I had a wonderful Zen afternoon blackberry pickn’ the other day. It was wonderful for two reasons, I have heavenly organic blackberries to make a wonderful cobbler, and it was a great reminder of the SOP (standard operating procedure) of the ego mind and traps we unwittingly step into.
Because everything is energy, if we train our mind for openness, simple experiences can give us great insights. My venture gave me reminders of the two different states of being we operate in: Power or force. The four laws of berry pickn’ below are about much more than berries, I promise.
The ego mind relates to everything through the five senses. When it comes to the function of interpreting the circumstance or solution, ego mind’s habitual thinking isn’t too helpful. We need to use much less of the ego mind if we are to get into Power mode. Why do you want to use less and less of your ego mind in your thinking? The answer is simple. It is always a limited view of the entire picture, thus limiting the choices presented to you via your thoughts. This bodes poorly in the results we get in life: work that feels unrewarding, relationships that feel one-sided, love that is always a cycle of struggle, and a money attitude that waffles between worry and occasional contentment.
“Karensue, take this bucket and get some berries. Put more in the bucket than in your mouth!” That is the sing-song phrase my grandma would call out on trips to the mountains. Wild blackberries were everywhere–if you knew where to look. Of course pickn’ was not easy, but Grandma’s blackberry cobbler was heaven. It was worth the work of the pickn’.
This is the first place our monkey-mind tries the argument of “complexity of form.” You know, it comes up with a litany of reasons why: “It’s too hard.” “My situation won’t work because …” “He/she/they won’t let me.” “I am not smart (or skinny or pretty) enough.” “I don’t travel in the right circles.” “I am so busy.” These are just some of the common excuses. Yup, I said it: it is an excuse. Whatever your reason why–be honest with yourself–if you want the result, you have to do the work. Excuses are designed to prevent doing the work and trying to feel okay about it. Some excuses we really clutch onto–our past, our diagnosis, or our disorder. I am not saying there are not things in life that feel like challenges or even burdens. I have had my share and I am sure that you have too. I am saying those things are present, and our decision is to either hang onto them or move past them. It is a choice between Power and force.
I had to laugh when I arrived yesterday at the blackberry “spot.” A few cars were there. As I walked by some folks scouting for berries, I heard: “They aren’t ripe.” “There are bugs!” “It’s hot!” “We’ll never get enough to make anything.” The monkey-mind excuses!
You can choose to do the work with a song on your lips to lighten the load. You can partner with someone to help keep the commitment. You can even bitch and moan and complain and do it any way. The truth is monkey-mind is active in all of us. None of us gets a free pass–and it is a clever little monkey. It has chatter, chatter, and more chatter to keep you chasing your tail.
The first law of berry pickn’: Once we are willing, mind-chatter (excuses) is of no consequence. As I learned when I was young: focus on the reward, the goal, the outcome. Half a bucket was no cobbler. If I chose to eat the berries–which I often did–and then knew I needed to pick more. I chose to hum a little song to myself. I chose to daydream. I chose to take breaks and swim in the creek to pick while I was wet (it was cooler!) It took me all morning to pick a bucket full–I could have done it in much less time, if I wanted to. The truth is Grandma really wanted the berries and did not want to pick them. Berry pickn’ was the only chore I did. My siblings were assigned the crap jobs, and that was all too fine with me. I saw past the full bucket of berries, and intentionally created excuses that worked for me–not against me.
After, we get past the excuses, put the second law of berry pickn’ into action: Look deeply. Pay attention. Like life, berries are not hiding from you. It is easy to focus on the red, unripe berries. They stand out, almost shouting, “Look at me!” But the ripe, juicy black ones are past the red ones. If you just slow down a minute and stop focusing on the red ones, the black ones seem to magically appear. I had been at the berry spot for about 20 minutes and had a couple of pints. A man came up to me and asked very nicely, “Can you tell me where you found those berries?” He was serious. I was thankful I had my sunglasses on so he couldn’t see me roll my eyes. We are missing most of the answers around us, most of the time. The ego’s use of force, trying to get or make something is in opposition to the allowing of Source Energy. This alluring attractive energy of your Higher non-ego Self asks life, “What do you have to tell me? To reveal to me?” This is a true Power question.
Try taking a difficult circumstance you have right now, and affirm there is a resource or content to use for your benefit–you just do not see it with your present way of perceiving. I invite you to spend a few days affirming that benefit and asking that it be shown to you. See what changes for you.
The third law of berry pickn’: You have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone. There are thorns, mud, bugs, snakes, turtles, birds, and if you are really lucky, a mountain lion or two. If you take any of these things personally or act as if they are there to ruin your day, you are toast. There goes all your willingness to focus on the outcome–monkey-mind has distracted you and all you see are the obstacles. Actually, experiencing temporary discomfort has its own reward: once you discover you are not nearly as fragile as you think, it gives you great power in your choices. I can’t tell you how many folks I meet who are wasting their life, afraid of the unknown, afraid of some temporary discomfort–when in reality the “discomfort” is all in how their five sensory perception has taken over. Monkey-mind is chattering away about all the potential discomfort. The truth is force mode is painful. Power mode can handle change and discomfort knowing how to withhold the negative energy (no matter how it is disguised) that feeds it.
The fourth law of berry pickn’: Bake the gall-darn cobbler already! Monkey-mind gets into the story of what happened. First, it was hot, then there were these bugs and snakes 20 feel long! Then I had to pick and pick for hours. Boasting “Look what I did!” monkey-mind wants to forget to finish the job, complacent with it 80% done. This is the clever saboteur of the ego. Sabotage is one of the stalwart defenses of the ego mind–playing with your memory, changing what happened, how it happened. Your will and your decision to get past the “hard part” needs to be vigilant–seriously vigilant. Ego mind stays quiet, hidden waiting for an opportunity to have you miss your own experience. To be somewhere else in your own thoughts so you are not in this “time”–in effect you are not here now.
With awareness, we can learn as much from any one experience. Or we can frustratingly repeat, repeat, and repeat experiences to accomplish the same learning. Conscious finishing helps us retain and put into action the lessons learned.
There is a concept called “river jumping” that is very helpful to detour the saboteur. This is how it works:
You can perceive, learn, and practice concepts in one “river of thought,” like blackberry picking. You have your own “blackberries.” You might call it presentations, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, lunch room at work, meetings, cleaning, running errands–whatever the action, be mindful. Be here NOW. Do not miss the experience of your experience. Pick those berries of experience, and apply them to your life, now.
Remember everything is energy. Form is just the container. We are in relation to all energy, in all forms. Use an innocuous “river” by looking past the form. Put these insights to work for you the area of money, love, work, relationship–and you have results you prefer.
Grandma’s E-Z Blackberry Cobbler Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Large baking dish (8×12)
8 cups organic blackberries
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups Bisquick
1 cube of butter
1 cup milk
Put berries, applesauce, raw can sugar in large bowl and mix. Add 1 1/4 cup Bisquick and gently fold to coat all the berries.
Put berries into lightly buttered baking dish.
Mix the remaining Bisquick and brown sugar. Shake mixture over the top of the berries. Slice butter long way (easier if chilled) in to very thin slices. Lay over top of the mixture, spacing about ½ inches between slices.
Gently drizzle the milk around the edges and between butter slices.
Place baking dish on top of cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Karen Monroy guides clients to sustainable prosperity by removing the fear and mystery of financing and money. Karen is a member of the Conscious Business Circle and regularly conducts classes and seminars on The Power of Money and Getting the Energy of Money Working for You.