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Got Your Nose

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Photo by Braydon Anderson / Unsplash

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

In our previous creative nudge, we tipped our hats to the myriad stories and identities we create and come across in our lives. What did you reveal when you put on your thinking cap? Did you design a dream hat symbolizing a secret wish? Perhaps you delved deep into the history of a cherished chapeau, unearthing memories and moments long forgotten. Whether you rocked a kippah or keffiyeh, top hat or toque, I hope the experience capped your week with a fresh perspective and a dash of dapper’s delight.

This week’s creative nudge is going to keep the focus on you, from your head to your nose. Or noses as the case may be. We have two eyes, two ears, and two lips. We all have at least two opinions on any topic! But did you knows we have two noses?  

Your nose, often taken for granted, is a gateway to a world rich in scents and memories. It's said that our sense of smell is closely linked to memory, more so than any of our other senses. A single whiff can transport us to different times and places, evoking emotions and recollections with vivid clarity.

Take the time, and step outside for this week’s creative nudge. Then, take a deep breath and immerse yourself in the olfactory orchestra that nature has to offer. From the earthy,asphalty scents left by recent rains, to the commons smells we regularly find in our neighborhoods or offices, each inhalation is an invitation to explore and appreciate the world around us. Now, follow your nose, with one or more of these creative exercises.

  1. Scented Journey: Identify as many scents as you can. Is that freshly cut grass? Pine? Car exhaust? Gather various natural elements like flowers, leaves, and herbs. Crush them gently between your fingers and combine them to create your own unique scent. What would you name this natural perfume?
  2. Memory Lane: Find a scent that evokes a strong memory. Recall that Thanksgiving when your uncle took your nose and you didn’t get it back until New Year’s Eve? Spend a few minutes writing or sketching about anything that comes up.
  3. Scented Stories: Imagine a world where communication is solely through scents. How would you convey happiness, sadness, excitement, or calm? Create a short story or poem using only olfactory descriptions.
  4. Nasal Awareness Meditation: So now you know you got two noses…now what? Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Try to focus on which nostril feels more open and which one feels slightly congested. This meditation will not only heighten your sense of smell but also make you more appreciative of the natural cycles of your body.

Life is just better when we better know our nose! Our bodies are creative marvels of nature, with intricate systems and cycles working seamlessly to keep us functioning. Our noses, with their incredible ability to detect and distinguish myriad scents, offer us a unique way to connect with our environment and our memories. 

As you explore these activities, let your nose guide you to new discoveries and insights. Remember, sometimes all it takes to gain a fresh perspective is to stop and smell the roses... and the lilacs, and the pines, and the myriad other fragrances that nature generously offers.

Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.