I think most of us have put a protective film on our cell phone for the purpose of protecting it from drops or whatever.
I did too but sometimes the film is not just on the cell phone.
Often we adults have more or less thick protective film around us.
Sometimes we don’t notice it.
Or rather we often only notice it when we remove it. Then we see the shining reality.
And if we are not dazzled by it, we may even decide to live without film.

It happens to me from time to time that I forget to remove the film.
In fact, not only that. Sometimes I don’t even notice that the film is thickening!
And it is only when something finally “awakens” me to reality that I realize how I have lived some time immersed in a muffled, tasteless, odorless, blurry world.

Finally after two intense months I allowed myself a mini-vacation in the Dolomites with my sons. But sometimes it takes time to really “arrive” on vacation.
I had already been on vacation for two days when a billboard “woke me up.”
Walking through the village I noticed a billboard that read “FEEL THE DOLOMITES.”
I stopped and finally realized that I wasn’t. I was in the mountains, on vacation, in a wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Site, and still a thin veneer separated me from reality.
Yes, sure I was happily breathing in the crisp air, being enraptured by the colors and dazzling light of the snow-capped mountains, the sounds of village bells, voices, hearing the sound of ice as it was scratched by my crampons. But I had not removed the protective film.
The billboard had a strong impact on me.
I was watering down my impressions of the Dolomites!
It was enough to read FEEL THE DOLOMITES to awaken the awareness that I have been practicing and preaching for more than 20 years.

Work, worries, and little free time had dulled my senses.
Certainly my sensory antennae were active, but they had lost some of their receptivity.
When I realized this, it was like removing a veneer and I saw and savored reality differently.
Everything began to flow before me more slowly, more lucidly.
And the Dolomites began to have a different impact on me.

The sensory channels became fully reactivated. I began to feel with my whole body again, and slowly the chattering of my mind faded away. I fully savored the color changes of the sunlit peaks at various times of the day, felt the effect of those familiar rocks on me .

When I was a child, I used to spend long periods of time with my grandparents who lived in South Tyrol. I remember very well the feeling I had when I was there.
I felt the presence of the mountains even when I could not see them. I could hear the streams flowing, feel the vibrant underbrush. I could feel the colors changing throughout the day. I could feel the sun going down behind the mountains and the shadows coming over the country.
I had no film. I could feel the Dolomites!

It took me a while but I finally felt the Dolomites again.
What a wonderful gift!!!

Now I am back in Rimini, far from my beloved mountains, but the film has been removed and I can change the billboard: FEEL THE ADRIATIC SEA, FEEL RIMINI.
But I remain vigilant, careful not to put that protective film back on.
Movement awareness practice and preparation for the upcoming Art of Sensation training that begins in a few days will remind me of this.
It’s time to remove the film and occasionally check to make sure life hasn’t re-sticked it without our knowledge!