When my (then) husband and I stopped having (dangerous) chemicals sprayed on our lawn,(1) small pretty flowers began springing up in it. An acquaintance asked me “How do you get those pretty little flowers in your lawn?” and I replied simply, “Stop spraying!”
This has been a stubborn practice, though, and many people in the small town I live in now have kept on and on with the habit – until now, finally, we have a provincial by-law that is legislating it out of existence.
Now, many lawns are sprouting pretty little flowers that didn’t used to be there.
It occurred to me yesterday that this is kind of like a metaphor for life now – in mid-2009 – as we’ve been gradually learning that diversity is not some sort of curse (in lawns or in life in general) – but seemingly the whole point of life on Earth. The idea is now no longer that we all attempt to be “the same” – the recognition now exists that our strength lies in our endless variety, uniqueness and diversity.
In lawns, the poison kills all but one species of grass, and when we stop, lots of beautiful life grows up.
In us, the poisons are the damage we do to ourselves (and each other) with our minds. We dump on ourselves (and others) with harsh judgments and endless criticism and negative self-talk. (Not to mention wars and discrimination and homophobia and bombs and religious violence; well, you get my drift, hmm?)
As Eckhart Tolle points out, our minds are endlessly playing games with us. We’re re-living, over and over again, the (wonderful or miserable) past – or we’re running ahead in our minds to a magical future when everything will be…perfect? Better? We’re everywhere but here, now, exactly where we are, in this precious present moment.
Tolle also points out that most of what goes on in our minds (our “noisy minds”) – our thoughts – is repetitive. I know I’ve said before that many of us poison ourselves from the in-side out by allowing our minds to be occupied with old pains and hurts and resentments (and I’ve quoted Anne Lamott, who had a character in her novel Crooked Little Heart say, “Holding onto a resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die”).
It’s pretty wondrous and amazing how beautiful this world of ours is – and we really start noticing that when we stop poisoning our minds with endless negative mind chatter.
I once sat on a commuter train on its way into busy downtown Toronto, and as we sped alongside Lake Ontario (itself a very pretty sight), I saw a sunrise of such stunning beauty, I was almost open-mouthed in awe. My fellow passengers were completely oblivious to it! Often, our minds are so filled with … details, plans, resentments…whatever… that we can’t see the forest or the trees. Or the gorgeous sunrise taking place right outside the train window.
Such beauty all around us, and we are too blind…too mind-occupied…to see.
When we do stop applying the poisons, to our lawns and to our minds, it is quite miraculous how much joy – and beauty – we see there is to appreciate all around us!
(1) For the benefit of readers in countries where this does not happen, in North America there is an obsession with the so-called “perfect lawn” – even to the extent of using dangerous chemicals to “subdue” weeds.