The Five Gifts
I've just returned from a long holiday weekend in Southern California with my family. As always, the (too little) time was filled with great conversation, reflection, and (too much) wonderful food.
I rose on my final morning and let the dog out, gazing up at the lingering stars and moon. The sun had yet to rise, and the unique smell of the morning desert filled my nostrils.
Around the table and turkey, we often give thanks for the larger blessings that have graced our lives. Loved ones, health, wisdom and wealth. But that morning, I became keenly aware of another gift for which I'm deeply and equally grateful: the gift of my senses.
As Maddie and I made our way toward the ocean, we were awash in a sensory sea of pleasure. The wind against our faces, the tall grasses swaying in the salt-scented breeze, the dancing of the birds and the sounds of their morning song, the smell of eucalyptus and sage, the awesome and ever changing color show as the sun began to once again reclaim her spot in the sky...
At the end of a trail overlooking the water, I let Maddie off leash to explore the world in her own way. Some things even her powerful nose couldn't seem to fully take in, and so she'd flounce onto her back, rolling and thrashing about in apparent ecstasy in mounds of dirt and beds of flowers.
Perhaps not quite as flail-ready as she, I still let my sensory wonder lead the way to delight. I gently squeezed lavender stems in the palms of my hand, inhaling their scent until my lungs and heart felt as if they could burst. I caressed flowers and trees, opening my eyes to the miracle and beauty of each blossom and leaf while listening carefully for the wind playing between them. I chewed on wild mint and rosemary, letting the flavors burst in my mouth and envelop my taste buds.
I willed my mind to rest upon and drink in the spectacle of it all...
On that precious morning, I was reminded not only of the tremendous blessing that is life, but the blessings of our senses and responses to them that allow us to be truly alive. May we all remain open to these gifts... to the awareness of a world that waits to rush in when we’re willing to be blissfully overwhelmed by the beauty that is, in every moment, all around us.