Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sacred Phrase Yum

As a girl, I knew Christmas season was here when I opened my front door.  A certain perfume of spices would greet me.  The other clue was my Aunt’s rusted Pinto station wagon would be in the drive behind my Mom's rusted red van.  I'd  quickly glance at the snow level on their windshields and this would indicate that today was the day.  My Mom and Aunt had been baking for about 8-9 hours straight while we were in school.  My family dining room table would be covered with goodies: Georgia Pecan Chewies,  Grandma’s favorite coconut cookies, Swedish S almond cookies and these chocolate meringues with a hershey kiss that would melt when they hit your tongue.  I could imagine my mouth filled with this thick soup of goodness.  There would be plates of jeweled colored candies dusted with a thin layer of powdered sugar.  Each gem color having its own unique taste: cinnamon, wintergreen, peppermint and clove.  The sugared treasures would last well into the spring.  I'd stand at the end of the table still dressed in my thick winter coat and hat and go: “Yum.”


Some of our most powerful memories are associated with smell and taste.  The olfactory nerve, responsible for smell, in evolutionary terms is our oldest sense.  It is one of the senses that we have in common with bacteria.  This rudimentary sense enables us to respond to chemicals around us.  (Think of opening up the jug of soured milk – what is your response?)  Another cool thing about this sense, it can regenerate.  As you age, your other senses wear out – you have to wear bifocals, you may have to wear a hearing aid – you will still have smell.  You will still be able to smell the hint of apple blossoms during the spring; and smell a chocolate cake baking in the kitchen.

It fascinates me how these smells seem to be wrapped around my memories.  Scientists believe is because of where the olfactory is located – next to our memory maker the hippocampus.  This closeness may be the reason scent is mixed with memory

In my earlier essay on Love Champions, I wrote about the heart chakra.  One of the seed mantras for the heart is "Yum.”  Yum in Sanskrit means compassion and love.  

How is it Yum – which I associate with yummy goodies and happy memories be also the seed mantra for the heart chakra?  How is it that this meditation phrase about love and heart energy is also what I’ve learned to say when I bite into a chocolate cake with Hershey frosting and think of all the wonderful women who have baked this for me. 

When I say it do I reinforce this memory with love?  When I think fondly on my Mom and Aunt’s day of cooking and baking – did I reinforce that memory each year as a child with the sacred phrase of Yum?


Yesterday I went to the candle shop at the mall.  I caught a whiff of the blended Christmas scents and for a momment I was transported back to my parent's dining room.  I was there again looking at the goodies and the plates of multi-colored jewels. 

It was a momment of love - a momment filled with comfort and a little girl's joy.  And, again I said, "Yum" reinforcing this love that is bigger than my childhood's memory.

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