Updated: Feb 23
Living in Minnesota can have its challenges. This is especially true during the winters. You really don't have a solid gauge of predicting what it will be like. Even if snow doesn't start (and stick) until December, you can still have a very long and arduous season.
This winter started out pretty mild, but then the snow started and stayed. With each passing storm, I dutifully dressed up warm and headed out early to clear off the driveway. This is an important step to do as soon as you can, otherwise if you drive on it, the snow packs down and the driveway becomes icy. Using my fancy electric snow thrower made this easy as it has a sharp scraper blade on it and can throw the fluffy frozen water anywhere I want.
Another part of my responsibilities as a respectable homeowner and loyal government subject, I also make sure the area around the mailbox is clear. I take my time to make sure the snow is cleared at least 15 - 20 feet along the curb, giving the postal carrier plenty of room to access the mailbox from the comfort of their vehicle. I take special care to get as close to the grass as possible when clearing the street and curb. I figure it wouldn't hurt to earn some points from the mail carrier, right?
A few weeks ago, we had a series of storms come through our region. Oh well, what can I say, I live in Minnesota. I just need to do what it takes to keep up the level of excellence I set earlier in the winter. After a full day of precipitation ending late in the evening, I decided to wait until morning just in case it decided to add more overnight. After all, I wouldn't want to redo the hard work I put in clearing the driveway to perfection, would I?
This storm was a doozy. When I opened the garage door the next morning the level of snow formed a perfect wall against the door about 18 inches high. I wasn't expecting that by any means. Well, buckle up butter cup, as a good friend of mine likes to say. I put on my snow garb and cleats for my boots and grabbed a shovel to make some room to get out of the garage.
The going was difficult as my little snow thrower wasn't used to the depth of the snow, but it is a real trooper, and I made my first pass down the driveway to the street. I was in luck; the snowplow hadn't come through yet, so I was able to easily access the street and start my journey back up the drive. Slowly I made each pass up and down the driveway and was grateful to see my that wife had joined me in our efforts to clear the way before she had to leave. With each pass, the snow piled up on the layers already on the lawn and I could see the concrete peeking out in large patches.
Once the drive was clear, I grabbed my big shovel and started pulling the snow away from the mailbox and using the blower to inch away at the bank that had formed from the winds. Finally, after about an hour of hard work, we had the driveway looking really great! My wife and I stood looking out over our handy-work and smiled at each other. We were proud of our work, and I was especially happy that my snow skills were still sharp after all these years. Planning and strategizing which side of the driveway to start on based on the prevailing winds, breaking the snow into bitesize chunks for my little blower to handle, and of course the amazing cleanliness of the area around the mailbox. It was absolutely impeccable.
As we stood in the kitchen waiting for the water pot to heat up, we blew our noses, and I washed the icicles that had formed under my nose in my mustache and beard. Then we could hear rumbling in the distance, with a low gut wrenching, metal against asphalt scraping sound. I turned off the faucet and spun around to look at my wife. Her eyes were wide, and I said, "Oh shit, no!"
As we both hurried toward the front door, we could see the bright orange and white lights racing across the walls of our living room. It was true, the snowplow was coming by! We stood there in horror only to see the truck rumble by our house without the slightest care for all the hard work we had just done. Luckily, the whole driveway was not filled, but the pile left by the plow was much higher and wider than was there before!
Since my wife still needed to get out of the drive, I hurried and suited up again to head out. I stepped up my efforts and was able to punch a wide enough hole through the snow wall so she could wiggle the car out and get on her way. The time that it took to remove this new pile was as much time as the entirety of what we had done earlier. What was I going to do? I had to get it cleaned up. It was my sworn duty after all.
Another hour passed and once again I stood at the top of the driveway surveying the work I had done. I had an even greater sense of accomplishment at this point. I had stepped up to the challenge twice in one morning and the results of our efforts once again reflected our dedication.
A few hours had passed by when I happened to glance out my home office window only to see the snow coming down heavy and it didn't let up for about 3 hours. I took a deep breath as I already knew what I'd be faced with when it stopped. We accumulated another 5 inches and I saw the plows pass by with impunity. I imagined the plow driver sailing along with a kind of tunnel vision and focus on getting their job done, no matter what.
The predictions had promised this was the final snowfall for the foreseeable future, so I grabbed my freshly charged batteries and fired up the blower once again. As I was heading for the street I had an epiphany, I would only clear the far end of the driveway entrance. Giving enough room for my wife to drive into the garage. This strategy would allow the plow to come through again and only fill in a small portion of what I would clear out. It was brilliant.
As I stood there with a sense of pride that I was using my superior intellect to make all this snow removal stuff efficient. Surely my wife would be impressed with this new tactic! Then a small voice whispered in my ear and asked, "What's the lesson in all of this?" Hmmmm... I'm not really sure. What is the lesson?
The next day I had a video call with a coaching group I'm part of and the moderator started out by asking what was present for us in that moment. I immediately knew what I was going to say. I told the group my snow removal odyssey and I asked the group if they might know the lesson I was supposed to learn. The group did not disappoint in their insights.
One of the participants said it was one way to look at how I'm able to problem solve and step up to the challenge. Another mused that it was a reminder of seeing the truth of living where I do. And lastly, the most profound insight went something like this, "If I was Nature, and I am Nature, I would have seen you attack the snow challenge each time and conquer the task successfully and with a sense of joy. My main purpose, as part of the Divine, is to give you as much joy as I can. So, I would not only keep the snow coming, but I would encourage the snowplow driver to repeatedly go by your house!" While the group began to laugh, I was struck dumb. I stared at the group and said, "Holy shit. You mean I was the one who really created all of this work!!!" :-)
There is this a widely accepted premise in the spiritual community that we indeed are the creators of our "universe / reality". The interesting part is, this concept is now being studied and proven through various quantum physics studies. The idea is that the more you focus on any one thought or action (positive or negative) this creates a kind of energy or vibration that will attract similar or like energies. My focus on the work and subsequent pride in what I accomplished set in motion a chain of events that brought more of that joy into my life, even though it was more work!
My lesson here was to be careful what thoughts and feelings I choose to focus on. I am attracting to me the same or similar experiences, good or bad. My thoughts and emotions were a mix of frustration, pride, and happiness. Even though these seem to be in opposition to one another, they still create a vibration or attractive force. This attraction will then manifest more of the same or similar into my life.
As I considered the meaning of this lesson, I mused about how often I fixate on the challenges I have in my life. It has seemed that once I resolve one conflict, another just arises to take its place. Changing my perception of my challenges as being temporary and allowing them to pass has been key. I must learn what I can from the challenge, as this allows my wisdom to grow.
In each moment we have a choice in how we see our lives and what we want to manifest in it, regardless of what happened a moment, day or a year ago.
Be well and choose wisely. You are much more powerful that you think you are!
Dwight Raatz, Author, Personal Coach & Konsilisto
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