The Art of Moving Leaves

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The art of moving leaves

Yesterday I was blowing leaves in my backyard. I have one of those ridiculously large backpack blowers. As the leaves were dancing across the yard, I got in a zone where the thought chatter stopped. You know what I’m talking about, the endless dialog that fills most of our brains. It’s interesting how when we slow down we often see: the brain quiets and we see life in a more vivid way, we feel that we need to do “something” with those feelings, and then life piles up.

Quiet of the Brain

Mystics from every world religion discuss the idea of “waking up.” Catholic monks would often live in silence to reduce the thought chatter, making their life a living prayer. Buddhist monks quietly do acts of service. Muslim Sufi’s have an idea of watching over the spiritual heart. In a sense, every culture understands that our brain needs to quiet. It needs a break.

Potentially that’s why kids have so much energy, they’re not expending it on analyzing every interaction. They’re not mulling over the past or predicting the future. Practices like prayer, meditation, or even blowing leaves can remove us from that ongoing mental dialog.

Don’t Be Lazy

Within our culture, laziness is one of the worst insults. Deep in the collective psyche is the idea that we should work, achieve, and be productive. Entire news networks are dedicated to reinforcing this idea. But this isn’t true in many cultures. After we find ways to quiet the brain, observing the richness around us is the natural next step.

When kids daydream, they’re often absorbing the moment. The rare understanding the nuances of being alive. When we have moments of insight or awakening, the natural next question is, “What do I do with this?” Yet, often those moments are only for the sake of the moment. They have no other purpose than being what it is.

In so many ways, isn’t that what we want? Don’t we want to be valued for existing and being our true self? The thing that takes the least effort is often the thing we crave the most.

Pile it On

After we quiet the brain and allow the moment to have its own worth, life often piles up. As I was blowing leaves, there was a point when the pile was too large to blow. It was no longer efficient to keep blowing them, instead I had to use a tarp. In life we often keep doing what we’ve always done, instead of moving to the next phase.

Quieting the brain and getting past the feeling of not being lazy takes effort. But the thought chatter rarely serves us in a positive way. Instead being present and watching leaves dance gives us a deeper sense of the full depth of life we can experience right now.


Joe Sanok is the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling and the host of the top podcast, Practice of the Practice. The podcast was recently named one of Huffington Post’s top 100 podcasts. For more on personal and business growth go to