Ways to reconnect, or maybe truly connect for the first time—with God, nature and self...a workshop and a book! some related sites:
Awaken Your Senses: Exercises for Exploring the Wonder of God - website
Awaken Your Senses on Amazon
To help more of us experience more of the Divine, to be more present to everything in our surroundings and to ourselves throughout each entire day, Beth Booram and Brent Bill offer a handbook of their own stories, reflections, and exercises for activating more of the creative, intuitive right side of the brain and living more fully through tasting, seeing, touching, hearing and smelling. Since God engages us as whole people with bodies, spirits, senses, intellects and histories, to move closer to a "self-disclosing God," we need to engage that wholeness. We cannot do without the more familiar (to most of us), intellectual aspects of faith, but scripture study, prayer, activism and worship are only part of a multi-dimensional experience. A quote from Marcel Proust, "Not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes [noses, ears, skin, tastebuds]" describes a goal of praying, playing, feeling, and working through this book.
Brent and Beth alternate writing each of the short chapters within each larger section titled after one of the five human senses; each chapter begins with a thematic superscription, most often scripture verses, occasionally from a well-known author. The authors' own stories easily relate to regular everyday lives and for the most part, you can do the exercises for each emphasis in the context of your ongoing journey, or you can set aside a time and place to concentrate on one or more that especially appeals to you. I'm not sure I'd have used the word exercise, but it may be an apt one for the kind of practice that gradually leads to near-mastery and I can't think of a better one right now. Some might enjoy taking 30 consecutive days or more (I'm thinking the liturgical seasons of approximately month-long Advent or the 6 weeks of Lent) and making Awaken Your Senses a life- and world-improvement project. Each activity helps ground us in our bodily sensuousness and in the gifts of creation.
It's very true that a tremendous amount of what we plan to do and then do in the course of any day necessarily is future-oriented; for a multitude of reasons, considerations of the past also are essential, but I love the observation that our senses bring us straightaway into real time. There's a feeling of Sabbath, of simply being, drinking in and savoring who you've become thus far in living more fully with - and trusting - your senses! You find yourself smack dab in this very moment, ceasing any thoughts of any of the past, quieting worries or even plans for the future, releasing anxieties about the here and now when you "relax into observing details."
Additional resources for sensory awakening, acknowledgments, contact information and endnotes conclude the book.
my amazon review: awakening your 5 senses