“Hey Mister, where you going in such a hurry; Don't you think it's time you realized; There's a whole lot more to life than work and worry; All the sweetest things in life are free; And they're right before your eyes.
Before you went to work this morning in the city; Well, did you spend some time with your family; Did you kiss your wife and tell her that she's pretty; Did you take your children to your breast and love 'em tenderly.
Well, did you ever take a walk through the forest; Stop and dream a while among the trees; Well, you can look up through the leaves right straight to heaven; And you can almost hear the voice of God in each any every breeze.
Oh, you've got to stop and smell the roses; You've got to count your many blessings everyday; You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road; If you don't stop and smell the roses along the way.” (Written by Mac Davis and Carl Severinsen; Published by EMI Music Publishing.)
The above is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite entertainers, Mac Davis. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this beautiful song, but the words ring just as true for me today as they did back then. What was interesting was that while I was watching TV and trying to come up with topics to write about, including this one, at that exact moment someone on a TV show said “you have to stop and smell the roses.” Okay...got it.
So many times in our lives, we get bogged down by so many things. We think they’re the big things, but I really think they’re all the little things that keep adding up. Let’s admit it, the big things don’t happen that often, but the little things are almost every day. Some have the attitude of ‘when it rains, it pours’ or they’ll affirm Murphy’s Law ‘if anything can go wrong, it will.’ Anyone who is familiar with the power of our thoughts knows that if we have that attitude, then yes, bad things will continue to happen because we tend to get what we expect.
I’d like to offer another option. How about if we stop and smell the roses? Literally and figuratively. Think instead ‘if anything can go right, it will!’ Or, ‘when it rains, it pours so many good things in my life.’ There is so much good that happens every day if we will just look and notice, and once you get in the habit of noticing all the good, big or small, the more you will notice. When I look outside my window or when I drive to work, I’m so grateful for the beauty of nature. I thank the trees, the clouds, the critters, the flowers and everything else for being in my world. I’m grateful that I do have some work to help pay the bills, that I have a car that runs, a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, food to eat, clothes to wear…. There are many who don’t even have any of these.
Another thing I do is to mentally tell everyone and everything I see that it’s beautiful. “Hello, beautiful tree! Hello, beautiful bush! Hello, beautiful mailbox! Hello, beautiful person!” You’d be surprised how changing your perspective to seeing everything as beautiful can change your outlook on life and the way you see your world!
Yes, there is a lot of ugliness in the world when it comes to people harming one another, war, poverty, hunger… That doesn’t have to be the reality that we focus on, though. That also doesn’t mean we ignore the ‘ugly’ as we should always keep trying to make the world a better place. But when we see more beauty than ugly, then we have something to strive for because we see how beautiful the world can be. We will create what we believe.
Therefore, as we go about our day, let’s practice by stopping and smelling the roses. Look for the good and the beautiful in everyone and everything. We can start with our family and friends, and then extend it outwards to people in our everyday lives. Find something loving and kind to say to them even if it’s just a simple compliment or a smile. Brighten someone’s day with the beauty of your own magnificent soul and let your light shine!
Confucius said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” And Ralph Waldo Emerson stated, “Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 12, 2014.