The $8 sniff test

Some time ago, I received an email from two different people about a ‘clear and present danger’ to women. Bands of people were lurking in shopping mall parking lots attempting to abduct women. Their ploy, a tiny strip of ether soaked sniff test paper posing as an $8 knock-off of a $20 perfume sample. The warning came with a long, ‘this almost happened to me but I dodged the bullet’ missive from a woman in the police service. I read the text and thought, this is important information to know. In fact, at the top of the email it told me this was very important information to know and I must share it with everyone on my email contact list.

Even more important about the information I received, however, were the questions I pondered before passing it along. I wondered.. what was the likelihood of a little strip of paper containing enough ether to knock me out? I mean, think about the movies you’ve seen. When ether’s applied to knock out a ‘kidnappee’, it comes soaked in a cloth of unknown origins that is held at length against the victim’s mouth and nose. Doesn’t ether have a strong smell? Doesn’t it evaporate in the air? Couldn’t I tell the difference between an $8 perfume knock-off posing as a $20 perfume that is actually ether intended to render me unconscious?

I went on a hunt. Sure enough. The $8 sniff test doesn’t pass the truth or fiction test. It’s an urban myth. and Sniff Test

Which brings me back to being aware and conscious. Making choices that celebrate the wonder of my life in freedom.

When I honour myself, honour my freedom and my beautiful life, I am aware of both the dark and light side of living on this complex, magical and mystical planet we call earth. In The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker talks about the need to face reality. What is real and true and actual. An elevator door opens, he writes and when you look inside you see a man who smiles at you. There’s something about him that makes you feel uncomfortable. You hear the voice inside whisper, “Take another elevator.” Your ‘don’t make a scene. Don’t be rude/insensitive/whatever’ voice, says, “Get in. There’s nothing wrong.” What do you do? Heed the voice of observation and wait for the next elevator? Or, get into a steel chamber with a closed door with a stranger?

Listening to myself means not worrying about whether I look rude, silly, fearful or anything else I think lessens me in the eyes of others. When the elevator comes and I choose not to ride with a stranger, I am perfectly okay with my choice. Doesn’t mean I’m paranoid. It means I honour my life and my right to make choices that state clearly and unequivocally, I am free. I have choice. I acknowledge there are risks, I will not put myself at undue risk. I exercise my choice for my own good.

When I was in that relationship that caused so much pain and stress on my life and the lives of those I love, I didn’t honour my life, nor my right to make choices that celebrated my freedom. I continually made choices based on fear, denial, terror, confusion. I made choices based on what one man told me to be true, and never questioned the possibility that it was all fiction. I chose to believe he wouldn’t hurt me, even when the facts so clearly demonstrated, yes he would.

In my denial, I lost sight of the truth. My choices make the difference in my life. Will I choose to celebrate life, or kill off any hope of freedom? Will I open doors to change, or slam them shut in the face of possibility? Will I step into my fear of the unknown, or, will I stay stuck in my denial of what is, fearful of what I cannot see beyond what I know today?

In my life today, I accept with open arms the truth of who I am. I am responsible for me. Back then, I wasn’t willing to accept that. Back then, I wanted to deny the truth. I wanted to avoid taking responsibility for the one life I have total control of how I live. Mine.

That is the joy in my life today. When I do something that holds me back, puts me down, or simply keeps me stuck, I know I’ve made a choice to undermine my beautiful life. It’s up to me to ask the tough questions. (What’s in it for me to do this? What’s the purpose of my living in fear? Why do I believe I deserve to treat myself with disrespect? What do I want more of in my life — and will this get me more, or less, of what I want?…) And, to make better choices. To acknowledge my mistakes. To change my actions. To step in a different direction.

That is the joy of freedom. I have the power to create a beautiful life for myself. It’s up to me to live it up for all I’m worth.

12 thoughts on “The $8 sniff test

  1. LG,

    ah, the urban myth! … reminder that we believe so many things that just ain’t true. I think we want to be believers. I think we want easy answers to problems, easy solutions to mystery and to believe startline news – and often the more outrageous, the quicker we are to get on board. I think of Bernie Madoff who made-off with so much ‘rich folks money’ because he supposedly delivered on things that seemed too good to be true. I remember the fuss about Cold Fusion …

    The greater urban myth is about ‘we are the government, trust us’ which doesn’t square with the US government scoopin all emails and phone calls because everyone in north america might have a terrorist connection. Or the RCMP in High River breaking down doors to find kitty when they were really breaking down doors to confiscate guns.

    Who should we trust? Myth, authority .. our gut … or the internet. I think all prove unrealiable – which begs the question WHY?

    Are we so eager for a deal, for action, for simply solutions that we are blind to doing our homework, keeping our wits about us and taking deliberate steps? Or should we doubt everything we are told, trust nobody, be contrarian?

    Compared to so many pros, cons and dangers – I’m rather comfortable that a myth about scam artists peddling perfume in a parking lot raises awareness about personal safety for women. It isn’t a truth – but it seems to produce awareness and likely does no harm.

    … I’m just thinkin’




    • Great points Mark — I disaagree though on the it” likely does no harm”. These kinds of messages don’t raise awareness around women’s safety as much as they create fear — and fear means we’re not able to hear our intuition — and I believe our intuition is a great guide!


  2. Another great post on choices and being responsible for ourselves.

    I am finding that, even though I have made progress, there are certain things that can happen that will throw me back to that dark spot of fear and uncertainty. It is easier now to climb out again, although certainly when i am down, it is difficult to realise that I can.

    You are a continued inspiration to remind us (me) that we (I) can. Thank you again Louise 🙂


  3. How interesting! I agree that we are made to believe. We are by nature worshipers. We are going to serve something, whether or not we find the Truth. There is Good News to be had, and it brings a hope that there is One to trust, who really does have our best interests — beyond anything we can imagine, or even be truly aware of at this time — at heart.


    • I hadn’t thought of it that way Susan — now you’ve given me food for thought… or another blog! 🙂 I agree though — we want to believe — and it is sometimes challenging for us as humans to decide what to believe in. Thanks for sharing your insights… I’m now thinking and pondering and musing… 🙂


  4. perhaps we should post signs along all of life’s way
    that say “don’t feed the fears”
    I wish it would help:)
    glad to read your process….always such a wise share
    and so beautifully written.
    thank you,


  5. Oh wow! WP let you post a comment Jenn — how wonderful to see you here — this morning, I’m working on my ipad and WP has been very difficult to work with.

    I love that — “Don’t feed the fears” — what a brilliant idea — it’s so true. These types of messages feed our fears and in that process — we become more fearful rather than fearless in our capacity to live life on the outside of our comfort zones!

    Lovely to see you my friend. Hugs


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