Your sense memory and gratitude
How do you transition from awake to bed, then to rest and sleep? It helps when you say hello to yourself during the day—through gratitude.
Gratitude can connect you with your body and ease the path to let go into rest. Gratitude reduces depression, anxiety, phobias, dependence on chemicals; and it increases optimism, happiness, empathy, and brain health.
While gratitude may start with remembering things that protect and soothe you (warm house, clean clothes, enough food) or those you love (family, partners, friends, doggies and kitties), there’s more.
A couple of years ago, I talked about going beyond lists of gratitude, letting your heart feel the safety and love that surrounds you. Now I suggest another step—embodying the body and mind, night and day.
Let’s start at night
This tool deepens the first step of my lullaby: feeling gratitude for yourself that day as you settle into bed.
Now I suggest being grateful for the mind and body. Start by honoring what your mind did that day—big or small, personal or experienced with others. For instance, at Thanksgiving I baked a complicated gluten-free dinner roll recipe. Thank you, mind!
Then focus on gratitude for your body. Maybe you worked out, walked, took your vitamins, or simply felt alive.
It’s even more powerful to remember a sensation your body experienced—food you tasted, textures, sounds, smell of fresh air, movement of your feet on the sidewalk.
Bring that into the day
Body sensations come and go, and it’s easy to take them for granted unless they’re stupendous or horrendous. To help remember the sensations for the evening lullaby, focus on them during the day.
Try taking an experiential photograph—sense memory—of how you experience your senses:
- The sweet-tart taste of cranberry sauce.
- Cold air on your face during a walk.
- Seeing the wavy texture of mushroom gills.
- Leaves crunching under your feet.
- Your fingers stroking the fur of your kitty cat.
I’ve gotten into the habit of touching leaves as I walk. I feel their spidery veins, soft velvety undersides, or glossy hardness. I take in the sense memory of the feeling on my fingers or cheeks to remember at night.
Sense memories deepen your practice of embodiment and bring unspoken gratitude for the body as a whole. Noticing how you see, feel, hear, stand, move, taste, smell, breathe, touch, and helps you notice and appreciate your life.
Take the gift of your body into your days and nights, and you’ll take life less for granted.