I gave this blog a 5 when it comes to physical because stopping and smelling the roses, spending more time with people, and even sitting in silence is something you physically do. Almost every suggestion in this blog is physical. It earned a 5 in the emotional category because the subject matter is very emotional. Trying to grow yourself and help others is always emotional. The blog does not hit as much on social issues, but it does have a lot of social issues in it, so I gave it a 4. Spending more time with others and listening to their stories is social.
When I close my eyes, I can still see it … toes in the sand, the warmth of the sun on my face, the ocean lapping at my ankles. As I stood in Clearwater, Florida, I wanted to imprint everything in view on my mind with the hope I could re-visit it later.
Not long after I returned home, I was driving down the road when I casually commented that I didn’t remember the red house we’d just passed. My friend informed me—in a tone that suggested I’d been living under a rock—that it has been there for probably ten years.
Oops, really? How had I missed it? The whole scenario caused something to stir inside of me. What else have I been missing in life?
You hear people say: “I would give anything for one more day with my loved one.” I wonder, have I been overlooking my loved ones? My grandma often says to me, “You rarely ever just sit and talk to me anymore.” Am I missing out on precious time, because I don’t take time to slow down?
It would be easy to slow down. I live on the edge of the Big South Fork. There are miles of trails I have never hiked or ridden my bike down. In not taking time to slow down, what beauty am I missing? I live near the most beautiful waterfalls, luscious plant life, and wide variety of animals, all of which is there just waiting for me to explore. What all have I lost by not taking time to enjoy them?
Here are four things I explored when I pondered what I had been missing:
As I write this, I realize I need to stop and smell the roses. Would it really hurt if I left for work five minutes early, so I could stop on the side of the road to study something I have never noticed before? Instead of eating in the lunchroom, maybe I should go to a park and notice the joy on children’s faces as they play on the playground. Or maybe next time I’m driving down the road and see deer in a field, I should stop and enjoy the sight instead of worrying they’re going to jump in front of my Jeep. Are you willing to sacrifice a little time to notice something new?
I would never want anyone to think I am stuck up or that I only care about myself. Yet it seems sometimes I get busy and go into “auto pilot mode” and overlook people. I fear I hurt people’s feelings unintentionally. I do this because I think it’s the only way I can get everything done. However, often when I am in this mode I am not truly being productive. One thing that has really helped in this area is getting a Franklin Covey planner. My life is now much more productive, even after only a couple of weeks using my planner.
One thing I know is that connections with people should trump busyness any day. We should all take more time to talk to people, learning what their goals and dreams are, and what motivates them. I need to put down my phone and let my loved ones share their wisdom. Let them tell me their stories from the past. Stories I should document.
As humans, often our curiosity is about negative things. About what someone said, or who was in the wreck down the road. How long has it been since you allowed your curiosity to be positive? Imagine the friends and connections you could make with just a little bit of positive curiosity.
DESIRE TO HELP
As I scroll through Facebook, nothing makes me happier than to read a story where one human being helped another human being. I can personally think of many times I have needed help, and, in the right moment, someone stepped in and gave me exactly what I needed. But am I looking for opportunities to help other people like I should? Allowing the Lord to use me takes courage, but it takes even more to ask Him to send me someone I can help. Are you willing to help others?
I read a book once where the author talked about how important it was to sit in silence and allow your brain to shut down and your cares to float away. In today’s world I would venture that sitting in silence is something that has been lost for most people.
For me, finding time to sit in silence is almost impossible. Even harder is finding a place where silence exists. When I try to sit in silence, I hear the buzz of the printer or the chirp of a dying fire alarm. What’s crazy is that I believe sitting in silence is healing for our mind and bodies, and where inspired thoughts come most readily. Yet, I don’t stop and enjoy the stillness like I should. I can only imagine what might happen if I actually took the time to sit in silence. Silence doesn’t have to be lost. I dare you to take five minutes and enjoy a moment of quietness.
For Your Journal: Put It In Ink…
What have you been missing by not taking the time to slow down?
Are you willing to help others? Why or why not?