My love affair with walking actually started with cycling. Several years ago, I started riding my bike to work and discovered how good it felt to feel the air on my skin and to see the world going by so much more closely than it did when I was in a car. I felt more connected to my surroundings and more engaged with the process of getting between two points, rather than being solely focused on the destination.Soon I discovered that walking was like cycling, only better because it was slower and I could connect even more deeply. I could see, vividly, all the details of my path and especially how they changed from day to day. I was mesmerized.
I'm sure we can all agree on the importance of our sense of touch. Studies show that hugging someone you care about can reduce blood pressure and provide other health benefits and that babies who are not touched early in life don't develop normally. Touch helps connect us with the people we love, but it also helps us perform most of our everyday tasks. Unlike other senses, which receive information from one small area of our bodies, we can experience touch in countless different ways, over almost every part of our body, which means there is plenty of opportunity to be inspired.
Our sense of smell is probably one of the most overlooked and undervalued - until we don't have it any more. We all know how it feels to be congested and not able to smell anything (which is, oddly enough, exactly how I'm feeling as I write this). Everything seems flatter, and farther removed than usual. Our sense of smell adds texture to the world, giving us a more subtle sense of our surroundings
In some ways, sight is the easiest sense to work on, since it's the one we use the most anyway. According to Psychology Today, more than half the body's sense receptors are in the eyes. But how much of your surroundings do you really see on a daily basis? If you follow the same routine every day, you probably have long since stopped noticing the buildings you pass, or the way the sky looks - unless something is drastically different. What if you could train yourself to look at the same old things with fresh eyes, seeing something new every day?
What are some of your favourite tastes? When you eat them, do you power through like it's your first meal in months, or do you sit and quietly savour the flavours and textures? Do you chew carefully or do you swallow big bites nearly whole? Thich Nhat Hanh recommends chewing your food until it gently slides down your throat in an effort to be more mindful. It sounds gross to chew that much, but when I tried it even a simple hamburger became a thrill to eat. Tasting can be an art of its own and it's easy to lose yourself in all the amazing flavours of wine, cheese, coffee, or chocolate. Are you willing to let yourself get lost?