June 15, 2010

Learning from an Avocado.


An avocado taught me an important lesson today.

Let me explain.

I was tinkering around in the kitchen, about to prepare some avocado and brown rice for dinner. I reached into the fridge, and pulled out an avocado that had been sadly sitting in the crisper for days awaiting its eventual fate. I was worried that my avocados were going to spoil, since they had been purchased more than a week ago and I was anxious to eat them (I have a thing about letting food go to waste). Although the avocado I grabbed was still curiously firm to the touch, I was convinced that it must be ready, and eagerly sliced into its bumpy green skin.

My knife was met with a great deal of resistance, but I made it my mission to defeat the avocado. After a short struggle, I managed to make a deep cut around the pit. When I tried to twist it open, nothing happened…interesting. I grabbed a fork and began to split the wretched avocado apart, trying this angle and that, until the two halves finally came undone with a devastating crack (I knew all those Chaturangas would come in handy one day). The pit had split down the middle and the flesh of the avocado remained stubbornly in place. 

It was a bittersweet victory. I had defeated my nemesis, but to what end? What lay in front of me were two halves of a rock-solid avocado that was completely inedible. It was, quite simply, a total and unnecessary waste. The avocado was not ready to be eaten (perhaps it was ready to be used as a deadly weapon, however). If I had trusted my instincts and let the avocado ripen, I would have been able to enjoy it in all its creamy goodness. Instead, I had to relegate my foe to the garbage can consumed with guilt. 

I think that people are much the same way. So often, we aren’t yet ready to fulfill our fate. What is it that renders us unable to reach out, to open up, to let go? What is it that holds us back from being all that we are meant to be? It is in each and every one of us to be great. When we try to force things—in ourselves, in others, in our lives—that aren’t ready to manifest themselves, all we do is create a lose-lose situation. We sometimes have to accept the fact that we just aren’t ripe enough. 

So, what do we do? In the case of the avocados, I left them on the counter to ripen. For ourselves, we take on the practice of yoga, so that we can learn how to soften and ripen within our respective situations. We can begin to open our eyes to the lessons that arise in our everyday lives. And perhaps most importantly, we can begin to nurture our souls and allow ourselves time to grow, naturally—because sometimes that’s all we need. 

Julia is a yoga teacher, lover of all things, and dedicated student of life. She strives to be open to whatever the universe throws her way and practice her yoga off the mat at all times. Julia believes that the best lessons can often be found in the most unusual places. She writes about her experiences at julialeeyoga.tumblr.com.

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