Being in a physical body equals having access to an amazing gift – well really countless gifts, but for the sake of this article and your and my attention span which is nowadays apparently shorter than that of a goldfish let’s just focus on the one aspect for now.
The absolutely unique ray of sunshine and free limitless resource I am referring to that could enliven your every day if you choose to invite it in is authentic connectedness and self-love through Sensuality.
Sensuality is a wonderful thing which in turns fosters mindfulness, a quality that has been in the focus of a myriad of scientifically validated studies for more than only one good reason within the last years.
Sensuality – enjoying life through our senses
So what do I refer to with the term Sensuality? It is something that we all can access, males and females alike, even though it might be even more important for females to consciously integrate this essential part of their beings in order to experience their innate feminine power and essence, to awaken to their inner source of joy, abundance and pleasure.
The meaning of Sensuality is theoretically quite easy to grasp: the focused attention to and enjoyment of the impressions we receive through our five senses(some might say six, but that’s another story): touch, smell, sight, hearing as well as taste. To me, Sensuality furthermore also corresponds to slowing down and honoring your Yin sides – basically living the opposite of what society is currently teaching us to do! The mentioned Yin side is referring to the Taoist viewpoint of all of life formed by the principles and interactions of Yang, active life force, and Yin, passive expression of lifeforce.
Most of us are always artificially connected: here a quick Facebook update, there a Whatsapp chat while eating, and this type of almost compulsive superficial connectedness weaves itself through our whole day: be it waking up and first of all checking LinkedIn or e-mails, meeting someone for lunch and at the same time constantly checking for new notifications… the list goes on and on. I often wonder how our poor minds and nervous system cope with the amount of unfiltered information that we so willingly seem to take in every day.
Artificial connectedness versus connection to our sensual experiences
Don’t take me wrong: I know from experience what I am taking about. However I am slowly coming to the conclusion that this constant availability and superficial connectedness comes at a HUGE cost: we are available to all this information input at the expense of our presence, our connectedness to ourselves and life in its variety of wonderful and unique sensual forms, we basically deny ourselves the pleasure of an authentic, real life experience and trade this present in for creating onesided images of ourselves in a virtual world, and for cultivating like- based “friendships” with our 500 plus “friends”.
Let me give you an example: When was the last time you prepared a meal while exclusively putting your attention on the task at hand? Do you really know how ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumber or spicey radishes taste like?
Do you remember the gorgeous smell of lemon or the close up view of a strawberry? And all that without instagramming your meal afterwards?
Consciously preparing, tasting, smelling and connecting to your food, just for the pleasure of being alive, is only one of the myriad of possibilities that we have to live sensually and therefore increase our daily dose of enjoyment.
How to cultivate your Sensuality and Selflove in daily life
Here are 3 ideas to increase sensuality in your daily life and to decrease distraction from sensual experiences:
1) Turn food preparation and eating into sacred rituals and disconnected media times
My Spanish grandpa used to say “Come y calla”/ Eat and be silent, whenever it was time for the pleasure of food. Even though this approach might seem a little old-fashioned and outdated, it does makes sense to practise mindful eating: Studies show that eating your meal consciously, paying close attention to how it smells, looks and tastes and getting rid of distractions like TV, typing or reading, which interrupt the digestive focus and process, is undoubtedly healthy for you. As emphasized by the University of Harvard, mindful eating can help with eating disorders, weight loss and digestive problems.
Here a little exercise in mindful eating from Harvard Health:
Experts suggest starting gradually with mindful eating, eating one meal a day or week in a slower, more attentive manner. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you get started:
- Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
- Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
- Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
- Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.
- Take small bites and chew well.
- Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Do something else, like reading or going on a short walk.
2) Connect to Nature
Nature is our true home and offers an abundance of possibilities to connect to yourself and strengthen your Selflove through Sensuality: Do you remember how great it feels to walk barefoot through the grass or sand at the beach, to smell the salty ocean breeze or freshly cut grass, to bury your nose in a field of roses or to attentively listen to the birds singing in the woods? Consciously focusing on these sensations and taking them in as fully as possible brings you back to the present moment and can put a lot of things into perspective. Connect with the elements in a natural setting close to you, even if it’s just a little park around the corner, and recover your feelings of aliveness. No, that Candy Crush game can’t do that for you. YOU can though.
Try to intensify your experience of Nature by engaging all your senses. For example let’s imagine you are sitting in the grass in the sun. How does the grass smell like? Take it in for a few minutes. If your thoughts wander, just accept it gently, but direct them back to experiencing the smell of grass. After that, turn your attention to its appearance: which 5 things can you perceive in regards to its look? Again, stay focused on that. After a while, continue on to feel the grass: caressing over it, touching the soil beneath…Which sensations do you experience?
3) Schedule daily pleasure islands for yourself:
How often do many of us live through the week barely hanging on and purely focused on the salvation that the weekend supposedly bring? There are better ways to honor your precious life time and connection to life, yourself and your pleasure.
Instead of just pushing through and exclusively relying on too much coffee or sugars to make it through your day, let me introduce you to your allies on the way to a more joyful life experience, your daily pleasure islands! Most of us love to dream ourselves away from time to time to a beautiful island of our choosing, a place where we can just be, with no demands placed upon us, no thousand roles to play, and the cleansing air of the ocean washing away the old debris of previously encountered unpleasantness.
To create little islands of pleasure in your daily life, schedule in two or three-time slots of 20 minutes each throughout your day, for example in your lunch break, after work or at the start of your day. Make sure these islands are truly scheduled in and keep them as appointments with yourself, just like you would keep an appointment with someone else. And then fill these islands with sensual experiences you love and enjoy, time well spent that recharges your battery on a daily basis. Some ideas for your personal pleasure islands could be:
- giving yourself a massage, for example an ear, hand, or footmassage, ideally with some oil of your choosing (sandalwood, lavender, or whatever tickles your fancy). You can read more on the healing power of touch here (in German).
- put on your favourite tunes and dance all your stresses away. No inhibitions! Lock your door and close your blinds if need be. I strongly believe in the incredible power of dance to free yourself from imposed aspects of shame, emotional blockages or yes, of course physical tensions!
- indulge in a bubble bath with candlelight and soothing music or put on a guided meditation while you are at it
- practise mindful eating
- Do a blindfolded exercise: At first, taste your food without a blindfold. Then, blindfold yourself, and see how the experience changes. This approach can also be applied to touching everyday utensils, furniture etc.
- Get creative: dip your fingers in paint and create some crazy art, sing a nonsense song , impersonate your favourite actor…the possibilities are endless.
- Reconnect with your partner or lover, fully focusing on the sound of their voice, their looks, their smell…
- Practise breathing exercises
- Do some stretches, a short Yoga session or some other forms of movement you enjoy
- Whatever you do, make sure to remind yourself that you are allowed to enjoy yourself and that enjoying life makes you more vibrant, healthy, giving and even productive!
Do you have any other ideas on how to create more joy in your daily life? Feel free to share below.