Finding time to “stop and smell the roses” is something that many aspire to … but how many of us build in the time for ourselves, each and every day, to actually do it? This time of year, of course, it’s daffodils, not roses … but I don’t suggest adding “Smell Daffodils” to your To Do List as an item to be accomplished and checked off before moving on to the next thing. As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once wrote:
“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”
No, what I’d like to suggest is paying mindful attention. These days, here in New Hampshire, the air has been filled with birdsong and the daffodils are in full and glorious bloom. We’ve moved from winter into spring … and time is carrying us swiftly toward high summer even as I write this. The flow is steady … you could even call it relentless.
Add to that our own individual flow of goals and tasks, and you can see how time can easily slide by almost without our realizing. Suddenly, you “come to” and a day, a week, or a month has gone by. That’s a disorienting feeling!
That’s why it is so vital to build in stopping points in your daily routine. They needn’t be long … although the nourishment that these moments offer is enhanced and deepened the more time you spend! Use these points to ground and reorient yourself to the moment. In addition to the sheer pleasure of it, that’s what smelling the daffodils is all about!
This is not a frivolous activity by any means. Though it gives pleasure, “smelling the daffodils” has a deeper and more far-reaching meaning than “just” that. These pauses tell you where you are. Think of your stopping points as buoys marking your course as you sail through life … without them, you might easily end up lost at sea!
As you stop and breathe, you are connecting with yourself, your values, your moment … getting your bearings before you continue on. There is no greater gift that you can give yourself – and the great news is that you can do this, quite literally, while you smell the … daffodils!
How do you stop and get your bearings? Is this something that you build into your day?
© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.