December 19, 2012

Three Bags Full. ~ Cheryl Andrus

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 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


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