I am currently in the process of building a brand. A part of that requires me to dig pretty deep into who I am as a person as my brand is pretty much just a little old me. My exercise this week has been trying to synthesize all of my roles (writer, speaker, wife, friend, daughter, etc.) that I see in myself into six key roles. It’s damn near impossible.
I had no problem defining myself in 60,000 words in my book but in six? Are you kidding?
As I was struggling with this exercise I called on some of my family and friends to help me. When I asked my husband what he thought one of my roles is, he answered, “You are a flower smeller.” I burst out laughing. Then I thought, oh crap, he’s right.
When I was about three years old my parents took me to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Colombia. I remember walking in the entrance thinking I had found nirvana. To this day I love flowers. All kinds. I am an equal opportunity flower lover…except for carnations, I do not like carnations, but all other flowers—yes, amazing, I love them.
I remember walking through the long, winding pathways of the gardens and being amazed by the sheer amount of colors, smells, and shapes. As we wandered through each garden I started smelling the flowers.
Every. Single. One.
God bless my parents who let me stop and sniff each individual petunia, rose, peony, tulip, cactus, and beyond, from the time the botanic gardens opened until they closed. Every two feet I would bend down, lift my curly auburn hair back and smell each new species. I would then look up high in the sky at Dad and Daddy and say, “smell this one!” They always obliged. From way up above, they would bend down and take a whiff. My eyes would light up with the joy of sharing the experience and appreciation that each new flower brought to me.
When I was seven-years-old my Daddy took me to an art museum. I brought my journal. To me, it seemed the only logical thing to do if I was going to be surrounded by art. Every time we walked by a painting I would stop. I would look at the painting, sit down on the nearest bench, and balance my journal on my knees. I would write down how the painting made me feel, the colors that were used, what I thought the artist was thinking when he painted it, and what the painting meant to me. This became something I always did in museums. It would take my parents somewhere between four and six hours to get me through just a few exhibits in a museum. (Just imagine the time they took me to the Met…three and a half hours in the Egyptian Antiquities alone…) My parents have the patience of saints.
Flower smelling and journal writing are my superpowers. I tap into them now and again because they remind me to slow down and appreciate the smallest things. Life can feel so scary, but if you walk outside, find a flower, bend down to sniff it, and appreciate all of its complexity and color, life slows down for a minute. For just a moment, I find some semblance of inner peace and calm amidst absolute chaos and turmoil. I have always been a pretty anxious kid, and have grown up into a somewhat anxious adult. I think flower smelling and art analyzing was my way of making the world less scary because all you have to do for a few minutes is solely focus on one thing and break it down.
Times are really frightening now. Everything can seem scary and anxiety-inducing.
So, what if we just did this for a few minutes today:
1) Found one flower
2) Smelled said flower
3) Thought about every aspect of the flower
It’s like a meditation for easily-stressed people. It’s putting all of your attention in one place and giving you a break from all of your other thoughts. If flowers aren’t your thing that’s okay. You can do this with anything that piques your interest.
Take five or ten minutes of your time and focus on something that is not the scary outside world and the five million things you have to do today. I promise you have five minutes. Flower smelling saves me from anxiety. It gives me time to appreciate and by appreciating and expressing gratitude I connect back to my joy and ultimately that’s all I want—to find my way back to joy and inner peace as often as I can.
Happy Friday, friends. I am sending bunches of love from this obsessive flower smeller. XOXO, CAMDW
PS Tell me, what kind of flower did you smell today?