Spring is springing in the smallest state in the United States – Rhode Island. That means any day now the lawn will be in need of the first mowing of the year.
I hear that confession is good for the soul, so I confess that I’ve never been a fan of mowing the lawn. I’ve done it countless times and have always been left with an empty feeling when the task was completed. When people would ask, “Don’t you have a good feeling about your accomplishment?” the answer was always “No.” People scratched their head in bewilderment and I went on unfulfilled by my completed task.
“The quality of the steps determines the quality of the journey.”
If the steps of the journey are comprised of low level, negative energy, the outcome is insured to be low level. It may have all the outward appearances of accomplishment, but the energy that permeates the final product determines its perception.
My lawn mowing was accompanied by my miasmic mutterings. I was in a vaporous bog of negativity. More time was spent thinking about how I didn’t want to be doing this rather than paying attention to the doing. That is a prescription for having a cup that can never be filled.
I’m not suggesting that you or I fall in love with pushing a mower around. What I’m requesting is that when we find ourselves doing a task that isn’t at the top of our favorites’ list, that we go about it mindfully. That means to give each step the proper attention it needs without the mindless chit-chat that always delivers the same thing – an empty feeling.
This is not a request to put your heart into cleaning up dog poop from the yard; it’s more about the quality of attention you bring to a situation. This practice has deeper roots than doing unattractive household tasks.
What are you attracting into your life? The answer should be easy. Just look around. Whatever is ever present is what you are attracting. Now the question becomes, “Is this what I want to be surrounded by?” if the answer is “No,” start paying attention to the steps.
Let’s look at the concept of “Obligation.” Suppose that you feel obligated to do something. You are duty bound to complete this objective. Suppose that objective is to work in an unattractive job to feed your family. If you approach the daily steps you take towards your job with animus and loathing, the financial remuneration, no matter how great, will be filled with low level energy, and the goods and services it buys will be tainted by this force field. Reminds me of a story . . .
There were two boyhood friends in the 1950’s – one was Catholic; the other was Jewish. They were out walking around town and the Jewish boy found a dollar on the ground. He decided to share his good fortune with his friend. “Let’s go get some hamburgers” was his invitation. Did I mention it was Friday? The Catholic boy said, “No I can’t have a hamburger because it’s Friday and we don’t eat meat on Friday.” The Jewish boy didn’t understand. He said, “Aren’t you hungry? Come on, I have a dollar and I can already taste those burgers.” The Catholic boy went along and had burgers for lunch. They tasted wonderful, but a half hour later he was having awful feelings about having eaten meat on Friday.
This is not a judgement on anyone’s beliefs just an observation that our beliefs infuse our actions with energy. It’s up to us about the type of energy we bring to the situation. Our beliefs are the stepping stones that provide a walkway for our journey. If our beliefs keep us bumping into reality and causing us pain, we are living in an illusionary, low level existence. It may be time to adopt some new beliefs that generate higher quality energy.
Back to the unattractive job . . . there are choices. You could approach the job with mindfulness about the task you are involved with at the moment. This mindfulness short circuits the constant blabbing inside your head and opens up some space in your thinking. When there is space in your thinking, the opportunity for new ideas to pop in increases. One of those new ideas may be the stepping stone to your new career. This thought will never get the opportunity to present itself if you’re constantly blathering inside your mind that you’re too important to cut the grass.
The energy you bring to something has an effect. Mindfulness is high level energy. Pay attention to the steps and the journey will take care of itself.
All the best,
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