I just arrived here at my sanctuary near the shores of Lake Erie and cracked open a Genny Light tall boy to quench a man’s thirst following a good day’s toil in the sun.  I got a nasty sliver buried beneath the fingernail that I typically use to strike the shift key for upper case and punctuation.  Despite repeated attempts I was unable to extract the gritty black intruder.  A Facebook post yielded a couple of suggestions including an Epsom salt soak and crushed Juniper berries, neither of which I have handy at the moment.  So I’ve placed a bandage over the top of the finger providing some mild relief as my weary shoulders recover from several hours of weeding, edging and mulching.

On the ride here I called my soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law (that’s a lot of hyphens) to wish her a happy 70th birthday.  She was delighted to hear from me, and likely mildly surprised as she gushed over all the balloons and nice gestures from her children and grandchildren on a milestone day.  She also expressed her lament that her daughter and I are splitting up, and bit her tongue rather than share more openly something she had on her mind.  Perhaps she is angry with both of us for not giving it a greater effort.  I told her neither of us has brought up any notion of bridging the gap.  I felt a wave of grief wash over me after concluding the call.  It’s invariably sad when things don’t work out between people, and yet quite liberating too.

I am having a similar experience with this fledgling landscape business, questioning whether or not it is really what I want to invest my time and energy into, particularly in recent weeks.  After about 3 hours of working the loop through weed-infested landscape beds this morning I became angry that I was working myself so physically hard.  It was not my vision going into this venture to be spending full days on the work crew engaging in the manual labor.  When I had bid the job last fall it was my understanding that Nick would be working alongside me full-time in the business, which all changed once he received a promotion at his present employer.  Now the weight of the burden has fallen upon my shoulders to market, sell, hire and lead a crew.  I’m too old to be working my body this hard as I had in years past.  I love a good workout, but I got out of landscaping in part due to the toll it can take on an aging body.

In retrospect, as I consider my intentions when I got involved in this gig last summer I was looking for an income supplement as I had a full-time job.  I thought I could partner up with someone and do the selling while they orchestrated the daily operations and earn a tidy commission for my efforts.  Nick had intended to leave his current employer and invest himself full on into the landscape venture.  And after I’d lost my job I saw that I could become more fully involved as a partner in the enterprise.  I had a couple of people stiff us today who had responded to a Craigslist ad for hire.  That left me with my good friend Matt who has some experience in the field and a great attitude, along with a younger inexperienced kid who also has a great attitude, but had never done this sort of meticulous grooming.  I had to go over his work on a couple of occasions pointing out how to thoroughly cull weeds and rake out mulch to an even distribution.  We have at least another full day ahead of us to complete the job and will likely go over budget on the mulch as well.  I emailed Sister Sharon asking if she’d agree to pay for additional mulch at our cost, without any added labor charges.  I’m hoping she is empathetic and views it as a fair request.  If that’s not the case, we will simply have to eat the cost and hope that her satisfaction with the work will result in referrals, as originally planned, so we can recoup our expenditure.  If she raves about us throughout the Catholic community it can only lead to more fruitful gigs.  We still have ground to make up for what we’d invested into Plantasia, and the few leads that were generated resulting in a handful of estimates.  It remains to be seen whether or not these become sales.

I have a rhythm in pattern in my business ventures of getting involved with a pair of partners who have the financial leverage in the enterprise.  It is unfolding once again, much as it had over 10 years ago with a couple of buddies of mine, brothers, one of whom pledged a chunk of change from a lawsuit as a capital investment into equipment and advertising to get us launched.  The venture lasted less than a full season as we never managed to get clarity on whose role was what and how to manage the cashflow.  Those sorts of agreements are essential for any hope of fruition and longevity, not unlike as in marriage.  I suppose the lesson for me is either to empower myself financially, or run the opposite direction when I see the pattern setting up.  From my experience we cannot avoid our patterns, we can only change how we interact and respond.

I might give the aimless path a try to see how goes.  Although I did do a good deal of wandering for much of my 20’s and 30’s I’m not sure that is how I’m inclined to spend my imminent 40’s.  But then, it wasn’t until the last decade that I began practicing responsibility for my thoughts and feelings.  In this respect, the internal awareness becomes a powerful compass for purpose and the seeming external meandering is incidental.  The aim is to practice love and forgiveness regardless of one’s life circumstances.  The circumstances themselves are merely the set upon which we act out the play.  Everyone is living their own reality show.

I just got back from a stroll to the beach where I managed to catch the sun just before it dipped below the liquid horizon.  The chilly westerly winds chopping the lake ushered me away after just a few minutes to drink in the moment.  I said hello and re-introduced myself to the 3 young fellas, Joey, Jimmy and Jake, who rent the place adjacent the access and were busy grilling up a feast.  On the walk back I had an epiphany of sorts noting that instead of complaining about my current situation, particularly the physical labor, perhaps instead I could embrace it as an opportunity to become strong and fit like I’d been just a few short years ago.  I’m catching myself giving in to the dogma that I’m getting too old for this sort of labor.  And while my shoulder did tweak once or twice today it certainly did not prevent me from continuing the labor of lifting, raking and spreading.

I really do have an ideal opportunity right now to undergo punctuation in my equilibrium.  This is the model I find most compelling when it comes to natural evolution, periods of stasis and uniformity interspersed with periods of upheaval and transformation.  I might consider instead to be rejoicing in this current epoch and I’m often reminded I am not the only one enduring a crisis of sorts.  Life is teeming with enriching opportunities and advancement not only of the self, but the species and ultimately the Universe.  I am right where I am supposed to be and where I need to be.  I am open to the unlimited possibilities.

In common wealth,

SjK

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