Delight the Senses

by Sue Augustine

Beauty satisfies the senses completely and at the same time uplifts the soul.

Whether it's enjoying a scented candle, snuggling in your coziest pajamas, eating something yummy, watching a beautiful sunset, or listening to beautiful music, moms can benefit by recognizing, developing, and making the most of the wonderful gift of our five senses. 

Take a five-minute retreat from the hustle and bustle of your day and delight in what you can see, smell, touch, taste, and hear. 

See the grandeur of your surroundings. Observe the flame of a flickering candle, and notice the patterns it casts on a wall. Browse through a scenic coffee table book and put yourself in the picture. Stroll through a local garden center and notice the wide variety of colorful hues. Stroll through the lobby of a beautiful old hotel and study the architecture or wander out into your own backyard late at night to watch the stars. 

Smell the familiar scents of fresh rye bread at a bakery or blueberry muffins in your own oven, a turkey roasting, clean sheets on the bed, new books at the beginning of a school year, and old leather in an antique shop. Our sense of smell, more than any other sense, has the ability to connect us with memories, calm our minds, and revive our tired spirits. What scents evoke the most memories for you? Is it coffee brewing or bacon cooking in the morning, a certain perfume, freshly mown grass, wood smoke on a late fall afternoon, or lemon oil on wood furniture? For me, it's baby powder, newly turned earth, and popcorn. In a journal, list your favourite aromas and make it a point to enjoy them. Put some fragrant potpourri in a bowl; simmer cinnamon, cloves, and dried lemon peel on the stove; or light a vanilla-scented candle while you do household chores. Used perfumed body lotion in the morning and lightly spritz scented linen spray on your sheets. Hang lavender sachets in your closet and from your cars rearview mirror for a calming effect while carting the kids to and from sports games and music lessons.

Touch the clean sheets on your bed, a silk scarf on your neck, fur-lined gloves, or a fine leather sofa. Stroke your dog or cat. Soak your feet in a warm tub and then rub them with a rich peppermint lotion. In summertime, run barefoot with the kids through the lawn sprinkler. Touch is our most important sense and we would die without it. We need to be touched and to touch others. It is a powerful communicator that can actually improve our well-being. At bedtime, tickle your children's arms with a feather or write love messages on their back with your finger and have them guess the words. In your family, tousle hair, and give lots of kisses and hugs. Hold hands around the table when you give thanks. 

Taste a hot drink - orange spice herbal tea, hot chocolate with cinnamon, or Swiss almond coffee topped with whipped cream. Just once, treat yourself to some freshly squeezed orange juice on a Sunday morning. Bite into a juicy peach or try kiwi or pomegranate if you never have. Introduce new flavours to your children, too. It's too easy to get in a rut with our taste buds and opt for the same old menu items. Eat mindfully and really taste your food.

Hear the sounds of your family. Maybe sometimes you wish you didn't have to! But as Dr. J. A. Holmes put it, "A baby enters your home and makes so much noise for 20 years you can hardly stand it - then departs, leaving the house so silent you think you'll go mad." For now, really listen to the baby cooing in her crib, your toddler's giggle, and the murmur of kids chattering and plotting together in the next room. Notice how it makes you feel when you hear your hubby's car pull into the driveway, someone hollering, "I'm home!" or your teen's key in the door late in the evening just before curfew? Family noises can be comforting, give us a sense of stability and reassuring us that all is as it should be. What are some of the sounds that bring back familiar childhood memories for you? For me, it's a train whistle in the night, a screen door slamming, a teakettle whistling, and the creaking of a rocking chair. I love to hear the wind outside when I'm snug indoors, or the rain beating a rhythm on the roof. Familiar songs at Christmastime, hymns at church, and the old favourites my parents would sing as Dad belted out the tune on the piano also bring fond memories. 
Using all your senses is a healthy way to nurture and comfort yourself. Take advantage of this amazing gift. Tap into the pleasures of what you can see, smell, touch, taste, and hear. Imagine the emptiness we would experience if we were suddenly deprived of our senses.

About the author: 
Sue Augustine is an international motivational speaker (and mom) who has created over 101 innovative ways for burned-out moms to take a few pleasurable moments for themselves without the guilt! At women's retreat and in her books, Sue shows you how to refresh your spirit and refill your patience reservoir by purposely scheduling simple indulgences. Her pampering pleasures and innocent delights will increase your energy, provide spiritual renewal, and result in a happier home and healthier family. Sue is the author of several books, including her latest release, When Your Past is Hurting Your Present (Harvest House) and 5-Minute Retreats for Women. You may visit her website www.sueaugustine.com or email wings@vaxxine.com