Oh, how I wish you could scratch ‘n sniff.

The aroma of jasmine is unmistakable. I used to live in a garden cottage, with my bedroom overlooking a fairyland of wildflowers. My landlady was a master gardener and one of the many trees she planted – strategically, I might add – was night blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum). It sat right beyond my open window, so the smell would often lull me to sleep.

As a certified aromatherapist (yep, I studied the art and science of smells back in that pocket of years between an undergrad degree and “OMG, what am I going to do with my life?”), I know that the smell center of the brain, or limbic system, is also where memories are stored. Which is why familiar scents transport us back instantly to a time and a place we most notably experienced them.

It’s why you’re in grandma’s kitchen when you get a whiff of baked apples and cinnamon. Or why you’re reminded of that dorky high school boyfriend when you pass the Polo cologne at a men’s cosmetic counter. Or why all things grape-scented, from those dreaded fluoride treatments as a kid, have you back in the dentist’s chair, listening to Muzak and staring at motivational ceiling posters.

On a more euphoric note, jasmine is an aroma I hold near and dear to my heart. Happy times. Restorative times. A beautifying elixir for the bath and the soul.

So the next time you pass a patch of jasmine, stop and smell. And if none is growing abundantly near you, here’s a feel-good body blend you can easily hand-craft yourself, using only true certified organic essential oils:
[list]a drop or two of jasmine in the palm of your hand
a drop of juniperberry
a drop or two of bergamot
2 T jojoba carrier oil (or as much as your palm can contain)[/list]

Massage into your dry bits, and luxuriate.


Bye Bye, Mr. Bean

Early this morning I had a very special acupuncture treatment known in TCM circles as ‘The Eight Extraordinary Vessels’. It’s a powerful configuration of points that together represent the underlying root of all the body’s energy systems. Unlike other meridians, these are not attributed to a physical body system, but they are more akin to being “the source and blueprint which makes manifest all the systems and structure of the body.”

A wee overview here and here.

Needless to say, it was  profound and hugely helpful with the chi stagnation I’m experiencing at the moment.

In addition to dietary changes, like dropping the refined sugars and flours, which has been just fine by me (especially with the additional support I’m getting right now from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program, replete with delicious recipes, shopping lists and weekly “Sunday Cook-Ups”), I’ve been told to quit the sweet, sweet bean.

Apparently, my pulse on the left (read: “yin”) side was charging and pushing beyond its limit, causing me anxiety and a host of other unpleasant symptoms. This push, not pull, behavior in my system mirrors the characteristics of coffee. We can easily fall into the trap of leaning on coffee to pick us up and urge us forward, when we’re run down and out of oomph. Too much of the stuff and “pow” we’re in a constant state of overdrive. Like I was this morning…