Megan MacArthur, Nia Black Belt, Next Generation Trainer

“Because of molecules we are connected to the outside world from our bodies. Like when you smell things — because when you smell a smell it’s not really a smell –  it’s a part of the object that has come off of it — molecules. So when you smell something bad, it’s like in a way you’re eating it. This is why you should not really smell things.  In the same way that you don’t eat everything in the world around you — because as a smell, it gets inside of you. ” -Mikey Carver played by Elijah Wood in The Ice Storm (1997)

This line landed hard and clear in me when I heard it14 years ago. Since then I have had a deeply intimate relationship with smell that has taken me on a wild ride.
The action of smelling and inviting the outside world into the body is one of the most intimate experiences of moment to moment living. Breathing in Now. Like taste, the external world suddenly has an opportunity to enter the body.  Molecules are granted unlimited access to go inside and become part of the inner world in the darkness, the textures and fluids during each and every moment of our life’s breath.  Breathing is our most intimate connection with the world.  With the next layer of awareness of our breathing we drop in deeper-smelling-the place where we become more alert and aware of aroma, fragrance and begin to connect to not only what is here in this moment-also accessing our past experiences, primal instincts and perhaps even new inspirational body sensations.

Scent has a direct route to the brain. The fastest of all.
The olfactory bulb-scent centers-touch the deepest part  of the limbic brain, an area associated with memories, feelings and pleasure centers. The limbic brain is often referred to as the “emotional brain.” Aroma sends direct signals to this “emotional brain” and are able to almost immediately call upon memories, and other deep responses in the body.

When a scent is first smelled it is linked to that person, place, experience and stored in the body. The next time this scent is experienced it calls out a response via recall through scent.  A nose can choose the “perfect” mate out of a crowd, or decide on a good oyster vs a bad one. Smell is the first barrier to the initial meeting. Pass the scent test. Do you smell right in my world-better yet does your scent awaken in me the scent of desire to connect and to combine scents?

Through my relationship with the sensation of smell I have…

hurt others, emotionally as I have had visceral negative response to their scent and blurted out my feelings from a reactionary place — stirred so severely through scent.
over come physical fears -aromatherapy has offered scents to my nose that have shifted my fear response to ease
recalled personal traumas-early childhood moments represented by specific scents now smelled in life to restore pictures and sensations of times past.
fallen in love -the scent of my partner stirs sensuality,  comfort,  and ease of being — relationship of our blended scent supporting pleasure
been humbled into deep appreciate of the subtleties and severity of nature and my surroundings -brush fires, volcanic sulfur banks, flowers and fruits, sea breeze, mulch, grasses and so much more …

For me stopping to breathe in and truly sense the aroma of now creates a calm wave of cool light up the front of my face over the crown of my head-trickles and coats my neck with warm support-crawls down my back with big paws and swirls smooth liquid light through belly. My feet tingle  and my my base pulses through and along porous tissue. My whole body in ease and my mind is available and expansive. My emotional realms settles into the present moment-no past or future. Now-here-available.
I am here now-smelling this moment and allowing it to be in me, through me and part of me.

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As Confucius wrote more than 4000 years ago in China, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

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