How might it feel to quit striving?

Being Ordinary


Why self-inquiry?

A couple of years ago I was renovating a house for resale. One day my real estate agent dropped by, wandered out back, scanned the nearly half-acre yard, and frowned.

"This has to be updated," he said. "You need to clear out that ivy patch, install a sprinkler system, establish a garden, lay down some gravel walkways, add some potted plants, improve the lighting, and sod the lawn."

The online do-it-yourself sites spelled out the steps. I would need to do a bunch of things I had never done before: dig out the ivy, which was a tangle of roots more than a foot deep, rent a roto-tiller and plow the lawn area, cut channels for the sprinkler system, order a sprinkler system and install it, lay out garden areas and add mulch and soil, plant the garden areas, line the pathways with plastic, order gravel and spread it, buy potted plants and starter plants for the garden area, buy lights and install them, and order sod, cut it and lay it out.

There was more, and that was already too much.

For the big jobs, I hired a landscaper. The landscaper helped me with the roto-tilling, sprinkler installation, sod, and clearing the ivy. Once that was done, I did most of the rest of the work myself. Lots of trips to Home Depot.

Inquiry is like that. Having a teacher -- or a group, or a coach -- tills and sods the field. After that, many of the minor jobs can be DIY. And the big jobs - the ones that the landscaper helped with - shift into maintenance mode: adjust the sprinkler timer and heads, water and cut the grass, fertilize and tend the flowers, rake the gravel, replace any lights that fail. More DIY.