I have something to confess. Yes. It’s true. I like the smell of skunk. Okay, I admit that the night when our dogs were young and went out to bark and came back covered in fresh spray – that eye and nose stinging phase is overpowering and not really perfume. A day or two later, though, it was quite nice from a few feet away.
My Queensland Healer agrees with me. We occasionally meet a skunk on our morning walks, and I have seen her bait one into spraying (not letting it hit her directly), and then a minute later go back and roll in the patch of ground that got sprayed. That way we both get to enjoy the smell for a few days.
In Lyall Watson’s book about our sense of smell (see last blog), he describes several instances when civilization has found a feral child. One was an 8-year-old girl found living with a female wolf. Another was a boy around age 12 found living alone in a forested part of France. In every instance, the child displays amazing sensory talents, as well as tremendous, sensuous delight in those senses.
In my two most recent posts, I have written about the beautiful design of our bodyminds and our in-built ability for taking in vast quantities of information. Yet what good is all that if it just goes to the subconscious mind and never becomes conscious? Is it actually useful?
Integrating conscious with subconscious, left brain with right brain, heart-mind with brain-mind, this is the path we are ready to travel. I call it integrative awareness. We have evolved all of these parts – and kept them – because they are both useful and delightful, and especially so when used together, in synergy. There is no need to stop being rational. It is more a question of focusing on giving some time to exercising other mental-mode muscles that haven’t been attended to as much.
The best beginning integrative awareness exercise that I know of is … drumroll, please … coming to your senses. All of them. So head out to your garden some time soon. Have a seat. Get comfortable. Relax. Take a breath. Take another breath. Look straight ahead, but let your focus soften and watch the periphery. Look for movement. Don’t turn your head or shift your eyes, just notice how much peripheral vision you can take in. Before that gets tiring or annoying, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? What’s the furthest away sound you hear? What’s the closest? Notice what’s in between.
Then shift to smelling. Notice whatever smells are around. Then taste. You can try lifting your upper lip and doing some quick sniffing in the flehmann move that horses, goats, and cows use. With smell and taste especially, you might not sense anything, so notice if any memories are coming up or if your mind suddenly wanders off to a different topic. Smell can activate that sort of thing, even if the smell itself is not noticeable.
Finally, eyes still closed, just feel. Feel the breeze on your skin, or the sun. How does your clothing feel? The earth beneath your feet? Touch whatever’s handy and just feel it.
That’s it. Notice if you feel any different inside. Often heart rhythms slow down when we pay attention to all of our senses.
When you open your eyes, try to stay attuned to 2 or 3 senses at a time for a few minutes before you get up and go about your work or play.
So, there it is. A simple way to become a being in an integrated, human bodymind.