Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.”– Cressida in Troilus and Cressida
This week I am taking time to "Smell the Roses"
I have taken a week's vacation, and I am taking a short break from all my commitments, and devoting time to me and my family.
Too often, around the holiday season, we feel overwhelmed and stressed, trying to balance our work and play, often ending up regretting that we did not really enjoy ourselves. Looking back, despite our efforts, we are so busy rushing around, we miss the more important moments in life. The Zen of being present.
As my parents grow older, I want to spend more time with them, to appreciate all they have done for us, savor their delight in their Great Grandchildren, and to enjoy my nieces and nephews while they are still young enough to believe in Father Christmas.
I have not forgotten you my gentle readers, and wish to fulfill my obligations towards you, focusing this week's blog on the importance of the here and now.
People are usually to busy to stop just for a second once in a while, and just contemplate life. For many, they are too uncomfortable in their own skin to stop, lest they discover feelings that they can't, or don't want to deal with. For some, it's just not practical. Some may be afraid to "lose face".
Stopping to smell the roses, means that you have to stop hiding from yourself, look at life and how it relates to you...not what people expect or demand of you, even facing the thorns that may be revealed .
Vacations are so important for our souls. Often they are too short. But it is a proven fact that taking time out for yourself, actually makes one more creative, and that translates into greater productivity and overall self actualization.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they ccan dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
William Henry Davis
In his famous poem, Davis compares us busy humans to “Sheep or cows” that leisurely spend their time staring at the pastures. He says there are "streams full of stars, like the sky at night", yet people are so busy, they are “blind in the day”.
We are often so busy, that we may miss vital details and important events in life. He makes a fundamental observation, that if "We have no time to stand and stare", life loses its richness, its worth.
In a recent study, Rutgers University psychology professor Nancy Fagley had approximately 250 undergraduates take a survey measuring their levels of life appreciation.
“The challenge in fostering appreciation,” she says, “is that we want to periodically reflect on the positive aspects of our lives, value our friends and family, relish and savor the good times—without the practice of reflection becoming a rote habit or something that is taken for granted.”
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
I am posting this from my iPad today, so the formatting may appear a little different.
I am enjoying the time with my family, as short as it is, and I am anxious to get back to the festivities, moderated with time out for walks, smelling the roses, and talks.
My parents are aging each time I see them, and short term memories fade as quickly as they come. So time is precious.
I hope you will understand this shorter than usual contribution, and take a cue from me to savor the moments with your loved ones; or just taking time to "be in the moment".
Remember, there is no time like the present.....
As you walk amongst the flowers,
peer down at your feet.
There's no time to smell the roses
when you're six feet deep.