Backyard Dreams

I once had this backyard dream. It was ah-mazing with a pergola, a fire pit, paver patio and blooming flowers that grew without maintenance. I consulted with friends in the business, people who had semi-ah-mazing yardage and also with others that just knew what hard work really meant. I wanted to know how to make this dream reality. Even more so, how to make it happen easily.

I started to make this dream a reality. I plotted my yard. I bought books and read them. I watched how to videos online. I made graphs and charts and measured out the grass beneath my feet with steps adding on 4” for every step my 8” large foot took. I dug dirt –with my hands and sometimes with a shovel. (I once dug a hole for three very long days in Indonesia and hated every inch of the dirt/trash hole created. I came to terms with it in my own way.) I measured things with tape. I loaded and unloaded concrete brick stuff. I leveled things. I started to create a pretty decent fire pit. I hauled more stuff. My point is this: It was intense! Heart-pounding, muscle-hurting, swamp-ass-sweating intense stuff. And then something happened.

I remember sitting in the backyard in a crossed-legged kind of moment after re-arranging the pavers one more time before making it work. (The Hindu priest from Bali would have been so proud of my reflection – especially because I was “sacred” and “powerful” while “celebrating” my menstruation during this time of intense physical activity. Praise deities!) The Hindu Priest may have called it meditation. It was more of a rally cry towards the realization I had been coming to.

Realization that I did not have peace and this ah-mazing backyard was not going to give it to me. The poetry of Kahlil Gibran speaks to this:

“Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power? Have you remembrances, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind? Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain? Tell me, have you these in your houses? Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?”

Why was I building this backyard?

I knew that my continued efforts to make things amazing had not previously and would not in the future bring peace. If the purpose is to be comfortable, then it is easy to make things amazing. It is in times of challenge and struggle and change that real peace can be understood and acquired. I had become a slave to many things, but mostly to comfort. As long as I was letting other things lead, I was no longer my own master. I dutifully finished my beautiful fire pit and focused my thoughts on my plan to depart. Depart the backyard. Depart the house. Depart the relationships that kept me prohibited. Departed part of myself.

Having an amazing backyard means nothing if your power, mind and heart in your own house have become slave to comfort.

Peace, remembrance and beauty must be the pavers of your soul.


20 Things That I Love

daughters – a decade ago

My daughters, although they do not belong to me. They have their own thoughts and their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow.

Music that makes me wiggle.

The smell of fresh cut grass.

Waking up without the need for an alarm clock and to the smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning.

Being employed in a position that I value with a mission I believe.

Almost anything Italian.

#15 Via Istria, Longare, Italy – my childhood home

Dancing like nobody is watching.

Receiving surprise packages and hand written notes in the mail.

Hydrangeas. I love that they change colors depending on their environment and always deliver a beautiful overflow of petals.

karaoke with colleagues

My colleagues (most of them). They make special event soundtracks for our team with songs like, “Hold On” and “Say What You Need To Say” to get us through the tough days. They will show up with water guns and bubbles to break up the rough spots. They are not opposed to sumo wrestling or paintball as mandated fun and will sing on cue and when needed during a conference call and still manage to get things done.

Making the amount of money I need to survive and living within my means.

Walking through my front door after returning home from a trip. It feels like I am giving myself a giant hug.

The writings of Kahlil Gibran. They make more sense to me than any religious book ever did.

Baby laughter. The sweetest sound.

Brayden laughing

Studying positive psychology. Makes me happy. Go figure.

Relationships that include mutual respect, gratitude, helpfulness, Individuality, humility, humor, loyalty, drive and adaptability.

Making homemade pizza and drinking wine with people I love.

Strong, competent, intelligent female friends.

Bali, Indonesia – pic I took from monastery

Discovering new cultures.

My pursuit of happiness.