Feels like love

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Our senses are like little doorways that can take us back in time.⁣

I think I'm going to keep coming back to our senses for a little while, as there are so many iterations of this concept that keep rolling around my head. Being an HSP (highly sensitive person - google it if you’re interested, I think it’s pretty fascinating) my acute sense of smell is a blessing and a curse. I literally gag at the smell of anything unpleasant (I'm not going to go into details). On the flip side, however, certain scents bring about really positive connections within me. I'm not always great with remembering people, or names, but scents seem to settle inside. (sidenote - essential oils get a huge thumbs up from me for helping these positive brain connections too!). ⁣

Today would have been Dad's birthday. I'll keep talking of him in here, as his death helps me process his life, and keeps me connected with him. My dad lived on the other side of the world from when I was 10. That was hard. But when I did get to see him, he gave me the safest, strongest, gentlest giant hugs that a man can give. His gift. And within this gift, was the gift of his scent. ⁣

Dad was always immaculately clean and smelled of aftershave, with a gentle whisper of whisky in the evenings. So the only thing I asked for after his death was the name of his aftershave. And the thing about this gift of his scent that I now have, is that I wear it every day on the inside of my left arm. Hugging doesn't come easily to me, but it's helping me learn to hug myself, and it helps me feel safe. For me, I get to feel love in a bottle of XS from Paco Rabanne. This may sound strange to you, but for me it's the most incredible gift.⁣

I received some gorgeous messages on Sunday's post, and Brenda shared with me that she 'feels' her mum through baking her recipes (smell and taste) and the music she used to listen to with her (hearing), and through holding sacred objects she used to touch. Isn't that incredible. I love that we can tune into this incredible feeling of love, and home, through our various senses. ⁣

So, here's a big one... what does love, or home, smell like to you?

Feeling my way home

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The idea of home tastes bittersweet to me.⁣

As a child my family moved around a lot, and then, as for a lot of ‘third culture kids’ came boarding school, which I’m sure I’ll talk about another time. But homesickness settles in your bones. So I did not find comfort, or a sense of belonging, in a physical home.⁣

Then there is the sense of feeling at home in our bodies. This I found equally difficult as a child, and even as a young woman. As I’ve said before sensitivity was a huge thing for me. The world flew like a wrecking ball through these sensory windows of mine, and often I felt like I was left sat amongst the rubble. ⁣

So when I started looking for help after the kids were born in the form of walking, Mindfulness, CBT, The Alexander Technique, Yoga... what I didn’t realise I was doing was gently trying to rebuild this sensory home of mine. Slowly, and gently I’ve been building the walls back up, and noticing the things that make my foundations rumble. ⁣

I’m starting to get a true ‘sense’ of home. I don’t know why but when learning and talking about senses, and feelings, and emotions, I find the language very difficult to understand. But something clicked for me recently when I read about the Buddhist belief that our six senses (the sixth sense is something I’m fascinated with now too) are doorways. ⁣

For me, and for my kids now (as it made sense for them too), this little house is a good way of noticing what we bring into our home through our senses, and finding what feels good. ⁣

I’d love to know if this makes sense for you guys too? ⁣Or have I gone a bit off piste over the weekend!? 😉

Space Inside

Space Inside

Overwhelm: bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something.

This is a huge part of my story. Overwhelm. I often felt like I was drowning in my sensations as a child. My environment played a huge part in this story too... take me to the city and I'd literally hurl myself off the pavement into the oncoming vehicles, my need to escape was so strong. Give me space and horizons and I unravel, relax.

I felt like I was made of tectonic plates held together under great tension. There was no gentle tilting for me as a child, the plates shifted, fast, and fiercely, and the earthquakes and eruptions followed. I still carry shame around my 'temper' as a child, and as a mother. It wasn't until I had children that I understood that I needed to change. I was desperate to find a way to work with this magma of mine.

So space is a huge part of my story. I seek it out, both the physical and emotional aspect of space. My son has helped me to learn a huge amount about listening to these forces. From his earliest years when he found the world too much, he would cover his eyes, and ears if he could, and sink to the ground. Paralysed by sensation and emotion. Needing to turn the world off, just for a while, to re-calibrate, find his centre, his ground.

And it's funny, as I’d laugh about it and think it was such a bizarre thing to do... to try to hide by covering his eyes. Whilst I'd just hide in my house, in my mind, from the world. But there’s this thing I’m noticing... something incredible happens when you close your eyes. Truly. And I feel like I've only started to dip my toes into this magic ocean of darkness and stillness that is within me, right here. It seems so obvious, to tune out. But I didn't realise that I have the power to switch off a sense, simply by closing my eyes.

And once I close my eyes... my whole world changes.

I'm reading 'And There Was Light' at the moment, a memoir about a blind French man during the war, and it's blowing my mind. I feel there's so much still to discover about these senses of ours... .

Do you close your eyes, by choice, when you feel anxious or overwhelmed? Or even just for fun and insight?