Awaken the senses

Day 111

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

This world is in trouble. Fluctuating climate, collapsing ecosystems. Violence, murder, torture.

Deep sadness. Pain.

We are in trouble.

But there is an answer. A solution so simple it has been overlooked for too long. The ones at the top wanted us to forget. To forget there is a way to live on this earth in a way that is sustainable, regenerative, free.

We must return to the land. Learn to listen, learn to watch.

Learn to recognize the plants to eat, and where the animals gather.

Learn techniques and methods to heal the land and allow it to support more life.

Our hands are small but strong. They were made to hold, to carry, to mend,

to care.

It is easy to remember.

Take a deep breath.

Open your door and step outside.

A whole world awaits you.



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen


Our senses are very powerful. They are the doorway to experiencing the world in all its’ fullness, in all its’ splendor.

Sadly, they have been dulled,

damaged and degraded by civilization. By too many hours spent inside, in front of screens, contaminated by poisons and chemicals.

But they can be awakened.

There, what’s that moving in the grass? And there, a flash of blue near the big tree. The scent of wildflowers, and something earthy, spicy.

Sit, relax, let’s still our racing minds, our pounding hearts.

 Awaken the senses.

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Find a spot. It doesn’t not have to be special. All the spots are special in their own ways. Pick the one that speaks to you, that calls your name with a soft voice.

Sit down.

Close your eyes.

Feel the wind lift your hair and tickle your face. What direction does it come from? Where the sun rises or sets? Or maybe the way the crows fly at the end of each day.

Yes, this rock is cold underneath you, or maybe the backs of your legs are damp from the grass. Use your hands to feel the earth, the sandy soil, the crunching leaves beneath your fingertips.

Is your skin cold? Are you sweating, fine rivulets of water running down your sides, forehead, chest?

Hungry, thirsty? Need to pee? Feel your body’s solid presence, the weight of you, pressed into the earth by gravity, holding steady.

Open your mouth to the air. Can you taste the sunlight, the water in the clouds? Do you breath in the scent of trees, their woody strength, the green of the soft mosses? Can you smell the fresh hay of the deer lays, the sharp decay of decomposition in the under brush, animal turning into bone?

There is movement to your left, your right. What do you hear? The slithering of smooth snake belly? The chipping of the sparrows as they hunt for food?

Cup your hands softly behind your ears, mimic the deer. Is that a distant stream? Moving cars, a plane far above? Could you hear your enemies approaching? Or your friends?

Now open your eyes.

Soften your gaze, concentrate on the periphery.

Yes! You can see so much this way, without turning your head, without drawing attention with grand movements.

The Kingfisher on the low branch, the squirrel in the tree. Yes they are watching you too.

They are remembering too, what it was like when we all lived together.

Go slow, and be patient. We must be gentle with one another, with ourselves.


Watch and listen.

Taste and smell.


Yes. This is something. This is good.

This is how we will fight back.

We will reconnect to the land,

we will disconnect from the stuff,

we will find ways to weaken the system,

we will find ways to be strong.

and then,

we will win.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

Tonight’s guest post is from my brave and gentle hearted friend Olivia. Thank you for the love you bring to the world, for supporting me in this project, and for reminding us that the land is showing us the way, if we just listen. Thank you Olivia, love you.

It is hard to remember something you never learned. To draw from some other conscience a distant and almost unknown memory of how things should be, of what this life- this beautiful, breathtaking life- should be like. It is hard.

It is hard. To seek the memories of a time when there was a harmony- an understanding- recognition that Nature cared, provided- taught what was needed- all that was needed.

That has all been forgotten.

And forgotten so long ago. So very long ago.

And that is why remembering is so hard.

And when I am still. And when I try to remember.

I can.

The memories of a thousand generations ago- ancient but still glimmering around me.

And that is when I am the most broken.

And the pain of this brokenness- it seeps into the core of my being. This disharmony. This battle against what is natural and free. This aggression towards the natural cycle and flow and season that nature provides to us.

The sorrow of the memories from when this was not how it was.

a selfish rebellion against the cycle of life that is demonstrated in Nature’s gorgeous seasons- clothed in golds and violets and the brightest of greens and equally beautiful the browns that crunch and crumble and decay- a rebellion that causes us to seek after youth and childishness- forsaking the wisdom and courage that age and years bring and denying ourselves the fading sunlight of the end of a long summer, the exuberant colors of fall that follow a life well lived and the still and peaceful preparation that winter brings for reflection and recognition of a life well lived. a selfish rebellion that causes us to hide wrinkles in shame, and pulls the infant child from his mother’s breast before her suckling season is over. But Nature is trying to teach us. Trying to remind us.

a crushing refusal to walk upon this Earth with respect, with appreciation and the recognition that- if we allow- wisdom can ooze up through our bare feet and out from our fingertips just from placing our toes in the soil- along the cool banks of creeks once clear and rushing. a refusal to listen to the beckoning of warming winter mornings that fade into cold spring days, begging for seeds and tending- a crushing refusal that denies there is knowledge within the dirt- that becomes extinguished by the bulldozer building the warehouse to grow food under false sun, in false dirt, with false wisdom bringing cancer and sickness and pain. a crushing refusal to understand that the seed possesses everything it needs- and yet- we add to it more. But Nature is trying to teach us. Trying to remind us.

And when I am still. I can remember.

And when I am brave, the pain can be born upon my shoulders.

And when you help me, I am stronger still.

And when I help you in return-then. then the ancient memory can be our new reality.




One response to “Awaken the senses

  1. Pingback: Awaken the senses | Adventure Journal

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