I'm taking part in a writing circle and the host offered us experiments aligning with sound. I've felt distracted with life and death these past several weeks (past several years, too?) and so I let the simplicity of closing my eyes guide me while out on a birthday hike with my two adventure partners.
In reflecting upon this sharing, I think to my great aunt whose eyesight has greatly diminished. Earlier today, I slid a birthday card for her in the outgoing mail slot, words written in large permanent marker letters.
I think too about one dear reader of this newsletter. She's Deaf and somehow writes emails to me in a way that I feel I can hear her. Our sensory experiences are so unique to our unique bodies. So unknowable in a way.
A frustrating memory now resurfaces: sitting in the darkness of a museum intentionally constructed for attendees to feel blind. We sit at a bar at the end of our experience moving through the pitch black museum. The frustration arises when my friend and the bar attendant shift from speaking English to German. But my frustration is mine to claim as we are in Germany so, of course, it's bound to happen at some point. Neither seeing nor understanding the conversation... it feels too much for me – rather, it feels I have too little to lean on.
I wonder if our senses, any one of them, ever feel taken for granted? I wonder how our sensorial experiences can bring us closer to one another? Even when your sense of smell is experienced so differently than mine? I wonder how our sensorial experiences can bring us closer to our own nature bodies? And thus, perhaps, bring us closer to our outer nature surroundings?
Listening to the waterfall, an experiment with sound (and other things along the way)
I closed my eyes standing right in front of the loud rushing water.
Even though my husband was standing right there with Ernest, I felt uneasy being there closing my eyes.
I felt their presence though, the two beings nearby. Even more strongly, I felt the water's presence.
My body's sensations shift. I've been giving so much attention to my eyes. When I started wearing glasses recently, my eyesight sharpened, I felt like a superhero! I found my attention on my eyesight more and more.
But now, I stand here, insisting my eyesight to shut off and this insistence immediately calls forth every single other sense. First, my sense of hearing.
My sensorial awareness dramatically shifts towards my sense of hearing, yes, and now towards my proprioceptive sense, towards my vestibular sense*.
I feel my feet pronating in my boots. I feel myself hunching over with my heavy backpack. I adjust my body to a yogic mountain pose, feeling more connected with my own body. Feeling like I not only have a body but am a body.
For being a so-called embodied person, I find myself not only in my head but even more narrowly in my EYES, expending my energy gazing outward with an oft-narrating fixation.
Now I stand here, eyes shut, attempting to relax into my surroundings and my other senses. I feel huge energy in front of me with the water rushing. And I feel energy near me on the bridge, my husband I think. And then I feel energy beside me to my right.
Can I trust these feelings without seeing them? Can they be real without my eyes determining so? Can I give my face a break?
Why so much stress with my eyes? I always need to know where Ernest is when we're out and he's off leash. I don't want him to get hurt. I don't want him to wander too far.
I open my eyes then, and see right by my side is Ernest. He's sitting there, face out to the water too with his nose alive and sniffing out and up towards the misty air.
I touch the top of his head, tending his soft, sweet head and we together look, sniff, and listen out at the water rushing. Maybe I can practice trust, leaning on more of my senses, not just my overtaxed eyes.
Til next time,
I just so happen to be reading a new-to-me (and new to the world) book and this delightful author speaks right to me:
But how to catch the honest voice? How to lay our eyes on the truth when we are distracted, and don't know what we're looking for? First, know that the versions of yourself that are in connection with your source are present, and living and growing inside you. (It doesn't only happen in sci-fi, this multiplying of yourself...) - Yrsa Daley-Ward, The How
P.S. Much thanks to those who added to our Collective Retrospective Venn Diagram. I feel privileged to witness your self-reflection.