Like with most routines, I often find myself in a lull that involves eating the same food, speaking with my same confidants, and seeing the same visuals, even in a city like ever-changing New York.
Sensory paralysis leading to creative stagnation.
So what's the solution? It includes wiping the slate clean by flinging yourself from one environment to another. Part of my creative process requires travel and the feelings that result from it: The vulnerability I feel when I remove myself from my usual routing and humility upon seeing people for the first time, living whole lives that I would never come in contact with otherwise. For me, creativity pushes me to expand the scope of what is possible and what is the every day. Recently, I went from the bitterly cold and congested New York City, to the balmy port town of St George, Grenada.
Getting off the plane, I felt an instant familiarity that resonated from my Caribbean roots. People in Grenada were warm and friendly, delicately masked behind a radiant energy. I stayed at the Sankofa Sanctuary, a hilltop estate looking over the port of Saint George. The property is a commune-like estate with four separate living quarters, including the main house where I stayed in the master suite. From my room, I had a beautiful view of the entire palm filled property and the lush hillsides that surrounded.Sunlight and plants spilled into my bathroom from an open sunroof, and at night I could hear the liveliness of the outside forestry and animals. I ate native ground provisions—yams, squash, potatoes, and plantains—cooked together in a hearty stew with a coconut milk broth and spiced with “a spicing pepper.” And the fruits in season were golden apples (in Jamaica, after asking my father, I found out they are called June plums), short bananas and star fruits (No mangoes in season yet).
Case Study for Scent Development
Once I arrived in Grenada, time slowed way down––it felt like there were more hours in the day. I moved slowly from one activity to another, but every time I checked the time, somehow, it would only be the morning or early afternoon. Staying in Grenada gave me a renewed sense of self-awareness. Thoughts and creativity came and evolved more fluidly because there was no pressure to be any certain way. I noticed physical responses to being in a new environment as well—I was more vascular, my muscles firm, my skin plump and sun-kissed.
Grenada gave me the space to feel more connected and clearer. I was able to hold a sense of stillness and quietness that is every elusive in New York City.
How does one articulate how inner quiet feels? It’s a quiet breeze across your face while gently floating. It’s ears muffled from being underwater, transferring awareness of sound over to your sense of touch. It feels like accepting that, regardless of what direction you take, you are going the right way.
The scent I’m creating to reflect this experience is still only in colors and feelings at the moment. It’s a resinous hazel that mutes into large pools of varying shades of greens that stretch into deep golden yellows. Every so often there is a sprinkle of blue, that if glanced over can be mistaken for white.
Alternatively, I recall the physical sensations of the following: waking up from a satisfying nap, drinking cool water after being parched, discovering a new flavor I haven’t encountered before.
Grenada isn’t my home––but reminds me that many places can be. Grenada is a mental sanctuary that accepts you without questions and fills your cup and then some.