Musing about this “mowing thing” ever since arriving in the Bluegrass last year, I’ve developed a theory. I have concluded that the mowing madness surrounding me may well contribute to the “niceness” of the people here. This theory is based on only two personal mowing experiences but I think it has merit.
I got my first taste of mowing with a Zero-Turn this month, for I had bought a home with acreage that screamed “mow me now.”
That particular day I had had my first and only bad Kentucky people experience. That’s pretty amazing in itself and a fact contributing to my decision to stay in the Bluegrass. People are just generally so kind here. That day, however, I was fuming, and obsessing on this “wrong” done to me.
Lo and behold, within 15 minutes of mowing I noticed my buzzing mind slowly emptying with the buzzing of the blades. My mind quieted — it was wonderful — and all that mattered in that moment was that I take in the beauty all around me: my green pasture, contented horses, dogs at play, cheerful robins and the incredible sunset over my neighbor’s field (where hours earlier there had been a rainbow).
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The “injustice” on my mind was one I could do little about, had no control over; it was a resentment that was poisoning me. “Letting go” was the only sane choice. Moving on and hanging on to the gratitude and awe I was feeling in that moment was all I wanted and the surest way to peace of mind. Simply put, my Zero-Turn turned me around.
There will be no more judgment coming from me about this “mowing thing.” Coming from northern California and drought years, I was stunned by the greenery and seduced by the beauty of the Bluegrass. I admit, however, to shaking my head over pastures groomed like world-class golf courses, and judging this perfectionism as an obsession for some. I certainly knew the horses didn’t care a whit. Given my profession is addiction intervention, I kidded about adding “mowing addiction” to my intervention practice.
If it can be an addiction, well, I might be hooked. I can’t wait to get on my Zero-Turn. Anticipation after all is a big part of a budding addiction. Addiction, however, by definition is destructive — life and relationship destructive, whether chemicals or an activity.
This “mowing thing,” however, may well be life and relationship enhancing. Am I in denial? All I know is I felt a peaceful happiness while mowing, a feeling of all being well in God’s world, even though it’s maddening and confusing why people hurt each other, and why we hurt ourselves with negativity and useless resentments.
So I ask you, dear reader, are you a better person after mowing? Does my theory hold water? Does it clear the slate after a rough day, or clear the mind of any desire to berate others? If it works, mow on. If a loved one, however, has said “you’re addicted” then best pay attention and look at the criteria for addiction:
1) Preoccupation. Your spouse is talking to you but all you can think about is getting on that machine.
2) Denial. Sincere delusion you don’t have a problem, can quit anytime you want to, you just don’t want to.
3) Tolerance. Where once it was satisfying to mow one acre, you “need” more. You find yourself mowing your neighbors’ fields and justifying, rationalizing, defending this activity and use of time.
4) Loss of control. See No. 3.
5) Consequences: Your health is suffering (allergies so what). You’re losing weight missing dinner (“must” finish that last patch). Your relationships are suffering (“where’s dad … we miss him!”). Your job is suffering (leaving work early to get your fix). Your pocketbook is suffering (“need to upgrade … better suspension!”). You’re having legal consequences (speeding ticket racing home; pending divorce with John Deere cited as the “other party”). You get the picture.
Bad news is you’re on your own. Don’t call me for intervention help — you’ll probably get my voice mail because I’m outside mowing.
Jo Ann Towle of Lexington is an addiction interventionist.