Smell! ~ It’s everywhere yet we probably don’t really notice it until it reaches the extremes of its scale of unpleasantness or fragrance but there’s plenty of others that we either just don’t notice or have subconsciously learned to take for granted and block out from our daily experience. Man-made odours often take over from those of the natural world; air fresheners, perfumes and deodorants cascade over us whilst air pollution blankets our towns and cities preventing the delicate bouquet of life from reaching our olfactory sensory neurons or for want of a simplistic term … our noses! Smell fills the gap in our defences early warning system left by our other senses, it detects the unseen, untouchable, unheard and untasted dangers; gas, smoke and food that may look okay but is on the way to being uneatable are just a few. Before I charge ahead now is probably a good time to do a little research and remind ourselves of how we detect smells and how our sense of smell works for us. Go ahead and check it out, I’ll wait for you here!
Now that you’ve re-familiarised yourself with your olfactory system let’s move on and examine how shutting out as many man-made odours as we can by treading the natural paths of nature can benefit us. Let’s face it many of those pleasant man-made essences are merely manufactured copies of what nature provides us for free. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts in this series my garden is full of plants that give me a sense of well-being through their perfumed essential oils. Mints, lavender and other herbs are there both day and night, spring, summer, autumn and winter to be savoured by rolling and crushing their leaves and taking in the goodness that exudes from them. All of them can be used as culinary (and taste) enhancers, adding flavour as well as filling the kitchen with their various forms of sensuality, taking cooking to another level, an experience of pleasurable anticipation of the meal to come. Of course when the garden is in flower, nature sends an explosion of exhilarating scent to attract my nostrils. But beyond the garden gate is nature Herself, a cupboard full of spices and seasonings waiting to be opened and explored.
Walk through the woods, especially after its been raining which always seems to cleanse and enhance the natural aromas of earth, plant and air and you’ll be mesmerised by mind tingling sensations. You’ll discover pine needles crushed under foot exude freshness and vitality, mosses emit a grounding earthy sensation like a comforting arm around your shoulder and the air itself is filled with a mysterious piquancy that invites further investigation. All of these combine to send our brains racing, searching for connections to identify each of them on a personal level. We all perceive things differently depending on how our brains associate our senses with past events, people and experiences; giving us the emotional up’s and downs we all get from our relationship with everything we touch, taste, hear, see and smell. Understanding these relationships and building our sensual awareness of what turns us on or off is a big step in developing our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Stimulating ourselves as often as we can is a beneficial gift we can all use everyday. By heightening our awareness of what our senses are, of how they operate and what they can do for us we are able to become healthier, happier, regain that feeling of ‘aliveness’ and of being more in touch with ourselves through them. Nature is the greatest guide we have. Use Her well and She will reward you in more ways than your imagination can imagine, so ….. Enhance Your Senses, Enhance Your Life!