Smelling the Roses Grows a Healthy Brain

Just outside my window, I can see a beautiful yellow rose. 

It wasn’t there last week, well actually it was but it was just tightly bound up under its green calyx.

A lot can happen in a week, in a day, in a moment.

I can see the beauty but to deeply experience it I must stoop, smell and breath in its beauty.  Slowly, gently, letting my brain cells savour the moment.

Do you take time to smell the roses?

You don’t need roses

I know that for some of you the availability of a rose is near impossible. You might live in a noisy city or high in an apartment block.

Maybe you have an allergic response to flowers or you don’t have any sense of smell at all.

But it’s not about the rose, it’s about the savouring of a moment.

You need awareness and focus

What you do need is something to deeply appreciate and value.

My daughter recently graduated with a Ph.D

I decided to deeply smell the roses. I focused my brain on enjoying every little moment of the day.

I wanted my brain to deeply soak in her happiness from an early morning breakfast, the graduation walk through the city streets, the actual graduation with the Vice Chancellor reading out a summary of her studies, the photo sessions and then the evening dinner where she sat next to me, funny hat and all.

I don’t have children graduating every day (that would be expensive wouldn’t it) but I do have moments where I achieve a little ‘rose’, a task, a goal.

I breathe those deep into my brain.

Hope deferred

The writer of the book of Proverbs says this.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

What I take from this is that if you keep on having the fulfilment of a hope being deferred, then the seat of your emotions, the heart, will grow sick, unwell. Actually, with all honesty, mentally unwell.

If I keep putting off the potential of my happiness to another day, to a certain experience, or outcome and it keeps being unfulfilled then I am going to become despondent and depressed. I will despair.

Despair is a spiritual condition.
Despair is when you fall under the belief and conviction
that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today.
Rob Bell

Tree of life

I have a tree of life growing in my backyard, and you do too.

If you nurture, feed and water it then you will reap a bountiful rose smelling harvest. Your brain will thank and reward your faithful diligence.

It’s all about what you are proactively focusing your mind on.

It’s the presence that you present yourself to. It’s noticing what the longing for is that you long for and making it tangible for today.

My Daily Rose Bed

So here is how to put this into practice.

  1. Make a list of tasks for the day ahead
    At the start of the day write down everything you need to do for the day. Make sure the list contains only items that CAN be done today.
    For my list today it has ‘Write 700 words for blog post’. It didn’t have ‘Write a blog post’ because it’s too undefined.
    Write as many CAN DO tasks as possible. Even the small and seemingly insignificant ones.
  2. As you do those tasks savour the moment.
    Spend some focused time, even just 10 seconds to savour the fulfilment of that task.
    The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon. Rick Hanson
  3. Cross or Tick the list as you complete.
    A tangible physical ‘Crossing off’ or ‘Ticking’ tells the brain a message of fulfilment.
  4. Give thanks at the end of the day
    You have come to the end of the day and you have many ‘Smelling the roses’ moments. Take one huge savoured breathe in and give thanks to God for all those roses.
  5. Repeat
    Do it again. You are training the brain, regrooving it and growing a tree of life.

 

There are gifts of hope fulfilled all around us. We need to stop and smell the roses, savour them, and create new positive pathways in the brain.

Quotes to Consider

  • Paying attention is being open and awake – ready to be seized by whatever is present to us in the present moment. David Benner
  • There is more to life than increasing its speed. Mahatma Gandhi
  •  What I focus on gets me. Focus on the negatives/ challenges will always take me down. Focus on the positives/ good things will always give me hope. – From my thinking compass
  • If you confuse you lose. Noise is the enemy. Donald Miller

Questions to answer

  1. What obstacles stand in the way of you ‘Smelling the roses’ and taking in the moment.
  2. What would be an example of ‘Smelling the roses’ for you?
  3. How could you help someone else learn to ‘Smell the roses’?

Further reading

Barry Pearman
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2 Replies to “Smelling the Roses Grows a Healthy Brain”

  1. Wonderful – I’ve always tried to find time to stop and smell physical roses (and been disappointed when they had no perfume)
    Your post is so true – I’d often tell my colleagues on a busy mental health ward to ‘be thankful for small mercies’. We might have a tough shift, but there was always something to be thankful for even if it was ‘well, no one died’.

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