Stop and Smell the Roses

“I believe your reality is what you make it, what you choose to see, and what you choose to allow yourself to do. There are possibilities all around you – magic all around you – no matter what situation you’re in.” Keke Palmer, Actress

As we dig into the second year of the pandemic, a retreat sounds like the ideal place to be. Yet, most of us cannot yet venture far from home, or travel in ways that we were used to in a pre-pandemic world. So, what can you do to “take a retreat,” beyond exploring more of your local neighborhood?

How about learning a new skill? Or starting a hobby? I know. It doesn’t sound much like a retreat! At least, not in the sense of the word that we are used to. But you might be pleasantly surprised. Here’s why I think you might like it.

I had been wanting to study with a certain perfume teacher for years, but the stars just never seemed to align. Perfumery study does not come cheaply. Add into that the cost of travel across country via a complicated flight route, and I began to think I just might never achieve my dream. However, the pandemic changed that. Actually, for the better. We are so used to hearing negative stories that sometimes we miss the positive stories to come out of this world crisis. It meant that I could now take this class online. I didn’t have to travel. But I must admit that I did have reservations about studying real perfumery online. How was that going to work in a live class?

Perfume soul mates. And an understanding of each other’s dreams.So, on the first day of the weekend class, I went ahead and set up my computer and my workspace with the perfume kit that we had been sent before class and logged on at the unearthly hour of 7 am (due to a West coast/East coast time difference). I did wonder if I had slightly lost my mind as I crawled out of bed, pushing my sensitive auto-immune stricken body to do something it struggled with at such a ridiculous time. And this was something I was doing to enjoy?

But I soon forgot about all that as I spent the next seven hours immersed in the world of scent with ten other students from across the world. Yes, the world. Distance evaporated between us and I was ensconced in my own little “retreat,” surrounded by my own familiar things in my own home, with a view of my own garden from my own workspace, but now with ten like-minded souls. No airports, no gas station stops, or other people’s mindless gripes anywhere. Just pure perfume. Perfume soul mates. And an understanding of each other’s dreams.

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In essence, I had the sense of having been on my own little “retreat” and felt surprisingly refreshed, reinvigorated, and brimming with new ideas after taking this time for myself, outside of my usual routine. Who would have thought that such a thing was even possible in this unique situation!

The class had connected me with my people. It had fed my soul and mind with such much needed support and an appreciation of shared interests. Things I didn’t know I was craving until it happened. The pandemic had stolen that from me without me seeing it.

I would like to add that although online connection does not replace in-person connection for everything, during these strange times, it provided me with a solution to my dilemma and gave me a much-needed boost, mentally. I felt so much better for such a short connection.

So, take a look around. What do you wish you could do or learn? Is it possible to now do that in a setting that you hadn’t thought of, or wasn’t offered, before? You never know, you might literally come up smelling of roses.

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