Shedding Skin, Starting Anew
Welcome to Present Sense №1
For the past year of Seven Senses, I’ve published every full moon. I’ve explored an array of creative & spiritual topics – such as love, time, originality, and failure, with a curation for our seven senses. I love diving deep into a theme, spending weeks researching, writing, editing, curating.
But there are times where I feel limited by my own self-imposed structure. Certain experiences and inspirations don’t fit within my monthly themes, so I hold back on sharing them. I’ve been longing for a space for these spontaneous sensory moments – and the answer has come in the form of “Present Sense.”
“Present Sense” is a new weekly curation of 7 recommendations for your senses: something to See, Hear, Smell, Taste, Touch, Balance and Envision. They’ll be inspired by my own experiences and range from book and film suggestions, to recipes and botany, to nature adventures and creative prompts.
For our sense of Balance, I’ll also include a guided audio meditation every week. I haven’t written much about this yet, but meditation plays an important role in my life. I went on my first Vipassana silent meditation retreat in 2012, and have been practicing ever since. It’s had a transformative effect in my life and I’m hoping to offer some of the benefits I received.
Most of the weekly suggestions will stray away from the digital realm, instead highlighting real life experiences that engage all our senses. I hope they encourage us to take notice of the world around and within us – and become more present in our lives.
“Present Sense” will be published every weekend for paid subscribers, but today it’s free and available to all.
Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time (2021)
I’ve been a fan of Kurt Vonnegut since I first read “Slaughterhouse Five.” I knew little about the author’s life before watching this documentary, which offers a very intimate portrayal of Vonnegut. It took over 20 years for the filmmaker, Robert B. Weide (a director on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’) to complete the film – sparking a close friendship with the author and infusing the film with a personal and nuanced perspective.
‘Age of Ascent’ by Kokoroko
I love everything by Kokoroko, and I can’t get enough of this song lately. Released last year as part of their latest album ‘Could We Be More,’ it offers a sense of renewal and never fails to uplift my spirits.
Beach Spider Lily
While staying in a new apartment recently, I discovered in the courtyard a flower I’ve never seen before. It seemed to have blossomed overnight: spectacular large white flowers with long white stems, and a delicate vanilla scent. I found out they’re called “Beach Spider Lily”, a native plant to Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia. Their scientific name derives from the Greek translating to “membraned beauty.”
Their bloom only lasted a couple days but long enough to leave a lasting impression on me. They’re the perfect floral reminder of the rewards we receive when paying attention – a glimpse into the ephemeral beauty that surrounds us.
Scarlet Runner Beans
I used to hate beans. But for years, my experience was limited to very old dried ones, frozen peas, or canned beans. Everything changed when I tasted the beans at Two Peas in a Pod at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. I have since become a bean lover and always source my beans from there.
They have a diverse selection of delicious dried beans they sell all year round. But for a few weeks from mid-July to early October, the fresh beans arrive – a true treat. It’s like tasting a fresh tomato for the first time if you’ve only ever had dried ones.
The various varieties are beautiful but they tend to lose their unique design and color in the cooking process. I found the exception to that rule are the Scarlet Runners, which retain most of their purple hue and swirly patterns.
I made them into a bean salad to show off their look, but they’d work well in a stew too. I cooked them on medium-low heat for 40-50 minutes (they take longer than other fresh beans), let them cool a bit, and then simply served them with olive oil, flakey salt and chopped parsley. I ended up using the leftovers in tacos the next day.
Akasuri Body Scrub
I shed skin this week – literally particles came off my body – as I got a traditional Akasuri scrub at the Korean Spa. I usually do it a couple times a year, particularly during seasonal changes. The scrub entails someone rubbing you for 30 minutes from head to toe with an exfoliating glove, removing all dead skin. The process can be rough but leaves you with the softest skin. Before the scrub, you have access to the various Spa rooms, including sauna and steam rooms, hot and cold pools, infrared lights and Himalayan salts rooms.
Guided Meditation: Beginner’s Mind
There are no “good” or “bad” meditators – anyone can meditate. It’s a practice of observation and a tool to help us become less reactive. Approach it with a beginner’s mind – with a sense of openness and curiosity. Whether you’ve meditated for years, or have never tried it, I invite you to take a few moments every week to explore this contemplative practice together.
Turning Pixels into Paper
Translating the internet into a real life experience was the impetus for creating my Seven Senses Zine. I launched it last week to celebrate 1 year of Seven Senses. Every page illustrates the various topics I’ve explored the past 12 months, through drawings, writings, collages.
The Zines are limited edition, available to paid subscribers until October 14th. You can send me your mailing address or upgrade your subscription anytime before then.