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  • Julie Slim

Two birds in one!

Yesterday, I rediscovered a new activity that not only checks off my exercise goal of the day, but also a productivity goal. For the last week, looking out of my window at my backyard had caused me irritation. Our grass was unevenly growing, and to me, it was unpleasant to look at.

While Sani and I sipped on a delicious cup of coffee outside after lunch, enjoying the cool breeze and sunshine, I expressed my irritation at the unevenness of our 'grass' (it's really just overgrown weeds since I don't believe in planting grass; but that's another story). Sani's reminded me that we had a manual lawnmower, in case I was interested in fixing this "problem". We had purchased it a few years ago, and after I had used it a couple of times, I had decided it was too hard to use. Since then, it sat behind our playhouse, which is now a storage room for our garden tools and other miscellaneous items. The grass had grown around it, and unseen to our eyes, it was forgotten. I thought it might not work anymore, having been exposed to the elements. I thought for sure it had rusted away.

I had not exercised yet, and I had planned on taking a bike ride that day. However, upon his suggestion, I got excited about the prospect of having an evenly cut yard, and I decided to tackle it. It was a great opportunity to see if the lawnmower still worked. Now, you should know that any activity I embark on must be accompanied by music or a podcast, so I went inside, changed into appropriate clothes, put on my bluetooth, filled a tall glass of water, put on sunscreen ( a must!) and walked determinedly into the yard to the lawnmower waiting patiently for me.

Starting is the first and most important step in any activity that you put your mind to or wish you could do. Sounds obvious but, because my inner critical voices are quite loud, questioning my ability to perform the task at hand, pondering the choices of where and how to begin, bullying me and belittling me, starting becomes the most difficult task at hand. Needless to say, I did start, right after I turned on The Daily ( I needed to catch up on episodes I had missed) and thus began my journey with the lawnmower.

Time passed quickly and stood still simultaneously during this activity. Grass clippings flying around the mower and carpeting the lawn as it got trimmed, the smell of freshly cut grass -a cherished childhood memory, the meditative motion back and forth, the demarcation line between past and present moving ever so slightly, all of this provided for a very pleasant and gratifying time. On the other hand, having to stop and unclog the mower when it locked frequently for whatever reason was challenging, but also provided short breaks and an opportunity to feel powerful having fixed it each time. When I stopped and saw that more than two hours had passed, I was happily surprised. I didn't feel tired; I was pleasantly sweating (I love to sweat!); and I had the immediate gratification of seeing the lawn cleanly shaven, so to speak.

I was happy for the rest of the day, my body nicely fatigued by the full-body workout I had, and my mind satisfied that I had made a positive change, though small and insignificant. It's the little things that count, especially in the times we are living. Many more little seeds of abundance added up to a colorful bouquet of gratefulness flowers that day. What are the little things keeping you happy these days?

Thank you for listening and humoring me. I would love to hear from you.



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AUSTIN, TEXAS 

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