“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust
The sky is heavy grey. Little flakes of snow are drifting around outside my window. I am bundled in my thick pink robe, drinking hot jasmine tea wondering when it will finally stay warm. Yesterday we walked 4 miles in the park but still had to wear a down jacket. Yes I crave spring but spring also means the grass grows and I don’t love that. I have never understood the obsession with a green perfectly manicured lawn.
Here is a letter I wrote in one of my creative writing workshops a few weeks ago. I think it captures my sentiments perfectly. The prompt was to write a thank you to things you don’t usually thank: a skillet, a lightbulb, a bedsheet.
An Open Letter to Mr. Lawn Mower Man
Thank you Mr. Lawn Mower Man,
You have freed me from endless, wasted in my opinion, hot sweaty hours mowing a lawn I have tried, in vain, to kill over the last 13 years. Thank you for showing up each week in the dewy mornings with loud machines to cut my weeds that pass for grass. Thank you for your crew who whips and blows all the clippings in 20 minutes flat. Did you know it used to take me over 3 hours to do this dirty job?
You have freed me and my weekends so I can linger with my morning pages or read long form journalism. Did you know people still write long form? You give me space and time to learn grammar, syntax and order of words. I am getting my future, present, and past tenses right. I am sorting it all out. You give me extra sleeping hours and peace of mind.
Thank you for waking early and doing this work I so loath. Thank you for helping me write my blog and find my stories. You have no idea how much this is saving my life. Yes, I know I ought to not be a homeowner, I have too much deferred maintenance, but I am still under water from the Great Recession and stuck living here for now.
So thank you and yes I happily—gleefully— write my checks to pay you each month.
Dear Mr. Lawn Mower Man you are the best money ever spent.
Regards, Kira Elliott
I have to admit, before writing this letter it never occurred to me to thank the wonderful people who cut my grass. It never occurred to me how much I gain by their hard work. A few weeks ago when I signed the contract for lawn service this summer, I also sent a short thank you note for all their hard work. The owner of the company responded saying they have never gotten a thank you before. He was super grateful.
You never know what is going to arise in your writing or how that is going to ripple out beyond the page. When we write what is in our hearts we can not help but to have our perceptions of the world around us change. We learn how to cultivate gratitude for the mundane. I can tell you, I will never look at another lawn mower man and not feel gratitude for the hard work they are doing.
You can cultivate gratitude for the mundane too, write a thank you to something you don’t usually thank, like a skillet, a light bulb, or a doorknob. Trust that first image that arises and write for 10 minutes.
Here are links I found for this week’s Inspiration to Open Your Heart
F by Megan Stielstra– An insightful essay about the scars we are left with from our teenage years and still not understanding the why of them. I still carry many of these scars of when I ached to know I was alive and real. I love Megan’s writing.
Justifying Pleasure and Non-Tangible Work: Not Everything is About Productivity by Brenda Knowles- I struggle most with the voice inside my head that says I must be productive all the time. It used to be the only time I could relax was when I was sick. I think that is why I was sick so much as a child. Here is a good reminder to enjoy the beauty of life and allow yourself to process.
Your Brain on Meditation by Jon Janka- An in-depth article about what happens to our brains when we meditate.
7 Ways Meditation Enhances Creativity by Jo Malby- In case you were thinking of starting a meditation practice, here is more reasons and a short how to begin.
What Does a Creativity Fulfilled Life Look Like? by Tara Leaver- This is an enlightening post. Tara has collected from several creatives what creative fulfilment looks like for them. It is not what you think.
Finally, An Acceptable Girl- I loved this short video. I too have spent most of my life hiding and waiting until it was an acceptable time for me to be authentic. No more, the time is now.