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Smell What’s Cookin’

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

Charred avocado and pink peppercorn honey are among the flavors you will taste in "Not An Avocado Toast 2.0" on the breakfast menu at Arcade Downtown (Photo courtesy Arcade Coffee Roasters)

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.

Last week we opened our eyes with true sight. This week’s TPS creative nudge is all about what the nose knows.  Follow it to a place that prepares or sells food. Few things remind you that you are a living being more than having the smell of your favorite food cause your stomach to rumble. If you grow your own, you can enjoy the effervescent effects of a windowsill herb garden or a row of citrus trees. Every meal you make or buy is a chance to let creative thinking into your life.

Now, prepare your instrument. Take three deep inhales through your nose and out your mouth. Feeling advanced? Try some nadi shodhana where you inhale and exhale from alternating nostrils to increase a sense of calm. Sit or stand quietly and, if you can, close your eyes.

Can you pick out individual smells or are they all blending together? Are they working together or is there conflict in the air? Is the air stale or fresh? What memories surface? While cross country skiing a few years ago near Big Bear I learned that Jeffrey Pines smell like vanilla and now when I bake with vanilla, I remember falling down hundreds of times in the snow.

For the next seven minutes, write or doodle about the smells you are experiencing. Do these scents have a color or a shape? What emotions do they stir within you? Do they remind you of anyone?

Let your mind wander. Experience a memory and let it go; see where your imagination takes you. Pretend you are a perfume maker, blending scents, creating your own primo signature fragrance. What’s in it, and how will friends react when they catch a whiff? If you bottled it, what would it be called and which celebrity would best endorse it?

By engaging with the world through your sense of smell, you can tap into a powerful source of inspiration and creativity.

This is a great way to pass the time while waiting for a lunch order or resting during a walk. Do this instead of doomscrolling on your phone.  Can you tell when your meal is being prepared based on smell? Can you judge others based on how their food smells? I bet you can!