GARDENING-THE CULTIVATION OF SENSORY EXPERIENCES
Sensory Experiences-Enchanted Key #4, are the focus of the month. If we don’t pay attention to the sensory input around us, there’ll be no mentally or emotionally recorded memories to make or savor. Life becomes a blur of pressured activity, with no present awareness of smelled roses.
One of our Journey Guides, Frederick “Fritz” Perls, the developer of the existential form of therapy called Gestalt Therapy, helps people integrate the whole of life by reclaiming disowned parts of the self. He believed that only the “now” exists and that anxiety arises in the gap between the now and the later. Some live in the past, others in the future, and there can be significant stress and anxiety in living anywhere else but the present moment. He also believed that neurotic behavior stemmed from the inability to see the obvious of what is right in front of us and so he encouraged others to “lose their minds and come to their senses.” Living a life of sensory awareness makes it more memorable.
AN OUTDOOR EXCURSION
Let’s delve deeply into experience. This involves an excursion outside. If you can’t go outside, then use your imagination.
Select an activity that’s healthy, in body, mind, and spirit. It can be gardening, playing basketball, walking, or whatever you choose. Consider what you already like about it and now play along to heighten it even more, by adding layers of sight, sound, smell, taste, and texture.
INVITE THE SENSES
For example, imagine that you’re outside on a spring morning for a day of gardening. The scent of coconut oil in your sunscreen triggers past joyous memories in your garden. Slipping into your wide-brimmed hat signals that end of the cold winter. Your new garden gloves await being broken in when you clear soil, working in unison with Mother Nature to nourish growth.
All this, and you haven’t even begun gardening yet! Perhaps you gather in a tote, the things you’ll need while gardening. Make sure that you protect your skin with sunscreen, a hat and appropriate clothing, your eyes, with sunglasses or visors, and that you stay hydrated. We don’t want you wilting in the garden.The visual of the tote may call to you like a friend, to come out and play.
Seed packets become tiny invitations to get outside. What other visuals would thrill you? Maybe visit a nursery just to look first, to plan what you’ll cultivate. Pinterest is a treasure trove for all things enchanting.
Listen to the birds singing in your garden. What other sounds do you hear? Is there water dripping onto the seedlings? Do you hear the crunchy leaves as they are raked out of their beds? How about wind chimes or birds splashing in the birdbath?
Smells are abundant. Plant chocolate mint or lemon verbena. It’s easy to find organic varieties. Flowers are fragrant, as are honeysuckle vines.
Taste the fruits of your labor and munch on the organic herbs while transferring them into new soil, or pinching some off the plant for your salads, vegetable dishes, or pesto sauces.
Textures let you run the rich soil through your ungloved fingers, feel the soft, fuzzy leaves of lamb’s ear and the prickly edges of a holly berry bush.
RECORD YOUR SENSORY EXPERIENCES
Take yourself on this journey of discovery and record it in your journal. A garden journal can hold clipped magazine photos of gardens, your sketches, wishes and dreams, as well as where and what you’ve planted and how it fared, along with suggestions for the next season or year’s plantings. It becomes a placeholder for your dreams and a record of your memories.
Immerse yourself in Sensory Experiences and share with us!