Have you ever wondered what your cell phone tastes like? Probably not, and if you have I would wager that you haven’t followed through on your curiosity. Think back a few years, however, and you may recall a time when pennies were a staple of your diet. As young children, we take full advantage of our sensory capabilities and don’t hesitate to put toys in our mouths, or trace strangers’ faces with our fingers. Sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell are all equally respected in early life, but upon developing a sense of danger (Bleach wasn’t meant to be explored by mouth) and of socialization (neither were strangers’ bodies – unless you’re in college), we tend to forget the value of these senses in exploring and understanding the world. Given reasonable bounds, all five senses can be revived in adulthood to their former glory and create a richer perceptual experience.
Your relationship with your body is like an aged love – it has become routine and automatic. It’s time to take your sense of touch on a romantic date. Remove your foot prisons, strip your feet of their socked incarceration, and head out for a walk. Attend to the sensation of bare feet on bare earth and reignite an authentic connection with your environment. Feel each step as each of the 40 muscles contract and extend to propel your body forward. Notice the texture of the sand and pebbles covering the tar, or the blades of grass brushing against your heel. This feedback from the ground demands your attention, it will not allow you to be distracted by texts and tunes. Going barefoot forcefully cultivates mindfulness of the present moment and a deeper engagement with reality.
Why do we ignore any of our avenues for accessing reality and miss out on some of the best things life has to offer? The smell of winter before the first snow; the charged feeling of skin in the calm before a summer thunderstorm; the taste of salt in the ocean air. Sight and sound only take us so far – to truly know the world we must investigate it with every tool in our arsenal. Fall back in love with the feeling self, create a spark with the old flame! Relearn the curiosity of our younger selves and their drive to understand what life tastes like!