Zen and the Art of Blackberry Picking

Zen and the Art of Blackberry Picking

For several years, I'd been living in the wine country of northern California -- and I grew tired of whining. One day I made the conscious decision to segue from sour grapes to sweet, luscious blackberries. This is how blackberry love begins...

I was tent-surfing in my friend Dorisse's backyard -- on my way to becoming a galactic citizen, I don't have a "permanent" residence these days -- and one evening she suggested we take a walk at sunset. Outside her country home, Dorisse exclaimed, "I've just got to stop and pick some of these delicious blackberries."

Until she said that, I hadn't noticed that there were blackberry bushes all around us. Dorisse told me the iridologist Bernard Jensen calls blackberries "one of nature's most perfect foods for healing," and suggested that if I wanted to enhance my own well-being, I take advantage of this gift while staying with her.

I was amazed. Here I was surrounded by a potential source of nourishment, nectar of the Gods, 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-Exupéry: "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."

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

Gift #1: Zen and the Art of Blackberry Picking

We want to look for the berries that are ripe to be plucked right now. In this instance, the mantra might be, "learn to discern". If we go for the 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.


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An old commercial playfully vowed, "We will sell no wine before its time!" Forcing a berry to be yours as it is clinging steadfastly 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

Conventional wisdom says, "Your reach should exceed your 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.

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 that Spirit has placed in my path whom I didn't notice before, that I ought to consider." Sometimes the choicest morsels are a slight stretch outside our comfort zone. By looking again, we raise our sights to the highest possibility.

Gift #4: Choose 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 tenaciously 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's right for you, there's going to be a fruitful recognition. You can savor the sweetness of this remembering for a long, delicious time.

Copyright 2001 by Amara Rose. All Rights Reserved.

InnerSelf Recommended book:

If Life is a Game, These are the Rules - Ten Rules for Being Human by Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.If Life is a Game, These are the Rules - Ten Rules for Being Human
by Chérie Carter-Scott, Ph.D.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book.

About The Author

Amara Rose

Amara Rose guides others through personal and professional transformation. Adept at bridging the mainstream and metaphysical, she offers individual coaching, playshops, and her signature Eve-o-lution Discovery Salons, which facilitate the integration of our feminine and masculine selves. Amara is the author of the inspirational CD/cassette, What You Need To Know Now-A Road Map for Personal Transformation, and a contributor to many health, business and new thought publications. She may be reached at www.liveyourlight.com.

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