Saturday, March 21, 2015

Strawberry Zen

Inspiration for a blog article can come from the most unexpected sources. Often, when I'm having a conversation with a friend, a random comment will sparkle so strongly that it prompts me to elaborate my thoughts.  I commented on a Facebook post of my friend, Zero Dean (article link:, and that started today's musings. 

I have shared that lately, I have been in a quiet, contemplative stage with many areas of my life. This year seems to be full of inner searching for me, and if I allow it to happen, I can fall down the figurative Rabbit Hole of chaotic self-questioning.  One question leads to the next, and the next, with each demanding a resolution, or a profound change of habits and approach to life, until there is a very loudly jangling bundle of expectations that cannot be met quickly or easily.  I think we all do this to ourselves.  It's human nature to think we have to tackle all the Big Ticket Items and produce instantaneous and successful results.  That is not only unrealistic, it actually invites more chaotic energy to pour down on our heads.

When I catch myself doing this, I stop.  I breathe, and I calm my heart.  With calming of breath and heart, I can cut the stream of angst ridden mind chatter.  Today, it was a strawberry Zen moment that cut the mind chatter.  Rather than let my energy scatter into myriad directions and goals that cannot be accomplished simultaneously, I stopped and focused on the immediate moment.  That moment is a carton of fresh, beautiful strawberries.  Their ruby beauty, dotted with tiny black seeds and crowned with bright green caps, all speaking of the onset of summer weather and sunny days harken to those lovely childhood comfort memories for me.  We are currently one day into true Spring in the U.S., so these luscious strawberries come to me from some other climate; summer growing weather is a bit of a stretch down the road for East Tennessee.

Standing in my kitchen, I focus on the sensory and tactile impressions of my prosaic task.  I gather the strawberries from the cardboard carton and place them into a small ceramic colander, running fresh water over them.  The musical splashing of water sharpens the strawberry scent and brightens the already vibrant shades of red.  Shaking the colander produces a waterfall of liquid drops into my sink that is another visual delight....tiny dazzles of water gems rain into the stainless steel sink and become a clear wash that dashes from sight.  Picking up a small paring knife, I nip the green caps and slice the strawberries, enjoying the soft snicking of the knife as it passes through berry to the small cutting board.  A cut glass bowl awaits the sliced fruit, and sunlight hits crystal, exploding into rainbow refraction as I step outside to my patio with my afternoon treat.  The day is sunny and mild in temperature, soft breezes promising a true march beyond the colder embrace of winter.  Spring appears to be lifting her arms across the land.

As I eat my bowl of strawberries, enjoying the tart flavor, my soul is quiet again.  The rushing thoughts are calmed and Zen is in my grasp.  A simple chore of preparing a light meal has brought me back to balance.

This moment, this action, this breath, this heartbeat....this Strawberry Zen.  In a nod of fellowship to my friend, Zero....
 I am awake.