When you have an acre of grass to mow, you can look at it two ways: an onerous burden or an opportunity for meditation. Pick your perspective. It is either sweating drudgery or a chance for losing oneself in the drone of the motor and think about things. (Hint: Hobbits tend not to interrupt lawn mowing time, so it is almost a source of solitude.) Of course, when the cable to the propulsion system in a self-propelled lawnmower breaks, this extends the opportunity to embrace the life's challenges.
Because things go wrong all the time. Right now, the boiler/furnace needs professional attention every other day. The reset button won't stay reset. We're either jiggering the button and watching billows of oily smoke issue forth or boiling water on the stove for hot water while we wait for the service rep. The van is dogging and it is either the catalytic converter or the transmission. My grain mill has a crack in the head housing and flour is seeping in and coating the inner workings every time I use it. The warranty expired a few months ago and I've started a nest egg for a new mill. The face plate on the dishwasher that holds all of the gears together has fallen off of the front. The plastic housing for the screws that hold it in place deteriorated. I have it wired back in place with floral wire....it's too old to call a repair specialist, but not so old that I'm ready to replace it. I've already told you about the stove. And now the lawn mower.
But this is hardly unique. Everyone experiences these kinds of ebbs and flows in life. And these are just the minor annoyances in life. Not the Real Thing.
I've been thinking about the people who live with chronic conditions, cancer, continual pain....living without knowing if the load will lighten or struggling with the tantalizing hope that it will eventually lighten but the reality of that dangles out there, just out of reach. And I've been thinking about the ways that we choose to deal with these issues in our lives. I think Anne Morrow Lindbergh captured it:
"I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable."
Remaining vulnerable. That means not shutting out that thorn in the side. It means taking full advantage of its presence to learn everything that the situation has to teach. To turn away, ignore it, deny it, run from it, is to miss the opportunity to learn, to grow, and become something more. And that process produces the kind of joy impossible to know without ever having embraced the turmoil. The one thing that I hope most in all this journey that we are undertaking is that I don't waste any opportunities for learning, growing, or becoming wiser while I'm here. Whatever the magnitude of this journey is--or isn't--whatever it is, when I get on the other side of this, I want to have something worthwhile to show for it.
As the summer warms up, I'm having more of an opportunity to exercise my choice in perspective on lawnmowing. The Hobbits are beginning to exercise their summer ritual of requesting popsicles. Dairy, seeds, and nuts are still off the menu, but coconut milk makes a great replacer in lots of things. In replacements like ice cream and popsicles, it absolutely shines. So much of the Breatharian stuff takes a lot of doing, but it's marvelous to have something so luscious that is so simple.
Footloose and Fancy Everything Free Popsicles
Since we're corn sensitive, I make my own extracts with potato vodka. When we were eyeballing potatoes warily, I did spend some time meditating on tequilla as an extractant since it is made from agave nectar. I dollop a tablespoon of vanilla and half a dropperful squirt of liquid stevia per 14 oz of coconut milk. Blend up. Pour into popsicle forms and freeze.
This is endlessly tweakable for tastes and tolerances. Some favorite variations among the Hobbits are: cherry concentrate, carob powder, orange juice for dreamsicles (I'm still pondering how to get that swirl) or blueberry concentrate.
It's time to go meditate....um...mow the lawn again.
"Don't wish me happiness--I don't expect to be happy. It's gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor--I will need them all." AML