Sunday, August 31, 2008

Extra Sensual Perception

Extra Sensory Perception
"extra special powers"
There's a Japanese girl band that sings this amazing song, called ESP and upon searching it out, I found that apparently lots of people have songs about ESP.

My older daughter was in class last year and a teacher asked the students if they knew what ESP stood for and my daughter very confidently said "extra special powers".
Everyone stared at her like she must be joking and then she realized that her words did not align with the group. She came home a bit embarrassed and asked about it.
It's just the way that her mind rearranged the words to the Shonen Knife song that she's been
singing along with since she was a little girl.
And because of that, it's how we've always referred to ESP at our house.

I've been thinking about the way in which people perceive things, the way that I perceive things may not be the same as the way you do, but that does not mean that what one person sees/hears/senses makes the other person's perception wrong.
The other day as I was driving I had a sense that we had driven ahead a few blocks and had re-wound, if you will, and started over. I asked my older daughter who was in the front seat with me "were we just up ahead at the next light and came back here to start over?" She paused, thought about it and said, "that's not how it seemed to me". She, as my daughter is open to the possibility that reality is all about perception and that it was possible, if not improbable that it was a reality. Time is not linear. Space is not finite. We can intellectualize it, but the belief in ourselves, the trust we allow ourselves to experience things outside of normal perceived acceptable reality is a leap of faith. One must have courage to see things that others do not. One must have faith in life and belief in oneself to see outside an agreed upon limited reality.

I rarely end up where I set out, but these are the words that want to be written.

I was intending to write about the way in which our senses guide us, how each of us is ruled by certain senses. Some of us use our sense of sight, or touch to guide us through life. I know a girl who smells everything before she eats it and smells every ingredient before she cooks. I saw someone the other day in a clothing store who touched every single item she passed.
Some people need eye contact or they cannot have a conversation.
Our basic needs are sensual
Middle English, from Late Latin sensualis, from Latin sensus sense
Date:15th century
Really, sensuality is just about connecting with our senses and yet, our culture has demonized our most basic human needs; to connect and feel, to see and touch, to taste and smell and so on.
1: relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite :
a: devoted to or preoccupied with the senses or appetites
b: voluptuous c: deficient in moral, spiritual, or intellectual interests : worldly; especially : irreligious (Irreligious? what? being religious means having no sense?
this makes no sense.)

I feel like Oblio in the Pointless Forest.

What is your primary sense? Your secondary sense? What sense do you feel disconnected to?

As a perfumer I like to blow open olfactory sense perception.
To allow people to have their minds blown wide open through their sense of smell. You can never be the same once you've connected to your deep, ancient, visceral connection to the world of scent.
Julia, my assistant and many of our customers have never liked the scent of rose oil, until they've experienced one of the true Rose Ottos or absolutes that we have at the store. Now Rose is the favorite, the dream, the ideal. The sensual connection to something from the past and maybe not even their own past.

What is your favorite smell?

A dear friend of mine sent me one of these get to know you better e-mail disasters and because as I said she is dear to me I sent it back to her (only her, no more forwards). One of the questions was: What is your favorite smell? I knew right away my answer, but had to decide how honest I would be and tried to come up with a "better" answer. I love Roses in the rain, I love the way the sidewalk smells after a rain, I love the smell of band-aids, I love the smell of old books, I love the smell of puppies, I love the smell of babies necks, I could go on and on. Obviously smell is one of primary sensual connections.
The real answer is that I love the way my loved ones smell, when unadorned by deodorants and washes. I love real people smell.
My friend, the forwarder, replied that she hadn't thought of it, but that was really her favorite scent as well.
I remember when my younger daughter at age 10 had come home and said that someone had suggested she use deodorant and would I buy her some. It was hard for me to imagine my baby girl needing to mask her self in this way and so we talked about it and she said that the person had said she had "body odor" - she squinched her nose up while repeating the words as it must have been modeled to her. I said yes, you do have body odor, it's a body, everything has an odor, it's a smell, not a poison.
We are asked to look and smell the same, to be nice, to be fine and we are expected to mask our own real scent.
I'm sorry, but it's not ok with me.
I did buy her some low scent organic deodorant and if she wears it that's up to her, but I like the way my friends and family smell au natural.
We're hard-wired to smell anger and love, desire and distrust. It's part of the ESP picture, the masking of scents is a way for us to get mixed messages, for us to be confused by false information to not trust our instincts.
Let's do away with so much scented laundry detergent, dish soap, room fresheners, deodorants, chemical perfumes.
We have to use other cues, to open our senses to fully live in our own skin, to see the world. To be in the world.

Tonight Julia and I went out to Toro Bravo for dinner and I speak for both of us when I say that our taste buds were blown open. We ordered many amazing little plates to share, but the bacon wrapped, blue cheese stuffed figs were transcendent. Julia said it was the best thing she had ever put in her mouth. We had a hard time considering anything else that could follow such a taste. We sat in awe of the simplicity and complexity of it for some time before deciding that we could have a drink of Sangria as a transition to the next plate.

While I was enjoying delightful food and conversation I checked out those around me, took in what I could of their story, I opened my senses to what they were telling me, telling everyone around them. With their body language, the food they chose, the colors they wear, the companions they are with, their voices and all the minutia of human-ness. Being perceptive is a drinking in of the world, a tasting, a smelling, a hearing.

Go ahead, be psychic, you already are, just pay attention, drink it in and enjoy your life.


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