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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sniffing Flowers


Spring time paints nature’s canvas with vibrant colors of blossoms, awakened plants and revived leaves. As I walked Biscuit this morning, I took a valuable lesson from her. At first, I got slightly annoyed that she would stop every five steps to explore a new scent or unmarked territory. I tugged at the leash, trying to get her to continue forward, but she persistently diverted her attention away from the path. “Come on Biscuit!” I half-heartedly scolded at her, to which she gazed up at me with big brown eyes that begged, “Mom.. slow down. Sniff the roses with me.”
Just because I am human- allegedly the superior species, does not mean that lessons from dogs and nature are invalid. This morning, my dog directed my attention to what became today’s Mind-Body Gratitude topic: flowers.
As silly as it may sound to be thankful for flowers, just like anything else in this world, they offer a lesson to be learned upon close enough examination. Sure, like many others, I love receiving a bouquet of fragrant blooms or a single, pristine, long stemmed red rose, but my focus today is on the less obvious beauty of flowers; today, I celebrate their effortlessness.
I walked past a sprinkling of tiny periwinkle flowers that has sprung from the sidewalk. Regarded as weeds, these gorgeous petaled growths needed no man-made fertilizer, trimming, nor any other form of fuss, yet their beauty was unmistakable.
In a beauty obsessed society, men and women pluck, snip, paint, spray and suture in pursuit of a perceived perfect appearance. So much effort goes in to looking and feeling one’s best that the simple answers are often thrown by the way side. With the proper self-care and inward compassion, each person’s beauty can shine through. The flower instinctively grows towards the sun, knowing that it is a basic need in order to thrive.
True, in this day and age, it is more difficult to live the simple life. The pressures of finance, illness and hardship strains the ability to  metaphorically turn to the sun, allowing health to find us. What we can do, however, is take a hint from the simplicity of an effortlessly vibrant flower, and do the things that we instinctively know are good for our health: eat wholesome foods, get adequate rest, drink plenty of water, move around more, laugh and play. These are the makings of human livelihood. These are the simple keys to optimal health and happiness. Allow your body to accept the benefits of these primal needs. Stop tugging at your own leash and let your body tell you what it needs. The most beautiful things in life cannot be forced- they can, however, be allowed to just happen.

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