Thursday, February 8, 2007

One who is sensual; one given to the indulgences of the appetites or senses as the means for happiness. A person develoted to pleasure and luxury.

I am an unapologetic sensualist. The simple but ultimate pleasures of good food and great sex receive high scores of importance for me. It seems to me that a noticeable distinction between the happy and the unhappy is the amount of tangible enjoyment being derived from their physical presence in the natural world. The intellect is all well and good but our sensual side suffers when it takes a back seat to our mental side.

Leonardo wrote this about his fellow Florentines: "looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragarance and talks without thinking." He could say the same about many in the modern world. I have reflected often on this quote since reading it some years back in Michael Gelb's How To Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci. I came across it after coming to the understaning that how we feel is greatly determined by what our senses are absorbing from our environment. It was only natural to deduce that if I wanted to elevate my experience, I needed exercise more discernment and make better choices about who and what surrounded me in my environment.

I have given some thought recently to what is sensually pleasing to me in my life right now. I encourage you to do the same, using this list as a source of inspiration for achieving more of the good life in your day to day. As an example, my list is below:

  • Sun setting over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico
  • Love shining from Doug's face
  • Marbled walls of Florence's Duomo
  • Movements, costumes and stage sets of a dance troupe or play
  • Color
  • Orderly and harmonious environments


  • Ambient, Chill and New Age genres of music
  • I Love You or compliments from people I care about
  • Gaggia machine steaming milk and automatically brewing a perfect expresso
  • Brooks bubbling, streams trickling, waterfalls pooling and waves crashing
  • Invigorating, thought provoking lectures, discussions or conversations


  • Sweetness of Jessica's skin and the muskiness of Doug's when I kiss them
  • Dark chocolate and no foam lattes
  • Skillfully prepared and presented gourmet meals. Succulent cheeseburgers
  • Italian sparkling water and California wine


  • Soft fabrics for clothing, linens, ulpholstery and carpeting
  • Facial caresses in the morning, back rubs in the evening
  • Warm down in winter, cool water in summer
  • Fine pen gliding across fine paper


  • Fragrant flowers
  • Aromas from the stove, oven or grill
  • My mom's skin and hair (now a memory)
  • Afternoon rain storms on hot Florida days
  • Scents of baby powder, almond, lemon, cinnamon and musk

Perhaps being so fascinated with eating and having sex isn't just that they are primal activities but that they are events that employ all my senses. Frankly, I'm having a hard time thinking of anthing else that does!

"The five senses are the ministers of the soul." - Leonardo Da Vinci

"Keys to opening the doors of experience: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell." - Michael Gelb

"Sound, smell, touch and sight create powerful experiences." - Kimberly Wilson

"The body is the gateway to the profound." - Deng Ming Dao

"Do more things that make you happy." - Alexandra Stoddard

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