I wasn’t going to sit and write tonight. The kitchen is filthy and I’ve got a women’s group starting on Sunday that I want to prepare for. But something in my day struck me with its powerful symbolism and though I briefly touched on it here, I have more that I want to say.
Driving along a country road this afternoon with the boys, I hardly noticed any of the perfectly manicured lawns and front sections of people’s properties. Neatly clipped, trimmed and maintained. I’m sure if I was paying attention there would have been perfect little clusters of flowers too in just the right corners. But like I say, I didn’t notice any of it. Until I came across the exact opposite.
Vast swathes of delicate grasses, wild oats, dandelions, purpletop all begging me to stop the car. So I did. As Kian blew the seeds of dandelion globes into our hair, I knelt and picked a small bunch. I observed the landscape around me and noted something far deeper than this patch of roadside beauty.
We live in this insane culture that teaches us to control every aspect of our lives. We work hard to trim, clip and mow our lives, our children, our emotions, our work, our relationships. There are expectations, are there not? Just like it’s expected you mow your lawns to have them look a certain way, to fit in, to blend in, to conform to an overall desired feel. To keep them under control.
I’m not saying that a mown lawn is a bad thing, either literally or symbolically. You drive past it. It doesn’t rock your world. It’s… unremarkable. Mediocre. You lie low, you don’t ruffle any feathers, everyone is ‘pleased’ with you and you probably get to retire with a nice little nest egg. And maybe that’s what a lot of souls are here for.
But I’m not in this for unremarkable, and I’m definitely not here for mediocre (in case you hadn’t already guessed).
What would happen if we cut down on the obsessive clipping and mowing? What if we learned to let go and surrender to a greater force than us? What would happen if we let it steer us? What would happen if we just loosened our grip and stopped trying to have things go a certain way?
But hang on. What on earth does any of this actually mean? I hear you. How does it look practically?
It can look like this:
Your son can’t read yet. You’ve been pushing. Urging. Sitting. Working on a strategy. Worrying and fretting. Controlling. More and more. What if you sunk deep enough to hear the voice that’s saying Let it go. He’ll read in his own good time, woman. Enjoy reading to him, enjoy the books, the rhymes, the art, the stories, and just LET. IT. BE.
There’s a family dispute. You’ve been trying to fix it. You think you have the power to achieve that perfect outcome. You’ve been preaching. It hasn’t worked. So you preach harder. You plead harder. What if you just walked away with love and made peace in your own heart?
You’re an absolute mess. I mean you’re a wreck. Emotionally, physically, mentally. Though previously you’ve reached for the drugs because you felt desperate, this time there’s a faint trace of wisdom whispering it’s OK to be a mess. What if you’d rather messy than numbed out? What if rather than control your emotions, you seek help and take a curious attitude and explore what they’re trying to tell you, see what’s inside and underneath it all?
I’m very much practising this way of living, but I’m sensing that we might, given time and patience, see a little magic unfold. We might see all the different parts of ourselves flourish and come to light… if we let things get carried away, if WE get carried away, if we allow, if we step out of the way. It’s not smooth sailing, and there are big bumps and awkward ridges at times, and holes to fall in (much like this unmown patch of land, hence why it had been left!), but I know in my heart it’s living in a way that feels courageous and remarkable with so much to offer those around us. It’s pretty bloody spectacular. I just know.
And mediocrity doesn’t get a look in.