The other day, I went to a friend’s parents’ house to meet him and his wife for dinner. His parents were going to watch their baby while we went out to eat.
Even though I’ve known this friend for almost twenty years, I’d never actually been inside his family’s home. I also had never really spoken with his parents.
They were extremely welcoming, and talked with us for nearly thirty minutes about all kinds of things. While we were conversing, my friend’s mother invited us to eat some of the blueberries they’d picked the day before. She directed us to an enormous tray on the kitchen island. The giant dish overflowed with hundreds of fresh blueberries.
I love berries, especially ones that are so packed full of nutrients like blueberries, so I started eating them one by one. As I and my friend helped ourselves to the tasty berries, his mother started talking about the picking process. I must have stirred up that part of the conversation because I remarked how painstaking a process it is to pick blueberries, and how long it must have taken her to harvest that many.
She laughed and agreed. She said that picking blueberries is most definitely a slow, methodic procedure. You have to take the berry, one at a time, and twist them gently to get them off the stem, then repeat with the next piece of fruit. If you’ve ever gone berry picking, you know what I’m talking about.
What was more interesting, however, was her next comment about the picking process. She said that while she was harvesting the fruit, the slow, methodical nature of it caused her to reflect on some different things. One of those things was how amazing hands are. Hands can do incredible feats of skill. They can twist in different directions, and the fingers are so versatile, all at the command of the human mind.
This line of thought can be applied to most anything with the human body. Even if you have no hands, feet, or whatever, there is something you have that is incredible and wonderful.
We forget to be mindful of these things in the rush of our digital culture. We hurry through our mornings to get to work. Then we arrive at our job and begin multitasking our way through the day until we get back home and start multitasking again with social media, television, and whatever else seems to distract us from life.
Sometimes, we need to do something simple, something basic, that will drive us back to the essence of what it is to be human. We need to perform common little tasks that will bring us to center, and let us focus on one thing at a time.
By doing things like picking berries or some other simple activity that requires complete attention, our focus becomes honed. We are brought back to the way we were meant to be. Activities like that can have a profound effect on our stress, our ability to increase attention span, and our overall happiness and well being.
I rarely issue challenges in my blog posts, but today I am. I challenge you to go berry picking. Maybe you don’t have a berry patch nearby. That’s okay. It’s a metaphor. Find your berry patch, whatever it might be. Any activity that requires your full attention, some motor skills, and is simple in nature can be your berry patch.
Try it, and see how it makes you feel. Then do it again each week, or every two weeks. Take an hour or so on the weekend to bring yourself back to center, and add a little mindfulness to your life. You’ll be glad you did.
Oh, and share in the comments what your berry patch is and how it helps you. The rest of the community would love to hear about it. I know I would.