So often, we are our harshest critic. The source of our impatience with others can be easily traced to our impatience with ourselves. What would it be like if that harshness were to soften, inside and out? If there were a way to view our life journeys as a process of ripening rather than falling short, or weakness, or even success?
A Wild Dare?
Give it a try. Notice your thoughts. See if you can redirect the critic toward a different view of what seems not up to your standards, be that within yourself or perhaps with loved ones or work colleagues. Try on this notion of ripening, see if with that lens, you can see more of the beauty in the stages of ripening, or feel more grace, inside and out, for this shared process between us.
Slowly, tantalizingly, the green tomatoes
make their way toward red
in my lovingly watched and overflowing garden.
Some have ripened.
There may be nothing sweeter
than sun-warmed, fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes.
Others could be picked now
on their way, but not quite, to their sweet spot.
And still others, for now, remain a deep glossy green.
It is good to watch this process
to feel the anticipation and occasional impatience,
to see undeniably the beauty of each stage of ripening.
It is good, because we, too, exist in this way.
Over and again, new tender beginnings
slowly mature toward deeper levels of richness.
In Aramaic, the closest interpretation
of “good” and “bad”
is “ripe” and “unripe.”
It makes me look again at my garden,
already bountiful and abundant,
and imagine the difference if I were to view
the tender, messier, sometimes maddening
parts of myself or others in this way:
that we are just as we are meant to be
for the stages we are in
holding the gifts that come with ripening
but not yet ripe.
In the end,
most new growth will ripen.
Some never will, touched by frost too soon.
Others will get missed, over-ripe from not being noticed.
All of this is so
as we live on this beautiful planet
doing the best we can
in our shared journeys of ripening.