Choice, a lawn and a bit of philosophy

(and no, you don’t have to be a gardener or a philosopher to read this, but you might have a decision to make)


The lawn (or, in other words, the problem)

Welcome to my garden. It is a small, city garden and notwithstanding its small size, I thought a lawn was essential. I was adamant! My horticulturally minded friends advised that in this small space, I should avoid having a lawn, but, no, I was certain.  

Six years on and I think they may have had a point. The lawn is a nightmare, a green (ish) headache, boggy and dry simultaneously, both dead and weedy. How is this even horticulturally possible?

The philosopher

Kierkegaard, a 19th-century Danish philosopher, said that making a choice is like coming across five paths in the forest, on a foggy day, which one should we take? We can’t see where the paths lead (it’s foggy, after all) and the choices are not infinite (I can’t magic my tiny garden into a massive parkland).  

I love this image because it encapsulates three distinct elements in making a decision: identifying what is possible, making the choice (for change, for no change), and living with the uncertainty of the outcome. As Kierkegaard said: “life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards”.  Thanks, Kierkegaard.

The choice

Back to my urgent lawn problem. How am I feeling about my original decision to have a lawn? What is the right thing to do now? Should I live with it, and learn how to aerate lawns better, buy a special hollow tine (?!) fork, deploy moss killer, seed it and water it (when allowed)? Or should I replace it with flowers, a water feature, statues!?

Does my original choice represent failure? Does changing my mind now represent success? Failure, success, can you really tell them apart so easily? Can you always tell a weed from a specimen plant? Cow parsley used only to grow wild on verges, and was considered a weed, now it makes guest appearances at Chelsea Flower Show; a perfect example of changing opinion.

How coaching can help

I am not going to tell you what I think would be the ‘right’ thing to do about my lawn, (though you may have guessed the way I’m leaning!) or more to the point what would be the ‘right’ thing for you to do about your lawn, or whatever decision or issues you are grappling with.  

As a coach, working with you, I am here to pose questions, to ask you to think, to wonder what is right for you, now, at this point. To delve a little into the possibilities, to consider what to try, what to change, and also, importantly, what not to change. This is also a choice. 

And a bit more philosophy to finish off

I believe we need to allow ourselves the space to experiment, to learn, for things to go ‘wrong’, to have another go, that some things are beyond our control and to accept this as the nature of life. Kierkegaard put it so well, in a way that somehow lightens the load:

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.

So maybe no need to think of my lawn as a failure after all, just an experiment that I didn’t like the look of, and yes, I will tell you my decision (if you were in any doubt): goodbye lawn, hello flowers galore... hopefully!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 8BU
Written by Kate Buchanan, Life Coach
Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX2 8BU

Kate is a life coach and lives in Oxford. She works with people who want to focus on a variety of different areas, including relationships, careers, and personal development. Her approach is empathic and supportive, helping clients to move past the place where they feel stuck to work out the most positive way forward for them as individuals.

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