Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Weeds and Life’s Purpose

Thought I would share this interesting blog that I read every now and then. The Lazy Way to Success - The title appealed to me because I am always looking for the quickest and easiest way of doing things.

"The Lazy Way to Success
Hard work is passé. The paradigm-shifting concept is "Smart Laziness" – where success comes through cleverly avoiding work but still getting the job done. In this oasis, we celebrate those magical ways where doing less accomplishes more"

I took my wife and mother to a wonderful organic farm a few miles from our home. The 180-acre operation which includes a three-acre greenhouse is run by an enchanting couple. Dean, the husband, captivated us with tales of soil chemistry and local bacteria. And his wife Christine, a drop-dead gorgeous French woman, dazzled our taste buds with her culinary magic. If P.G. Wodehouse were alive today, he would readily agree that like his character Anatole the French chef, Christine is also “God’s gift to the gastric juices.”
Every Sunday throughout the summer, Dean and Christine hosted an outdoor brunch. They held two seatings, each for 24 people. They used the produce from the farm in their dishes which meant the food was so fresh you wanted to slap its face. Even though they did not advertise, reservations went fast. Guests had been known to drive over 100 miles one way to attend.
On the Sunday we were blessed to be there, Christine prepared spanikopita (spinach pie made with filo pastry). Even now as I write about it I am overwhelmed with reverential feelings for that particular masterpiece. But I digress. While serving myself a second helping (and still swooning in delight over eating the first), Dean sidled up to me and whispered that there was actually no spinach in this spinach pie.
“What’s in it?” I gasped in astonishment.“Weeds,” he replied.My knees buckled.“Weeds?” I gasped again.“Weeds,” he confirmed.“What kind of weeds?” I asked.“Lamb’s quarter,” he said.
Dean proceeded to extol the nutritional value of lamb’s quarter but all I could think about was how great it tasted.
Lamb’s quarter was the first weed I could identify as a toddler when I “helped” my mom in the garden. For nearly 60 years, up until brunching on those bliss-bestowing morsels, I hated seeing lamb’s quarter in gardens. Farmers must also share that hatred since they spend billions upon billions of dollars on herbicides and untold hours spreading it on their fields to kill off every single sprig of lamb’s quarter. Now Dean tells me that lamb’s quarter is good, wholesome stuff. And my mouth was an immediate convert.
Lamb’s quarter, the archetypal worthless weed that is found in everyone’s garden, isn’t so worthless after all.
The realization got me thinking. The story of lamb’s quarter was yet another piece of evidence that nothing in Nature is wasted and Whoever or Whatever created this Whole Thing didn’t make any junk. Every plant, every creepy crawly, and for that matter, everything and everyone has value.
Let me, for a moment, put a bookmark at that thought and bring out another wrinkle.
My son dropped out of high school two weeks ago. He is/was a senior. He claims it is only for a month and that he plans to re-enroll for the second quarter and make up the school work he missed via correspondence courses to graduate with his class. We’ll see. In any case, he maintained that the purpose of this “hiatus” is to travel around the country and hope to find and/or ignite a spark in his life.
That got me thinking more about purpose and the spark that drives purpose.
Here is what I realized.
I am convinced that we were all put here for a purpose. Identifying that purpose and then expressing it is the real fun. I am also convinced that each one of us has all the tools and resources necessary within arm’s reach to realize our purposes. Perhaps those inner resources are latent but everyone already has the requisite intelligence, creativity, energy, and time. Everyone also has the necessary passion to drive the process.
So where’s the problem?
The problem is that most folks, besides not believing they are special (a tragic oversight, by the way), are so dulled out or fatigued that their innate intelligence, creativity, and passion are encrusted with inertia and thereby rendered sluggish.
The sharpness of our intelligence, and the liveliness of our creativity, and the intensity of our “spark” are all directly proportional to how rested we are. If we dissipate our energy in inane activity and pointless work, and if we squander our time in traffic jams and commutes, and if we eat empty, dulling foods, and if, with whatever time we have left, we watch mind-rotting television, then finding our purpose will be darn near impossible.
The intensity of our spark in life is completely dependent on how rested we are. If my son would listen to me, which he doesn’t, I’d have communicated this point. So instead of running around the country and getting exhausted in the process, I’d have counseled that he get deeply rested. Then the path becomes both obvious and irresistible.
I saw an apropos comic strip (“Bizarro” by Dan Piraro) in the newspaper yesterday that should give us pause to evaluate the direction each of us is taking in our lives. An old guy on his death bed is surrounded by family. The old guy is reflecting on the achievements of his life. He says, “I watched a lot of TV, ate a lot of fast food, and sold more laminated countertops in June of 1973 than anyone else in the Southeast region. My work here is done.”
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