Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

A Year of Mindfulness-Awareness of Smells


Well, here we are at the end of July. Time is moving quicker it seems. I’m already seeing sweaters and boots in stores and school supplies as well. One benefit of practicing mindfulness is cherishing time as it is now. Not rushing headlong into an unknown future. Not pining for time long past. Just focusing on what is happening in the present moment.

Last week we were asked to become aware of those times when we define and defend our selves. I mentioned the relevance of this practice because I’ve been working on branding in my business. It also brought to mind the question we’re often asked at gatherings: “What do you do?”

How do you typically answer that question?

The best response I heard to that question was “Do about what?”

This Week’s Practice:

This week we’re asked to become aware of the smells around us. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? If you work or live in the city, you might be quite aware of certain smells like diesel fuel or trash. But what about more subtle smells?

In rural areas it is quite common, especially in the spring, to catch a whiff of manure being laid on fields. But do you notice the scent of wet grass?

And how about emotions that are triggered by certain smells? Does a particular perfume remind you of your aunt and the big hug she’d give you? Or perhaps the smell of oatmeal cookies brings back fond memories of your grandmother.

Odors can have a powerful effect on our mental-emotional state and our behavior. Smells can effect how we react to someone or some thing. In an instant, an odor reaches our nose, a perception is formed, and a reaction is triggered.

This week become aware of smells. The good and the not so pleasant. Breathe deep the odors around you, from the freshly fallen rain to the clean laundry.

Reflection: As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round. –Ben Hogan

Bonus: I was thrilled last week to hear from Wendy, one of my readers and a mindfulness practitioner. Wendy shared a project she started to help remind her of each week’s mindfulness practice. For each practice, Wendy makes a small polymer clay tile. Each tile has an image on it that reminds Wendy of each weekly practice. When Wendy finishes Dr. Bays book (on which each weekly practice here is based), she intends to gather all the tiles together and create a mosaic wall piece. How cool is that? You can see Wendy’s tiles on her Flickr page

And be sure to check out her website & blog, After the Monsoon

6 thoughts on “A Year of Mindfulness-Awareness of Smells

  1. I love that response and will have to remember it for the next time I’m asked! 🙂 This morning as I was leaving for work, I walked down my driveway and the fragrance of blooming lilies from my garden filled my senses. It reminded me of how my friend used to bring me fresh lilies form his garden and I would float one bloom in a small bowl next to my bed so I could fall asleep to that heady scent. I love being aware of the scents around me. Thanks for this great post, Amy, and for sharing your friend’s links!

    • Isn’t that a great response, Karen? I’d love to see the look on the listener’s face when they hear it. Oh yes, lilies are very fragrant. I’m glad they bring back fond memories for you.

  2. Oh smells can trigger so much emotion for me sometimes. The smell of Autumn coming reminds me of the beginning of school. Smells of an old love’s cologne…. no, don’t go there, Judy.
    And the smell of my mom’s cooking when I walk in her home.. brings me back to being a kid, smelling the middle eastern food. Fun! Yum!

  3. The smell of gum leaves (eucalyptus) always reminds me of “home” and I was delighted that we had gum trees nearby when we lived in Nepal ! Thanks for your encouragement Amy and your thoughtful, reflective writing. Wendy

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