Three Bags Full. ~ Cheryl Andrus

Via elephant journal
on Dec 19, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

Nurturing Is Doing What Needs to Be Done.

Rake leaves.
Wash dishes.

Wash dishes.
Rake leaves.

Leaf raking is best approached in batches. On Sunday, I spent at least 300 hours raking leaves while my family slept or watched TV. I used the time to clear my mind of every sort of emotion that would naturally wash up on my consciousness. It was a struggle bigger than actually raking the leaves. The whole notion of focusing on the out breath needed to be a neon sign to wear like sunglasses.

Did it work? Only for those moments.

Although I did let go of the hook of having someone look out the window and say either, “Wow, I’ll get out there and help her,” or “Wow, that’s fantastic! What a great job you did!” The family was very accommodating in the absolute support of my Buddha quest. Not a peep was uttered.

So this morning, it’s 32 degrees and I don’t have to be at work right away. I contemplated taking a walk by my favorite canyon stream; or spending 20 more minutes practicing stillness; or any number of other “renewing” and “nurturing” activities.

But, the leaves aren’t done yet. So I took my pile jacket, my hat and stiff garden gloves and settled into the meditative mind to fill just one bag.

And this is what I might have missed:

A black and red woodpecker in my yearling tree
A school yard bell ringing a few blocks away that I had never heard before
Frost on each blade of grass
Frost on each and every astonishingly beautiful leaf
Knowing that the sun will come and the frost will disappear
Knowing that nurturing is doing what needs to be done
Mindfully and mindlessly.


Cheryl Andrus

Cheryl Andrus is from Salt Lake City and is trying to combine mindfulness with a type-A personality and marketing career. My 3-way life: live in the mountains, work in the city and escape to the desert. Who am I? Someone in the crowd who observes, inspires, seeds ideas, incites a chain-reaction for creativity …


Ed: Terri Tremblett


Like elephant spirituality on facebook.



About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to [email protected]


One Response to “Three Bags Full. ~ Cheryl Andrus”

  1. […] were considered a middle class community not because we had lawns—a few with painted fences and a few without—but because we all knew the care of those small […]