Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been. – Mark Twain
Each of us is the accumulation of our experiences. Like layers in sedimentary rock or tree-rings, life leaves its marks on our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. There are numerous signs of our bodies aging: wrinkles, aches, scars, etc. The battering our bodies take leaves reminders in the bones and skin, which are noted more and more with age. Twinges of stiffness from old injuries catch up with you on cold rainy mornings, or after overly exuberant exercise. But that is life. Life is worth living and occasionally you have to live it up a bit too much. That is the Joy of Living.
Even with all the scientific advances of the past couple hundred years, the human mind remains a mystery. If I asked a scientist to point to the human mind, where would they point? The Brain? The dictionary definition of brain is: an organ of soft nervous tissue in the skull of vertebrates, functioning as the coordinating center of sensation and intellectual and nervous activity. The mind is: the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. The mind includes: consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgment, language and memory, emotion and instinct and so very much more. Even with the most powerful microscopes no scientist can diagram a single unit of the human mind. Coupled with the human spirit our glorious senses can soar to the edge of the universe, or change your mind forever in an instant.
Evolution has empowered us with a myriad of senses far beyond the classical Five Senses we all learn in school. Even these five are not fully understood. The human nose has Four Hundred types of scent receptors. It is said the human nose can differentiate between 1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion) different odors, or scents. And for many of us, scents can trigger long dormant memories. And, sadly, during this awful pandemic, wearing a mask has kept us from enjoying billions of scents. The other day I was in the supermarket. I picked up an orange and brought it to my masked nose – nothing – a blank. My five-senses based mind was momentarily confused. There is no blank scent. Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. – Helen Keller
I especially miss touch during this pandemic. I miss the powerful hugs of my children, and the gentle caring touch of my wife. I have always luxuriated in the textures of life: from smooth to rough, silky, stippled flesh, flowing fabrics, running my hand along cold steel handrails. Researchers say touch is the first sense to appear. It is critical to our survival. Several times I have stood by and watched people as they approach a boat. Every one of them walked up to the boat and knocked on it, thumped it to judge if it was seaworthy. Even though most would have no idea how seaworthy vessel should feel. Also, I’ve spent way too much time standing around rental car lots, and ever single person kicks the tires. Touching something makes it seem more real.
In the end, how does one get a sense of well-being? What, in fact, is well-being? One dictionary definition of well-being is simply: a good or satisfactory condition of existence. Another is A positive state of mind that enables a person to function effectively within society. I think this is a very personal sense. It can encompass dozens of sensations all rolled into one. This goes far beyond when people ask, “how’re ya doin’?” Our basic senses can tell us all’s right with the world, but our minds can still summon up all manner of demons and difficulties. And in these difficult troubling times it is very easy to begin feeling unwell for no specific reasons. 2021 is here and it’s time for new beginnings. Here are a few suggestions for regulating your sense of well-being. Accept your feelings; live in the present as much as you can; look within; LAUGH (oh how we all could use a good laugh); nurture your passions; Above all be grateful for what you have. And remember what the great Gabriel García Márquez said, Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.
2021 – so far so good 🙂 Peace and Love