This Underrated "Sense" Shouldn't Be Ignored...
Water has been a part of my identity my entire life. I became scuba-certified my freshman year of college and continued diving until I achieved my dive master a few years later. To me, the ocean is my sense of safety. When I'm underwater, I'm in my deepest meditative state, constantly focused on my breath, engulfed in Mother Nature’s heart and surrounded by marine species that are so unfamiliar to my DNA that I become alive!
This past weekend, I was on Catalina Island for a dive trip with my partner who was getting his open water certification. He had training dives Saturday morning while I stayed on land.
When we met up for lunch, I was infatuated with his scent! This musty, salty, neoprene aroma was coming off of him. He smelled like a wetsuit! and I couldn't get enough.
Even though I hadn't been in the water that day, I was instantly transported to swimming underwater, to my favorite images of diving. The scent awakened an overwhelming sense of purpose, familiarity, unconditional love and joy within me! It was a unique sensation, how the smell of the wetsuit had the power to instantly reconnect me with every memory of joy I’ve felt.
In communicating this experience to my friend, she expressed how her father used to work as a mechanic, and now, whenever she is around the smell of car grease she feels like her entire heart opens. Another friend told me that whenever he smells his girlfriend’s Chanel perfume, he finds himself going back to the early stages of their relationship, before he knew the full capacity that would unfold between them–that playful, hopelessly-in-love feeling. If her scent lingers on one of his t-shirts, it’s like a jolt of energy. He can feel his heart expanding.
Imagine how your mood shifts as you inhale the first spring blossoms after a long winter, or how a waft of dog debris can put a damper on your stroll around the block.
Our sense of smell affects our awareness.
Scent connects us to our memory, emotion and attraction (hello pheromones!). I’ve started using scent as a tool to reconnect with myself. It's deepened my meditation practice to sit in silence and bring forward the smell of a wetsuit (who would've thought!).
I’ve started to play with scent while I’m sitting in traffic, during my morning practice, before bed and even during challenging or beautiful conversations; I visualize the feelings and images that connect me with that wetsuit scent, the feeling I get when I first jump into the ocean, the salty ocean air on my skin, the sound of the bubbles releasing from my regulator. It's allowed me to be in the ocean anytime I need it. This practice has become a quick and easy way to reconnect with my soul’s passion.
What scent makes you swoon? What scent connects you deepest with your heart? It could be the smell of freshly cut grass reminding you of school being let out, the freedom of summertime, the dusty smell of an old book that bestows new adventure and curiosity in you. A favorite flower, carnival food, fresh wood, bonfires–there is no wrong answer here. Whatever your scent is, it is beautifully unique to you and your story. Let yourself bask in the memory of its glory whenever you need it.
Open your heart and allow the world to delight you. You may be surprised by the scent that swoons you.