by Troy Chapman
(published February 11, 2007)
I had just started paying attention to my senses and my body, when a cold/flu/crud swept through the prison and got hold of me. So I’ve been paying attention to the aches and nausea and clogged sinuses. Then I threw my neck out doing calisthenics which gave me a whole new set of painful sensations to observe. Life has an odd sense of humor.
The thing is, I haven’t been getting grouchy like I usually do with this stuff. I haven’t been thinking of it as my body letting me down but just as my body being what it is — a body. It’s made me aware of my temporariness in a good way. I’m not here forever in this form and that makes me want to, well, pay attention. It’s like I’m a spirit inhabiting a pool of water that’s slowly drying up in the sun. When it’s gone, my spirit will go elsewhere and there’ll be just the mark in the earth where I stood. But while I’m here I have the choice to be muddy and constantly churned up or clear and calm so I can show off the pebbles where I stand and reflect the light off my surface for anyone passing by.
I like the second choice. So I’m trying to be still and not too churned up even when I face the various pains of evaporation.
This Sunday morning I allowed myself to stay in bed a few miutes after I woke. Then, after my shower, I came back and watched out my window as the eastern sky turn salmon pink. There’s a water tower off in that direction and a pine tree that sticks up above the horizon. It all said “Peace” to me this morning and I said “Thank you,” as I sipped my coffee (and tried not to move my neck too quickly).
In our Year in Spirit, we are celebrating sensuality in the month of February and invite observations on the senses from our readers. We liked this from our friend Cynthia:
"I've been having chemo treatments every week for the past two months and on one of the down days I decided simply to observe the experience. Hmmm... not fun. The next day the mood had passed. I was taking a load of laundry to the laundry room in the pre-dawn darkness and I experienced a sweet rush of joy ... pure and simple ... the return of delight in the little things.
"It occurred to me that what was so about the previous day was an absence of joy, or of any other positive sensation. The mood was down and dark and empty and without life. Chemo can do that. Fortunately, it is temporary. I love it when the simple fact of being can make me feel good all over.
"Here's to our wonderful senses... sight, sound, smell, taste, touch ... let us make the most of these most wonderful aspects of embodiment."