Each month, I’m highlighting a different dimension of wellbeing in my blog. I’m excited to talk about sensing this month.
Sensing? You ask. What is she going on about now?
Paying attention to each of our senses is a crazy-powerful way to be in the present moment. What happens when we’re in the present?
We’re focused. We’re peaceful. We’re not worrying about the past or feeling scared about the future.
Like breathing and eating, sensing is an incredible way we can bring energy into our lives. We learn about and enjoy our world through our senses, including seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. We also can rely on our intuition, our sixth sense.
It’s important that we keep our senses in good condition. How do you respond when your senses are overstimulated?
I’m pretty “sensitive,” myself.
If there is too much background noise, such as a TV, radio, or traffic, I feel on edge. When people wear too much perfume, I begin sneezing and feel distracted. It took a long time to accept that my body cries out for balance. Giving myself what I need is a GOOD THING.
Burnout reduces our sensory awareness, and diminishes other areas of our lives. As a coach, I help my clients to identify areas where they need balance. They learn that their overall wellness can dramatically improve by taking small steps in one particular dimension, including sensing. For more information, click here.
Keep reading for an incredible awareness exercise that you can use to re-awaken your senses. But first, I thought it would be fascinating to talk about the senses with an artist who uses his so creatively. . .
An Interview with Paul Honatke
One of my favorite artists, Paul Honatke, uses acrylic paints and mad talent to create art that is sensual with a spiritual edge. I recently had the opportunity to interview him about how he uses his senses in creative ways.
Me: You have worked hard to become a talented and successful artist. This requires using your senses, being in the moment, and appreciating details of your environment. Do you think you were born with the ability to use your senses like this? Or is it a skill you developed along the way?
Paul: Everyone is born an artist. We have a fresh mind, a natural curiosity. Most people have this sense of innocence and exploration driven out of them at an early age. You learn what you’re “supposed” to be instead of being ok exactly as you are right now.
Me: What senses do you use most often when you’re inspired to paint?
Paul: Awe. And curiosity.
Me: What’s your favorite color to use when you paint?
Paul: Cadmium Red Medium. It has the same density as California poppies. I use it sparingly because it’s so intense by itself. It also has the emotional quality of red. It’s passionate.
Me: Do you follow your gut often. . . and what is usually the result?
Paul: My art is a weird mix of gut feeling and careful planning. At some point in working on a painting I usually say: “Okay, time to mess this shit up.” And I do so. Then I struggle a lot more. It makes the process, and the end result, more interesting.
Me: Many of your paintings have a unique texture. How does this add to the piece?
Paul: I sometimes use modeling paste for texture. It’s like built-in character. Paint, sand, reveal, re-paint, etc. Depth. Worth noting, I think, is that it’s a rare thing to get to touch a painting. A real one. An original one. Try it sometime.
Me: How do you use music to enhance your painting experience? Are there certain songs you especially like to listen to when you’re painting?
Paul: I put my iTunes on shuffle. That’s a lot of variation, but I feel most “into it” when it’s classical.
Me: How comfortable are you with silence?
Paul: Conversational silence? I’m fine with it. True silence? Have you ever experienced it?
Me: Yes, when I’ve been caving in Northern California. SPOOKY.
Paul: Exactly. I knew true silence and real, total darkness only once, inside a pyramid in Mexico. It was absolutely unsettling.
Me: What role do nature escapes play in your overall creativity?
Paul: Art is a pale imitation of nature. Even Rembrandt said that when he started to feel too cocky (I’m paraphrasing) as an artist, he’d go outside and look at the grass in the garden.
Nature has it all. I think when you get outside, you kind of reset your senses. Re-awaken them. ALL of them. And hopefully you bring some of that back home with you to put into your art, your life.
Me: Anything else you want to share?
Paul: I wish I were better at remembering bird calls.
Thanks, Paul! So grateful for your insights.
Take a Fabulous Walk to Re-Awaken Your Senses
Want to appreciate your senses? I love this exercise from my Wellness Inventory training and want to share it with you. . .
Saunter through your neighborhood in the daylight. This isn’t for exercise, or for your dog. This is for you to walk in gratitude and enjoy the moment.
Leave your house and worries behind.
- Focus on what you see. Pretend you are seeing it for the first time. Wow!
- What colors strike you?
- What shapes or patterns do you notice?
- Enjoy seeing your feet on the sidewalk. Enjoy seeing the sky.
- What about these scenes are you thankful for?
When it’s time to return home, focus on what you hear.
- Take in all the sounds, from birds to car traffic.
- Notice if some sounds make you feel more peaceful.
- Are some sounds unwelcome and bothersome?
- How might you surround yourself each day with more pleasurable sounds?
We have a choice.
We can live flatly and dully, without appreciating our environment. Or, we can live more fully, enjoying the world around us, moment by moment. I invite you to take pleasure in your senses.
We can do it!
P.S. You can see more of Paul Honatke’s beautiful art by clicking here. Zowie, isn’t he awesome?
P.P.S. If you’re feeling overstimulated and stressed, these are warning signs to take care of yourself. As a coach, I help my clients renew their passion and enjoy wellbeing in all areas of their life. Click here for a free strategy session.