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Senses working overtime (even if I’m not). Hearing.

I do not, for a moment, wish to imply that our current situation is easy. For many, it’s a blimmin’ nightmare. Loss of loved ones, fear of the unknown, earnings up the swanee, panic, gloom and doom.

But, there are for some, a whole bunch of positives coming out of this episode. I’m counting my blessings that I’m part of this privileged gang.

Or as I put it the other day, my workload may have caught the virus, but I’m still standing. And I’m grateful that it isn’t the other way round.

Concentrating on the positives

There are plenty of column inches devoted to the negatives. If one thing’s become clearer over the last few weeks for me, it’s that I have to concentrate on the positives.

What’s the alternative?

Madness? Crushing anxiety? Being sucked into the political maelstrom of empty promises and thinly veiled lies?

Thank you, but no thank you.

So, back to the positives and today’s little revelation – the five senses of perception. Wonderful tools that we’ve been gifted to access the world into which we’ve been thrown. Like all tools, they can be used for good as well as nefarious purposes.

Take hearing for example. We can listen to 24hr news, gossip and political rhetoric. We can listen to music or the sound of our own breathing. The choice is ours.

Sound is one of the many things that has been dramatically affected by you-know-what.

Stop for a few minutes. The world sounds a lot different to how it sounded a couple of months ago. The ever-present background drone of machinery has been dampened to a shadow of its former grunty self.

This has created a gap for everything else to make its voice heard.

A moment of reflection

I’ve just had a cup of tea in the garden. It’s the middle of the week. I would normally be head down, trying to tackle a creative brief or writing some client copy.

Since the whatsit hit, my workload has been whittled down to something of a trickle. If I choose to, I have the chance to slow right down.

So there I was in the garden, I closed my eyes and suddenly the sounds of the world around me started to paint pictures and write their own poetry in my mind.

Of course, all of this sonic goodness is going on all of the time, but we’re only properly aware of whatever we’re focusing on. For a timeless five minutes or so, all I focused on was sound. And what a beautiful experience.

I lost track of where I was and my body consciousness dropped away. I stopped planning for tomorrow, digging up the regrets of yesterday or thinking about where the next job might come from.

The internal chatter of incessant twaddle just evaporated away.

That few minutes of concentration on one of the senses felt like therapy and a holiday all wrapped up in one.

Birdsong, often the subtlest of background noises, became an orchestra of delights. Herring gulls, wood pigeons, swifts, house sparrows, starlings, a lone magpie…

Next-door’s dog, a distant drill, the crackle of leaves brushing against each other.

All EQd into their own perfect position in a magnificent 3D soundscape.

Only afterwards, as I began to surface from the soundbath meditation, did my mischievous creative copywriting alter-ego try to join dots and put the sounds into boxes. Playing a game of ‘spell the sound’.

“Frrfrrfrrfrrfrrfrrfrrfrrrrrr” – a bluetit flies across the lawn.

“Ooh do you?” “No, you do.” “You do too.” “Ooh, get you.”– two wood pigeons carry on a pointless conversation from different rooftops.

“Sweeeeeee Psweeeeee” – swifts trawl the sky for flying insects.

“Papapapapapapap” – a feral pigeon takes off and rips through the top of a laurel bush.

“Zzzzzzummmmmmm” – a chunky bumblebee fizzes around my head.

Back indoors, part way through writing this, I get the urge to retreat to our little garden oasis again. This time, it’s sight that takes over, where sound left off. But, I’ll leave that for another post.

If you’re reading this during the big pause, I urge you to stop for a while and let one of your senses take over. You’ll be surprised what you find.

And of course, if you are one of the troopers on the frontline who doesn’t have the time to think, never mind stop for a while. Our thoughts, prayers and thanks are with you.

Love and patience,

Jonathan x

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
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