A couple weeks after I got my S on in the sand, I had an extraordinary experience in one of my favorite spots in the Oakland hills.
On the drive up to Redwood Regional Park, I couldn’t get over the hues of green out my car window. I’d never noticed this range of color before, despite having driven this road dozens, maybe hundreds, of times. It was as if Crayola had decided to test market a new box of crayons that they intended to release in spring to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day.
The sensory magic increased after I left my car at Skyline entrance and walked along the ridge trail. Though it was nearly noon, the birds still sang as they flew overhead. I counted at least five different sightings—chickadees to hawks. Normally, I might hear a chirp or two, but I’d never seen any birds.
As I hiked, I could feel the texture of the different plants on my skin, just from seeing them. I noticed weeds low to the ground. It felt as if dandelions and other fluffy plants that had turned to seed tickled my ankles. Taller stems scratched my shins. Thorns pricked my knees.
Even the dirt and debris underfoot changed from hard, dry and bright in the sun to soft, spongy and musty as I rounded into deeper shade in the center of the park.
And then the trees joined in the fun. They hugged and caressed my entire body. I felt the long thin pine needles graze my arms. The matte silvery eucalyptus leaves rubbed me with their fresh menthol-mint scent. The rust and grey bark spooled like ribbons. The smooth, shiny lime-green leaves of the laurel felt like cool satin. The nubby redwood bark felt like knuckles kneading my back.
When I told a friend about my walk that evening over dinner she laughed: “I had the same experience at the Haight Street Fair after eating one of their special brownies. It was like someone turned the dial of the sun from one to ten.”
I’d forgotten about this lovely sensual walk until Yannori asked in her blog: “Do you want to experience the world sensually, in a way that makes all your senses tingle with excitement and anticipation?”
Yes, yes, I do.
I loved this walk. It brought me pleasure and joy. I experienced a well-worn path with new eyes. I’d never been more observant. My eyes and skin felt like they simultaneously experienced the world. I felt high on life. My senses were on hyper-drive.
I’ve walked this trail numerous times, but have not had a similar experience. Not that I’ve tried to recreate it. I didn’t think I could. When it happened it was spontaneous. Now I want to try. The next time I go on this hike.
Instead of letting my mind wander, I will stay present. I’ll explore what happens if I take a deep breath and immerse myself fully into my surroundings. I’ll follow my senses. I’ll start with touch since it is my strongest, most sensitive.
Why not experiment with me? Try a sensual walk.
Take a walk and imagine how everything you see, hear and smell would feel if it touched your skin, your feminine body.
Or focus on your favorite sense. Is it sight? What do you see? How would you describe your environment to me if I were with you, but unable to see?
Or do you prefer smell? Again, take me along for the ride. Breathe it in. Share your environs with me through every woody scent, each herbal nuance.
Or is hearing your most acute sense? Tell me about every snap of the twigs and each crunch of the leaves.
Even if you’re not into walking in nature, you can play along in your morning shower, during your noon workout or when you cook or eat dinner. Focus on your senses one at a time. Revel in them. Savor.
How did the exercise change your experience? Did it heighten your senses? Make you feel more alive?
I feel tingly just thinking about it! I’ll leave you with a song for inspiration – Lou Reed – Walk on the Wild Side.
Please come back and share what happens when you take your own walk on the wild side.