What would it look like for you to walk on the wild side? To be a manifestation of a sensuous and free soul everyday? What if I told you that you have the power to transcend time and space, simply through the presence of listening, and tuning inward? Your heart will beat you, your breath will breath you – until it does not. But even within this singular existence you have the undeniable power of tapping into the infinite, the expansive. You might think that this all sounds kind of silly and you’re probably wondering exactly where this boundless power lies within you and how to access it.
Embodied Construct of Time
For when, what, and who does time stop?
- The sight of majestic mountaintops.
- The touch of the water upon your lips.
- The sound of a your favorite song.
- The smell of a baby’s head.
- The taste of a kiss from your lover.
Time stops, the infinite expands, by and through inexplicable wonder for world… our sensory experience. Through sensuous encounters we don’t pause time, we actually have the power to expand it – and in the expansion, we linger on the suspension of spaces in between. What I’m suggesting, and rather enthusiastically encouraging, is the simplicity of noticing, of dwelling, in your sensory experience. To linger within each moment long enough to melt into the boundlessness of sensuousity. I’m talking about Sensuous Living through Embodied Inquiry. Rather, in the words of David Whyte, “Anyone or anything that does not bring you more alive is too small for you.” What I hope to share with you is the juice of an infinitely pleasurable and adventurous experience in this limited edition life. Sensuous living is the invitation to steep deep in your desires – to bring your deepest stirrings ALIVE. By writing yourself that permission slip, getting real, and transforming from “almost there” to “All In.” So if only for an experiment, let’s slink down the rabbit hole of exploring our embodied, somatic experiences.
What Does Sensuous Mean?
By now you’re possibly thinking to yourself that the sensuous self is the sexual self. YES, sexual activation is part of a sensuous life, although sensuous living is so much more than that word association may hint at. The word sensuous was coined by poet John Milton in 1641 to notate in a single word, “being alive to the pleasures of the senses,” while avoiding sexual connotations of the word sensual.
What feels really savoury to me and what brings me more alive, is to refer to sensuous living as so much more than sexual excitement.
Rather, I invite us to imagine sensuous living as a puppy kissing puddle, the lick of salt off a margarita glass, the touch of your hair as you weave it through your fingers, and the wiggle of your toes after they’ve fallen asleep. Sensuousity is the activation and enchantment of your sensory experience in this very precious and very limited edition moment. What is even more exciting is that dabbling in what brings a tingle to your spine, you are expanding those moments beyond the traditional construct of time. You are daring to venture into the spaces in between, and HERE is where you access YOUR INFINITY. Just as practiced breath-work expands our capacity to exist in the present – goosebumps, butterflies, and spine tingles transport you smack into the middle of expansiveness of the spaces in between, the indefinite infinity, the indescribable yet magnificent moments of an embodied life.
Enough about what I tout sensuous living to be, I want to talk about HOW YOU can become the sensuosity savant of your own life! For too long our bodies have been looked at as objects, as if from the outside. Our bodies have been colonized, gendered, politicized, medicalized, and consumerized. For far too long we have bullied the body to look a certain way, be a certain way, or act a certain way. What would it mean to live from the inside out? To take back the body, to refuse its objectification is to restore the body to a status of home. I’m rooted in the belief that Embodied Self Inquiry, living romantically, and thriving as an exotic tourist in your own body is not only the gateway to your bliss, but the permission slip to your power. Your body wants to woo you back to yourself, where the voice within your belly and skin has prominence. It spoils my linear thinking brain to tell you that there is not one plan, method, or form to follow. Instead, there is an invitation to live through your body and to be open and opened by experience. I have often thought that the constant attention to details – hundreds of emails a day, meetings for hours, and coordinating the multitude calendars of people – that rob me of the capacity to linger in the moment.
The moment could be as simple as leaving my attention from the computer screen to watch the birds fly by my window, or listen to the tightness in my shoulder, leave my desk, and dance for 5 minutes. Return refreshed.
My body is a constant reminder alerting me to what is really important. My own sense of over-responsibility can delay what truly gives me life. I may need to shift responsibility to being responsive and respond to what I know deep inside. We are invited here to see the macro in the micro or the micro in the macro, which is at the center of paying attention. Steeping deep in sensory awareness strips away the urgency of time. You are invited into what is infinite, to experience kairos time, or unmeasured time, and leave chronos time, or chronological time. In chronos time moments are measures, but in kairos time you can be swept into the eternal present and infinite possibilities are born. Often the reason we don’t take time needed for practices – which are regenerative – is because we are under the myth that we are losing time. But what if it was the opposite? And by engaging, our time became richer and fuller – so vibrant that it was more effective? How could simple embodied acts change the world and ways of being? Embodied ways of inquiry are an invitation to dwell more richly in the territory of the sensuous life, where all of life is sensual and sacred. There are no clear steps that direct you on a linear, achievement-based path. Sometimes you’ll fumble in pain, and sometimes you’ll stumble into pleasure and wonder. It is an improvisation in unforeseen territory. You must encounter the unknown to be known, the unseen to be seen.
The First Invitation To Embodied Inquiry Is To Listen With Your Body.
How do you listen? It is not just an activity of the mind, but everything within us: mind, heart, body, soul, imagination, and cognition. There are so many distractions of listening to outside noises, whether it be trains or tractors, televisions or typing. There is an inner listening of what happens within, which calls us to attention.
Listening to and through the body is a daily practice and ongoing practice.
I wish I could say that I always listen to my body and follow its wisdom. I don’t. I don’t always act on my gut. However, when I reflect back, I wonder why I didn’t trust what my belly was saying. Listening to my body doesn’t always make sense in the moment, but it is rooted in the senses. You can call it many things; whether it is intuition, spiritual, or psychic, but there is always a way beyond our own understandings. Wisdom lies here, waiting for us to pay attention. Notice what you say yes to. And notice how you can say yes MORE to what gives you life, animates you, feeds you, nourishes your soul, body, mind, senses, and feet. So instead of thinking about what you say no to, be invited to respond to what calls your Aliveness forth – to say YES to. Here you dive into the unknown.
This Is The Plan That Is The Non-Plan
As you steep deep in Embodied Inquiry, begin to introduce a dash of romance to your senses. Living romantically isn’t only for intimate partners, but for everyone to fall in love with everyday life. Living romantically can be sensed in a slow turning of the light, or in small beauties. The shape of a red pepper, or the color of pomegranates. I know that these may seem like privileged states, but even in the most difficult of times, there are morsels of beauty to be found, in cherishing the human life. If you dare to live romantically, play with your edges and experiment with living exotically. When we think of the sensuous, some of us may dream of tropical places lying on the beach, feeling the salt and sea air on our faces, the breeze in our hair and on our skin. I sometimes wonder if we spend more time dreaming of these spaces than actually nurturing them in our daily lives. There are many, many ways to let the body relax into nature and into the moment. So how can we engage in this kind of wonder on days where we are balancing the demands of work schedules, deadlines, children, partners, lovers, aging parents, or whatever our responsibilities entail? We are often dictated by schedules, emails, and correspondence in every shape and from. I invite you to practice interruptions, find pockets of physical reprieve that have the potential to call you back to romancing your body. If we dare to inhabit our bodies as sensuous spaces we experience the delicious quality of being alive sensually through our daily acts. Access the exotic, the aliveness, within you. The wild tourist within your own body.
Listen To Your Bones
This approach is not new nor does it represent new knowledge. This knowledge comes from the our ancestors, the wise ones, the indigenous people and the mystics. You’ve heard it. You know it. That’s because this knowledge is as earthly as the gardener’s hands and the garden itself. It is my hope that these words will infuse you with courage to live more sensuously from what you already know in your body. May you call your body back to listen to tenderness and wildness and everything in between. Through these words and your presence, may you connect to the deep knowledge and wisdom of your own body, and may you acknowledge it as the always present map within. A map of your own pilgrimage back to befriending your body, to living sensuously through exotic curiosity and pleasurable adventures within your own skin.