come to your senses
As newborns, we explored the world and learned primarily through our senses. With no ability to communicate through conversation, we grasped the outreached fingers of our caregivers and clung to colourful toys. We drooled as we gummed on teething rings or our fingers and toes. We rolled our bodies on soft blankets on the floor and dabbled in a variety of vocal experiments.
Then, as toddlers, we left no stone unturned to crawl all over our environment, climbed on furniture and repurposed ordinary cardboard boxes for creative play. While using words became more common as we aged, we still used our bodies to make sense of our world.
Learning From the Neck Up
When formal schooling started, it just wasn’t part of the curriculum to listen to the wisdom of the bodies anymore. Instead, it was replaced with learning that was almost 100% intellectual. The instructions were to memorize, analyze, recite, research and regurgitate information. There as no encouragement to listen to how our bodies were responding to the lessons, to what we ate, what what we read in the newspaper, what stressors we encountered in our family or friend circles or to the social pressures we faced. Most problems, academic or emotional/ social, were dealt with by coming up with a plan that included setting external goals that were specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timed.
The Sense of Senses
There has been much research on the benefits of paying attention to our bodies’ wisdom to gain clarity and resist dis-ease as we befriend ourselves in our entirety.
Staying in touch with our bodies has been socialized out of us. It’s now up to us to unlearn. And relearn. But how can we begin to reconnect with our body to learn from it? To grow in awareness? To soothe ourselves in times of overwhelm?
Here are three resources to explore ways of listening to the wisdom of your body in a reflection, a short five senses activity and a longer guided meditation using the five senses. There is also a new wave of interest in embodied practices that you can access through yoga, martial arts, meditation and almost any activity that encourages you to be present with your body while doing it.
Your body is an exceptional resource and ally so reach out to grasp its outstretched hand and take this journey together.