You can be as happy as Oprah…when you rely on your senses to guide you.
You might be thinking that being that happy is impossible because Oprah has all that dinero. Let’s set that fact aside for a moment and look at what mostly causes our unhappiness: negative stress.
What everyone else calls “stress” I call ‘sensory compression”.
Senses that are boxed in, plastic wrapped, or sedentary are compressed. Senses that are squeezed into schedules, routines or repetition are compressed. Senses that are rushed, retracted (you started to sense something then quit), or distrusted are compressed.
I know for sure that ‘sensory compression’ is the cause of most of our problems. I know it because I’ve lived it.
Looking back it is easy to connect the dots in your life around ‘sensory compression’ and its negative effects.
We are working off solid evidence of the mind-body connection…what you think matters and what you sense matters. Thoughts and feelings (what you’re sensing) matter to your health, resilience and your life in general. Every thought and feeling takes a neural pathway that triggers a neurochemical stream through our bodies. Amazing. To lean into thinking good grateful thoughts and feeling good feelings is essential. Although not always easy given some circumstances it’s essential for happiness and health. Your human senses require nourishment and fulfillment for living a life you love. It really is that simple.
Back to Oprah.
In her July 2018 column, ‘What I know for Sure’, she shares that her ‘happiness’ looks like her life. So what does her life look like? For starters she likes to evoke a sense of surprise and delight in people with her unexpected support. She also likes to “look at her yard”. Now not everyone is going to have a big yard, however, almost anyone can find a beautiful view, a favorite spot in Nature to love and sense as it changes with the seasonal light and moisture. Claim it as your own in your heart.
Happiness for Oprah is fresh picked food from her garden. Thanks to our farmer’s markets, organic grocers and community gardens we can all enjoy our senses of nourishment, seasonal food, freshness and delicious flavor. #happydelicious.
Another happiness for Oprah is “rolling in the grass with her dogs”. As a dog lover I can completely relate! For this happiness enhancing activity perhaps its her senses of relaxation, play and affection with a different perspective of the sky, grass and pups that generate happiness. That’s easy to emulate – roll out your yoga mat or blanket somewhere under trees, sky and clouds…with or without your canine guru and breathe deeply, rest, relax, smile, let your eyes sparkle and notice your senses of support, Earth connection, gravity, and calm.
Oprah also likes to sit outside with friends “enjoying an evening cocktail”. Senses of fun, pleasure, humor...easy to do. “Sharing a meal.” Senses of community, thanksgiving and celebration…also easy to do. “Talking books with people who appreciate good stories.” Senses of discovery, learning, community and awareness…easy.
“Taking a morning hike.” Depending on where you live, this is probably one of the more challenging activities to regularly enjoy. However the stats are in on Forest Bathing or Nature Therapy – leisurely walking in Nature has so many sensory benefits, psychologically, physically and spiritually that it is smart sensory decompression. It’s worth your effort. Personally, I’ve guided hundreds of people on 2 hour Nature Therapy walks and witnessed this happy magic.
Another Oprah happiness activity is “Luxuriating in a steamy bath with oils and candles.” That is a spa like transformative immersion into the senses of fragrance, sound, touch, nurturing, comfort, pleasure and warmth. It may require a little planning and effort…and again so worth it! Oprah also includes the happiness she experiences from watching her “daughter-girls” grow into confident women, teaching what she’s learned and knowing that she’s loved. We can all mentor and guide the next generation.
Our Senses and Nature
So, yes we can be as happy as Oprah when we realize that we are a sensory beings, that our senses are there to guide us, our senses are a kind of divine intelligence that opens our minds, wings and hearts to a life of abundance. All you need to do is take steps to value, respect and nourish them every day.
Where do we find our greatest sensory fulfillment? With Nature, of course. Look at Oprah’s list. It’s easy to connect the dots from Nature to senses to happiness.
Final thoughts: Thinking that we have only 5 or 6 senses is in fact another excellent example of ‘sensory compression’! In this post alone I’ve named nearly 30 different senses. What we call “burnout” is really sensory compression. It is sadly all too common in our medical professions, education, and many other careers. Our opportunity is to engage life from a full spectrum sensory perspective!