Mowing the Lawn & Other “Mundane” Activities
I just finished mowing the lawn! I perform this ritual about once a week during the growing season. Years ago, one of my students asked me as I was building the raised beds for our vegetable garden; “when you are gardening or doing yard work, do you wish that you were playing music instead”? He asked this question at a time when there was no internet, cell phones, Facebook, incessant robo-calls, twitter and the rest. Even then I responded that preferring to do something else would completely miss the point. I like being outside, tending the land, looking at the sky, breathing fresh air and the like. I get inspired and have time to think or not think. It is a meditation. And these days, it is a sure way to disconnect from all distractions for at least a little while. I don’t listen to music or have headphones while I am mowing the lawn. I use earplugs to protect my ears and then it is just me, nature and my thoughts.
I don’t think that I would like to do this as a full time job, although I could see the appeal. It isn’t really about mowing anyway. I get the same way about washing dishes, making the bed, vacuuming and other “chores”. My work, whether recording, performing, composing or teaching requires intense mental concentration, often for long periods. I really enjoy allowing my mind to wander and it charges my mental batteries. I also find it interesting that we appreciate the great artists, architects and musicians like Van Gogh, Rousseau, Monet, Georgia O’Keefe, Debussy, Vivaldii and Frank Lloyd Wright and then don’t see the value in spending time with the source of many of their creations. The next time that you are doing something that doesn’t seem intrinsically creative and “fun”, have a high expectation of, intention toward and openness to a new experience.