The other day, I was playing Dragonvale on my iPhone. Now, I mostly use my iPhone to check email, text my husband, call my parents, and occasionally look up something quickly on the internet. But I do love Dragonvale, and I check in on all my little dragons regularly. They make me happy.
The game is currently having a special event, during which you can get limited edition dragons if you collect enough objects. One of the ways to collect is to find the objects in your “park”. So, I was in the game, trying to find all the objects. I was scrolling quickly across the different areas of the screen, pausing only briefly to see if what I was looking for was there, then moving on to the next area of the park. I covered the whole park and didn’t find a single thing that I was looking for.
Frustrated, I started over, but this time, I moved to each area of the park and stopped, looking carefully for several seconds or longer, before moving on to the next area. Each time I paused, I saw my little dragons, and the park decorations, and the little, tiny park visitors walking around. And I started finding the objects that I had been looking for. I found one, and then another, and then another, until I had found them all.
And in the process, I got to really look at my whole park. I got to see what was going on, and how everything was doing, and just enjoy my little virtual dragon park.
But I never would have had that moment of enjoyment, and I wouldn’t have found what I was looking for, if I hadn’t slowed down. And it occurred to me that life is like that too. How can we enjoy the world around us, appreciate our own life, and find the purpose that we are seeking, if we are rushing from one thing to the next without ever stopping to truly see?
Like most of us, I can, at times, lead a busy life, but I always try to pause and look around. Today for example, the roses on our front porch are starting to bloom. I stopped as we were leaving the house, walked over to them, and just admired them. I took in the beautiful cerise blossoms, the magnificent classic rose smell, the whorl of the petals, and it all took only a few seconds while Steve was locking the door. Even though we were running very late, that few seconds of literally stopping to smell the roses made my day so much better!
So today, pause just for a moment. Admire the blue sky, a flying bird, a soft breeze. Look at the way the light hits the trees. Listen for the bees buzzing, the birdsong, the sound of laughter in the distance. Just be in the world for that one moment. Because when you get to the end of your life, you want to know in your heart that you truly did stop and smell the roses.