Stop and smell the flowers

bumblebees enjoying spherical flowers in the garden

Pregnancy and impending motherhood has caused my perspective to shift quite a bit over the past several months. While I tend to consider the impact of my actions on others, in the past I mostly had just myself to worry about when making decisions about my life. Now that I am engaged and preparing to raise a child, I find that I am much more aware of how my choices will impact those around me. This means that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self-care have all become more highly prioritized in my life. If I am unable to care for myself, then I wonder how I will possibly be able to be an effective partner and mother.

One of the best ways to care for oneself is to slow down and actually be aware of our choices. Often I find myself rushing through life or going through the motions, then feeling frustrated when I discover that I’ve not even been conscious of the decisions I was making. Even though I have decided that I want to stop relying on potato chips as my fallback snack, I will find myself devouring a bag once more. Usually these things happen because I have forgotten that it is alright to slow down once in a while, that I don’t always have to be accomplishing some task or another.

This summer M and I have started container gardening–nothing big, just a few plants. We planted basil, dill, spinach, lavender, orange bell peppers and cucumbers. Our dill and spinach have already gone to seed, possibly because of the heatwave we had recently. The peppers got eaten up pretty badly by slugs, but we’ve gotten that under control and the plants are making a valiant return. The rest seem to be flourishing. Today, when we went out to check on them, I decided to bring my camera with me. I’d been wanting to take some photos of the plants for a while, but never seemed to get around to it. This evening I finally reminded myself how much I enjoy taking photos and how much I’ve enjoyed growing these plants. By taking the time to capture images of the beauty in the garden, I was able to deepen my own appreciation. I was also able to slow down for a bit and live in the moment.

Some people call this practice of slowing down, being aware, and living in the present “mindfulness.” Sometimes I use that term, too. At this point in my life, though, my primary goal is just to remember to stop and smell the flowers from time to time.