Smells often evoke the deepest memories or feelings - sometimes the memory can be found, other times it can plague you all day and still it's not located.
As a teenager, I worked on the cheese counter in Woolworths on Saturdays. I didn't know it had an aroma until decades later, when I whiffed the smell and it took me right back - to a specific location in the shop even - going up to the staff area. I didn't know I had this memory stored either, it just popped up!
Perhaps I like a bit of magic in life, but I like to believe that if a scent hits us out of nowhere, then maybe there's some inner exploration to do. When I smelt 'Eau de Woolworths', perhaps I should have lingered a bit on the time I spent there - reflecting on how I was, what it taught me, what were the good things and the not so good? Was there a significance?
Passing these newly bloomed lilies a few days ago the heady, gorgeous scent of them lifted me to some past joy. I haven't yet worked out where, but I intend to explore a little when the puzzle is solved.
With clients, I like to help them become more aware of such moments as they go through their everyday lives and to perhaps linger a little on them. Sometimes, the memory will be a traumatic one, or certainly one that brings with it some intense emotion, so it's not always an easy or even advisable thing. But I have a sense that if it has arrived then maybe now is the time to spend a little time looking at it? It needs gentle and careful work.