Smelling the vanilla

There is nothing like the smell of fresh baking.  It has a beautiful way of pervading through every wall and door in the house and through your nose and even skin!


I began baking at 7.30am this morning just after waving off the boys.  Baking calms me.  And after ‘Hurricane Willy’ this morning, who has decided he only likes one pair of pants and one pair of socks, I needed this peaceful activity.


As the sponge sandwiches were baking, rising and doing their thing, I did mine.  I lay and breathed in the aroma, feeling my stomach rise…. And then fall away.


In this crazy, high speed, techy, plugged in world, how often do people just take the opportunity to just lie and listen and smell, breathe and feel?  As a child, my sister and I would lie under or on the branches of the trees in the woods and watch the sunlight through the leaves, listening to the quiet.  Later, my best friend and I would run up the school fields, sprint and then lie on the grass listening to our hearts pounding before walking calmly back to take an exam.


Meditation and Mindfulness.  Just the words used to frighten me away, thinking they were activities for the hippy and the weirdly and overly spiritual.  But all it is, is being present, doing nothing else but being…. For a few minutes or longer.


My homework from therapy has been to continue my meditation practice (or mindfulness or zoning out… or whatever!) and focus on some of the calming, compassionate techniques or guided sessions on anxiety.


Gratitude is the antidote for depression.’  I can’t remember who said it, but I scribbled it down the other day after hearing it and so my ‘zoning out’ sessions are gratitude moments.


I could have lain there all day, listening to the birds, the next door neighbour’s hum of the chain saw, enjoying the smell of vanilla until my timer went off after 23 minutes and it felt like moments.


Gratitude is the antidote for depression, but so is living in the moment, unplugging and zoning out, letting the mind and brain rest.  I owe a lot to this practice of stillness of the mind, it helped me through the unsettling times of seeing my Mumbo in the mental hospital and during the week it took for her to pass.  It has helped me see a clear path forward for every bump in my rocky road in the last few years and even more so now.  My daily 10 minutes in the morning, along with my 10 written gratitudes in the evening are like brushing my teeth – non negotiable.




Interesting, as I go to my physio appointment, the latest Lewis Howes podcast is all about a story of meditation.  I love how she explains the impact on the brain.


She has a jar of water filled with glitter, the mind is the jar and the glitter is your brain.  She shakes it up so that the jar is sparkly and cloudy and this represents how your brain looks when you are stressed or angry.


By letting it sit for 10 minutes, everything settles and your mind becomes clear when you breath, leaving your brain to be able to see clearly again.



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