How much attention do we give to the sense of smell? How important are odors in our life, do we recognize what goes on within us even it we don’t consciously perceive it?
I have been fascinated with my sense of smell for as long as I can remember. Almost like the movie “The Perfume” but without the whole obsessiveness and killing. I am amazed by one’s ability to keep a memory stored, which is instantly activated by a familiar smell, you are brought back to your childhood, maybe you don’t even know the exact moment but one quick whiff of that odor and you have some emotion stirring up in you, good or bad or even neutral, yet strong enough to recall some other time in your life. I am super sensitive to perfume, emotionally and physically, especially the synthetic overpowering perfumes. I can’t wear any perfumes that I once purchased in the past, because it will constantly remind me of that time (good or bad), I will subconsciously be manipulated by that scent. And even if I were to go buy one now I know after a few weeks or months I would have to get rid of it because I just couldn’t stand it anymore (because they never change not like essential oils). I have stopped buying department store perfumes for two reasons, first they are too big and I would never use it all up and second the synthetic chemical smell gives me a hard time to breathe and headaches. I don’t have that with natural oils or an organic non-chemical perfume.
Our sense of smell is so underrated yet it is the first sense we use as a baby, a baby’s first movements are guided through the sense of smell and can locate it’s mother’s milk by the use of its nose alone. Babies smile when they smell their mother’s odor, maybe that’s why the bond between mother and child is so strong. As we get older we start to take our sense of smell for granted and on top of that we are over stimulated by all the olfactory of our environment. Psychologically and evolutionary a lot could and has been written about the sense of smell. I once saw a documentary where they explained, the more a woman likes the smell of her partner, the healthier their kids would be, because their genes are more different. If we think of animals, they use their sense of smell to get to know each other, to see if they are healthy or ill, and to mate. I also read in a book that an isolated tribe was being observed while other people approached, they could smell them 100 meters away with a huge waterfall separating the two parties. It was observed that they had smelled something different in their environment and knew something was going on. Often I can smell if it is about to snow or rain and on a less pleasant topic I once smelled a rotting carcass in my apartment. My cats had brought home (20th floor apartment building) a bird and hid it under a piece of furniture. I could smell something (like cabbage) in my environment, nobody else smelled it and I kept asking and they thought I was going crazy. So what did I do, I went on all 4’s, YES, and sniffed my way around the floor of the apartment until I narrowed it down to one cabinet, and what was under it, a poor dead bird. I smelled it for several days but for me the odor got worse and worse while others still didn’t notice it.
I am intrigued by fragrances and there are hundreds if not thousands of them, I mean pure essential oils, we know lemon, pine, cedar, orange, ylang ylang and a few more but there are oils out there I am dreaming to smell, from it’s original form to the essential oils. I remember travelling to India, China, Thailand, Mexico, Africa and all over Europe and every city has it’s own smell, it’s magical and spiritual.
Did you know that synthetic perfume is a compromise to the real counterpart and that it does not have the same characteristics? Let’s say you have rose in synthetic form, it will smell the same every day until you use it all up, it will never change, however if you take pure rose oil it will smell different depending where the rose is from, when it was harvested and what environment influenced it. It also depends on your own body chemistry and will change over time, minutes, hours, days or weeks. The synthetic form resembles a rose, which most of us get used to and don’t recognize the real smell of a rose. A better example is lemon, synthetic lemon is in bath cleaners, detergent, air sprays etc. and we get used to that synthetic lemon smell that when we smell a “real” lemon, we don’t understand why it is different, therefore it’s sometimes hard to recognize it’s original organic smell.
From the earliest times, people have taken pleasure in rubbing fragrant substances onto their skin; they used to be powerful forces in rituals, medicine, myth and conquests. It helped people to pray, heal; make love, to prepare for death and to create. With synthesizing scents we may have created perfumes that last longer, are cheap to make, have a high profit margin but we have killed the organic spirit of the original scent. Next time you are at your grocery store or at the florist, grab that lemon or rose and smell it, smell nature at it’s purest form (hoping it wasn’t sprayed with chemicals)…..
You may be more influenced and affected by smell than you know; it’s time to consciously start smelling again…..