Your Favorite Senses: A Guest Post by Kat Sloma
April 15th, 2010
I am in the midst of an amazing, unique opportunity. I'm currently living and working in Italy with my family, our first year is coming to an end and we have one year yet to go. There is so much that is difficult but wonderful about living outside of your culture for a while. This has been an expansive adventure for me personally as well, I've been exploring my authentic self and my creativity in a way that I probably wouldn't if I were still in my normal life in the US. As part of this adventure, I have been toying with this idea that there is a "soul language" that each of us has, a language that is a shortcuts our brain circuitry to our heart and soul. It gets past all of our outer layers of shoulds and shouldn'ts, our learned responses and expectations from our family, our friends, our culture, whatever. To a place where your response is truly you. And that soul language is connected to one of the senses, a primary sense if you will.
My soul language is visual imagery. Whether it be color, composition, light... It's one of the reasons I love photography and painting and any other type of visual art. It speaks to me. For me, the loss of sight would be more than just the loss of a useful tool. It would be the loss of a deeper part of my connection to the world.
A while ago, I was reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and feeling guilty. I was nearing the end of my Italian language lessons and was just ready to be done, to have those 4 hours a week back for myself. I wasn't studying or practicing. And here I am readying about Elizabeth Gilbert, who loves the Italian language just for it's sound. She came to Italy to live and learn and experience the language (ok, and the food). There are many people who do this, so my brain was asking me, "Why aren't you so excited about learning Italian? Here you are in Italy for two years, every opportunity to immerse yourself, but you aren't taking advantage of it!" Complete guilt mode. Then I realized - that's not my soul language. Elizabeth Gilbert is a writer, sounds of words and language are probably her soul language, not mine.
I can immerse myself in the art and visual beauty of Italy and get just as much out of the experience, because it's my soul language. If I force myself to experience it in a way that does not ring true for me, it will be an empty experience. I will hate every minute of it. So I've shed the guilt and immersed myself in the art and beauty of this country, and I am much happier for it.
So, with this in mind, I have a couple of questions for you that tie the 5 senses in to the idea of soul language. Don't overthink these, the first answer that comes to you is usually the true one for you. My friend Jenny of Rising Sun Coaching and I came up with these a few months ago, and have been asking people to answer when we get the chance. They are fun and easy, but give you some insight into yourself:
1. What's your favorite sense? By this question, I don't mean the most useful sense to get around in day to day life. But the one that you feel like in your gut that you just can't live without. This probably ties in to your "soul language." (You already know my answer: Sight.)
2. What's your least favorite sense? What's the one you would give up without thinking too much about it? Why?
For me, this second question has turned out to be just as important as the first one. My immediate answer was Touch. I'm just not a person that revels in the feel of things, of all of the senses that would be the least favorite for me. But since answering this question for myself, I've become more aware of how much I do appreciate Touch. How much I would miss the feel of a warm cup of tea in my hand, my cat's soft fur, my son snuggled up to me. I have become more aware of all of my senses. I still delight in sight the most, but I'm also more aware of the experiences and enjoyment of the rest of the senses. Now, I occasionally close my eyes and experience the world in different ways.
When you are experiencing the world around you with all of your senses, you are much more in the moment. You are aware and appreciative of the little things that you encounter throughout the day. I hope that you take a moment to answer these questions and think on them a little bit. I would love to hear the answers you find!
Kat Sloma is a creative soul with the brain of an engineer. She calls Oregon home but is currently living near Milan, Italy, with her 9-year-old son Brandon, husband Patrick, and skittish cat Stevie. She spends her free time with a camera in one hand and gelato in the other. She loves visual arts and is traveling like crazy all over Europe, making the most of every moment on their two-year adventure. You can find Kat's every day creative musings at http://www.kateyeview.com.