Back when I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1998, my dear friend Robbi Zeck gave me a book by Dawna Markova called, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Purpose and Passion.

This book, and a particular poem in it, became a pivotal part of my healing. Here is the poem:

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

This was almost 20 years ago. These days, I’m at the point where I’ve almost forgotten that time. I consider myself a thriver, not survivor. I had the best kind of cancer—not enough to kill me but enough to change my life. Now at age 68, I have been, done, seen, and learned so much more since then.

Life is so short, and I’m certainly not finished! I’ve packed a lot into my aromatic journey years, and there’s a lot I feel compelled to share (for historical interest if nothing else).

Use Me

A few years ago, I attended a concert featuring one of my favorite musicians, David Bromberg. After a 14-year break from performing (during which time he repaired violins and never actually stopped playing music because friends would not leave him alone!), he said, “Why not go on the road again?”

He invited all of his friends to write and record songs with him on his album. He wanted to be used! So the title of this album is “Use Me.” (I was lucky to see him again this year at a house concert—less than 10 feet away from this man who I listened to most of my adult life. Check that off the bucket list!)

I told Nyssa that’s what I wanted, to be used—in the best possible way, of course! I do not want to die with an “unused” life.

This idea helped to fuel the growth of our home-study course, which includes a thriving online student forum, the publication of Natural Aromatic Materials: Odors and Origins, Second Edition, and now, our new online membership, the Inner Sanctum.

Some of the students who were lucky enough to come to my office for classes know that I call the back room the Inner Sanctum. Many more stories have come from that room as well.

I want to share those stories, share movies from trips to France and Australia, talk about the Purdue classes I took with my colleagues, share historical tidbits from 40 years of following my bliss—that irresistible calling—into the world of aromatics.

What Do You Want to Know?

In addition, I want to tell you what I use, why I use these things, and how I did things when I was getting started, so I can inspire the next generation. I want to capture special times and moments before I forget, talk about the people on my journey that inspired in me, who they were and still are, and tell my story for the next generation to learn from.

So, with all that being said, I am also asking for your advice. How can what I have to share serve you? What do you want to know? How would you like to use my knowledge? Let us know in the comments.

I’m not going to die an unlived life, but I also don’t want to go out before my life’s knowledge and wisdom is put down on paper (or screen), so that I can share with all of you and feel all used up!

Aromatically Yours,
Sylla

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