Last night, after a lengthy struggle with inflammatory bowel disease, my beloved dog, George, passed away. George was a very special soul who touched so many lives in his short time here on Earth. Although my heart is broken, I know that I was extremely honored to have shared the past eight years of my life with this beautiful boy. So, I am sharing something here which will help his memory to live on and heal others, as he helped to heal me over the years.
How Aromas Can Help Us to Heal
Aromas have a powerful way of healing. Think about some of your favorite aromas and what they remind you of. I tried so hard to hold onto George’s aroma at the end that I was constantly inhaling his fur into my nose. The only way I got some sleep after his passing was to sleep with his blanket close to my nose. Aromas can be comforting, and help us to process deep emotional issues that our logical brain has difficulty understanding.
On a scientific note, aromas are the quickest way in which essential oils used in aromatherapy connect with the brain. From the Sedona Aromatherapie Certificate in Professional Aromatherapy course, we learn that:
“The theory of olfaction, with regard to aromatherapy, can be summarized as follows:
- Reception – the volatile molecules of an essential oil dissolve in the inner mucus lining of the nose.
- Transmission – the molecules are detected by the cilia, protruding from the olfactory receptor cells. The olfactory receptor cells send an electrochemical message, along the nerve fiber known as an axon, to the axons of the receptor cells. The fibers of the olfactory nerves, connected to the axons of the receptor cells, travel through the roof of the nose (via the cribiform plate of the ethmoid bone) where they join the olfactory bulb. This message is chemically converted and relayed to the brain.
Perception – the message is received and perceived by the cerebral cortex. The olfactory area of the brain is found in the temporal lobe of the brain.
The above process occurs at lightening speed.”
Aromatic Healing Gardens
Regular readers will know that over the past two years, I have been developing aromatic healing gardens of my own. George has been a big influence in that, too! In my recent NAHA Webinar: A Healing Garden in Your Back Yard, I discussed the role of our senses in the aromatic garden, and gave ways in which George helped to demonstrate that process. George”smelled” with his tongue and I’ve never known a dog who was so stimulated by different aromas, and demonstrated it so with his tongue. He was always licking! But then, he did arrive in our home at the tender age of four months, and was immediately surrounded by the work of an aromatherapist!
He regularly patroled the garden to make sure that everything was in order and took in the scent of each new flower or herb that appeared in the garden. Unfortunately, he also had a penchant for chasing lizards, and two of my flower beds suffered greatly with doggy paws trampling and digging for lizards who used to hide from him.
Despite these adventures, my own aromatic healing gardens have helped me to both grow and connect with plants more as an aromatherapist, and to just truly take in the very healing nature of plants. My instagram feed regularly features many of these plants.
Georgie’s Garden: His Passing and Legacy
George had a way of making the Sedona Aromatherapie aromatic garden his own so it seems only fitting to rename the Sedona Aromatherapie Garden in his honor to “Georgie’s Garden.” Many friends, neighbors, and clients have walked through the garden and described it as a place of healing, without my prompting, so it is only natural to honor this, even if it has unintentionally become an extension of my business.
George passed peacefully at home, surrounded with love and many tears, but he managed one last walk in the garden with me, despite his struggle, on the morning of his passing. We sat quitely for half an hour, drinking in the garden together. It seemed to me like he was proud of this garden he had made his own, and, continuing to share the healing it has already brought, is his legacy. George was a very loving and giving soul, only wanting to please those around him, so his garden is the perfect gift to us all to honor that memory.
As I develop aromatic workshops for next year, I will share more information on Georgie’s Garden and how it will continue to heal those with suffering. Even if you can’t physically attend an in-person workshop, I will continue to share the work of the garden through instagram, and other ways, virtually.
For my beloved George,
November 24 2008 – July 21 2017,
Forever in Our Hearts.