Smelling roses (HLD 413)

10 June 2021

As I waited, once again, for my dog to stop and sniff things in our morning walk, I pondered whether what she was doing was the equivalent of ‘stopping and smelling the roses’.

Definitely, she was stopping. We had to stop about twenty times on a twenty minute walk for her to sniff something. Around seven of those times she added a little something to the bouquet that that particular plant or pole provided. Sometimes she added something a bit more substantial to the smorgasbord of olfactory delights for other dogs. And then gave me ‘the look’ when I bagged that particular offering and disposed of it.

She loves stopping and smelling things though, and that’s something I seem to have stopped doing in the past xx number of years. I recall smelling something nice as I walked past it – flowering jasmine, for instance – but I don’t recall ever coming to a complete stop, just to breathe in and enjoy the smells.

Relaxation for me nowadays is sitting in the rocking chair, armed with a hot beverage, enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with a sleeping grandchild.

I read something today about breathing. In particular, breathing exercises we can all do to alleviate stress, to calm body and mind, and to generally all be nicer people. The article was very big on ‘exhale all your worries away’ type of thing, which quite frankly didn’t really have too much impact on me – because I wasn’t that stressed, to be honest. Definitely I was concentrating hard, because I had to breathe in to the count of four, hold it for the count of four, exhale to the count of four, and then not breathe for the count of four. That really was a lot of maths for me to be truly relaxed.

But I also read about people having vacations. Not necessarily in the ‘pack your bags and leave the country on a plane’ sort of vacation, but more in the ‘removing yourself from whatever situation causes you stress’ sort of thing. Not to avoid it forever, but taking a step back. And breathing. And relaxing.

Smelling the roses, as it were.

I was also in the vicinity of a primary school, hearing the excitement and joy of children escaping the classroom for recess. The break they were having from their brain activity was their equivalent of smelling roses, of breathing one breath over the course of sixteen seconds, of sitting in the rocking chair with a cuppa.

If you work in an office, please – when you next get recess (or a coffee break, or whatever they call it at your work)… go outside. Smell something. Breathe long and slow. Look at the horizon. Empty your mind.

Don’t close your eyes though – some dog may have just left a substantial offering to the smelling delights of your path.

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