Too often I think we forget that we have 5 (sometimes 6) senses. You remember those lessons from preschool and early elementary school where you were encouraged to identify what you could see, taste, smell, feel and hear? If you have access to all of these senses, I think we sometimes take them for granted. In speaking with people of different abilities, I am reminded of how much being able-bodied is a position of privilege. In having that privilege, it’s always a good idea to recognize it and use it for good.
People experience so many little ‘t’ and big ‘T’ trauma’s. Little ‘t’ trauma’s are things like microaggressions, divorces, abrupt moves, bullying, and loss of significant relationships while big ‘T’ trauma’s include things like deaths, physical and sexual assaults, significant injuries. Those aren’t exhaustive lists but I think you get the idea.
I’m going to give you Jeanae’s Guide to Healing Through Bodywork (using your senses). Check out some of my ideas below:
- Ask yourself what you see around you that is pleasing to you. What do you witness that is beautiful? Appealing? For me, there are a few things but one of my fav’s is the ocean. Something about watching the waves, the ripples, the cresting… it’s just amazing to watch. Another is beautiful happy black people! Idk what happens but seeing all the melanin coupled with smiles just feeds my soul.
- What have you heard that brings peace to your soul? Is it music? Is it children’s laughter? Is it singing or poetry? Birds? Drums? I love the sound of Miguel’s voice, H.E.R., waves, wind chimes… I have this meditation CD that (in my mind) sounds like you’re sailing down a river in China. I’ve never been to China and only have films for reference but it’s like THE most peaceful soundscape EVER! I can totally zone out to any of those sounds. I used to get massages to that during the early days of marriage but now… (side-eyeing BAE… )
- Does anything give you a food-gasm? A party in your mouth because of how good it tastes? Is it burgers? A delicious pasta? Brownies? A juicy mango or watermelon? Those who know me know that hot chocolate is my go-to. It’s literally my FAVORITE thing to drink on any occasion and can totally make me so happy. A good pasta dish is a close second followed by brownies because, well me & chocolate have a longstanding love affair.
- What feels good to touch or makes your body feel good? Massages? Having someone grease your scalp or brush your hair? Having your hair washed? Touching the skin in areas that don’t usually get touched so their softer…more sensitive? Stretching? Working out? Dancing? Twerking? Swimming? Orgasms? Hugs? Cuddle time? Ask for what you needs, schedule appointments, if you can do it yourself, do it! Engage this sense ASAP.
- Is there anything you smell that makes you believe you can feel your pupils dilating? I know that’s dramatic but people who really engage this sense know this is a real thing. So, I know that chocolate can sometimes really stink. Despite being a chocolate-lover, visiting places like Hershey Park kind of make me want to vomit. Having said that, the smell of brownies makes my nose extremely happy. The smell of salt water also does that. I’m a Brooklyn girl who is used to beaches. I live in a land-locked city so when I go home and come across the Verrazano w/ the windows open! I also love the smell of Jora & Aviva. Their receiving blankets and little hats from the hospital are kept in a bag to retain that scent.
Bonus Sense – Intuition/Perception/Clairvoyance
- In what ways can you connect with your higher self? Spirit? Do you light candles? Meditate? Talk to ancestors? Use crystals? Have an altar? Ask for guidance? Listen to messages from the universe/your deity/your ancestors/your inner self? Everyone isn’t aware of this gift or ability to connect to this sense but if you are (or want to try), consult with some folx and try some stuff. It’s a great way to calm your energy and receive/be receptive. I’ve mentioned this before and want to include it here again: remember prayers are about talking & asking, meditation is about listening & receiving. See what the universe has for you.
Don’t forget to engage your entire body and all your senses because guess what? All those things were engaged with your loss.
I can guarantee you remember what you heard, saw, smelled, felt and tasted in those painful moments. The first four seem obvious but just to show you how powerful trauma is, I literally remember the taste of water and vomited up chicken soup because the pain meds they gave me made me nauseous. Gross, right? I threw up immediately before I started pushing for Aviva’s arrival.
Healing is a journey, not a destination. It takes time and WORK so do the work (in my Iyanla voice)!