? Look around your rooms and notice the pictures you hung years ago. Do you still like them? What about the taste of a fresh apple—-can you tell the difference between a Gala and a Braeburn?
Our senses guide us, enrich, and enliven our world, our life and our spirit.
“If you atrophy one sense you also atrophy all the others, a sensuous and physical connection with nature, with art, with food and with other human beings, “Anais Nin observed.
I encourage you to come alive and experience your day fully with your senses. If you don’t like how your home smells, buy candles, potpourri or simply open a window! Rearrange your pictures, putting them in different rooms. Wear that cuddly red scarf a friend knitted for you (and you’ve never worn) when you take a walk in the rain. Soak in a bubble bath tonight. Besides, if there was something you were saving (like those candles, nice soaps, clothing, new recipe to try), today’s the day—after all, it’s raining!
I recently watched a great old black and white movie. Wonderful movie, but I definitely missed color and I’d wonder what color was her dress, her hair or even the car?
Are you living your life in black and white or technicolor? It seems to me today more women are wearing black all the time and far fewer wearing color. It’s as though someone told us that “black is….easy,….sexy, ….slimming, ….dramatic or something. It’s still black.
Watching the Golden Globe awards, to me the most stunning dresses were the bright reds or those fabulous new greens. Dramatic, feminine and often daring! And fun! They were living their lives in full, living color!
Years ago, many of us had our “colors done” and received a deck of color swatches. I still have mine, do you? I was a “blended summer”. Nice lighter colors, and at the time really helped me bring more color into my wardrobe. I felt (and thought I looked) great. Over the years, I’ve ventured beyond my color chart and enjoy the feelings certain color evoke in my mood when I wear them. It’s a visual treat for me.
Try adding some color in your life and what you wear….it’s certainly more fun than “basic black”.