5 Stand Out Senses (5 SOS_006)

Alright, chickadees, this is going to be short and sweet and AWESOME.  Let’s leap fearlessly into the week with some good thoughts/vibes/recommendations.

(Thoughts)  Yes, life has its circumstances (which are different for everyone, and for every one of us they fluctuate day to day), but we do share one thing: we are alive.  We are alive right now and we have this cool thing called oxygen that we breathe, which makes us fundamentally vibrant beings.  Therefore, as these vibrantly alive creatures we control our reactions and outlooks towards life’s circumstances, whatever they may be.  We dictate our experience.

(Vibes)  So while the sun may have set just now around 4:30pm here at 42°N, and the temperature is steadily dropping further and further below freezing, and the dry air leaves my skin more parched than I’d prefer (all rational causes for complaint), I’m choosing to focus on the things I can control.  Like, how to feel and be and become altogether RAD.

(Recommendations)  Here are 5 rad things:

 

 1. Sight

Holiday lights.

I’m not the overly-sentimental type, and I’m not a fan of that one radio station that plays Jingle Bells beginning in November.  But I find there's intrinsic beauty in the twinkling of holiday lights.  The ritual (er ceremony) of honoring this time of year is also so lovely.  The sun does indeed set incredibly early, but we light that darkness with electric constellations of our own design - hanging from roof gutters, looping through stoop railings, and snarled amongst bare tree branches.

 

 2. Sound

 

"Leave A Trace (Goldroom Remix)" by CHVCHES

 

Perfectly suited for your obvious dance party or road-tripping needs, for your morning alarm clock (closely followed by Van Halen's "Jump"), and certainly for timing your 5-minute cold shower (see #5, below)!

 

 3. Scent

 
 

Christmas Tree.

Pretty self-explanatory, amiright?  This time of year, for many families who celebrate the holidays -despite what religion we choose to practice or not practice- the tree becomes an emblematic icon.  It occupies a noble spot in the center of the home, often where the family gathers convivially, and is adorned with patchwork tokens of nostalgia.

For me, the tree ritualizes connection to the ones I love most and keeps alive my inner child's sense of wonder.  The crisp fir scent emanates from it's needles, disperses out by the warmth of technicolor lights, and transports me to listening to my grandma's stories as she baked, shaking off snow-sopped layers of clothes after cross-country skiing with Dad, and hugs in ugly, thick sweaters.

 

 4. Taste

Photo André Britz

Meyer 'Motha F*ckin' lemons.

TIS CITRUS SEASON!  The most puckery time of the year, and it speaks volumes about me that I'm excited enough to kinda curse about it.

Ruby Red grapefruits are pretty and great, Cara Cara oranges are ubiquitous, straight-up lemons are a fine staple year-round, but now is when Meyer lemons are entering the grocery store party.  And you definitely don't want to be the one to realize come February that the party's over and you're stuck without the perfect golden wedge to squeeze into/onto pretty much anything.

Meyers are like your insanely cool cousin that travels around the world and rarely makes it to family gatherings, but when she does she's the (s)hit.  You forget how much you miss her until you finally see her again.  She's surprisingly sweet under her skin of sour sassiness.

 

 5. Touch

Cold showers.

This is a very difficult bandwagon on which to climb aboard.  But, I choose to suck up the discomfort of the moment since the health benefits are too numerous and profound to ignore.  Diet and fitness researcher -and one of my favorite podcasters- Ben Greenfield does an excellent job outlining the benefits.

I typically enjoy a nice, long, super warm shower like most modern-and-rather-blessed humans, but at the very end I stare-down the temperature dial and begin a mental pep-talk.  You are not going to die.  It's just cold.  It's just cold water like a waterfall.  Like a gorgeous waterfall you'd find in the middle of paradise.  Suck it up and dance around in this wonderful waterfall for five minutes.  Then I turn the knob all. the. way.

The coolest (ba-dum-bum!) immediate payoff is the rush of warmth you feel when you shut off the water.  Soon thereafter comes a feeling of mental euphoria that vibrates out to whole body energy.  Hard to describe in words, but looks a lot like this...

 
 

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