“Sensory Awareness is a mindfulness practice that cultivates responsiveness and presence, and can revitalize our capacity to meet whatever is happening in our lives…. We explore what happens in the simplest activities, such as breathing, standing, sitting, walking – things we do everyday. As we pay attention, we begin to notice where we carry tension or resistance, where we are using extra effort. As we notice this, things begin to change – more ease, contact and freedom become possible. Our sensations are allies that we can rely on to become present and grounded in each moment. The way we meet what arises in these simple activities reveals the way we meet what arises in all parts of our lives. Learning from our own direct experiencing, we can move beyond what closes us down to the natural responsiveness that creates healing and connection” (Lee Klinger Lesser; http://www.ReturnToOurSenses.com).
The opportunity to participate in this sensing (as it is commonly referred to by practitioners) workshop arose out a visit with Vanessa (Annie’s, my sister who lives in Anchorage, partner) in Barra de Navidad. Turns out Lee, the teacher (i.e., the General), has been practicing and holding workshops in Barra for many, many years, and Vanessa has been attending these for at least the past few. As the timing of things goes, the workshop was in Barra, Vanessa was in Barra, Melannie was coming to Barra (for the workshop), and, yes, WE were in Barra (to see Vanessa and Melannie)! After much cajoling, I was convinced to experience this work with Lee and about 20 other sensing beings. The timing of this workshop was perfect for where we are in our lives, and for all the things – good and bad – going on in the lives of several of our loved ones.
So, sensing came to me from out of the blue, but I believe it was meant to be. I was meant to be handed this beautiful practice through Lee’s and Vanessa’s generosity; I was meant to meet the beautiful souls who participated in the workshop; and as time goes by, I hope to become more and more in tune with my senses – soaking up what serves, dispensing with what doesn’t, and responding to things that need responding to in a more thoughtful manner.
It’s difficult to explain; the activities/experiencing we did to elicit physical and emotional responses and how those responses translate to our lives, past and present. The most powerful moments for me were two “rituals” performed by two of the women veterans in attendance, Kim and Camilla. Both shared deeply personal, raw stories of love, loss, and ultimately a path to enlightenment, that rocked me at the core of my own humanity. Both women are finding their way back to feeling and seeking more clarity through sensing – and they are well on their way. I was honored to be invited to their rituals, and something tells me I’ve made a couple of life-long friends.
It’s difficult to articulate what this workshop – and many of the participants – came to mean to me. All I can really say is that my life is changed from this experience, although, admittedly, I was a bit overwhelmed with it all by the end of the week. Now I just need to integrate what I’ve learned and see what life brings. I do believe a large portion of the human population could greatly benefit from a sensing practice. It may not fix all of our ills, but it would certainly help us to be more humble and compassionate.
The five words I used to sum up my week were: overwhelmed, grateful, awake, tired, and overwhelmed. But mostly, I was grateful and still am.