The Care and Feeding Of Your Five Senses

Make Life More Sensual, Less Technological

Does the following sound familiar?

I wake up in the morning. Instead of turning to my husband to snuggle, I reach for my phone to check emails. If there’s time I check the weather and Pinterest. By this time, my husband is out of bed and in the shower. I get up, bleary-eyed, go downstairs to make some tea or coffee and turn on the laptop. Time to check Facebook, which I purposely don’t keep on my phone because I don’t want it going everywhere with me. I then answer some emails, write for an hour, and then check Facebook, Twitter, maybe a news site and a couple of favorite blogs. Have I eaten breakfast? Oh yes, I poured myself some cereal and ate it an hour ago. Did I even taste it? Not really.

I go about my entire day in a similar way, getting things done but constantly checking in on my phone or laptop. I hardly notice that I’ve dropped my kids off at school, stopped for a few groceries, and thrown some lunch together for all of us. Eventually I do take some time to make dinner, finding recipes online and trying to make it healthy. We eat in about ten minutes then everyone’s off to their screens again. The kids are YouTubing and SnapChatting. My teacher husband is responding to emails and writing lesson plans, or taking the latest “teacher accountability survey”. Lonely and bored, I stare at the TV or, again, my laptop, checking Facebook for the millionth time that day. Looking for connection, a good story, anything to combat the boredom and loneliness.

Does my life sound similar to yours? In our tech-y age, so often we have our eyes staring at a screen. Are we really on this earth to stare at screens all day? What about the world, and life, around us? We are forgetting the very best thing about physical life on planet earth — the experience of sensuality. Or, as I am calling it: The Care and Feeding of Our Five Senses.

I propose that we start making life more sensual again, less technological. Here are five ways to get started:

1. Chop vegetables/make bread. A computer programmer once confided to me that this is how he keeps sane. After years of staring at computer screens for both work and personal life, he finally had enough so he started cooking. For him, chopping vegetables and baking bread became a new daily routine that feeds his senses and his sense of purpose beyond work.

2. Take a phone-free walk outside. Do this every day if you can, even for ten minutes. Notice your surroundings. Listen to your breathing. Feel the temperature, the breeze, the sun or rain. Smell the air around you.

3. Pick up a hand-craft. Do you have a hobby you’ve lost touch with? Is there a new one you’d like to learn? Remember when knitting was all the rage a few years ago? That was before Facebook, believe it or not! Why not pick up knitting or wood carving again? Chop some wood for your backyard fire pit, or sew yourself a new apron for all that vegetable chopping and bread baking you’ve just committed to doing. Just pick up and do something that involves hand work. Enjoy the process even more than the product. Let yourself be present while you do it, listening to music or an audio book if you must, rather than staring at a screen.

4. Make your own music and/or go to live music concerts. I love to sing. I’m not a great singer but I love to sing and mostly I sing along to recorded music that I love, but it works. It feeds me. Maybe you have a bongo drum or a guitar gathering dust in the corner. Get it out and play! Play is the operative word here — make it fun and let it flow through you rather than trying to make it perfect. Go to a live concert. These are often free or low cost— whatever music you like, you can probably find it live near you. Go! Play!

5. Try a 2-handed coffee hour at least once a week. This idea came from a blog post here at Under the Sycamore, and it’s intrigued me since I first heard about it. Drink your coffee with two hands on the mug (preferably not a to-go mug but a real one). Put the phone, the newspaper, the laptop, the whatever’s-in-your-other-hand away and savor your coffee or tea. Just try this. You’ll see how one little drink feeds your five senses.

“Make life more sensual, less technological” has become a kind of mantra for me. I still stare at a screen a lot, for both work and pleasure, but every day I add in things that feed my five senses. Whether it’s cooking dinner from scratch, or knitting, or holding my coffee with two hands, I’m enjoying the physical experience that life has to offer.

Do these ideas sound great to you? I love every one of them, and I’d love to know more. Please comment and share your own ways to feed your five senses. My sixth sense, my intuition, tells me that experiencing the richness of a sensual life is how we’re going to start enjoying life more. Noticing the world around us again might even save the world.

For more great ideas about living a life true to your nature, check out my blog at www.lisazahn.com/blog.