Last Thursday as I was heading for the shuttle to the airport, off in my own world as I thought about the next thing I had to do. Nearing the shuttle stop, the older gentleman walking in front of me dropped his briefcase on the sidewalk. Papers spilled in every direction. Some ended up in the gutter, rapidly becoming a sopping mess.
He was swearing under his breath and was very upset (understandably). I stopped to help him corral the chaos, and as I bent down I noticed the most incredible sight — a tiny plant pushing its way up through the muck, crowned by two brilliant little purple flowers. I was mesmerized by this bit of beauty right before me –in the midst of a cold, dirty city block.
I pointed it out to the briefcase’s owner and for the first time since we’d started chasing down his documents, he smiled, then started laughing at the handfuls of wet, dirty papers in his hands. Two grown professional men, wearing suits and looking at flowers growing in the gutter. And you know what? It felt like the most natural thing in the world to be doing in that moment.
This, I realized, is gratitude in its most raw form. That overwhelming feeling that envelops and embraces you with warmth and well-being, mixed with a little awe. There really is no way to adequately describe it, but I’m quite convinced it can be experienced every single day, anywhere and anytime.
When famous golfer Walter Hagen said, “Stop and smell the flowers,” he really knew what he was talking about. Did you know the full quote is: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Wiser words have never been spoken. This guy knew a thing or two about gratitude!
Author, Speaker & Positive Psychology Researcher