Grass is all relative

Finding green grass is a regular pursuit of mine these days.  As I walk Holden and Phoebe, we search for lush clean grass to run, play and make magic.  (“Making magic” is what we call doing their business.)

Considering I live in the Mexican ghetto, large bucolic fields are not common, so we accept what we find – a patch here and there.   Eddie, about 4 blocks away, has a lot of pride in his yard – 8 feet long by 3 feet wide.  He has plastic daisies and roses, a large deer sculpture, and greeting signs for dogs and their owners in Spanish (no clue what they say, but I like his hand-writing).  We visit often and enjoy Eddie’s music, which blasts gospel-rock (a new genre for me) out of large fake rocks.

Just down the street is another neighbor-friend who vacuums his nice green grass.  We like to visit this patch of grass because it is super clean.  While not necessarily trimmed (don’t think the vacuum does that), Don’s nightly ritual of vacuuming his yard is comforting as we stroll.  Once Phoebe got tangled up in all the extension cords hanging down from the 3rd story apartment down into the lawn – but she danced her way out of it.

Almost every day as we walk I ponder:  Am I seeking greener grass?  Are my expectations too high?  Unrealistic?  Or, am I just walking my dogs?

If you’ve followed my posts, and you’re a savvy reader, you’re already thinking, “Catherine, this rings of chocolate ice cream.”  Yes.  The essence of seeking greener grass is an underlying belief that greener grass exists, and moreover that I WILL find it.

So I’m back exploring how my beliefs determine my behavior and choices.

My shrink Joel would say that my goal is to accept reality (no chocolate ice cream at this shop).  Believing grass to be greener, not accepting my current green-ish grass, keeps me searching and restless.  It also keeps me believing in idealized ways.   The idealized belief is that this magnificent meadow of lush, spongy, fertile, brilliant grass exists and it’s just waiting for me!

I might be deferring responsibility here, but I believe I was born this way.  My mom always tells the story that when I was born I held my head up and no one ever had to support my neck/head.  From day #1 I was looking. I came to the world with this temperament – restless and curious.

My curiosity and unending energy helps me pursue dreams, accomplish goals – work hard and play hard!  But, always a flip-side, huh?  Yes.  The flip-side here is that I don’t want to settle.  I want it all.

Ah, but that’s just it!  This desire for “all” is what Joel is talking about – it’s idealized.  It’s not real.  It’s my romantic idealized belief.

This desire for idealized greener grass would be a hot topic for Kant because he believed desire could cause humans to become obsessed and embittered.  Buddhism views craving (desire) to be the cause of all suffering that one experiences in human existence.  If we eradicate craving / desire, we are lead to ultimate happiness – Nirvana.


I just returned from walking by Eddie’s house.  Eddie was out front and we chatted while his three Chihuahuas provoked Holden and Phoebe.  In the stone speakers was Stephen Stills singing, “love the one you’re with.”


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One Response to Grass is all relative

  1. In my undergrad days, many years ago, I took a world religions class, and we watched a movie about a Buddhist monastery. The monks would sweep the steps every day, not because they were dirty, but because they were practicing mastery in the moment. Perfect sweeping for the sake of perfect sweeping. They weren’t looking for the next step or for a more “needed” task. Or take a more immediate model: Holden and Phoebe don’t care if one lawn is greener than another. Look at that adorable photo of them; they are just loving the grass they’re on. Maybe they are big Stephen Stills fans!

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