05 Dec Day 19 Learning to Love My Pinecones
For the past 10 years, I have been fighting a battle. You see our house is in the woods. A pine forest specifically. I wasn’t paying close attention to that fact when we bought this house. The first time we pulled into the driveway time and I saw this house – that was it. Love at first sight. I have a bit of a reputation for being impulsive. Also in the past love for me equaled total blinders to all things reality. So this house could have been sitting on a nuclear waste dump and I probably would not have noticed or cared because I was too busy picking out awesome paint colors for my bedroom.
Well, as far as minor details go that significantly impact your daily life, living in a pine forest is a biggie. Pine trees have many good attributes which I will go into later, but it was hard for me to see them because I was too busy cleaning up the constant flood of pinecones and pine straw falling from the sky and into my yard. It started out as a novel pastime. It was another “fun” aspect of new home ownership.
By about year 4 things started to turn ugly. I found myself having some serious anger issues towards the pine cones. The novelty had definitely worn off. By year 6 the pinecones and I were in a toxic relationship. Have you ever seen the movie Funny Farm? It’s an old Chevy Chase movie from the late 80’s. If you haven’t seen it treat yourself. It’s hilarious. In the movie Chevy Chase moves from Manhattan to the country and becomes obsessed with outsmarting the crazy country mailman. He goes completely off the deep end and the obsession consumes his life:
This is what happened with me and the pinecones. I started to take it personally. It was like some twisted version of pinecone ground hog day. Every day I would clean them up. Every day there would be more. Actually the pinecones and pine straw formed an alliance and started working against me as a team. If it was a light day for cones, the straw would pick up the slack. I was losing it. I started to imagine that this was the pine trees’ way of saying “F-You” to me with these daily deposits and I started to hate them too. It was year 7 that I got into gardening and the wheels came off. Now I had my garden beds to protect. I could not have my beautiful chocolate brown mulch sullied by pinecones and pine straw. It was war!
Then slowly something started to change. Last year I was running more and after my runs I would stretch on my front porch. When I was finished stretching I would lay on my back and look up at the pine trees. From that perspective they were actually quite beautiful. Each day they looked slightly different. On sunny days the pine needles would sparkle in the sun, taking on an almost metallic look. If there was a breeze the tree tops would sway with a hypnotic, rhythmic motion and the needles looked like they were dancing. Before I knew it I was able to lay there for 20 minutes lost in the beauty of these pine trees. I loved the elegance of their height and how they are spindly, flexible and strong.
I cherished my daily pine tree time. Once I started feeling love and appreciation for the trees it spread. This year I started to notice the pinecones. When I was angry at the mess they made I was blind to their incredible beauty. Like how each one is completely unique. And how the different color tones and textures are so rich looking and sculptural. I started collecting them and putting them in bowls around my house. It’s love. Now I marvel at their beauty on a daily basis. As the holidays approached I found myself outside hoping for new pinecones so that I could decorate them with “snow” and metallic/glitter paint. My Christmas tree is full of beautiful pinecones!
My love grew and spread finally to the pine straw. After years of battle and resentment with this stuff, after days and days of raking it out of my garden beds I had an epiphany: what if I just decide I love pine straw? What if instead of spending all winter fighting it I embrace it? What if I use it to fill my gardens beds? What if I delight it its organic bounty and feel grateful that I get it for free?
And that’s exactly what I did. As I’m typing this my home is choc full of the most beautiful pinecones you have ever seen and my yard is fully landscaped with home grown pine straw thanks to the beautiful trees that surround my home. I couldn’t be happier.
The point is I wasted years and huge amounts of energy resisting what was. For no other reason than I had a strong belief about how things should be and I couldn’t let it go. If I could have changed my beliefs about the pinecones the first year we owned the house I could have spent the last 10 years enjoying myself a whole lot more. I created my own problems.
Are there areas in your life where you are stuck in a limiting belief? Do you have a rigid idea of how things should be versus how they are? How exhausting is all of that resistance? What would it feel like to simply decide you love your pine cones? To accept what is and be grateful? Learning to love and accept what is changes everything. I wasn’t lying to myself about the pine cones. I learned to focus on what was great about them and in doing so my feelings changed. Doing this with the pinecones gave me a reference for doing this in other areas of my life that really needed it. When I approach any situation with love, joy abounds.
So today, what are the “pinecones” in your life? Take a step towards embracing them and focus on the gift they are in your life – even if you can’t see it yet.