“Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more…” (A surprising lesson in abundance)
A couple of days ago, the county had its tractor crew out mowing the grass on both sides of our road. It reminded me of another time they mowed, back in 2007.
That was the day I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.
Back then our organic vegetable garden was nearly 5500 square feet — quadruple the size it is now. That’s also when my husband, Dan, was the primary one in charge of it. Our agreement was “You grow it, we both harvest it and I cook and/or freeze it”.
While Dan has always loved gardening, he DETESTS weeding and watering. So when he read Ruth Stout’s book, Gardening Without Work, he became a lifelong convert. She taught him how to use mulch to minimize the weeding and watering. Ever since, he has covered every inch of his gardens with newspaper — followed by a layer of grass clippings.
This mulch was doubly important in 2007 because we were experiencing near-drought conditions. By mid-July, the grass clippings Dan had already applied were nearly gone.
We needed more.
Having four acres, we had always had a plentiful supply of grass to cut and clippings to rake up. But not that year. The grass simply wasn’t growing fast enough.
So Dan was spending 2–3 hours each day watering and weeding. Morning, noon and night, he repeated “I need grass clippings” like a broken record.
Whenever I went to town, he would remind me. “I really need bags of clippings. If you see any, be sure you pick them up.”
So everywhere I went, I looked for black bags of grass clippings set on the curbs for pickup.
But there were none to be found!
This went on for weeks. Dan was starting to feel desperate AND frustrated. Not to mention exhausted.
One Monday morning, I was driving to Oxford for an errand. As I got in my car, Dan pleaded, “Remember, if you see any bags of clippings, grab them. I really need them.”
I still remember driving north on County Highway G. Two miles from home, I saw a tractor approaching me in the opposite lane. As I got close, I recognized it was my neighbor, Roland, mowing the shoulder. I waved as I drove by.
A mile later, I suddenly slammed on my brakes.
I felt much the way I imagine Dorothy felt when she landed in Oz. My eyes opened wide with surprise and delight as I realized the road was COVERED in grass clippings. Looking ahead and behind me, all I saw was miles of green grass covering the other lane.
I made an immediate U-turn and headed home to tell Dan the good news. He was in the garden, watering.
“What are you doing back already?” he asked.
“How serious are you about wanting grass clippings?” I replied.
“Why?” he asked excitedly. “Did you find some bags?”
“No,” I answered. “But I found grass clippings — a veritable goldmine of them. You just need to bring a rake and a big container or bags to put them in.”
When I told him what I saw, he let out a whoop and a holler.
Then he grabbed the rake, a big barrel and jumped in his car.
A few minutes later, I got back in my car and headed back toward to Oxford on County G. Again, I waved as I drove by Roland.
Then I waved as I drove past Dan, standing in the middle of the other lane, raking up clippings. With a HUGE GRIN on his face.
As I now define it, “Abundance is KNOWING that we are part of something bigger than us AND we have access to all that we need.” Remembering the miles of grass-covered road I saw years ago is a potent example of this truth.
What sometimes prevents us from accessing these resources is that they don’t look or show up in the way we expect.
Back in 2007, I was so fixated on finding BAGS of clippings that it took me a FULL MILE before I saw what was right in front of me. I was driving by more grass clippings than Dan could ever want or need. But they weren’t in BAGS!
And so it is with all that is available to us, my friend. A byproduct of the Archetype of Scarcity is that we see everything through a lens of scarcity. We habitually see ourselves, our finances and the world as “not enough”. We focus on what we don’t have. And we fixate on the ONE thing or the ONE action we think will “fix it”.
The result is that we miss seeing resources, both internal and external, that are right in front of us.
And we miss them because they might show up in different ways and from unexpected sources.
This is why learning to open our eyes (and minds) to what IS in front of us and what we DO have is so important.
And one way to begin to develop this ability to SEE is with some simple questions, asked throughout the day. Questions like:
- What DO I have that I can utilize, in this moment, to support me?
- What’s the hidden or overlooked gift or opportunity in this moment?
- Am I not seeing how to have what I want and need because it’s not looking the way I expect or think it should?
And finally, my favorite…
- What have I experienced today that reminds me that something bigger (and more loving and powerful) than me is at work in my life?
As Dorothy discovered in The Wizard of Oz, she had what she needed all along.
She just didn’t recognize it.
Because what it took for her to go home wasn’t what she expected.
It wasn’t something outside of her — it was something INSIDE.
And so it is for you and me, my friend.
You are more powerful than you know. And completely worthy to have all that your heart desires.
As long as you remember that it might not look the way you expect.