This spring I was reminded of the importance of awareness, curiosity and openness, which led to a mindset shift.
When the spring arrives, so does a subtle dance that my husband and I have when it comes to our lawn and the dandelions that seem to enjoy it. As the yellow plants start to emerge one by one, I find a quiet afternoon day and, with my garden trowel and gloves in hand I descend upon my backyard.
I start the arduous job of digging them up, one by one, being careful to get as much of the root as possible. I spend hours slowly and methodically combing through the backyard, foot by foot, extracting these “unruly, ugly weeds” from the lawn.
That’s when my husband chimes in with his commentary. “Why are you wasting your time?” And “You are leaving big divots in the yard which makes it hard for the boys to play soccer.” I feel that all my hard work trying to make our space look pleasant is going unappreciated. I feel his lack of gratitude.
These are subtly different perspectives that don’t lead to any big disagreements or marital problems, so our dance continues year after year. I’m stuck in my thinking that while our lawn will never look as beautiful as our neighbours’, I at least want it to look green and respectable. While he maintains his practical perspective of our lawn as a sports field for our two boys with minimal concern for its appearance. As long as it is kept mowed, he is content.
While I mildly acknowledged his concern about the divots, I really didn’t think it was a big deal. And I was steadfast in my desire for a green, rather than yellow, lawn. I never thought to challenge myself and my actions regarding the fate of the poor dandelions that I am impacting. Or whether I’m impacting other creatures by their removal. Those things didn’t cross my mind, until recently.
I came across a few posts on social media stating benefits of dandelions, including for bees and for the soil itself. The post that really caught my attention was a poem that has gone viral which was originally posted on April 29, 2021 by Paula Kok-Den Boer which begins, “Hello, I’m a dandelion. A lot of people call me a weed but I’m a friend and come to help you!”
Apparently dandelion flowers are the first food for insects after hibernation. I fact checked as best I could, because it seems necessary these days, and it appears to be true. They are good for the soil and let us know when the soil is too compacted. And they provide for the bees early in the season when few other flowers have blossomed. After doing my research I am also intrigued by the health benefits for us humans too!
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”Wayne Dyer
I was stuck in a certain way of thinking about dandelions; my distaste for them likely influenced by societal norms. Based on my research, I learned that dandelions used to be highly regarded due to their many health benefits. Now the focus is on beautifully manicured lawns and dandelions don’t fit that picture.
With a little openness and curiosity, I look at my lawn in a whole new way now. I look at dandelions with a fresh perspective, with gratitude and appreciation for them. I am even curious about trying them out for their health benefits -maybe a dandelion tea to start.
Whether the divots are a problem or not, my husband and I may have come closer together on the issue of our lawn. Perhaps this particular dance can stop. I’m sure he will be very happy and perhaps feel like a bit of a winner. That’s okay because I feel like a winner in my own learning and growth. 🙂
Curiosity and Openness
It makes me question what other areas in my life I should be more open and questioning about. What other things am I stuck in a mindset about where I can learn more?
Differences of opinions with others can be a good trigger for me. An opportunity to explore other perspectives and facts about a situation. I can question if I have any stale, long-held beliefs that I may have inherited. Perhaps my thinking is unduly influenced by society.
While I know the importance of mindset shifts and being mindful about thoughts and beliefs (a key to happiness as outlined in Good Morning, Life!), as I talk about in my last blog, reminders are always helpful.
As Albert Einstein says “The important thing is to never stop questioning.”