Today is my favorite kind of day. It is cool and grey. There’s no determining where the sun may be in the blank-slate sky, and all the fall colors of the all plants are impossibly vivid  —  flaming tree, mottled vine, confident evergreen. I’m wrapped in cotton and wool, sipping mint tea and intermittently gazing out at the display.

It is quiet.

Some have asked about my fondness for cloudy Bay-area weather. Isn’t it depressing? Don’t I long for the sun? For me, this grey is comforting. It puts me in touch with my world and with myself. It’s like turning down the volume and feeling the bass. Ah, there it is, what’s been here all along — a constant hum, an ever-present drumming. It vibrates my whole being and in this, I remember that I am part of something.

All that is essential can be felt.

But we live in a society that doesn’t regard the untraceable knowings of feeling. This knowing is trained out of us. We learn that what is valued is what can be proven.  Insert feeling and diminish your argument.  We begin to unlearn how to feel. We forget how to make use of this fundamental feature of our humanity.  We disconnect. We numb out. We distract.

This is Sidney. He listens to my feels without judgment. We all need a friend like this.

How do you feel right now, in this moment?
What is happening in your body? Is their tightness? Can it be released?
Are there emotions present?
What do you see, hear, feel and smell?
Can you give yourself a minute to just be?

I believe coming back to feeling is crucial.  Touching into and acknowledging what is, is a radical act in opposition to structures that thrive by our disconnection.

It is through feeling that we have a possiblity of connecting to reality. From here,  we can question, discern, be with and assess.  Unlike the mind, which can motivate itself in and out of many scenarios, the body and its sensations gains nothing through delusion. Feeling is an honest guide to creating a better future.

An Invitation:  A TIME TO FEEL

Like any practice, learning to feel is a skill. Join me in tapping into feeling by indulging the senses. Choose one sense and a prompt. What images, thoughts or feelings arise when you tap in in this way? It doesn’t have to make sense. Just notice. If your mind wanders, gently bring yourself back.

Sight. Close your eyes and notice what you “see.” Can you sense the light and shadow around you even without looking?

Sound. Listen to a beautiful piece of music two times or more. Let yourself be fully absorbed by sound.

Taste. Choose a meal to eat slowy. Can you taste the individual ingredients in the dish?

Touch. The next time you receive a hug, allow yourself to not be the first to pull away. Can you feel another person’s warmth? What is it like to be this close?

Smell. Take a smell you’re familiar with and allow yourself to smell it as if for the first time. Where does this smell land in your body?