I read a great article in the New York Times entitled “Are We Living In Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?”. The title struck me, as I love to study the modern culture of “connection” and it’s relevance to total disconnectedness.
The author shares her observations of people walking in the park…in a daze as they talk on their cell phones, or bursting into laughter while looking down at their hands, texting. No eye contact, and the natural environment is lost in the background of a very narrow view of reality…the person on the other end.
She writes, “…we’re living in sensory poverty, learning about the world without experiencing it up close, right here, right now, in all its messy, majestic, riotous detail. The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature’s precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.”
Wow. Isn’t that the truth!
We talk about being overwhelmed, but are we creating our own chaos? Is our discontent directly related to our disconnect?
My thought is ‘yes’. In our efforts to find significance, we fail to find connection in the world around us. In this, we think we’re feeling more full, but we’re really creating a temporary satiation that leaves us longing and empty.
Here’s what I know….we are designed to live life through our senses. I mean, REALLY, live life. We are designed to see, smell, touch, hear and taste as the gateway to the world around us. These senses give us direction, emotion and conviction. They bring us joy, peace, solace and resolve. Senses bring us pleasure, satisfaction, curiosity and brilliance. They inform us of danger, and remind us to let go. And don’t forget…our senses bring us connection. True connection, to the stuff that matters. That’s not to say we can’t still text, post, tweet and send…I would be a complete hypocrite if I said I didn’t enjoy my time in these modes. Yet the part to remember is the richness of life outside of this…the part that is right under our nose.
Right now my husband is making a trio of homemade pizzas…one savory, one spicy, one sweet. The SMELLS are exquisite and they evoke feelings of love and excitement, especially when he brings me spoonfuls of his special sauce to TASTE. My son and his friend are playing with a remote-control car, which keeps banging into my foot and markedly distracting me from my writing…and yet I revel in their boy-ness and the SOUND of their laughter. I look up to SEE the soft lighting that surrounds me, and feel grateful for the comforts of my home. And now I FEEL my feet, planted firmly on the ground, and realizing, ‘dang these shoes are uncomfortable and it’s time to take these fashionable-yet-painfully-annoying things off!’.
What a gift, that we have all this connection available to us if we just stop, pay attention, and tap into our senses. In The Source for Weight Loss we call this Balance & Fulfillment. You can see why. When you feel off, empty, fearful or stressed, I encourage you to check into your senses and find how the natural connection eases the discontent, and brings you back to the significance of the simple. Remember, you don’t need a paid plan, a device or bandwidth…you have all this right here, right now, in this thing called you.