If you haven't read my last TurfNet blog post, it may help you here. I'm simply overwhelmed at the amount of amazing stories, offers of support and awesome advice that have come my way. Posting that piece was a deeply personal act, one which I wasn't sure that I should do. Really. It may read with ease, but it was far from easy to write.
I'm always trying to integrate work and life. I've never believed in the concept of work and play and life as separate things. I see them as coordinated and tied together. Always have. This episode of my life as primary caretaker for my dying mom has been filled with lessons. And be it application to grass growing or to family life there has been some stuff that sticks. Because it's a matter of when, not if, some tough times may come.
I was contemplating my situation and a series of self-inquiry questions came to mind. And I wish I had asked myself these things earlier. Therefore the share.
1. Have You Said Everything That Needs to Be Said?
I've never been much for keeping my words to myself. Correctness in the face of fear seems like weakness to me and I don't play that. But often, family or work matters find a way to bottle themselves up. And like a deep irrigation leak, when the time comes, the issues come to the surface. Sometimes a long way away from where the actual trouble started. I've been happy to use this time in my life to say some things to some people that needed to be said and thus the clearing of those energies has lead to better understanding.
2. Have You Done All You Can Do?
Really, Captain Obvious? Your mom is about to die and so you wonder if you've done everything. Original. What's next, Peanut Butter meets Chocolate? It seems that way. But in true clarity, the adversity of a situation can lead to some deeper thinking. Some mental McGuiver moves. A way to accomplish a hard task. Guaranteed, there is something that you haven't thought of.
3. Have You Asked For Help?
What? Stop at the gas station for directions? It's a little deeper than that, but this step requires some checking of the ego. Because we all know when our reach is shorter than our grasp. We do. And guess what, part of knowing who you are is understanding that asking for a hand doesn't mean you failed. Sometimes it just a hell of a lot harder than you imagined and getting a hand leant is more than necessary.
4. Have You Trusted Someone With Your Thoughts?
We humans don't like to show vulnerable. It means weakness and that means everyone gets all Lord of the Flies and someone doesn't eat. But the truth is, every successful person I ever have met has a completely trusted person in their world. Someone that one can say anything to. At any time. A well known tournament oriented superintendent told me once that if someone hosting an event doesn't have this person in their world, they have made a huge mistake.
5. Have You Made A Plan Based On Wisdom Gained?
Hard moments mean that we have about a bazillion lessons running at us all at once. And so, while your brain and emotional center may not be able to process these things in the actual moment, eventually the learning sinks in. Everyone grows in big ways when things are tough. It's really the way most of us learn best. But the next move is to sit and think about the newfound wisdom and what you can do with it. In other words, learn to hit the 1-iron that life just gave you.
I'm colored by my current very difficult situation. And looking at this bit of introspection has really helped. It's actually based on something called Jnana Yoga---the yoga of wisdom. Then, my memory went to other times in my life when it's been tough and I see where not completing one or more of the above steps was a hurt or disservice.
Example? A difficult time with an assistant super working for me. He wasn't cutting the mustard and I didn't really look at how I could better manage and learn from the situation until years later. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to have that enlightenment until I had learned a few more lessons. Perhaps I just didn't want to really look inside. Often inside of all of us are some dark and scary places.
Agronomy? (I do this for those of you who think I shouldn't write anything but agronomic fortune cookies). I mean, this is the easy area. Look at some dead grass or a situation or an event that didn't go well and start asking some questions. For me, not asking for help is about the first box I can always tic. There's so much Wisdom out there and so many people who want to help. Knowledge? Well that's power too. But you can bet dollars to day old break room doughnuts that there is a turfhead out there somewhere who is willing and able to help you.
For those of you interested. My amazing Mom, Donna, just had her 84th Birthday. Her lung function is down to about 10% and she's in a constant state of heart failure. She's lost consciousness a few times right in front of me. Her medical directive says that I'm not to call in any life saving measures or perform CPR. Hard? Nothing could prepare me for the act of holding her hand just to see if eventually there won't be a pulse. The questions I have shared here have been answered and worked on to the best of my ability. And that's all I've got is my momentary best. I appreciate your kind thoughts and just your simple act of reading.
"Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable."
---Gen. George S. Patton
"Knowledge is the understanding that a Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put Tomatoes in the Fruit Salad."