The Smell Of Love
When thinking about Home Scents to write about for my Saturday post here on PST, I took off on a tangent that didn’t let go of me again. I was stuck on that thought and by association, so are you now. So here we go, talking about home scents in another sense of the word. Please bear with me!
Home, the one of our childhood and the one we built for ourselves, is associated with certain scents. The smell of a loved one, the scent of a room, it brings us back into our past or reminds us of our present in a complete and total way that sights and sounds cannot.
In therapy I use a technique called Guided Affective Imagery, where day dreams are harnessed as a guide to the soul, where we use the soul’s language, how the soul speaks in images rather than words. Those images are powerful, significant and healing. Just like in dreams we have at night, daydreaming gives us a look into our inner workings and also a way out of problematic situations.
I often think how the sense of smell would be even more helpful, how total the recollection of situations and emotions would be. It would be way too traumatic of course, and absolutely non-advisable, there is no way to guide and temper that fifth sense of ours, but it is utterly and terribly effective. Our entire being can be influenced, transported, transformed even, by smell.
So what are the smells that make me think of home?
First and foremost, nothing more than the smell of my children means home to me. The scent of their hair (or lack thereof in the case of my younger one), that is so warm and milky and sweet. The smell of their sticky little fingers, varying slightly according to today’s diet. The smell of their breath at night, puffing softly, when I lean in to check on them, smelling like fresh bread and violets.
Home also means the slight smell of paint we can’t seem to get rid off, since re-painting the doors last year. The smell of laundry drying in our bedroom, there is always laundry around, no matter how often I wash and fold and iron and wash and fold…you get the picture.
Home also means the smell of cigarette smoke in the hallway of our building, from an incorrigible smoking neighbor that I hate on the one hand but that also takes me back to my Grandparents’ home in an instant. My Grandfather smoked all his life, then died of lung cancer. Love and smoke can be intertwined after all.
Home also means the smell of the deodorant my husband uses since he was sixteen years old, that he insists on being the one and only, the one we have to bring home in large – no doubt custom duty declarable – quantities from trips to the US. He loves that scent and inevitably so do I, it smells like the home I have made for myself after all.
Along with the world of perfume the entire world of smell opened up for me. I am so much more aware of what I smell and how it registers with me. And the best part is that the more I rely on my sense of smell, the more I actively use it, the less judgement seems to come into play. Earlier there was an immediate good-bad, love-hate reaction to smells. Smell, judge, forget, was the way I related to what my nose tried to tell me.
Now the reaction is: Smell, investigate, remember.
How about you? What smells spell Home for you?