As people hustle through life, someone inevitably sends out the reminder to "stop and smell the roses." Yet, how often does each person take heed? Taking time to use each sense - touch, see, smell, taste, hear - is the opportunity to relieve stress and literally take time for oneself. The additional benefits can include creating precious memories from such experiences, noticing something that is ordinarily not perceived, connecting with another human, or finding humor to lift the spirit.
Often, life can be overwhelming, and it is easier for me to slip into routine or hide away as much as I can. Yet, if I take time, (e.g. force myself) to get out of my comfort zone, my life is enriched because of new sights or sounds.
I treasure the way sunlight plays with shadows on a tree-lined street; the smell of fresh mown grass or a crisp autumn morning delights my nose; the sound of my granddaughter's voice on the phone is a gift from heaven.
I have fallen into ruts, but I also have risked being caught by the sanity patrol for seizing unusual moments. My son and I laughed while jumping through the produce section of a grocery store avoiding dark colored tiles; I have used a different door to enter my house, not wanting to destroy a spider's work of art; I have carried on intriguing conversations with complete strangers; and done everything conceivable to embarass my children in front of their friends.
Asking questions and finding answers is another way I have found to expand my senses. Just recently, I received an email about an experiment where a famous violin player performed in a subway terminal. The goal was to see how many people would stop and listen. I was curious for more details than the email provided, and in the process found out The Washington Post earned a Pulitzer for "Pearls Before Breakfast." That article then referenced a movie I had heard of, but never had the opportunity to watch. Another quick search divulged that Koyannisqatsi is available in its entirety on YouTube.
I have every confidence that if I had been in that subway, I would have stopped and listened. If my children were younger and with me, I would have sat on the floor and enjoyed it with them. I also know that, in the future, I will not escape such an opportunity. Hopefully, dear reader, you will take time to enjoy a few of the gems I have provided here. At the very least, do stop and smell the roses.