A few days ago I lost my sense of smell. Suddenly, in the middle of a violent head cold it was gone. I realized that not only was I miserable but I couldn’t smell a thing, not even Vick’s. Some of that was good news. Wow, the kitty litter box seemed so clean-no aroma at all. But that news grew cold as I reminded myself that I couldn’t even smell unpleasant odors. Over the next two days I was keenly aware of loss. I thought a lot about how important my sense of smell has been all these years. It had been my best friend so many times-every spring when certain frangrances such as honeysuckle return, uplifting my mood by so many aromas -cinnamon, peppermint, fresh grass, chicken soup, musk perfumes, clean hair, even sweat. Panic almost begins to set in. I need my sense of smell. I’m not ready to say good-bye. It is becoming more precious by the moment. I resist picking up the lavender soup and seeing that I still can’t smell.
Fast forward-my sense of smell is back! Oh, sweet relief. I am leaning over my chicken soup-still simmering- and I can smell it again. I am still stuffed but I am in wondrous awe of the trickle of aroma making its way through my passages. I realize I am in the Now. I am in love with the smell of chicken soup. I am in love with my bathroom soap. I am in love with kitty litter. Well, not really in love, but appreciative.
The moment is passing. But I can say that I am so thankful. This is what feeling grateful really feels like. Not making a list when I wake up in the morning-nice idea but not passionate enough for me. This is pure gratitude, coming from the return of the most primitive sense we have, the one that is the gateway to so many of our memories. I love you, I love you, I love you. Stay with me forever. I will treat you, (my ability to smell) with respect and awe. I promise.
Meanwhile, life goes on- I guess I have to change the kitty litter.
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, www.enchantedself.com and author of The Truth, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)