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Stop and smell the roses

Komorebi is a Japanese poetic term that refers to the scattered sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees. The word describes a specific moment or experience and has no English equivalent.

The idea of Komorebi, to me, is a reminder to appreciate the beauty of simple moments and find joy in them. In a world that wires our brains to seek fast and big accomplishments, we value finding the next big thing to be happy over. We’re sometimes too busy to appreciate small moments of joy like the sun passing through the leaves.

Chasing big goals and dreams is good, but to base your happiness on a sole objective is a mistake. Letting your overall satisfaction depend on a single purpose is putting all your eggs in one basket. Small instances of joy snowball and build up. Find and savour these small joys.

For me, these joys come in many different forms. Here are a few examples.

I take notice of komorebi, even if it’s for a short moment; I let my attention leave my everyday tasks to watch how the gentle sway of leaves causes the sunlight to glitter.

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I take my time making and drinking coffee (if you don’t like coffee, some other drink, maybe). I don’t rush the process. I savour the smell of the beans as I grind them, the sound of the water boiling, and the flavour as I take sips.

When I bathe, I notice how the warm water feels against my skin and the soothing sensation. I take the time to appreciate the calming atmosphere of the bathroom.

When I force myself to pay attention to these moments that I enjoy daily, I find that time slows. These moments I would otherwise not remember are more deeply ingrained in my memory, and I find greater happiness in the present moment.

When I first graduated from high school, my view on happiness was that I had to earn it. My happiness was primarily based on my academic performance, successes in my endeavours, and how highly I was esteemed in my interpersonal relationships. I felt happy when I worked fast and got results. The issue with this mindset is I often work too much due to this attitude. I would constantly feel the need to achieve more and never truly be satisfied with what I had accomplished. Any positive emotion would fade fast, leading me back to the grind, hungry for more. This mindset led to burnout and a constant feeling of dissatisfaction.

How I understand happiness now is that it’s not a destination or a reward that can be achieved but small pieces found in quiet moments and accumulated over time.

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This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.