Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the clouds move across a blue sky. Sometimes you just have to stop and take a moment for yourself.
Why do you have to stop and do these things? To recharge, reconnect and at the same time disconnect and slow down. If you look to nature you realize that life isn’t meant to be living the fast paced, high pressure style all the time. Nature doesn’t go around at a high pace all the time. Things aren’t always done in a state of high pressure. And yet we, who are ultimately a part of the nature of the world, seem to think that our lives should be lived fast and under pressure at all times.
It’s the only way to get ahead you say. It’s what is expected of me at work. It’s what I have to do to maintain my lifestyle or make a better life, you cry. But is it? Stay ahead of what or whom? Expected at work because why? Who set those expectations? Are you fully satisfied with your lifestyle now? What makes for a better life?
We all can fall into these traps and ways of thinking, especially considering that the rest of our communities tend to be living the same stories in some fashion or another. And yet. And yet there are people who are stopping, who have stopped or make time now and then for the stop. There are people pushing back against the crazy pace and unrealistic pressures and saying no. Not for me. Not what I want.
If you thrive by the fast pace and can’t imagine life any other way then I suspect you already have a means to make “stop”, but it’s a bit different. Perhaps your stop is a bit like a humming bird hoover over a flower. Perhaps your stop is a quick glance and a deep breath before you dive back in.
Maybe you like pressure, but you’ve found a way to ensure it’s never too much. Maybe you take a walk, or talk with friends as means of making a bit of space for yourself. If it works for you and there are no adverse effects happening then who is anyone else to say if it’s good or bad?
But maybe, just maybe, you are like most people and haven’t found the way off the merry-go-round of daily life. So you struggle, you struggle with trying to be everything to everyone all the time. Technology has certainly provided a means to say that personal time, moments for self-thought and care really aren’t necessary. But we are human, we need to find a means to rest and stop now and then.
I was listening to a lady explain what her day was like. She was the first person up in her household each day, ensuring there was breakfast for her kids before she went to put on what she called her superwoman costume. Now understand her costume isn’t really one with a cape, it’s what she wears to work – her armor complete with the war mask or makeup. It’s the perfect hair and nails and the right shoes. Once she had her costume on she has to make sure her kids are out the door and off to school, she has a “quick debrief” with her husband (those are her words not mine) about the day before they both head off to work.
At work she is expected to do the her job plus parts from two other positions that have recently been eliminated. She isn’t paid any more for the additional work, nor is she given more time. As a matter of fact where she works believes that productivity should never be negatively impacted by personal life or staffing changes. In other words she is a cog in a machine, an efficient machine that doesn’t care about human things.
She doesn’t remember lunch breaks any more, she works through them so she doesn’t’ have to stay too late because she can’t afford to miss picking her kids up from after school care. You see after school care people want to be done work at a decent hour as well, so they charge a huge fee for each minute she is late beyond a set time. Her company doesn’t care about this little issue, as long as productivity numbers remain high it’s fine otherwise too bad about late fees.
When she gets home there is homework to help with and a meal to prepare. There are conversations to be had, stories to be told and so on. She said she just wants to get off this wheel and have a life that’s a little less hectic. Her husband suggested she scale back her work hours, but that means sacrifices to budgets and such. It isn’t something that realistically they can make work without her husband picking up more hours.
I told her I didn’t have any of the answers. I only know that my life got a little better when I watched the clouds move across the sky and got lost in the lazy pace for a little bit of time. I told her one day while passing someone’s garden, I found myself stopping to smell their flowers. Not just one flower, but at least twenty different roses.
I was late for an appointment and didn’t even care because the appointment could be rescheduled if it was important. If it wasn’t important, well then what was the issue?
It all sounds so easy and we hear people talk about making personal time like it’s a given thing. But it isn’t. Unless you decide it is worth it. Then you make the time, and it isn’t easy at first, until you realize what you are saying is that for once you will make yourself priority. For once you will find spaces where you dictate your time and schedule as you see right.
And slowly the feeling of guilt will disappear. Guilt that you aren’t everything to everyone. Because before you can give everything that people want to take from you, you must give to yourself wholly and completely. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the career or when the kids have grown up and moved on, when the titles have changed, no one is going to care about all that you gave up to meet their expectations. Some of those people wont’ even be there any more. And as we get older it is harder to bend down to smell those flowers, eye sight may fade so we can’t see those clouds moving. And we will have missed out on more than just time. We will have missed out on giving ourselves permission to be what we need to be when we need to be it. We will have denied ourselves the healing of space and peace.