Yesterday was a lovely late summer day in Seattle. I was thrilled because it meant that I’d be able to have lunch for my mom’s 81st birthday out on my deck, which has become my little oasis. As if on cue, a hummingbird came right to the fountain on the deck to take a drink. My mom got a nice close-up view though she was disappointed to not have her camera at the ready.

By 4:00 or so, very light drizzle was falling. John and I were working together to put together a small storage box together for the deck so we were out there. The weather changed frequently. It was a breezy day and the clouds were moving in and out of the sky quickly.

Having had a lovely weekend, John and I got into our cozy bed. Our mattress is getting older but I put a memory foam topper on it a few years back and it really is the most comfortable bed in which I have ever slept. John quickly fell asleep. I listened to the night noises coming from the back yard as well as the gurgling of our fountain. Suddenly, a gust blew a fine mist of rain through the open windows.

My first impulse was to close the window and keep the rain out. Keep the outside, outside and the inside, inside. That’s a natural human inclination to keep a boundary between shelter and “out there”. It is a boundary that has kept us safe for a very very long time.

Noting that I felt a fine mist of water on my skin rather than a deluge, I stopped myself. The unexpected mist was actually delightful. It was unexpected, refreshing, and surprisingly comforting. After a minute or so, I closed the windows because I was sleepy and perhaps the rain would get heavier and wake me up. I am finally sleeping well again and I wanted to continue to do so.

I have been thinking some about how being more mindful of sensation, touch, taste, smell, sight, sound, and balance, so often provides me with a greater sense of comfort and calm. I also notice how my cats are the same when they are alone, interacting with one another, or when interacting with me. As I write this, Basie is purring loudly while kneading a blanket with his claws. Now he is licking his sister, Leeloo, who has her eyes closed contentedly. I also see the way they use their whiskers to gauge their physical position in space.

Humans are thinking and feeling beings but we are also sensing beings, just like my kitties. My kitties are however, not big thinkers with their small albeit adorable brains. Their capacity for feelings is based on pleasure, pain, calm, protection, and fear, just the basics needed for survival.

Sensation is important. It protects us. It creates and maintains bonds with others. It enriches our lives. It is also orienting. It is so easy for my mind and feelings to take me away from the moment to take me to places away from where I really am. Thinking and feeling can give us glimpses of reality but without being mindful of my senses, it can be like looking at reality through a window rather than experiencing it firsthand, on the inside.

My senses tell me where I am. This helps me be who I am in the reality I have, right now.