Cutting the grass and sump pump hoses

My son came by for the weekend and like a good dad I put him to work.  He cut the grass for me, and as he was cutting it I moved the sump pump hose out of the way into a position that was temporary.  – temporary because thats not where I wanted the water to exit.  So I waited a while for him to cut the area so I could put it back.  He kept cutting but not in the same way i would as i would cut the area that the hose was in so I could put it back.  When i started to get amusingly frustrated I said to myself – “That’s OK, he doesn’t know the resting and tension positions of that hose.”

Resting and tension?

Everything has rest and tension.  I have not done any research into this but it sounds like a suspiciously ancient oriental concept.  Sort of like yin and yang.  So I will naively continue.  My son couldn’t tell that the hose being in that temporary position was a position of “tension” for me.  To him it was just a hose we moved.  For me, however, it bothered it; it was a tension I could feel.  Strange, huh?


Tension is the feeling that something is not right – that it is out of place or it is in a position that you want to change.  It bothers you.  It unnerves you; it disturbs you and even drives you crazy.  Some of these things are things we just “get used to.”  Others are things that we just are not at ease with until we truly “put them back” like the innocuous hose.  Every day we encounter things in our life that provide tension.  In some cases they are the things we are bothered by, in others they are a life adjustment, in others they are just things we need to accomplish and still others are things that we actually have fun changing.

Uneverving and disturbing things are such things as a pay cut, a new boss or policy change that is going to make you quit, a significant other than is constantly bumping heads with you and on the way out, a teenager that is out of control or even a bunch of weight gain.  These are all things that you feel you cannot change or are very difficult to change

Things you may not be at ease with are a messy living room, a pile of laundry that needs to be done, if you live in wisconsin then it’s four foot snow drifts that completely prevent any means of escape.  All these things can be changed and you know how to change them.

Then there are the little things – the stuff they tell you (inaccurately) not to ‘sweat.’  These are things like emptying the dishwasher, taking a shower, writing an email or the aforementioned hose – all tension in your universe.

Finally there are the things you want to change, and are looking forward to changing – things like a work out you’re looking forward to, a painting you are working on, sculpting, pottery work, home improvements, a carwash, even coding.


The things at rest in your life are the things that seem to be where you want them.  When you review these they give you a certain kind of contentment.  Things that are at rest are not necessarily things that are not moving.  This is not an inertia or momentum discussion like we have in the Rocks and Bags podcast.  Whether the thing is maintained or is on autopilot is not a function of whether you consider it resting.  A high school coach that is watching his team run sprints has a lot of movement in front of him.  He has to maintain their activity level, watch for stragglers, for form, etc.  They are in no way “resting” nor is he at the moment – but the activity itself, the flow of it in his mind is considered resting.

Things at rest in your life could be the health you happily maintain though good eating an exercise. You may consider a clean and very tidy house to be at rest, and conversely you may consider a house with toys strewn about to also be at rest because you are the parent of small kids and this state of being means they are happy and your house is alive with movement and happiness.  Your concept of resting may be connected to whether you are someone who favors order or chaos – both could be considered rest or tension depending on your view.  Check out Order or Chaos to see which one you are.

A very active office, with many many ‘balls in the air’ could be your state of resting environment.  If you paint it could be a canvas in the middle of the studio surrounded by other canvases, paints, brushes, props so strewn about as to hide the floor completely.  Whatever it is, it is in a state that makes you feel like you were meant to do this – you are performing your function.  And confusingly, this feeling can come from having something in a state of tension – a completely blank canvas looking very alone in the middle of a clean room, or a blank sheet of paper or blinking cursor on your Mac Pages, beckoning you to start once again.

So don’t fault others for not knowing what is causing tension – you may just have to explain it to them with the hope they understand.  And understand that others have things that provide tension that may be invisible to you as well.

And don’t beat yourself up.