Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ll be using manicules (those pointing finger symbols) to direct your attention to something I’m pondering that delights or interests me. Each entry is somehow related to an unusual, obscure, or simply charming to me word.
M is for…
macrosmatic – having a good sense of smell
Humans can detect at least one trillion different smells. Amazing isn’t it?! It’s also true that our olfactory palettes are forged by many things, including particularities and peculiarities of our noses, personal preferences, and even early childhood memories. We all experience scents slightly differently, based on a combination of individual sensitivities.
As an aromatherapist and natural botanical perfumer, scent is very important to me. Maybe I’m saying that backwards. I suspect the truth is that I became an aromatherapist and perfumer BECAUSE I have such a great love of fragrance.
I committed a long time ago to avoid use of synthetic fragrances in my life and instead strongly advocate for the intimate connection to nature that comes from working with and only wearing botanical aromatic treasures from flowers, leaves, barks, seeds, resins, rinds, and roots.
Fragrance can be complex both aromatically and in the feelings, memories, and thoughts it evokes. It is my belief that the natural world has so much to teach us and we should listen carefully. What I really love about fragrance is it’s ability to transport; to delight; to deepen; to lighten.
The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. As Lewis Thomas so cogently puts it:
“The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking. Immediately at the moment of perception, you can feel the mind going to work, sending the odor around from place to place, setting off complex repertories through the brain, polling one center after another for signs of recognition, for old memories and old connection. ”
I’m in love with this Rumi quote:
“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe before it’s gone.”
That’s the admonition I take to heart, and hope to live every day.
Often when I’m working with perfumes and oils, I muse about the concept of ineffability – that which is incapable of being expressed or described in words. I think a lot about Rumi’s work and other mystics who sought to express the inexpressible. Rumi often taught that poetic language was like scent that can only provide a hint of the Divine. I feel like I’m always reaching into that – poetry, scent, and the Divine are beautifully mixed together for me.
I also appreciate the charming Chinese proverb:
“A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.”
I certainly like the idea of that. In the giving much is received as well. As a reminder I have this little card up in my studio. I scented the paper with a beautiful Bulgarian rose essential oil and the hieroglyphics are my name Deborah.
What beauty are you allowing yourself to breathe in? Have a favorite natural fragrance? Love the wind as I do? Do tell – you know I love to hear.