Tag Archives: Gavin de Becker

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. Snopes.com-Snatch 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.