Spring isn’t officially here yet, but in my neck of the woods, the days are noticeably longer, brighter and warm. And they smell. Yes, the smell of damp new growth, of warmth and possibility. This year, for maybe the first time ever, I am feeling in sync with the sprouting energy. I am ready for some change. Ready to step into the next movement. I attribute this readiness to a long leisurely few months of a lot of staying home. A lot of staying home. A lot of cooking and a lot of reading. The book list is always growing but most recently I have been reading up on epigenetics in preparation for some new workshop material that I will be presenting on the West coast starting this coming Friday. I’ll be talking about epigenetics, essential oils and Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine was born from the wisdom of constant change, from the acknowledgement that the forces of night and day, light and dark, are both opposites and partners, that they both reinforce each other and change into each other. The discussion on epigenetics and essential oils is all about choice and change (now doesn’t that theme sound familiar???). Epigenetics basically says that how we interact with our environment produces changes on the genetic level, changes that can be measured and even passed on to the next generation. Added to the discussion is the notion that with conscious choice we can inhabit these types of changes in whole new ways, evolutionary ways, ways that allow us to bring forward all kinds of wisdom from our experience. The key, however, remains the idea of change by choice.
Essential oils are the key players here as they both contain the essence of the plant, the actual substance itself and they can activate our senses with their aroma. Smell is our oldest and most primal sense, one that protects us, enlivens us and brings us great pleasure. Through the activation of our senses we change our perception, literally and emotionally. When we smell something, we instantly recognize its character, its “meaning” you could say for us. It may be an exact recognition, such as “smells like cut grass” or it may be a vague one such as “smells like my grandma used to smell”. Either way it can often be a pivotal experience. Essential oils allow us to make change by choice by bringing consciousness to our sense of smell and altering our experience of ourselves.
When I teach about essential oils I frequently offer the following exercise as a way in to this kind of knowing:
Pick an essential oil to work with or if you don’t have one just walk outside and smell the air.
Smell the oil chosen or the air for at least one minute.
Sit quietly for a minimum of 5 minutes and observe the following:
Where in my body am I experiencing sensation?
What is the nature of the sensation I am experiencing? (warm/cold/heavy/light/still/moving)
What is the quality of the sensation I am experiencing? (sharp/dull/burning/numb/tingling)
What thoughts arise?
What feelings arise?
4. Write, draw or dance this experience for yourself.
Notice how different things feel after just these few minutes.
For this exercise, please try to let your body be your guide rather than your thinking mind. Everyone experiences smells differently and there are no good or bad smells, only different and unique bodies.
I’d love to hear about your experience, so if you are willing, please share right here!
Perhaps you want to join me for this lively new material in either Vancouver or San Francisco! Look here for more information!
The blog will be on break while I am on the road. I’ll be back with more Monday Morning notes on April 1.
Enjoy the smell of Spring!