Why did I do it? My purpose was clear: to mow the lawns. My motive was pure: to please Penelope (and this was no chore, I love mowing the lawns.) Furthermore, I was willing, ready and able.
Yet for some hidden reason, I attached the back lawn with its smug daisies with enthusiasm but no pattern. I just went for it! Normally, I add a pattern and sequence to my mowing.
After a while, I remembered why I mow the lawns with a pattern and sequence. I began asking myself the question, "Have I mowed that part?" My inner critic answered each time, "Well, can't you tell? If you can't tell, you haven't mown the grass very well, have you?"
Truth be told, I could tell most of the time but I couldn't be sure. I concluded that to mow the lawn without a pattern and procedure was wasteful. It could be done more efficiently and enjoyably without confusion, and, without the counsel of my inner critic!
Fortunately, I had the front to do next and the neighbour's front. These two lawns were approached with a pattern to my purpose! It was far more satisfying, and my inner critic went off somewhere else to poke about in the archives of my mind so see if it could bring up other examples of my stupidity to encourage better planning in future. I think it got lost because I was at peace the whole time I mowed with purpose and a pattern to follow.
So what's my point? Whether or not we each sense some noble purpose in life, we all live a life filled with purposes great and small. The purpose may be to get through the day, or even one hour at a time when life is hard, or it may be to feed the hungry of your county, your country or even your continent. One difference that makes a huge difference is to impose on or find a pattern to your purpose.
Every purpose needs a structure and a procedure – a pattern of what makes sense to do first, and what next. The lawn is a good one because if you mow in relatively straight lines, you not only have a sensible procedure but also have pretty reliable feedback on the success you're having in achieving your purpose. You get a sense of progress.
I'm not sure what you're facing this week, but I'm sure it could be stated as a purpose. Given this purpose, what pattern could you create to move you steadily towards your purpose? For many of us, rhythms and rituals work – we get up at set times, we get ready in a set sequence, we do things in an established order. This reduces stress because we know what we plan to do next and we can focus, therefore, on one thing at a time. But there's a bigger message here – how could you lay a pattern over your bigger plans and purposes so that you can mow that larger metaphorical lawn of life one methodical strip at a time?
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