What does one do when everything seems to go pear-shaped? This is particularly tricky for me because I don't really care for pears all that much. Never have. I was over-pear'd as a child.

It's very easy for me to simply hide away when it all seems to be going wrong. Actually, at times, I believe it's human nature to do so. But after a bit of a think, I realize it's the opposite, or at least it most likely is.

When an animal is frightened, or injured, it tends to "hole-up". There is generally more (perceived) safety in the hole or den. There is some modicum of comfort. Ease, even in dis-ease. It often feels the thing to do. But I understand--in my life at least--that that is the animal side of things.

And while I (and you, and you and you, too) are, in fact, animals, I am (and you, and you and you are, too) more than just animals (I didn't say "mere animals", because I find animals to be pretty miraculous things). We are all part of the most stunningly amazing species on the whole planet (save the platypus, which is extra special, of course. Oh, and pwnies). We are all able to do something that no other critter can do, and that is to get past our instincts and do that which we know is best for us, no matter how hard or counter-intuitive that may seem.

For a long time, I was unable to do that myself. And while I don't want to make it sound like I'm a super-self-actualized uber-aware dude, I'm able to say with some confidence that I'm much better at doing it now. I've developed some skills to get myself out of that "hole" and do things that are best for me. That doesn't mean it isn't hard--at times it's still like pulling teeth. But when one develops a few simple skills, the load lightens, at least at times.

A strong mindfulness practice, for me, is the best tool I've ever come across to help in this regard. Being able to step away from the chatter in the mind, turn the volume down, and get some perspective is by far the best tool I've ever put in my tool-box. Admittedly, it's like one of those tools you used to find in your dad's garage or your mom's kitchen that you had no idea whatsoever what in the hell it could be for; you know it had to be for something very specific and very important, but at first (and second and at times third) glance, you can only say "What the...?"

This is like a torque wrench or high-end pastry cutter. It has an appeal all its own just by virtue of its mystique, and you want to know what it is and what it does, but you are sort-of afraid to ask about it, either for fear of being found ignorant, or the commitment it may require to learn how to use it properly. It is/was for me, anyway.

But all it takes is seeing the tool in action, properly employed, and the results that it brings, and you suddenly go "I must have that!" (and off to Harbor Freight or Sur La Table you go.)

This is often how my teachers make me feel. Seeing them using these tools in their own lives gives me faith and confidence to at least try these tools out (before buying: smartness) and see what results can be achieved. It may take time, and you may break lots of bolts and crusts at first, but at a minimum, you'll at least be able to judge their effectiveness from first-hand experience rather than wondering from afar.

So, lesson: to make a good pie, you need to be willing to use a torque-wrench improperly to break a few pears.

See how easy that is?


Fountain of Joy said...

Wow, that's a really weird pie.