Stop and Smell the Roses

When we’re conducting the business of just getting along in life, it’s easy to take the time to stop and smell the roses. Of course, it’s not just the roses, it’s all the things in life we take for granted. If you want to maximize the life you’re living, you can achieve so much more joy and satisfaction by savoring all the nuances that add the flavor to each day well lived.

Everyone has the same 86,400 seconds each day, how are you going to use yours. By paying attention to those subtle details, you can get so much more out of each minute of every day.

Technology has presented us with ample distraction as an effective way to keep our attention engaged, which keeps you from getting bored, but potentially at the expense of loss of quality of life, at least in the romantic sense of it.

Tablets, iPods, cell phones, television, streaming media, radio, iTunes, NetFlix, YouTube, computers, video games, signage, all clamoring for your attention, it’s nearly impossible to have a spare moment, when something is not trying to grasp your attention.

You’re lucky if you have the ability to unplug, sit down to enjoy a family meal without television, phones or other devices, or any of the other simple pleasures in life, such as taking a walk, or just sitting and enjoying a face-to-face talk, without the presence of devices.

Not to sound paranoid, but recently, I was having a face-to-face discussion with someone who mentioned a restaurant I’d never heard of. Later, when I picked up my phone, a pop-up ad for that restaurant showed up. Coincidence? I don’t know, just saying… ‘ere, I digress.

If you really want to get all that you can out of this life, you need to make room in your life, in your day, in the precious moments of this life, to allow life to emerge before you. Make or find moments where you can sit in silent repose, to reflect about yourself, what you want out of life. Think about the things that make you happy and the activities which bring you joy.

Maybe it’s time to put yourself back in the drivers’ seat of your life, and not let media, commercialism, or the powers-that-be control you and your thoughts. Is it time to pay attention to you, your self, your body, your life?

If it is, then start making time for looking after you. Make time to engage in the activities that make you feel good. Schedule your “me time” to do whatever it is that makes you happy. It could be as simple as taking a walk in the park, feeding the ducks, sitting on a park bench, listening to your favorite music, taking a nice soak in the bathtub, or engaging in a particular hobby. Whatever it is that brings you joy, make time for that.

And when your day has come to an end, and slumber is just around the corner, take time to review your day. What did it look like? Did you take out a little time for yourself? Did you get all the things done that you set out to do? Regardless of the answers, love and forgive yourself. It’s a crazy world out there, and we’re all only doing the best we can with what we have. That means, you, too. So lighten up and give yourself a break. Cut yourself some slack and remember that tomorrow is a fresh, new day.

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re juggling a world of potential activities and obligations. You can reduce some of the overwhelm and panic by making a list (which you can use old-school technology, such as paper and a writing instrument, or use your phone or other device that might be handy), and check off things as you do them. Don’t delete them, because there is satisfaction in the doing of it, so mark it as done. And if you don’t get a majority (or any) of the things done, “Oh well,” you did the best you could.

And if there’s something on your list of things to do, that you’d rather not do, then try to create an atmosphere that is fun or at least pleasant, so that you are making the best of it. This can make it appear to be less monotonous, if you can find a way to make it more entertaining, or to inject some joy in the atmosphere around the particular task.

For those who are maintaining a frantically paced workload, or prolonged period of focused attention on a particular task, learn to stop (stop) and take a break periodically. Get up and go to the bathroom, or stroll to the lunchroom, check out the parking lot, walk up and down a flight of stairs. Whatever you’re doing that is demanding your attention, make time for you, even if it’s only for a few (as few as two) minutes.

Commuters who spend a portion of their day in travel to and from work, or a job site, etc., find a way to break up the commute. Commute time is a great way to study and expand your mind by reading or listening (listening, if you’re driving) to positive information, but also think about breaking up the commute by pulling over, or stopping midway, to get out and stretch, and take the opportunity to allow your mind the opportunity to see or imagine something you might have overlooked amidst the hustle and bustle.

Think on those things that are good. Whenever you have the opportunity to think for yourself, make opportunities to reflect on all the good things this life has to offer. Think about how you might be able to make a contribution to your family or community that will have meaningful impact. Think about avoiding negative news, remain positive, and fill your thoughts with positive, enlightening ideals, while taking time to smell the roses every once and a while.

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