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I stopped to smell the … honeysuckle

honeysuckle flower

crystaldream | Shutterstock

Brian Schumacher - published on 06/28/23

I’ve been stuck seeing the world in snapshots. But the amount of life around me is astonishing.

Yesterday I literally stopped to smell the roses, and it changed my entire perspective on modern life. Technically it was honeysuckle but … regardless. I was walking through a part of town I have seen before, not paying attention to anything in particular when I noticed the honeysuckle draped across a stone wall. When I was a kid we had honeysuckle in our backyard and I remember always sticking my face into the plant to smell it. Fast forward to now, I’m 35 years old and once again I find myself sticking my face full on into the honeysuckle. 

Obviously a flood of memories came back but, also, when I started to look around I noticed all the different plants that I’ve walked by time and time again without ever taking time to actually appreciate them. I almost felt overwhelmed by the amount of life around me and the quiet elegance that all of them displayed. 

This coincides with an interesting thing that happened to me last week at a museum. I’m not the best museum goer. Usually I walk through fairly quickly and just get the gist of what’s going on. However, I saw this one object, a bursa to be specific, that was displayed right at face level.

As I was looking at it, I started to see all the details of the artwork. Then I began to notice all the details in the other pieces that I walked by. These two experiences brought me to a striking realization: I see everything in snapshots.

Though I don’t have instagram or facebook anymore, I used to post somewhat frequently on both. If I went for a hike, or went to some beautiful place, I’d snap a few pictures, post them, then move on. Over time, however, I started to view the world as a series of instagram posts, not as a series of experiences. Ι would focus on something as long as it took to take a picture but I would never experience it. Even now, though I don’t use the sites anymore, I’m still stuck seeing the world in snapshots. 

Thankfully these two recent experiences have woken me up. Now wherever I am, even if it’s in my own room, I try to take into account all the things I look over and appreciate the small, unique details about them. Now the “day-to-day” aspects of my life are much more meaningful, and it’s all because I stopped to smell the roses. 


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

The Human Being Fully Alive
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