Our Sensual Nature, Our Creative Muse
"Heaven is under our feet, as well as over our heads."
~ Henry David Thoreau
Long ago, the spring grass was my conspirator, hiding me while I lay among its two-foot stalks, listening to its seed heads chatter as the breeze whisked by, its mellow fragrance surrounding me while I watched the clouds billow and play high above, their white stunning against the deep blue of the sky. Never was life better than those afternoons with the April sun to keep me warm, lulling me to sleep while my pony's nose tickled my sides as she nuzzled at the grass beneath me, a treat obviously much sweeter than that only a foot away.
My senses and my imagination were so alive then. The clouds held steeds who raced and leaped. The chattering seeds were friendly omens of bounty meant for future springs or the deadly rattle of a snake slithering closer, ever closer, depending on my mood. Even the fitful dance of lightning that heralded the arrival of thunderstorms in winter were a delight because they brought with them the lion's roar and the dragon's fire, quenched only by the quick-forming puddles fed by the falling tears of the gods and goddesses.
Then I grew up and lost the magic. Or so I thought. Who had time? There was work to do. Lolling the afternoon away was a treasure long forgotten. Is this a mistake you've made too? Then we should rectify it together.
Glennie Kindred, author of Earth Wisdom, wrote, "Our planet earth is a wonder. Whenever we are touched by nature, we are lifted out of time, beyond our everyday lives, to a place of inner stillness, wonder and Oneness with life. We become part of the the invisible unity that holds all of life together. The most profound and yet the simplest experiences pass through your brains to touch our hearts. This is a simple truth. The more we allow the beauty of Nature and acts of natural goodness to touch our hearts, the more deeply we celebrate our natural spiritual connection to life."
But is she right? Does it pass through our brains to touch our heart--or is it the other way around? According to Joseph Chilton Pearce, author of The Biology of Transcendence--A Blueprint of the Human Spirit, the same neural tissue that resides in our brain composes up to 60% to 65% of our heart tissue. "The same neurotransmitters that function in the brain also function in heart ganglia....the heart's neural structures have unmediated neural connections with the emotional-cognitive, or limbic, brain, "unmediated" meaning here that no ganglia interrupt or interpret the communications between the heart and emotional-cognitive brained...An ongoing dialogue takes place between the heart and brain through these direct neural connections.
"The heart certainly has an intelligence, though this calls for a new definition of the word to differentiate it from cerebral intellect. The heart's intelligence is not verbal or linear or digital, as is the intellect in our head, but rather is a holistic capability that responds in the interest of well-being and continuity, sending to the brain's emotional system an intuitive prompt for appropriate behaviors. Intellect, however, can function independently from the heart--that is, without intelligence--and can take over the circuitry and block our heart's more subtle signals."
How easy it is to block those subtle signals that lead us to so much happiness. In those signals we find the stimulus for our creative imagination and our zest for life. Benjamin Lee Whorf, in An American Indian Model of the Universe, urges us to reconsider idling our way back into nature. "...in so far as my hand knows hardness and softness, and my gaze knows the moon's light, it is as a certain way of linking up with the phenomenon and communicating with it. Hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness, moonlight and sunlight, present themselves in our recollection not pre-eminently as sensory contents but as certain kinds of symbioses, certain ways the outside has of invading us and certain ways we have of meeting this invasion."
Suzanne Braun Levine, author of Inventing the Rest of our Lives begins her book by recounting her first experience of rappelling down a cliff. Terrified yet determined to recover her tomboy self of old, she found liberation that afternoon with "...a floating sensation in a gravity-free zone I call the Fertile Void. That is where we begin the process of sorting things out--and shaking things up. We shed the voices of shoulda-woulda-coulda thinking and begin to sense the presence of an internal compass, our own voice. With its guidance, we can zero in on our personal truth--to distinguish between the fire of an authentic drive and the drone of automatic pilot. Little by little, we get in touch with that elusive essential--our passions. "
Recapturing our passions, recovering our authentic voices, sorting things out and shaking things up. Let us once again revel in our senses, enjoy the roughness and the smoothness of our quest for the wonder of it all. Barbara Hall, in A Summons to New Orleans, , gave us the prescription: "You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act.
Look. Listen. Choose. Act. I've chosen and acted. I'm listening and looking at the wonders I've missed all these years: The scent of the rose. The hawk on wing. The soft burble of water. The sweetness of chocolate. Tears in my eyes as my horse races across the meadow, his muscles churning beneath me. The laughter of a child. The silken touch of love.
I can't think of another thing I need. Won't you join me?
By Loretta Kemsley
Women Artists and Writers International
Writer, Editor and Editorial Coach
Loretta Kemsley's Personal Portfolio: Women's Writings