Introduction by Martine Cullum
Today’s quote, attributed to Helen Keller but possibly originating from her teacher, Ann Sullivan, helps us to think about how we can fully appreciate what is beautiful in our lives. Today, Sapphire Dalton, healer, magistrate and supporting character in The POISE Archives series, is blogging ‘In Character’ about what this quote says to us and what we can do to enhance our experience of the world we live in.
Thank you, Martine,
When I first read deaf and blind Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Sory of my Life, I was touched by her strength, her will and her resilience, but the quote that stuck with me most from the book was the one you see above. (Warning, spoiler coming if you have not yet read the book) From her dark and silent world, she found a joy and a beauty in life that many of us with a full range of senses, fail to uncover.
Do our senses blind us?
Of course they don’t, but what the all-round bombardment of information to our brains from each of our senses does do, is make us lazy. Why should we have to put the effort in when, mercifully, for the most of us, sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste will do the hard work for us.
Yes, maybe when we see something of extraordinary beauty, a work of art, a beautiful sunset, or a full and vivid rainbow, we might stop and appreciate it for a moment or two, but there is beauty all around us, particularly in nature, if we just take the time to connect.
You may remember, if you read my ‘Happiness’ blog last month, that ‘Connect’ is one of the 5 ways to wellbeing, and connecting with nature in particular, helps us to appreciate what is beautiful in our world.
For the Love of Trees
Try this exercise next time you are out in nature.
Listening to the wind as it blows the autumn leaves from a tree and considering what this means about the turn of the seasons and the cycle of life.
Staring at the trunk of that same tree and thinking about what it has witnessed in its lifetime and how the world has changed.
Placing you palm lightly on its bark, wonder at the grand design that created such a masterpiece.
Inhale the earthy aroma of the damp soil. (No, I’m not going to suggest that you taste the moss growing on the side of the bark – that would be going too far.)
But that’s just using the physical senses. We can do more, and trees are exceptionally good to practise on. (They tend not to get embarrassed or run off to make a cup of tea, like people do.)
Try standing in front of the tree, closing your eyes, and covering your ears. (Headphones work well if you don’t want to stand there with your fingers in your ears). Stand close, no more that six inches away at first, and see if you can sense the energy coming from the tree. Does it hum, or buzz? Does it tingle? Is it warm or cool? Prickly or smooth? There is no right or wrong, this is your connection.
Once you have made the connection, think about where you are feeling this energy. Again, it’s your experience. Own it. Next, making sure that it is safe to do so, given that you have no sight or sound at the moment, take a step back and start the process again. Can you still feel the energy? Is it just as strong or has it reduced? Repeat this process for as far as you can whilst still feeling the energy, then take the time to consider the experience. What does it mean to you?
Now you may be wondering what the above has to do with Helen Keller’s quote and why I have focused on trees for the exercise. Well, why not? Its just an exercise to demonstrate that we have this (or these) other senses; to become more aware of what is around us.
The feeling in the heart that Helen Keller is speaking of represents Love and Joy, so where better to go from here, than to Lovejoy himself. (Bear with me, I’ve not lost it completely.)
Learning from Lovejoy
If you are a fan of the lovable rogue and antiques dealer played by Ian McShane in the TV series, Lovejoy, you will be aware that he is a ‘Divvy’. That is, when he come across a particularly valuable or beautiful item, his divvy senses will tingle. For Martine’s younger readers, perhaps describing it as something akin to Spidey Senses, might be appropriate, though they would need to be tuned in to the good and the beautiful rather than danger.
When I hear a really beautiful song, or even an average song sung by a beautiful voice, I get a tingling down my back right behind my heart that makes me stop whatever I’m doing and give the sound my full attention. It’s not that I have a particular appreciation for music, in fact, as my music teacher took great pleasure in telling me in high school, ‘you are completely tone deaf and have the singing voice of a strangled rat’, but a beautiful song still manages to get through to me on an energetic level.
Take a moment to think about when you have been affected by something in this way? It may not necessarily be a tingle, but think about how it feels when something surprises you in a wonderful way, unexpectedly.
Is this sense Paranormal?
Well, that really depends on what you consider to be paranormal. It is certainly beyond the five recognised senses, but doesn’t that just mean that we just don’t understand it yet? And if that is the case, is that so unbelievable?
There are already studies that suggest that we notice far more than we are able to verbalise, and that what some people regard as Extra Sensory Perception is just our brains trying to help us to understand what we cannot put into words.
I prefer to think of the ability to appreciate beauty and goodness, and release the feelings of love and joy, that go beyond the level of our five physical senses, as an energetic connection on a frequency higher than its physical counterpart. An energy that connects directly to the heart, our centre of love, joy and gratitude. It makes perfect sense to me, that taking time to really appreciate the beauty around us and appreciating those that we love, (including ourselves) is what Helen Keller was referring to when she wrote these words.
As recent circumstances have forced me to accept, we should all slow down, reduce information overload where we can and take the time to smell the roses.
At a time where the cost of living crisis is putting a strain on us all, sending some to a dark and scary place, there IS beauty in this world which is free. Love it, appreciate it, enjoy it.
As ever, I wish you joy on your journey and invite you to comment on and share this post. Do explore the rest of the site here, and if you want to make sure you don’t miss my next blog, be sure to subscribe below.
You can meet more of Martine’s characters and get all the latest news about what is happening in the world of The POISE Archives and Moons & Runes Private Investigators by subscribing to her website at http://www.martinecullumwrites.com and joining her Facebook Group Martine’s (Cosy) Urban Fantasy Book Group.