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Smell The Flowers, Don’t Stand In The Manure

“Somewhere over the rainbow, Blue birds fly, And the dreams that you dreamed of. Dreams really do come true ooh oh” E.Y. Harburg / Harold Arlen

The jury is still out as to whether or not dreams come true. What I do know is that my dreams have changed. Instead of wishing good things for myself I wish them for others. 

Two paths photoWhen Jesus wanted to show the true meaning of a servant he washed his disciples feet. This was a dirty disgusting job that nobody looks forward to. My wife one day had an ‘accident’ and her feet were covered with excrement. I had to clean them and it was no pleasant task. But as the song goes “There Is A Joy In The Journey.”

What makes up the moments of your life? So many are so fixated on the pursuit of mammon and money that the meaning of life has been skewed. Material possessions are mere a part of the totality not an end of it all. Unfortunately the world does not understand that especially us in the United States. This is witnessed by our ‘war on terror’ which is a euphemism for ‘violent actions to steal another nations resources’.

A good life needs balance. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a career and enjoying the material benefits that one reaps from it. In fact taking care of one’s family is a man’s fundamental job. Still I come from a background where my dad zealously worked hard on his career and pretty much abandoned the family. He never attended a sporting event or spent time with my mother. My parents were like two strangers living in the same house.

It comes down to what one sets as priorities. Sadly a good number of people aren’t even conscious of their agenda. Instead of being proactive in their life they take things as they come. Setting goals, working hard to achieve those goals, and finally attaining those goals is in fact the definition of success. Even if one never succeeds in all of their desires undertaking the process if victory itself.

Smelling the flowers as one walks along the road of life does take it’s toll. Whenever one decides to do one this as opposed to another it is a trade off. Man is allotted only so much time and he must decide what to do with it. Surely one cannot smell the flowers forever, if they do they will surely step in the manure. Life wasn’t meant to fulfill hedonistic pleasure rather it was meant to be spiritually fulfilling.

On the journey of existence I have learned the fundamental fact that what you do for others is the primary measure of one’s greatness. Starting with Jesus Christ all of my historical heroes are those who gave up something to help others. There is something to be said about self sacrifice it is a prerequisite for greatness. Fame, money, power, they are all tempting desires but they don’t make a person better. But lending the oppressed a hand and to carry such dedication to pay the ultimate price speaks more than all the money in the world.

I believe that many of the problems in mental health today are caused by the fact that people misunderstand life. Man has been presented with ambiguous goals which are focused in the wrong direction. As man pursues what they are told is important their inner senses tell them that something is wrong. Instead of questioning the big picture man  questions himself. This brings about anxiety and doubt over what one is doing wrong.

Mankind needs to turn away from it’s direction and repent.

Here is a book called “The Lost Cantos Of John Kaniecki”

Photos by Brian Smithson (Old Geordie),

Smell The Flowers, Don’t Stand In The Manure

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). Smell The Flowers, Don’t Stand In The Manure. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Feb 2018
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