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

12 Responses

This was a great post and I also “traveled” to Italy to read Kat’s first anniversary in Italy post. Good insight of some things we should not take for granted!

The insight on “soul language” is spot on.

This is a game we played a lot as kids, “which would you rather be, blind or deaf?” I ponder this question every so often.

I truly believe that the integration of all of my senses is the most beautiful gift. Like integrating creativity into everything…or creativity is already infused into everything by my senses. If I lost one…the others are still there, picking up where the lost one left off.

Truly revelling in the integration of senses…feeling alive and conscious…in my “body” for the time being…experiencing it all.

Thank you for this beautiful guest post, Kat!

I love this idea of soul language too. I’m definitely a visual person first, so I can relate to what you’ve said here. But thinking about my least favorite sense, immediately gave me pangs. I started thinking of all the ways I love the different ways I take in the world and how they all integrate together. So, thank you for the question, as it made me feel oh so grateful for all my senses!

I Love All of my senses but I would have to say Smell is my top with a close second by sight. If I HAD to give one up it would be Taste. Funny since smell is what helps the taste buds. Honestly though, I would be fine without it and I would probably lose some weight too. ha ha

Kat, I’m so glad you posted here! It’s been fun to talk about this with you.

My favorite sense is touch and my least favorite is sound. I’ve been thinking about how to bring more joy into my life through my favorite sense, as well as relish the joy from the other four. For example, right now I’m loving the super-soft sweater I’m wearing. Before we talked about senses, I would have noticed, but not with the depth of pleasure I notice now. I’ve also come to appreciate the beautiful sounds I hear (spring birds!) that provide contrast to the sounds that cause me stress (loud TV’s or noisy coffee shops).

Oh, I could write so much more about the wonder of the five senses–it has given me so much to notice and so much from which to learn!

Kat, thank you for making me pay closer attention! I have two favorite senses, sight and sound. I am a visual and word artist. So far I haven’t mixed the two, but I’m working on that. What I see affects my mood so where I live is very important to me. I’m fortunate enough to live in the Irish countryside and the view from my bedroom window is glorious. I always look forward to discovering new things to photograph.
I’m in love with music and languages as well.
I can’t think of one sense that I’d be willing to go without, however, I kind of agree with Denise about taste, because I love food so much, to my detriment, lol.

I’m glad you asked these questions, Kat. I think I’ll combine my two favorites in Visual Journaling. Cheers!

Very fun to read all of the comments and see how you respond.

LOL, I have had the same thought on taste! I might be a bit thinner without a sense of taste, but I sure would miss it. :)

Denise – I’m really interested that yours is smell! You are the first person I’ve heard that answer from. Can you give some examples of how you experience scents, how you know that one is your favorite? Since it’s so different from mine I would like to learn more!

I blogged about these questions you posed as I’ve pondered them myself upon occasion.

This is a great post. Is intuition a sense? I feel it is my favorite because I think it is a soul language. I have written about something similar:

Hey, that’s a great question on intuition! I think you are right! I loved your post on your inner voice. Let’s add it to the official list of senses. :)

When my (then) 8-year-old son and I talked about these sense questions, he asked me what sense would I add or want if I could? I was dumbfounded, but after some thought eventually came up with intuition. I talked about it being referred to as a “sixth sense.” Then I turned it around and asked him what sixth sense he thought he might have and he said “how to spell any word.” LOL! (He’s a big reader and a good speller for his age.)

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