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New Year's Revolution: Stop, But Don’t Just Smell the Roses!

| 2/10/2013 9:57:00 AM

song bird 

Most of us live lives that are onerously hectic. Mine surely is. I whiz through life, scrambling from one task to another. At the end of the day, my day seems like a huge blur.

To slow down the pace of life, we’re often advised to “stop and smell the roses.” That, of course, is a figurative advice. There aren’t many rose bushes on our daily paths. When there are, by all means stop and smell them, or at least stop to appreciate the beauty of the lovely flowers.

Here’s something that helps me slow down the pace of life and live a fuller, more peaceful existence when roses or any other flower are absent from my path: I stop and listen to our fine feathered friends, the countless songbirds that grace our world.

Unsure of this advice? Not sure there is much bird song in your environs?

Stop and listen.

You’ll be amazed at the rich auditory world you live in, and ignore. Most of us — in fact, almost everyone I’ve ever known — tunes out the ubiquitous and delightful sounds of the tiny birds that flit from branch to branch near our homes and places of work.

Even in major cities, birds abound.

To test this, go outside right now, and listen.

You’ll most likely be amazed at the plethora of lovely song that daily regales you — and which you hardly ever notice.

I often stop when I am working on the farm, just to listen, and to this day after years of stopping to listen to the birdies, I am continually amazed at how much song is in the air, even in the dead of winter. It always amazes me, too, how I tend to tune the birds out when I’m focused on getting things done.

So, my friends, if you want to live a much richer life, take time each day to smell the roses, if any, and listen to the delightful songs of those amazing winged creatures that make their homes among ours.

Here are the opening lines of a poem by my favorite poet, e. e. cummings, that actually got me thinking about this many years ago:

may my heart always be open to little

birds who are the secrets of living

whatever they sing is better than to know

and if men shall not hear them men grow old


So listen, my dear friends.

Stay young, and open your ears.

Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .

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