Nearly everyone is familiar with that idiom “stop and smell the roses.” A study at Rutgers University confirmed that taking time out to appreciate meaningful things and people in our lives greatly contributes to our overall happiness. This is key in the treatment of depression and those suffering from low self-esteem.
What do you think of when you hear that?
I think: STOP. Reflect. Be.
If you think about when you’re told to “stop and smell the roses,” it’s usually in a time when you might have a lot to do, are rushed, or are particularly stressed. Stopping to smell the roses is just another way to become mindful of your surroundings. You’re stopping, you’re noticing, you’re paying attention to the here and now. The goal of practicing mindfulness is to give 100% of your attention to what’s right in front of you. If it’s literally a rose bush, notice everything about it. How tall or short is it? How many blooms does it have? Is any part of it dying or is it vibrant? How do you measure up in relation to this rose bush? What colors are you noticing? Is any fragrance coming from the rose bush? How do the petals, leaves, stems of the rose bush feel? Use your five senses to be in the moment with that rose bush.
I’ve been paying special attention to the sky lately as a way to ground myself, reflect, and to remember that the world is so much bigger than puny little me.
Here are some pictures that were awe-inspiring for me that I’ve taken over the past 2 weeks.
I may not be “stopping to smell the roses,” but I am stopping to gaze at the sky. I’m noticing all the different shades of color. I’m imagining what colors of paint I would need to be able to create a painting that captures the majesty of what these sky-scapes are. I look beyond the cloud formations and wonder if it’s all blue sky beyond. I feel small in comparison to the great, big, endless sky. I look for rays of the sun trying to peek through. I inhale the fresh air and notice how it makes my nostrils, lungs, and stomach feel. I let myself just be in the moment with the sky and block everything else out. I appreciate me, everything I’ve accomplished, and everything I am apart of in that moment. I feel gratitude for being given the family I have, for being given a life to live, and work to love. I remember to value my life and the lives of those around me.
That’s the whole meaning behind stopping to smell the roses.