Stop And Smell The Flowers

September 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I was just reminded by a friend of the Washington Post story of 2007 where Joshua Bell, a violin player and one of the great musicians of all time, was asked if he would play at a metro station in Washington DC incognito as an experiment to see if genius would be recognized in an unlike setting without proper introduction or explanation.

Three days before Bell was to appear at that Metro station, he had filled the house at Boston’s stately Symphony Hall and two weeks later, at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, he would play to a standing-room-only audience.

So on January 12th 2007, at rush hour for forty three minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work.  Each person had a choice to make: Stop and listen? Hurry past without paying much attention? Throw some money because they felt in a kind mood? Or get completely irritated because they were going to work while someone else was trying to make a buck playing the violin.

A short version of the forty three minutes is posted below but the sad result is that 99% of all people just walked by without taking advantage of this incredible gift; listening up close to a superb musician. 

I think this experiment illustrates how most of us live our lives.  We’re always in such a hurry to get somewhere, physically, emotionally or psychologically that we often miss out on real gifts that life presents us on a daily basis. 

How many of us have walked by talent performing on the streets?  How many of us have missed out on life changing conversations?  How many of us have missed out on the kiss of a child, a mother, a lover, because we were in a hurry.

John Lennon had it right: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. That’s something I try to remind myself constantly.  To be in the moment and appreciate what’s been given me.

So maybe next time you walk by a rare flower, or Joshua Bell playing in the metro, you too will remember to stop and smell the flowers.

  • Winsor Pilates

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