Dear Mr Alien,
I hope you had a magical Valentine’s Day with your love interest. What is love I hear you ask directly followed by “Baby don’t hurt me!” in my head. That my other worldly friend is a topic I’d need to tackle all on it’s own. For now let me get back to the photo challenge. So we were asked to go out and capture “Texture”, an image reflecting the look and feel of something. Good examples are rocks or wood or if you’re brave enough a reptile’s skin, as these visually portray textures rather well given the right lighting and exposure.
I decided to go with 2 conflicting textures in my image , creating a contrast between smooth and rough, the roundness of the pebbles looked great against the grain of the wooden bench. Side note those pebbles were from my most recent trip to Peru, in particular from Playa Makanha (Playa means beach in Spanish) a pebble coasted beach with long smooth waves off the coast of Miraflores. The smoothness is achieved by the back and forth motion of the sea, which itself is not very cold, I managed to surf sans wet-suit on a few occasions, but the beauty of this location is when the sun starts to set behind you lighting the waves crimson red while you look outwards to the scenic cliffs overlooking the many beaches and parks lining the coast of Miraflores.
I won’t lie I have stalled quite a bit on typing this post as I was finding it difficult to correlate the texture theme with something people could relate to on an empirical level. So I went to our favourite neighbourhood search engine, Monsieur Google. (Mr Alien Google has now become the go to for information on the planet, it’s results are hardly questioned, sadly).
Google defines texture as “the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance” and as soon as I read the word feel, it triggered the word touch into my mind and at once I had a direction for this post. Feeling or touch rather is one of the 5 major senses our human bodies possess Mr Alien, the others being sight, smell, taste and hearing. I personally postulate the presence of a 6th sense, intuition, but I digress. In a society where we are constantly viewing the world we live in through some variation of screen, be it the TV, our laptops or computers or most likely our phones we have in a sense lost touch with engaging our senses or rather experiencing the world through these senses.
To my other terrestrial readers or even to you Mr Alien, when last have you really felt something with your hands or tentacles/claws/paws in your case Mr Alien? Closed your eyes (those things you see through) rolling or rubbing it in your fingers creating a mental image of it in your head? A good example would be walking barefoot on wet grass or dipping your hands into earth or soil, one of my favourite things is gardening and having my arms elbow deep in dark loamy soil invigorates the primordial cultivator in me, automatically connecting me to something greater than myself. It’s as if the inherent potential that the soil holds is slowly seeping through my pores, strengthening that bond between me and the source, Pachamama (Mother Earth to the Andean People).
It’s almost like this sense of feel is slowly being taken away from us as we are not fully using or appreciating it, as I sit here now in front of my computer I struggle to recall anything I felt today that left a lasting memory, and the reason being that I have been too involved with the day to day activities of modern living and so reliant on my other senses, mostly sight, that I am almost on auto-pilot. Why would I need to touch it when I can just see it and make conclusions based off of that information or past experiences? The answer: Awareness, awareness of our senses allows us to be more centred, focused and conscious of our bodies and how they interact with the world around us.
So next time you pick up something, be it a fruit, a baby or even your camera try and be aware of the textures accompanying that something, how it feels, it’s temperature, it’s weight and reconnect that channel of touch.
In closing I’d like you to attempt this exercise which calms your thoughts, allowing you to fully engage your sense of feeling. Hit me up if you’d like the whole exercise for all the senses.
1. Sit in a comfortable upright position with your feet planted flat on the ground. Rest your hands on your thighs or on your desk.
2. Notice your breathing, no need to breathe in a particular way, I just want you to be cognisant of each part of your breath, the inhale (I usually envision positive energy being drawn to me when inhaling), the exhale (and likewise I envision letting go of negative energy) and of course the lull between breaths.
3.Bring your attention to the sensations of skin contact with your chair, clothing, and feet on the floor. You can notice the pressure between your feet and the floor or your body and the chair. You can observe temperature like the warmth or coolness of your hands or feet. You can even reach out and touch objects close to you to fully focus your attention on the present moment.
Always watching the stars,