Take some time and Smell the Flowers

By Christina Kim - September 07, 2015


Take some time to smell the flowers.

A common phrase we often hear or perhaps we are also the ones uttering it to our loved ones; friends and families, out of our concern for their well-being and to make sure that they too, lead a fruitful and worthwhile life.

It is often easy to get carried away by the many things that bog us in our daily lives, and this saying often appears as words of wisdom to remind us of the need to just take some time to breathe and be there for ourselves, once in a while.

Have you ever wondered though about the underlying meaning, or perhaps the connotations often used in this term that is so commonly assimilated into our lives?

Why flowers?
Why smell?

It is all about the surrounding and the beauty that we may have missed while we are in the midst of our daily rush.

That action to smell, explains the need for one to just stop in their tracks as mentioned in the saying to just take a whiff of that flower that we may not have seen despite it being there as we walk past it every single day while we are on our ways to work, school or anywhere.
It is just right there, staring at us, silently yearning for our attention but to no avail, for it is always unnoticed.

To take a whiff is probably fast, but to smell is to take in and allow the senses to inhale and wrap in that scent and to do that, one would definitely need to stop for just a moment beside the flower, hold it gently and just take in the scent.

It is that very action of a momentary pause in one's tracks that hits the nail on the head and is following the literally implied meaning of the saying to the exact.

To take it to a deeper level, it sounds easy for one to just halt halfway on their journey, pick a flower and just take in the scent or even the natural beauty and characteristics of the flower, but the literal meaning is of course way beyond that.

A saying is just an abstract depiction of the reality, while holding the values in the undertones with the intended metaphor to actual practice and often subject to the individual perception though the general meaning is still retained.

At a glance, taking that time to smell a flower seems like just a mere reminder of how we often lose sight of the things in our lives in pursuit of something we believe is just much more worth the journey.
It is about taking a breather when one forgets about the rest of the world revolving around us in the midst of our schedules and issues that cloud our mind.

It is just a direct and simple literal translation which could be immediately deciphered from the phrase itself the way the saying is clearly intended.

What else could be the underlying meaning behind this common saying and what else could we have missed out?

I like to take words to a deeper level; to more than literal translation and to see them beyond what they truly are, through my own mind, eyes, heart in my very own perspective (and perception).
I do not claim that my perception is offering the actual or real intended meaning, but rather the way, how I perceive it.
That is why, it is my personal perception.

I see the flower as a symbol; an icon of beauty and also the things and people around us.
It is always there, but how often do we realize its existence?
Do we take them for granted?
The flowers will always be there, the people will always be there, the things I already have, will also, always be there.


I had that exact experience because I walked past this gorgeous blooming flower each day, on my way to work, and it did not catch my attention until one fine day, when I saw its bright color and the beautiful way it was in its full bloom.
Perhaps it was the fact that something fell to the ground near where the flower stood and as I bent down to pick up that belonging, I noticed it.
At last.

It was as though there was a sign, or perhaps it was just serendipity.
I had always loved flowers, especially home grown flowers and my parents are just ardent fans of gardening that I have been blessed to have seen quite a collection in my years of growing up at home.

However, of late, there were just too many things that clouded my mind that these blooming flowers have just gone right through my very noses each and every day without as much a simple glance from me, in their way.

The flowers must have been very disappointed.

It is a stark reminder; their existence have led me back to that crystal ball of realization, of how much I must have missed out in my daily lives; that hectic schedule and the list of to-do things that I simply have just left all these out of my mind and even focus.

That flower, and the many others which must have bloomed along the way in its position, is just a sign of exactly that.

Flower always represents beauty, and to be walk by one unnoticed, is a clear sign for a reflection.


There is just much more than what meets the eye.
The beauty of the flower is not just about that particular flower or what I have in my life; which are beautiful, but about the rest of the world, which we have yet to explore or yet to learn to cherish.

Families, friends, the unknown people who care for us, the little blessings that come our way, the many miracles taking place in big and small forms each and every day and everywhere, and the many more others.
These are all the beauties we may have missed.

We may be transfixed with what we think could be doing good to us; chasing after the imaginary and idealistic images seen (and magnified) through our looking glass.
They are often depicted as that idea of perfection in our minds and take their place as the ultimate goal in our relentless pursuit.
Is it truly as perfect as we see it?
We do not know but we just want it, at all costs.

Is it truly the reason it will truly fulfill us (as we thought), or it is just the chase and the fact we do not have it that makes us want it?

They are all very, very different things.

It is not wrong, of course, to set an objective and work towards achieving that goal.
It is in fact encouraged and often seen as a great source of motivation.
It is all about the theory of working towards one's goal and that sense of rewarding fulfillment when one finally reaches the end.
It is positive, and beneficial for one's developmental growth.

But, not at the cost of losing sight of everything else that already exists or are in possession and even one's own mind, conscience and reasoning.
In one's pursuit of their dreams, it is normal to come across compromising situations but what happens when one compromises love, ethics, compassion, and logic, in general?
Is it still truly positive?

We are the ones to make that judgment call.
Education, upbringing, social environment, experience, exposure, all aid and make up that reasoning part in us.
If all fail, there is still that natural and basic human instinct in us, to differentiate between the wrong and the right.

The point is, are we often caught up in running after our idealistic world too much that we neglect the realistic world?
Does beauty and greatness only exist in the idealistic world and not in the realistic world?

The flower tells it all.
We forget to stop, take a look around us and just take that whiff of our very own lives which are already in place.
We did not take notice of the many more wonderful and little things that are happening around us on a daily basis.

There is just so much going on around us that we may have simply overlooked, because they are always there, or so we thought.

One of my favorite; the Morning Glory, always brings so much meaning as its name suggests to brighten up the day right at the break of dawn.

The flower is just a symbol of the many things and even people around us that we may have often forgotten.

Take that time now, to just pause and think of all that we have in our lives.
No time?
We may be busy, but not That busy to even just take a quick pause to just have these images of our own lives run through our minds.

You may even discover that some of the desires you have and lust after in your conception of that unfulfilled life are actually already there in your life and perhaps much more than what you always led yourself to believe.

Take that time.
Look around you, take in the sights that greet you when you turn your head around and look at even just the floor or your table.
Look at the smiling faces in that family photograph or that of your special someone on your table, there must be a reason you have that photo there.
Look at the goofy antics and the great grins and laughter in that group photo on the notice board or in your colleague's cubicle which you walk past every day.
Look at that water dispenser and that cabinet which is often filled with the beverages and biscuits for your snacks throughout the day from 9 to 5.

Look around you, remember your aging parents waiting for you at home.
Remember that sibling who have gone abroad to work.
Remember the last time you went to a temple or a church.
Remember the last time you spoke to an old friend.

Take that time now.
Make that one stop.

Just halt that one step, pause for a quick while and just look at that flower.
It is just right there, staring at you, waiting patiently for you to appreciate it.
It will not always be there, as you thought.
Flowers do wither and fall too.
Sure, when it does, another bud will probably pop up in its place and bloom at its best, or even better than the one before.

Can we say the same for everything else in the world?

Nothing is forever, so just cherish the moment.

Cherish that person and all the people in your life; the one who never fails to be there for you at all times, be it bad or good.
The people who always smile and greet you good morning as you walk past them that you never greeted in return.
The people who always make sure you have enough to eat, wear and be in your best condition.

Cherish them; the people, the things and the life that you already have.
You can continue to chase after your dreams and aspire to fly freely and high as the kite, but just don't lose sight of who you are, the ones around you.
Never ever lose yourself in the midst of your pursuit.

There is just so much more around the world you may have missed, just like that flower.

Just take that moment to pause, give it that look and smell it.

You may find yourself smiling, and then you will even spot, the other flowers around it.


Don't forget, to Take some time to just smell the flowers, everyday.

Well, at least, smell One Flower a day, unless you have a sensitive nose and is allergic to flowers, but again, it's all about the literal meaning.

Enjoy your life, your very beautiful life, everyone :-)


**Flowers featured in this post are from my proud avid gardening parents' garden.
They are lovely because of the efforts put in by them every single day, to ensure they bloom and grow to their best potential.
No, they are not for sale =)

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and preferences and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.

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