Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/18/15—Mowing it Away

Everybody has their thing...their way of coping with the slings and arrows of life. In the healthy category, I have meditation. In the unhealthy category, I have carbs. And when bad situations are ongoing and there's nothing I can do about it, I have mowing. 

There's something in the violent shuddering and noise of a lawn mower that can shake the anger and frustration clean out of you. And when the grass is really high and the air is hot and humid, it works double. 

I reserve the mower for situations that annoy me, but that I have no control over and must live with. They're usually situations I've stopped fixating on and think I've accepted, until I mow. And then I realize how much they're still bothering me. 

I remember a long, long time ago, all my mowing time was earmarked for a neighbor who borrowed a number of my tools, then made me ask multiple times to get them back and then, when I did, they were broken or missing parts or whatever. One time I came home from running errands and found this same neighbor in my house, using the key I entrusted them with, nosing around. 

Of course, that's about the time I stopped lending them stuff and reallocated my key to another neighbor. But the anger of the whole situation stayed with me for a while. While I could manage all of that much better today, I couldn't back then. I have to coexist with this person for god only knows how long. So I walked away from the situation and, instead of confronting, I mowed. 

While it's not completely out of the question for me to have a total meltdown and go off on someone, it's extremely rare. And then it's usually a stranger and not a loved one. Not that that makes it ok or anything. I stopped doing it when I became conscious of the fact that I was displacing my own anger on others. I think once you become conscious of the motivations behind your bad behavior, your bad behavior becomes much harder to do. 

Which is why so many people prefer to live in denial of their bad behavior. Because then they don't have to change. Or apologize. Or find some healthier way of coping. I know a few people who displace their anger on others. Or otherwise try to manipulate. The nearest I can figure is that they're unhappy about some aspect of their lives and so they seek to control or punish those outside of themselves for the things they've lost control of or punish themselves for. In normal situations, I wouldn't keep those people a part of my life. But they're family, so I have no choice. And I mow. 

It's not that I like mowing. I do and I don't. I hate the sweat and toil of it. But I like the way it rattles the anger and frustration out. And, besides, I have this weird fascination with the rows. I mean, you can clearly and immediately see the fruits of your labor when you mow. The grass was there. And now it isn't. 

The funny thing is, I always have something eating at me that comes up when I mow. I think the quest to become a better person or a more spiritual person doesn't mean that you don't get pissed off or annoyed by life. The quest is in raising the vibration of the way you respond to that respond in a way that neither hurts others, nor compromises yourself. Some things that used to bother me, now no longer do...minor slights and such. I can Zen my through a lot of stuff. I can speak my piece and be done with it. But when it comes to any place where I have attachments, whether the attachment is to a person or a principle or some fear I have within, mowing helps. 

And while the dissolution of attachments is a spiritual goal, some attachments will always remain. I'll bet even Buddhist monks need to mow from time to time. It's part of being human. We all have crap that doesn't go our way, places where we feel stuck and situations we don't yet have the tools to manage. But, just saying, when those things manifest as manipulating others or being nasty to others, it doesn't show your superiority or brilliance. It shows how deep your unhappiness with life runs. It shows your weakness. I mean, everyone has moments when they lose it, but when it becomes a pattern you cling to, it exposes you. Which is exactly what you're trying to keep from happening when you manipulate and insult. Just saying. 

We all have stuff and we have outlets or coping mechanisms to deal with that stuff. When those coping mechanisms include trying to make others hurt, it keeps you in your pain and self hatred but, more importantly, it keeps love and forgiveness and healing at bay. I think one of the basic prerequisites of spiritual adulthood is that you take responsibility for your pain and why you are there. You stop trying to hurt others in an effort to make yourself stop hurting. Because it doesn't work. It adds to your pain. And it exposes the very part of yourself you're trying to hide in an effort to make someone else look bad. It's ugly. 

So rather than do that, I mow. And nobody gets hurt. And I don't accrue bad energy for hurting others. And I turn the bad energy I'm holding into something that benefits me. And I work through the frustration in my mind. It works better than carbs, I have to admit. Carbs are an escape from pain. This is a confrontation and transformation of it. 

I always think the day will come when I mow and just don't think of anything but mowing. But it never seems to. Life brings a steady stream of slings and arrows to us all. For the spiritual traveler, the goal might be to become free of attachment and fear, but then we would no longer have a reason to be here! We're specifically here for all of this to happen. So I have a whole summer of growing grass ahead of me to help me cope. And there are healthy ways to eat carbs. And I always have meditation. So while I may never fully overcome attachment and fear, it's doable to shift to healthier ways of working through them. Ways where nobody gets hurt.