Early this morning, during an invigorating desert garden walk through a private Los Cabos golf course, something came to mind.  SENSES.

We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought. ~ Oliver Sacks

I was thinking about travel and self-expression.  It’s not an original idea as many have said similar things before.  But what I began to focus on was how my senses were picking up, not just the view of where I was walking, but the sounds of small chattering birds, fragrances of red flowering bushes, and the warmth of the morning sun on my skin.

It was as if my senses were re-awakened from the habitude of urban living where noise, smell, and temperature are often shut down due to overload, unpleasantness, or mundaneness.  It felt enlivening to focus on what my senses were perceiving as I walked along this posh desert landscaped golf course path.  When I returned from the walk, ready to jot down some blog ideas, I located an article by archaelogists.

The ancient Maya and other Mesoamerican peoples showed an intense interest in invoking the senses, especially hearing, sight, and smell… As conceived anciently, the senses were projective and procreative, involving the notion of unity and shared essence in material and incorporeal realms… The inner mind extended to encompass outer worlds, in strong parallel to concepts of monism. ~ An Archaeology of the Senses

Strikingly, these archaeologists were able to recreate the sensual experiences of a people long gone through their art and artifacts.  I’ve returned to Los Cabos, Mexico for the past decade, for many reasons, but particularly because there is something here about the light and the air.  Located at the bottom tip of a 1000 mile peninsula, Los Cabos vistas are of the Sea of Cortez and ancient mountains.   It’s as if the earliest inhabitants still can be felt, offering us an ancient communion with our senses.

How can you become more aware of your senses, wherever you are?

Here are a few simple prompts to stimulate your reflection.  Remember speech is part of thought, so try answering out load. 

  • What do you see? colors, shapes, textures; feelings provoked?
  • What do you hear? natural or manmade sounds; soft or loud?
  • What do you taste?  pleasant or not; sweet or sour?
  • What do you smell? pleasant or not; feelings evoked?
  • What do you touch?  hard or soft; smooth or rough?

About 37 miles north of me is the Modern Elder Academy.  It offers an experience to “repurpose” midlife.  I imagine those “graduates” receiving a Certificate in Mindset Management will know exactly what I am describing because their learning is so deeply experiential.  The Modern Elder Academy, founded by Chip Conley, is worth exploring if you seek a transformative experience at an expressive age.

Please share experiences of how your senses were enlivened through travel.

Expressive Links

The Linguistic Expression of Senses

An Archaeology of the Senses:  Perception and Cultural Expression in Ancient Mesoamerica

Modern Elder Academy

Quote by Barbara Sher