Life, as it seems, is an amazing hurdle race we are all thrust upon from the moment we set foot in kindergarten, and it’s getting worse year after blurry year. Ugh! Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a cynic. Quite the opposite; I have the rosiest-colored glasses and wear them on a daily basis. But, life has become a race for most, unless you happen to be one of those people who refuse to bandwagon your way to a finish line along with everybody else.
Human beings race in so many directions, it’s hard not to be in ten different places all at once; a better job or higher salary, higher grades and qualifications, a significant other and a family, a brand-new car or the newest tech gadget, you name it. We race, race, race, and then race some more, ending up exhausted or downright burned out. It doesn’t really mean it is necessarily a bad thing. Having goals and striving for excellence in all realms of life is admirable and even natural. We have been competing for survival since man hunted the first mastodons or searched for a bigger, wider cave. But we have forgotten along all the frantic running to take time to sit back and enjoy the views of our journey, or stopping once in a while, not just to smell the proverbial roses, but to familiarize oneself with its scent, to admire its dewy petals on a sunny day and perfectly pointed thorns, to find its roots and feed, replant, or water it as needed. It’s in the seeing beyond the fact that a rose is not just a rose, it is a perfect structure of natural asymmetry. Our presence in this world, where we are intelligent beings, have given us the opportunity to permeate our senses with all the roses’ splendid attributes if we observe rather than look. See? I told you about my pink-colored glasses!
And how do we do that? We’ve all heard the global themes of our lives for which we should make time; nurturing relationships, caring for our children, being part of the community, developing a career, finding time to relax, traveling, reading, etc. All those are vital, and if you’re already doing it, keep at it. If not, start, ASAP! My point here is that at times, we need to focus on more specific aspects, those hidden within the global themes I mention above. I believe there are five little things that can contribute in enhancing our daily lives, as busy as they may be.
1.- READ YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OR BOOKS AGAIN
Especially, if you haven’t in a while. Revisiting your favorite characters with a new set of eyes or wider imagination will lend you a new perspective and the story might change to adjust to your current place in life. I’m sure Frodo, Jo March, Huck Finn, or Sherlock Holmes will welcome you in their journey once again!
2.- TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF NATURE
Selfies are great, but there are already too many of those. Focus on small things that are not you or people around you, and I don’t mean just sunsets or pretty landscapes, which can be amazing, too. Zoom in to the pebbles on a clear creek, interesting leafs that have just sprouted or dried out, a group of ants carrying a hefty morsel to take back to their ant relatives, the squiggly lines left on the sand by receding water on a beach, or even acorns or pine needles on a hiking trip through the woods. The more unusual, the better; Get the picture?
3.- SMILE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Look in the mirror and smile to yourself. Yes, seriously! It spreads through your body like a good virus, and likewise in others. Have you ever looked at a person in your run to the supermarket or gas station, or even waiting in line at the license bureau? Well, try it, but try not to be creepy. Smiling from that place where you reflect on how you are in the same place as someone else who might be just as tired or stressed as you are. Smile, and do it from your soul.
4.- WRITE POETRY OR LETTERS TO YOURSELF
Love has been expressed through written word since Adam and Eve (or some-when after that). Who knows? The point is, it has been done with beautiful effects on the heart. But, seldom has poetry or other forms of writing been about ‘making love’ to oneself, and I’m not suggesting *ahem* over-dosefying in it until vanity takes over, but loving who you are and reminding yourself how incredibly you can be, may come in handy when you’re down on yourself. Down in the dumps? Pick up one of the letters or poems you’ve written and read it again. Tell yourself how much you heart YOU.
5.- DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR HALF AN HOUR
Well, okay, fifteen to twenty minutes, so much to do, so little time, right? Don’t make mental notes, chew gum, have the TV on in the background, or even walk, but most importantly, don’t fall asleep! I jest, but seriously, let your mind wander idly and freely, pushing away your routine, chores, or duties. Concentrate on how it FEELS, on being present in the right there and then; smell the air (even if its polluted), hear the wind or the cars passing by, admire everything around you as if you’ve seen it for the first time, like when you were a child. It’s not meditation but silent contemplation that you’re shooting for.
It sounds like a big effort, but it really isn’t. It’s just a matter of slowing down from warp speed to a sensible strolling pace. So, stop the crazy racing; unless you are a professional racer, in which case, by all means, speed like the wind.
Do you have any other ideas for strolling through life? Share them below!