autumn leaves

In our high-tech, plugged-in world it’s easy for our senses to become dulled and our engagement with the real world to be pushed into the background. In her new book, Inside the Flame: The Joy of Treasuring What You Already Have (Parallax Press, November 2016) Christina Waters, PhD, urges us to reconnect with our senses and makes a powerful case for how doing so can lead to a more rewarding, more pleasure, and richer life. Here are 5 ways to come back to your senses.

  1. Give your hands some playtime. Next time you assemble a salad or bake cookies, try dispensing with utensils. Make these dishes entirely with your hands. Mix with your hands and toss with your hands. Notice how the ingredients feel to your fingers, thumbs, and palms.
  1. Spend fifteen minutes noticing the smells around you. What makes your nose happy?
  1. Ever gone wild with a new color or piece of furniture that represented a radical departure from your predictable style? Why not? Even if you decide ultimately that turquoise is wrong for your bedroom, take a chance anyway. It’s only paint. Color has a way of stimulating new feelings, new freedoms. Start small and see where it leads.
  1. Next time it rains, go out and take a walk—no umbrella or hat—just you and the downpour from above.
  1. When your eye catches something, let your body move close enough to touch its surface. Enjoy the unexpected pleasures of sandpaper, dried leaves, babies’ feet, smooth rocks. Is there a rare texture experience you’ve enjoyed? Fabulous! Now find some others

CHRISTINA WATERS is the author of Inside the Flame: The Joy of Treasuring What You Already Have. She is a journalist specializing in the arts, film, food, and wine for a variety of San Francisco Bay area and national publications and a professor at UC Santa Cruz.


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