Stop and Smell the Roses


When I first moved to Brooklyn, I wasn't sure how I was going to find any sense of stability or calm. For one, city living tends to yield crowded schedules. And then, there is the beautiful-yet-sometimes-burdensome spontaneous nature of the city (i.e. when subways suddenly decide to shut down, when a stranger engages in a surprising conversation, when you're left without an umbrella in an unexpected rain storm, and so forth.) Consequently, city dwellers like myself succumb to navigating daily routines on autopilot, with feelings like frustration and anguish becoming far more familiar than those like peace and contentment.

Here's a short story: during a yoga and mindfulness retreat, a newfound friend and I found ourselves sharing concerns over how we were going to bring mindfulness practices into our hectic lives. How were we going to find the time? We told ourselves we would start small, and she proposed a simple suggestion: what if we drink a cup of tea every morning and used that moment to find awareness in the experience of drinking tea? No phones, no laptops, no reading. Just you, and your tea.   

How beautiful is that? Ever since, mindful-tea-drinking has become my morning ritual; a crucial moment of peace, grounding and presence. In hopes to resolve the often dispirited ways of navigating my busy schedule and the city's many uncertainties, I've established other customs, too.

These days, my weekend rituals include foraging for flowers and produce at my local farmers market, biking to a nearby neighborhood to then explore by foot, and drinking (lots) of dandelion tea. As I engage mindfully with these things that bring me joy, I am better able to bring awareness and value to my weekly routine. I've realized that you don't actually need flowers in hand to truly stop and smell the roses. Finding joy and meaning in the day-to-day just takes practice.