Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blackberry Love: How to Pick the Ripe Relationship for You

After living in the wine country of northern California for a while, I grew tired of whining. I wanted to segue from sour grapes to sweet, luscious blackberries. This is how blackberry love begins …

A friend and I were taking a walk near her rural home at sunset when she exclaimed, "I've got to stop and pick some of these delicious blackberries!" Yet until she said that, I hadn't noticed the blackberry bushes all around us.

I was amazed. Here I was, surrounded by a potential source of nourishment, readily available, delectable and free, and I hadn't even seen the bushes dripping with ripe blackberries until my friend pointed out what was right in front of me. It reminded me of the quote from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

I wondered how many times potential partners or friends might be right there in front of us, yet invisible, until someone points them out to us. "Oh, here's a blackberry, and it's ripe." Iridologist and holistic health pioneer Bernard Jensen called blackberries "one of nature's most perfect foods for healing". And when we truly heal, we do so on every level of our being.

So I began to pick blackberries, and to walk the path of wise relationship.

Gift #1: Zen and the Art of Blackberry Picking. Look for the berries that are ripe to be plucked right now. In this instance, the mantra might be, "learn to discern." If we choose berries that are overripe, they're going to squish in our fingers and we'll have juice all over the place. If we choose a berry that's too red, we'll have to tug to get it off the vine, and it's going to be bitter. An old commercial playfully vowed, "We will sell no wine before its time!" Forcing a berry to be yours as it's clinging tenaciously to the vine will result in whining. The perfect berry comes to you with a very slight pluck; tugging isn't necessary.

Gift #2: A Grasp That Equals Your Reach. Robert Browning wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?" That’s poetic, but if we live this way in terms of relationship, we'll be forever hungry, grasping for berries that are always just slightly out of reach, or not quite ripe. After picking berries for several days, I developed a certain dexterity. I became adept at angling my arm in between the thorns to find just the berries that were ready right then, even if they were slightly above my head or a bit of a stretch from where I was standing. Sometimes the choicest morsels are a slight stretch outside our comfort zone. I began to get the sense of how to connect with them, and it became this wonderful dance: "Oh, hello berry bushes!" There was a grace, an ease, to my berry picking, and it was fun! Relationships can actually be fun.

Gift #3: Visual Acuity. My resonance, my homing signal, for "ripe blackberries" grew keener by day. Like anything else, you get better with practice. I learned to scan ahead as I walked down a row of bushes. On the way out, I'd pick the ones that appeared ripe. On the way back, I'd notice ripe blackberries that I'd missed the first time. I was enlarging my visual field, engaging my peripheral vision: "Ah, there's someone Spirit has placed in my path whom I didn't notice before, that I ought to consider." By looking again, we raise our sights to the highest possibility.

Gift #4: Choose Ye This Day Which Berry You Would Serve. My friend’s two dogs trotted along beside me, happily devouring any berries I tossed their way, ripe or not. There will always be people who are so hungry that any blackberry is better than none. They're willing to take the bitterness just to have the taste. However, unripe fruit will only give you heartburn. Nourishing berries feed your soul as well as your stomach. Once I started tasting the sweetest, most perfectly ripe blackberries that were ready for me, I couldn't return to a less discerning method of selection. There was just no comparison with a berry that was right for me, right now.

In this same light, it's most important to know what kind of berry you are. Are you so ripe that anyone who comes within range is going to get drenched in berry juice? Or are you clinging to the vine so steadfastly that if somebody wants to pick you, they're going to have to tug, and you're still not going to come loose? Are you hiding on a branch that's so low to the ground, or so high up, that no one can see you in your ripeness because you're invisible to the eye? Or are you ripe, sweet, available, and ready to be chosen?

I encourage you to know your ripeness level right now, because that's going to shift over time. Then, you can forage for the blackberries who are ripe to meet with you at this time, and enjoy the beauty, the elegance, the joy of the quest. When you find the berry who is right for you, there's going to be a fruitful recognition. And you can savor the sweetness of this remembering for a long, delicious time.

© Copyright 2001-2016 Amara Rose. All rights reserved.

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