Spiritual Landscaping

May 09, 2010

More and more my gardening skills lack enthusiasm. The other day, with grass freshly long from a deep periodic irrigation, I decided to mow the back yard. A few weeks ago, I brought the mower in to the repair shop for regular maintenance and the last time I used it, it started up fine. This time, I primed the carburetor and pulled the cord – again and again. After 43 times (yes, I counted!) I gave up. That's when the universe decided to demonstrate a practical, yet very enlightening allegory.

Priming the pump
One-two-three. Nothing. Four-five-six. Nothing. The engine wouldn’t engage. I tried to pull it harder, still nothing. I tried to pull the cord slower, nothing again. Primed it again – seven-eight-nine. Nothing. I thought perhaps I flooded the engine and that’s why it wouldn’t start. Looking at my lawn, overgrown and unkempt, I knew something had to work out. I began to imagine taking it back to the repair shop with my receipt, and asking for a follow up inspection. In my mind, I endured dislodging the handle, hoisting the heavy dirty mower in the back of my van, and driving to the shop – only to be told it would be another week. I had the entire scenario scripted around failure! Then, it hit me. What would it look like if the mower started?

In life we spend a lot of time priming the pump of our expectations. We try the same thing, over and over, again and again. The same results ensue. We wonder why things don’t work the way we want them to – after all, we're primed and ready to go! We do everything according to someone’s rules (or even our own), in the specified order. Then, we repeat our maneuvers just to make sure we did it right the first time – more out of disbelief than of assuredness of a different outcome. Hmmm.. we do all the motions – suffering, struggling, preparation, and life hands us a stalled outcome.

Momentary engagement
My arm got tired from the ridiculous cord-pulling. I took a deep breath and mumbled, "this time it's going to start." Sputter-sputter – zoom! Victory! But then, cough-cough, click. The mower and I began an absurd one-foot-at-a-time relationship where it would engage and then quit. I wondered if this was more frustrating than not starting at all. Nonetheless, not to be defeated, I played this game through 3 lengthwise courses of mowing, managing to get the worst of the lawn cut before I took a much needed break. I reasoned the mower (not ME, of course, the mower) needed a break. I let go and walked away.

Our everyday frustrations with Spirit happen this way, too. Just when we think we've figured something out, poof! We try again and get a little further down the path, then we stop. We can almost hear the Universe saying, "are you sure this is what you want?" and it cracks open the door of possibility and we look out, and slam! The door closes on us. Yet we keep knocking and keep trying, not understanding that what we want may not be in residence or its otherwise detained in our consciousness.

Allowing the machine much needed rest, I decided to use the cool morning time wisely. I looked over at the mower, almost mocking me in the middle of the half-mown lawn, and plugged in the double orange extension cord. I bought a second hand hedge trimmer which I'd yet to use, and took it and the cord over to the bushes to trim. It worked smoothly and I remember thinking how proud I was not to gouge my own leg in the process. Finally, when I'd squared off the oleanders just perfectly, my confidence got the better of me. Remember that bright orange extension cord? I moved it out of the way, but it fell right into the path of my hedge trimmer and zzzzt – severed it in two. I'd traded one landscaping frustration for another.

Sometimes the best way to solve our quagmires is to step out of them. We get so bogged down in details, in process, in consequences, we can’t breathe. When we step away from one area of difficulty to something new, we still bring our attitudes with us! In doing so, we find that life reacts equally as haphazardly because nothing inside of us has really changed – it’s simply a different problem.

I separated the double orange extension cord, and threw the severed section into the trash in the alley. I rolled up the intact half, and put it, along with my hedge trimmer, back in place. There it stood – the lawnmower. Daring me to attempt to move it from its inertia. I purposefully walked over to it and tried starting it again, thinking the 15 minutes I allowed it to rest would be sufficient. Same thing. Repeat – pull, pull, stall. Aaargh! Finally, I looked at the lawn, looked at the mower and said, "I want my mower to start and stay running until I want it to stop!" Pull – action! I laughed out loud – was it really THAT EASY? The mower stayed running, and continued to restart successfully between my emptying the catch basket. I finished the entire back yard in record time.

When we focus on what we want in life, instead of the struggle, process and the difficulty, the Universe has a newly mown path on which to give us our heart’s desire. What we want, clearly defined, purposefully declared, expectantly requested, manifests in our lives – like magic. Our specific wording and intention must be carefully crafted because our subconscious and Spirit take us literally at our word. No jokes, no self-deprecation, no apologies – simply ask for what you want, and in the manner it should appear and state your expected outcome.

After I parked the mower and covered it up, I went in the house and took a shower. Mowing the lawn is a dusty chore here in the desert. Afterwards, I looked out the back door and truly admired the beauty of the freshly trimmed yard and appreciated that my efforts paid off. I thanked the forces for delivering what I asked for.

When things work out in life, whether your interpret them as "luck" or divine intervention, be sure to thank the Source.

Our life lessons come from a text book, growing up and even landscaping. We notice allegories and comparisons to what we go through every day and something inside us clicks. When we connect to our internal spark which primes our pump, we engage in a powerful journey. Although it appears that moving slowly and stopping often brings us discomfort and frustration, we truly need the exercise to absorb the lesson life attempts to show us. When we step away not only from the current situation causing us distress, but also away from our negative thinking which bore the problem, we find success in the respite. The Universe is all hearing – it is our responsibility to tell it what we want. Our choices and possibilities are as endless as blades of grass – we simply need to decide and declare it. It makes all the priming, pulling, and pushing worth it!

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