We’ve all heard the cheesy old adage “just take a minute to stop and smell the roses.” I’m really not a fan of corny phrases; they tend to get so overused that they lose their meaning, and this one is no different. However, corniness aside, this phrase actually has a lot of validity and wisdom in it.
We often move through life on autopilot; we go through life so quickly that we aren’t even aware of where we are, how we got here, what our conscious thoughts were to make the decisions that got us here, and have no idea where we want to go next. We are conditioned to move quickly, and go on to the next life stage as if it is an automatic response, rather than a thought-out deliberate choice.
This is not to say that we always make hasty decisions; I am merely suggesting that we are not conditioned to take the time to slow down and acknowledge what is around us and within us. This is true for very literal things like noticing the flowers on a walk, the puffy white clouds in the bright blue sky, and the sounds of the turkeys running wild in the hills or the feeling of the cool air touching your skin.
But we also often move on autopilot with people, ourselves included! We tend to have automatic, habitual responses in conversations; we listen without really hearing what someone is saying, and we fail to pay attention to the subtle messages in the communication style or body language. And we do this with ourselves as well – we ignore the important messages our body is telling us, the natural wisdom that lies within that we can only notice when we slow down to connect with ourselves.
So, as summertime is approaching, and many of the school year responsibilities wane, it is a wonderful opportunity to slow and pay greater attention to what is inside of you and what is around you. Take a mindful minute to just breathe. Become aware of how it feels to take a break in your day with the only intention to simply be present. Notice the thoughts and emotions arising within you; acknowledge them and let them go. Look for the beauty that surrounds you and take time to actually appreciate it. Slow down. Stop and smell the roses. Take time for yourself. Listen. Connect. Be mindful.
It is a choice to move through life on autopilot. But once we are aware that that is what we are doing, we then have the responsibility to decide if we want to continue on the unconscious path, or if we want to wake up and smell the roses. With that awareness we have the chance to not only be conscious players in our own life, but also enjoy more of what life has to offer; simply because we are aware of it.
There is no better time than now. Be present. Taste the delicious summer fruit. Be alert of the smells of the warm sun. Connect with friends and loved ones in a meaningful way. Take time to just be wherever you are, with awareness, gratitude and appreciation. There is so much beauty in life; it’s just that sometimes we are moving too quickly to even notice it. So, now’s your chance: just take a minute to stop and smell the roses!