Life update: Due to my company transitioning to completely remote work, I moved to Sonoma (wine county) from San Francisco 7 days ago to temporarily quarantine in the woods. These days, I have been spending my sunsets running through vineyards and writing in notebooks under the shade of oak trees. I recently took some time to set intentions for the rest of my time here, and determined that the main goal that I want to have achieved by the time I leave is to have clearer thinking.
Clearer thinking starts with a solid sense of self. Sense of self, in turn, comes from awareness. The term "proprioception" describes the sensory information that contributes to this awareness, and also relates to the body's ability to perceive its own position in space: basically, our own internal GPS. So when we start to become more present and aware of our surroundings - through how we measure them: our 5 senses - we are better calibrated in our environment, and have a better idea of where we are and who we are.
In other words, if we hone our basic sensory inputs (e.g. slowing down, observing the clouds in the sky, appreciating the taste of food, listening to the sound of birds / wind) to see the world clearly, we sharpen our lens and reality looks more full, like it's in 1080p high definition. This will provide better training data to feed into the mind's algorithm, leading to a more accurate model of the world. External lucidity sets the foundation for more internal clarity.
In the same ways a normal GPS gives basic orientation of where someone is spatially, where they came from, and where they are going, a strong internal GPS can help navigate the mental parallels and can keep someone grounded in their own truth. Having a clear North star also protects against preventable 'detours' that come from someone else coming in with their own agendas (in the weaker internal GPS case, position is held hostage to others' expectations and their maps of reality).
Admittedly, I have been historically resistant to investing in somatic experiences, constantly intellectualizing and dancing around gut instincts to come up with a rational or logical explanation for what "is". A friend recently told me to look at both the body and mind as 2 children vying for attention that I have to tend to. But if I think about where I have been prioritizing my energy, I have been totally favoring the intellect / mind child over my body child pretty consistently. I should be a fairer mother.
In the months coming, I want to be more in touch with the aesthetics. I want to feed my body on beauty; I want to see nature as a teacher, as we are made of nature and eat nature. I want to nurture a relationship with the living things around me, including myself. In the same way that an oak tree needs to be nourished to grow in the way that it is supposed to, to ground itself through its roots and stand sturdy against the pressure of the wind, so do I.