I'm an early riser in general, even on the weekends. It's just me and my coffee for the first hour or so on most Saturday mornings. Sometimes, I'll use the time to write and reflect; but more often, I take this unhurried time to learn something new or find inspiration in the stories of others. My favorite place for doing so is TED.com, whose simple tagline is "Ideas Worth Sharing."
This weekend, I found a TED talk called "The 3 A's of Awesome" by Neil Pasricha. In 17 minutes, Neil tells the story of how he overcame adversity and disappointment through attitude, awareness and authenticity. Please take a little time to watch the video below, as only he can do his own story justice.
I've spent much of this weekend cleaning up the garden I've so woefully neglected since August. As I filled yard waste bags and tore out cold-damaged annuals, I had plenty of time to roll the concepts of attitude, authenticity and awareness around in my mind, internalizing and understanding them more clearly with each revolution. I kept asking myself, Why did I give up on the garden this year?
I think the answer lies in the fact that I lost sight of the three things that Neil Pasricha holds so dearly: attitude, awareness, and authenticity.
I let the long drought and an increasingly busy life outside the garden affect my attitude in the garden. It became a time-consuming chore rather than a place of respite and inspiration.
I let the unending worry of the garden's survival affect my awareness of the garden. The beauty and benefit of my garden have always lived in the wonder of its details. I should have known something was wrong when I didn't have my camera with me all the time in the garden. I was walking through the garden wearing the blinders of my poor attitude, and rarely viewing it through the lens of discovery.
I let the specter of future critics muddy my authenticity. For the past year, I've been overly concerned with having the garden prepared for being on our local garden walk. It's something that's always been a goal of mine -- to open my garden someday to the community. In the past 18 months, the possibility has become more real. With that reality has come a self-consciousness that has me second guessing the garden's design and overall aesthetic. I became more concerned about what others would think of my garden rather than how the garden meets my needs and our needs as a family.
Neil Pasricha's TED talk stopped me in my tracks. His words circled my brain as we put the garden to bed this weekend. With every leaf, stick and stem that ran through my hands, I was reminded how to find awesome in the garden.
I'd highly recommend visiting TED.com on a regular basis. I can't begin to enumerate the number of innovative ideas and inspiring stories I've heard through TED. The original TED events have now spread worldwide through independent, local TEDx events. I'm eagerly awaiting the December 1 TEDxCrestmoorParkWomen event at the University of Denver, where my close friend and fellow blogger Shawna Coronado will be inspiring the audience with her "One Person Can Make A Difference" talk.