Tag Archives: connectedness

Bring Joy into the Holiday Season with Sensory Awareness

London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I find it essential to really tune in to what I am experiencing in the moment. It’s important to me to really connect with the people I choose to be with. If I can’t—and find myself spacing out or keeping things on the surface level—that’s OK, too. Practicing neutrality toward myself and my feelings helps me stay in self-love and acceptance.

But when I can really connect, these moments help me feel loved and loving. Though I try to practice it all of the time, it’s even more important during the holidays, as people are voluntarily creating a stressed out, anxious, and hurried environment. I make it a point to fully experience the rich opportunities within my reach and create meaningful holiday moments.

Sensory awareness practice is the discipline of really tuning into something, during those small and everyday moments, to the point that it becomes an exquisite experience. During the holidays, this can be as simple as focusing on a cozy scent, or meditating on a seasonal sound.

Here are some ideas for bringing sensory awareness practice into your holidays:

Musical Event

If you go to an event where there is singing or music over the holidays, instead of letting the experience simply flow over you, try to really hone in on the melody of one instrument, or focus on the sound of one person’s voice in the choir. Notice how the sound resonates in your chest or through the floor in your feet. This will help you tune into the exquisite nature of the sound and make it a much deeper sensory experience.

Cooking

One of the reasons I love cooking so much is because it is a very sensory experience. If you bake holiday treats or cook meals for the holidays, you have the opportunity to really get in touch with your senses in terms of the texture of food and the smell of the food you are preparing. Tune into the sound of different foods when you are chopping them and biting into them. As you let yourself tune into these small moments, they become richer and more meaningful.

Greeting Loved Ones

Ironically, often the reason we are rushing around during the holidays is because we want to make the holidays joyful for the people we love. Although our intentions are good, urgency and hurry work against deep connection with others.

One example of an exquisite sensory opportunity we often miss out on during the holidays is fully experiencing loved ones when greeting them upon arrival. When you first see someone you haven’t seen in awhile, or when you are in the company of someone you are really happy to spend time with, allow yourself to take in the whole person. Fully experience how you feel, being with them, in the moment.

Before you open the door to greet a guest, or before you knock on their door to be greeted, take 30 seconds to prepare yourself to really take in the energy of that person. Prepare yourself to connect with how she looks, what her smile is like, the feel of her skin or clothing as you hug her. Take pleasure in her company. Be in the moment.


There are many ways to bring sensory awareness practice into your holiday season, which can bring you back from the hustle and bustle into your highest self. I would love to hear about your ideas and experiences. Please feel free to share them in the comments.

Photo courtesy of FreeFoto

Into the Great Wide Open

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Hot air balloon on a clear morning near the Rocky Mountain foothills

I’m impressed by people who ask for what they need–openly, honestly, and without shame. Their vulnerability amazes me. I aspire to be like them. They trust that their higher power, the universe, their communities, and their friends and family will support them and give them what they need. And they get it, albeit sometimes not in the form they imagined. They seem happy.

On the flip side, our capitalistic society has built in me a deep core of independence. Self-reliance. Strength. I know I can get through anything on my own by relying on my highly developed coping mechanisms (now mostly healthy rather than maladaptive). My faith in myself and my connection to the universe will get me through, most of the time with relative grace and ease.

So sometimes those same people, the ones I admire, also push my buttons. Who are they to ask for help? Can’t they make it all happen by themselves?

There’s the disconnect. It’s my tether to the universe that I rely upon to get me through the tough times, but that universe is comprised of guess who? Little ol’ me and all of the other shining lights that surround me. It’s these times of cognitive dissonance that make me step back and laugh at how my ego mind fights with my spirit self and the knowing of my true path.

The woman in this video, Amanda Palmer, found her way past the ego mind to get to the point of giving away her music in return for donations. She asked for what she wanted. It resulted in the largest crowd funded music project up to that point.

What my philosophy has distilled to over the past few years is this:

If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Whether you ask the universe, your fans, or someone specific, you must ask. Put fuzzy, vague, static-filled intentions out, and what do you get back? Nothing. Or at least nothing good.

I vow to ask for at least one thing a day for the next 30 days. I am prepared to receive.