If I had to choose a favorite smell it would either be wood-smoke or the smell of the bottom of my dog’s paws. I know, weird right? But sometimes after a long day I’ll press my nose into those warm scratchy black paw pads, nestled in tufts of white husky fur, and just inhale. It smells like the musty scent of dog mixed with the grassy soil smell of fresh earth, and it is amazing.
I don’t know when I allowed myself to realize what my favorite smells really were. It wasn’t long ago though.
But we all do that. We get caught up and day’s slip away and our routine becomes numbing. Before we know it, we don’t even know little things about ourselves because we have no time for even minimal amounts of self discovery and validation.
When we know who we are and we accept it though, that’s when we become grounded. We become anchored with enough security to reach out and learn about, connect, and feel for others too.
When you take advantage of opportunities to understand yourself, you will get to know your limitations too. It’s like looking out into the ocean before you go swimming and knowing there are sharks somewhere out there, you just want to forget that part. And we can get really good at forgetting.
I have discovered that, for me, compassion is like a fuel tank. It’s not consistent. Sometimes it’s full and I greet the day with a golden glow and an invisible super hero cape flowing behind me. I want to save the world and absolutely everything and everyone in it. I stop on the sidewalk to pick up worms drying in the sun. I pack extra granola bars and tiny oranges, just in case I run into homeless people. Those are the days when my compassion tank is full.
Then there are the days when I leave the worms, I avoid eye contact in the check out lanes, I choose the car lane furthest from the man with the cardboard sign on the corner. There are days where my soul feels like a storm is coming. I can’t see rolling black clouds, but I know I’ve used up all of my sunshine.
Maybe we all have those days.
But maybe something as simple as remembering and honoring those quirky things about ourselves matters more than I often give it credit for. Maybe validating our own existence and limitations is a start to validate that of others, even, well, the earth worms. Maybe honoring limitations doesn’t make us weak, it just makes us human.
And maybe, just maybe, one day I will make a candle of dog-must and earth, even if I’m the only one who buys it.