Last month, I took the opportunity to spend some time with family & friends in Northern Wisconsin, & I slept every night in a treehouse on the shore of a lake. It's a delightful spot. Each night as I drifted off to sleep, I could hear the wind blowing through the trees in the distance. I could feel the air & the breeze as it coursed through the screen walls of the house & touched my skin, or on cooler nights, the tip of my nose- the only body part not covered by my sleeping bag. The treehouse itself rests on rails that attach to four separate pine trees. When the wind blows, the trees bend & pitch, sometimes violently, which shakes the entire structure. I often wondered if I would wake up the next morning in a tree house, or in a cabin that had fallen to the earth. Sometimes I rose in the middle of the night & wandered outside to take in the breathtaking night sky, seeing the light of the stars bouncing off the ripples on the lake's surface. And when rainstorms came through, I could smell the precipitation and its lingering flavor on the leaves and pines that surrounded me.
In all of these expressions, I am connecting with my senses. Sight. Taste. Smell. Touch. Hearing. When we use our senses, we are completely in the moment. We are, by definition, present. When the cool breeze touches my skin, it brings goosebumps to the surface. It is an immediate sensation, & can't be ignored. My attention is pulled to the present, if only for a few seconds.
We can all embrace the present moment anytime & anywhere; we don't need to be in a treehouse in an idyllic rural setting. Our senses are always available & always reporting back to us what's going on. Unfortunately, we're rarely paying attention: we're more inclined to speculate about what's coming next or dwell on things that have already happened.
It's remarkably easy to have a sensory experience- we've been doing it our whole life. Close your eyes (sight is typically our default; it's good to give our other four senses some time at the plate). What do you feel- are you cold, sweaty, maybe feeling an ache in your body? What do you hear- beyond the conversations around you? Birds, the wind, water, chipmunks? What tastes do you have in your mouth- sweet, savory, perhaps a spice or flavor? Is there a smell in the air? Herbs, flowers, humidity, freshly cut grass, asphalt on a rainy day, fast food, donuts? There are endless options available to connect us to the present moment.
Everything we need is right here, right now. When we want a reminder, stop & pay attention to what Nature is offering up around you. You'll find there is a symphony of voices waiting to be heard (felt, tasted, smelled, or seen). Tapping in takes but a moment of our time. And the reward is infinite.