During my formative years, my mother had a very difficult time trying to convince me that many of her beliefs that I dismissed as “old wives’ fables” had merit.
I was, and still am, the quintessential skeptic.
I am sure you will understand my inability to see how a woman’s menstrual cycle can affect the quality of a cake she bakes. A cake recipe is scientific and if followed to the letter should produce the same results every time. To my mind, a woman’s menstrual cycle is not a variable in making a cake.
I am equally cynical of the belief among some Vincentians that when a green coconut palm falls from a tree, or when chickens cackle loudly on trees long after daybreak, it meant that someone was going to die. (Those of you who grew up in the Caribbean might understand these references.)
I must confess, though, that my mother has been able to convince me that whenever I dream about fire it represents conflict. I have developed the habit of dashing a cup of water on the roof whenever I have such dreams. It is simply my way of saying that I am willing to forego conflict, if at all possible.
My mother raised me to believe that “Sometimes you have to give up your right in the interest of peace.”
As I grew older, I have come to realize also that when confrontation is necessary, one should not shy away from it. Confrontation is often necessary to achieve progress. (Dentsu Inc).
I was equally skeptical last Thursday when my Taiwanese friend, Meggy, invited me to play a “game” that involved closing my eyes, silently asking a question and choosing three bottles of essential oil.
The personality traits, said to describe the person who selected a given fragrance of essential oil, were written in a book.
The red flag went up when Meggy told me I had to say, “My name is Kenton Chance. I have a question to ask. My question is …”
Meggy, knowing of my strong Christian belief and my wariness of anything that has the slightest semblance of divination, joked, “You have to believe just like you believe your god.”
“I will try. I will try,” I responded with equal jest.
I know of the merits of essential oils. In fact, Meggy and I were meeting mainly so that she could explain to me which massage treatment oil I should take home with me this summer.
Last winter, soon after Meggy and I met, I had problems sleeping well. She gave me a small bottle of essential oil to wear around my neck and my insomnia was history.
I was not so convinced about the character sketch part of it though.
The fragrances of the essential oils I selected (remember my eyes were closed) were: Eucalyptus, Frankincense and Grapefruit.
Meggy, consulting her book, and with the aid of an electronic translator, began to explain that, having selected Eucalyptus I am inclined to make plans, maintain my composure in most situations, do what I have to do …
By the time she said, “Believe that actions speak louder than words”, I stopped her and asked if she had pen and paper.
“You have my full attention,” I said.
Meggy had pen but no paper. I hurried to the International College office a few doors down the corridor and got a sheet of paper on which I wrote the other character traits:
- Like science
- Clear/logical thinker
- Selfless – helpful to others without expecting reward
- Honest, upright, fair minded
- Others believe you are arrogant but you are not
- Sober and calm
- Don’t like friends who gossip
I know. Meggy and I have known each other for a year. And you are probably thinking that maybe she is just revealing what she might have already observed about me. But how does one explain the situation with which I was faced at that time or were likely to face during the near future as revealed to her by the essential oils I had selected?
- Don’t like to offend others
- Good sixth sense
- Believe that I am protected by a greater force, external to me
- Discerning, can easily perceive good and evil intentions
- Don’t care much about material things but about personal development
- Clear thinker, good reflexes, studying is less stressful for me than for others
- Understand things easily
- Don’t like to bother others
- Some people think I am strange
- Have dreams I want to achieve and might feel empty if I don’t
- Good to everyone
- Don’t like conflict
These traits go with grapefruit fragrances essential oil, the third and final bottle I selected:
- Wont to sing and laugh loudly
- Do things enthusiastically
- Concerned about “the world situation”
- Inclined to deny self for the benefit of others
- Respect others/don’t impose will on others
- Make others feel safe
- Have a lot of abilities but most people don’t want to give me a chance
- Good at encouraging others
- Believe actions speak louder than words
- Don’t care about money
- Care more about spiritual rather than material things.
Those of you who know me can decide how many of those traits you see reflected in me.
Meggy, said that I selected a specific fragrance of essential oil, because I was facing or was likely to face in the near future certain situation, as follows:
- Have/will catch a cold
- Can’t concentrate well because I am pondering many things
- Don’t like to talk
- Easily angered
- Feel very tired
- Don’t want to go out
- Urinary or digestive problems
Think a lot about things from the past and have difficulties forgetting them
- Scared/not at peace
- Need rejuvenation
- Prone/tend to think I am useless
- Under pressure/ worried about the future
- Liable to disregard others as wrong
- Pressure at work or school
I tried my best to maintain my composure as I listened to Meggy, especially as I listened to the circumstance that I was “probably” confronting with or would likely face in the near future.
I am a very private person and hardly speak to anyone (including Meggy) about personal matters. I will venture to say that of the 15 situations she said I was facing or was likely to face, I was in fact facing, 11 (73.3%) of them at the time.
However, I believe that in a quest for truth one should try to falsify rather than validate. So I asked Meggy what if I did that again and selected three fragrances that say things that are completely opposite to those I had selected initially.
She said there was only one way to know, try.
I might just take up her offer sometime.
In the meantime, her prescription for the undesirable things I might face: three drops each of eucalyptus, frankincense and grapefruit essential oil respectively in the small bottle from one year before.
Ps: Just in case you are wondering about the question that I asked. Like I said to Meggy, that will forever remain unuttered.