“Life moves pretty fast…if you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it” -Ferris Bueller
Last week I went on a field trip to a local tulip festival with my daughter. The flowers were AMAZING and there were so many different colors, sizes, and shapes of tulips. As we overlooked the whole gardens, I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of tulips in front of me. There were so many different walking paths lined by rows and rows of color. It was easy to get lost in the largeness of it all. Our group started out with the purpose of getting through the gardens. They were so expansive and we had such a limited amount of time that I was afraid we wouldn’t see it all if we didn’t hurry. A few walking trails in, I started to notice the “sameness” of it all. Each walking path had different variations of flowers yet they were all similar, almost predictable. What started out with such a sense of awe was starting to become mundane. And then, we decided to start a scavenger hunt to look for specific items. An acorn, a spider web, a flying insect. The items on our scavenger hunt list were things we needed to pay attention to. If we didn’t pay attention, they were easily missed. As I slowed down to look for these items, I started noticing the small variations of each tulip. Different patterns within the petals, even variations in the shape of the leaves. There was so much I was missing in my race to get through the garden.
It hit me, in the middle of the garden, with a bunch of 3rd graders at my side.
How much of life do I miss trying to just get to the finish line?
Get to the next day, next project, next experience. How much of life passes me by because I am so consumed with just getting by? How much of my life is missed because I am just busy scanning the whole field instead of looking at a single flower in all of it’s individual glory? How much of my life is missed because I’m completely unaware of what is going on around me? How many acorns, ants, flying insects and spiderwebs are missed because I’m not opening my eyes to them? How many variations of color in my life are missed?
This is what recovery is teaching me. To slow down, enjoy the small things in my life. I don’t need to start over at the beginning to see it all. I can start where I am today, in this very moment and start to notice what is going on around me. I can be present in this very moment and enjoy all life has to offer me today. I can chose to focus on the end of the garden, or I can chose to focus on the flower in front of me. It’s important for me to check in to make sure I’m on the right path to get to the destination I want, and it’s equally important for me to enjoy the journey. Today I am choosing to make the most of this day. Not with endless to do lists or a laundry list of chores, but to be present in every aspect of my life. I’m choosing to notice the external view around me and I’m choosing to notice what is going on inside of me as well. Life moves pretty fast and I don’t want to miss it.