I am currently in an online course taught by Erin Geesaman Rabke, titled Flourish.
Last week Erin summarized a Buddhist teaching that goes something like this:
There was a Buddhist monk who was trying to escape a hungry tiger and therefore lowered himself over a cliff from a rope. When he reached the end of the rope he was no where near the ground, and in looking down he could see jagged rocks below him. If he let go of the rope he would certainly fall to his death. Looking back up the rope to the top of the cliff he could see the hungry tiger pacing back and fourth, watching him. If the monk climbed back up the rope he would certainly become the tigers dinner.
Looking around himself the monk noticed a shimmering, ripe, wild strawberry growing out of the cliff wall. He plucked the strawberry and popped it into his mouth, closed his eyes and savored the delicious-sweet-juiciness of it.
I have been thinking about this story for the past week.
I love it. I love it because the monk is in a terrifying situation that could very well be the end of his life, and the story ends with him savoring a wild strawberry.
If I could live my life seeking the abundant moments of pleasure and joy, and savor the sweetness of them, I am certain that my life would enhance tenfold.
My new mantra is:
Seek & Savor Strawberries
I know how to be present and give value to everything that is real and current around me. My children, and their current mood, my husband, the whole of him, the complexities of me, the state of the world, the condition of the earth, politics, injustices, family strife, etc.
I know how to be present to all of the pain, sadness, anger, hurt, frustration and chaos that lingers, everywhere, all of the time. The vortex of these energies is so strong. I am noticing that I give more attention to the ills-of-it-all than the abundant pleasures abound!
I have yet to make a sincere practice of *seeking and savoring strawberries* while being present to what is real.
I guess I have needed someone to express that it is okay, or rather – vital, to live life as a hedonist, a pleasure seeker. Thank you, Erin.
I can create joy within chaos. I can have moments of bliss within fear provoking experiences. I can find humor within anger. I can be sad, cry, and feel despair while gifting myself with the relief that comes from a single strawberry. I can feel frustration and irritation and simultaneously enjoy a deeper sense that all is okay. I can savor sweet moments without needing them to last longer or be more. They are abundant and omnipresent.
I can authentically reside in the reality of our world without wanting or needing it to be different. And I can enhance my internal reality so that pleasure seeking (strawberry plucking) becomes more privileged than any other preoccupation of mine.
One of my all time favorite movies is, Life is Beautiful. I have not seen it in a long time but what I recall about it now is how the father was continually *seeking & savoring strawberries* and in doing so was such a gift to those around him. He was able to provide so much laughter, love, comfort, and joy in situations that were incredibly challenging, painful, and unjust. A true hero.
If I can transform my MO into being a strawberry plucker I will transform everything about my life. I will radiate love, joy, peace, and will continually have inner sublime experiences.
What a gift and an example I will be to my girls!
Actually, they are my example. They are constantly, and genuinely savoring strawberries. I will follow their lead.
Life can feel very painful, especially if you are a highly sensitive person, as I am. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I have lived a lot of my life being consumed by all that is real. And, lets face it, there is a lot of real negative, hurtful, and sad stuff that goes on in the world that we should be privy to.
I am going to be aware of all that goes on around me, and I am going to seek & savor strawberries while doing so.
I am going to focus on making ‘real’ a reality full of pleasures; I am very curious about how my body will feel once I have reprogrammed it to devour pleasure as much as possible in lieu of absorbing “the ills-of-it-all”.