Action #4: Stimulate Your Senses

Once a week, I will post a suggested activity for creating wonder in your life (mostly to get myself to do it, but I hope you’ll join me). I will include three different participation levels, so lack of time or money will be no excuse. Please share your experiences here to inspire others. Go forth and create wonder!

At the Alemany Farmer’s Market this weekend, the largest and oldest farmer’s market in San Francisco, I was absolutely overcome by the wonders of fresh produce. We strolled past booth upon booth of gorgeous fruits, veggies and flowers. We smelled mouth-watering basil, tasted the sweetest summer peaches, and heard the satisfying thunk of ripe melons as we tap-tested their taut rinds. We went a little crazy and bought huge bouquets of bright, happy flowers, a bag of oysters, brussel sprouts, artichokes, kale, and enough fruit to make two delicious fruit salads straight out of Eden for the events we attended this weekend. The joy of that experience will live on in our meals this week, in vases on windowsills for the next couple weeks, and in my mind whenever I need to conjure up something that makes me feel grateful for the bounty of this earth. All from stepping out of our normal grocery store routine.

My suggested action for you this week is to go somewhere that stimulates your senses like that and makes you feel alive. Seek out your own sensory safari. Maybe you dig paper stores, or libraries, or chocolate, or fabric, or flowers. Whatever it is that gets your wonder-nodes buzzing, take the time to go touch it and smell it and roll in it if you can.

Ample Time and Money: Whether you’re going to check out fancy textiles or a nursery full of exotic plants, indulge and buy yourself a treat. Pick something that will give you pleasure for awhile, whether you plan to eat it, plant it, or frame it.

Limited Resources: Go with a pen and paper and make a wish list for when your next birthday rolls around. Bring a digital camera and take pictures to print out and put somewhere that will make you happy when you look at them later. Involve your kids and make rubbings of some cool textures. Sit and record the sounds, jot down notes or draw details in a sketchbook so you can recall your experience more fully in the future.

Busy and Broke: Maybe you just have time for a quick stop into a bookstore or a pastry shop on your lunch break. Just be there. For a moment let the rest of your life fade away. Don’t think about the project waiting for you back at work, or the mess waiting for you at home, just be. Focus on your physical body in this very moment, and how good it feels to be able to see and smell and taste and hear and touch whatever it is you enjoy, and be glad you are here.


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