Tag Archives: taste

LSS: Come to your senses

Like me, you’ve probably experienced learning a new word or phrase you’ve only to hear it often or in surprising places in the days that followed. This week instead of a new word or phrase, I was constantly referred to what I could best describe as a theme. It wasn’t new, but it kept popping up in unexpected places. The theme of my week can best be summed up in a passage I read in my book club’s selection: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro.
One character said to another, “Come to your senses.”
The characters then discussed the meaning of that sentence.
One of them said, “It means to be reasonable, sensible.”
After some discussion, the other said, “Maybe it’s an invitation. Maybe we need to literally come to our senses, to return to a sense of taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing and find sustenance in them, inspiration. Life is, after all, a sensual experience. Our senses have the power to truly transport us but also to ground us. Make us human.”
That beauty of that passage took my breath away and culminated a week when one experience after another led me to consider our five senses.
For example, I heard a short story on KRVS about a blind man who traveled across the country to visit a friend. The friend’s husband narrated the story, constantly referring to their guest as “the blind man.” The story posed a series of questions about the character’s considerations on the protocol of entertaining a guest who happens to be sight impaired.
The story made me wonder, “As much as I love to travel and see the sights of the world, if I was blind, would I still like to travel?” How much of my experiences in a new place are based on the sights I see? Do I over-emphasize that sense, in comparison to my others? Would I travel, say to San Francisco, just to eat the food or feel the air or listen to streetcars clang up and down its hills? How much of my experience would be affected without the view?
In another sense-related scenario this week, I read about a study that concluded that the aroma of freshly baked bread makes people kinder toward strangers. The researchers said that their results, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, “show that, in general, spontaneous help is offered more in areas where pleasant ambient smells are spread.” After I read of the research, I began to wonder how I could use scents to encourage my children to be nicer toward each other. I also wondered if it’s possible to promote more benevolent behavior among co-workers by using certain pleasant odors.
If you’re a Project Runway fan, maybe you caught last week’s episode that largely focused on the designer who is deaf. His efforts gave the audience a chance to consider how his unique perception of the world affected his fashion sense and his sweet spirit was inspiring.
All in all, this week’s emphasis on taste, touch, smell, sound and sight has made be consider that perhaps I would do well to take the advice of the character in the book and find sustenance in my senses — and do my part to help others do the same. In doing so, maybe we do focus on our common humanity as opposed to the differences between us all.