Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stop Look and Listen

The theme here in my blog seems to be 'Listen to your own body'.  It's oh so true and important, but why is it that I feel the need to say it so often?  To put it another way, why, when I look around, does it appear that so many people are not listening to their bodies?  Or at least, nowhere near enough.  Why are we so detached?  Are we just THAT busy?  Is this normal, or the new normal?

There's probably a plethora of reasons we can come up with as to why we're so rushed and out of touch with ourselves these days.  The pace of our lives itself seems to be ever increasing.  Some of it to our benefit, but some of it definitely to our determent.  Not only can our health become compromised, but our enjoyment of life itself can as well.

Of course, I'm not the only one to make this assessment, just bring to mind some very old and wise sayings:

Life is not a destination, it's a journey
Take time to stop and smell the Roses
Don't regret not spending enough time with your Family (Cat's in the Cradle)
Spring has sprung in the Rockies ... that's the Driving Range
Upending your whole life to do this, your whole way of thinking, moving, working, exercising, and interacting with others is not necessary.  I think just slowly incorporating aspects of a Paleo/Primal lifestyle may help a lot of people to enjoy their lives more. This is why I and so many others out there take the time to share our experiences and thoughts on this matter.

With this in mind, I came up with a little 'experiment' involving listening to your own body.  Since it's Springtime and so nice outside, I would encourage you to go outside, but really anywhere, anytime will work.  Now, here's what to do:
Use each of your five senses in a slow and deliberate manner in the next few days.
Easy right?  Here's some examples:

Sight - When you come across some eye candy (whether that be in Nature or whatever really) just gaze upon it.  Think about how light is hitting it and how you are 'viewing it'.  One of my favorite things to do is look straight up as I'm walking under a big tree.  It doesn't sound very neat, but noticing how all of the branches 'move' relative to you and one another as you keep walking is actually pretty cool.
Sound - Just close your eyes and listen.  Music, Nature, children screaming, ... you choose.  Just listen though.  Move your head from side to side and see how that effects what your hearing.  Try cupping your hands over your ears.
Touch - Slowly run your hand, fingers, toes, feet or any other body part over something.  Perhaps some nice Spring grass outside.  What does the texture feel like?  The temperature?  
 Smell - This one is really made for Spring.  Now that the ground is thawing, you can start to 'smell the outdoors' again.  Or just close your eyes and smell your food before you put it into your mouth.  I did this with every bite when I was at Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal this past summer and I'm sure I looked like a nutcase to the other patrons, but I could've cared less.  It was the best meal of my life and I was savoring it in every way possible.
Taste - Once you've taken a good whiff of what you're eating, taste it.  Chew it.  Move it around your mouth.  Eating is not a race, or at least it shouldn't be.  Do you need to chew every bite 50 times?  Not necessary (but knock yourself out if you have the time and jaw muscles).  Become better at discerning sweet, salt, bitter and sour in your foods.
We use our senses all of the time, but mostly I think they're on autopilot.  We don't need to slow everything down and savor every single moment of course.  We still have busy lives to lead I know.  All I'm saying is just try to take a moment now and then to listen to your body and to how you interact with the World through your senses.  Slow things down for the moment.  Use these moments as tools to learn about yourself.  And when you start to pay attention more, you can then use these feelings in your everyday lifestyle.  In things like eating only when you're hungry and going to sleep when you're tired.  Simple things really.

Stop, Look, and Listen.  That was the title of our 'reading' book in my kindergarten class (I have a long term memory like an Elephant).  Maybe it's time to go back to learning the basics.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

Hmmm ... I'm the first to comment on my own blog. Is that legal? Are the Internet Police going to be all over me?

I just took my own advise and went for a barefoot walk out on the golf course. I felt the dry, coarse grass underfoot with occasional damp and cold patches. I took my shirt off for some Rays and sat near a patch of Pine trees. In those trees were some birds singing me a song as a I watched a Ladybug wander on the ground. And there was one of those 'micro' wind swirls kicking up about 10 leaves that I watched in fascination as it came closer and closer and 'blew' right through me. Cool.

Lesson: Take stock with your senses whenever and wherever. You don't have to be in the deep woods on a week long backpacking trip to slow down and enjoy.