I’m not a cook. It’s not that I’m a bad cook, I just don’t make it a habit. All that food prep, cooking and cleaning at the end of the day isn’t my idea of unwinding. Chinese take-out and snack cakes are more like it. But that’s a different article.
I’ve embraced cooking recently, however, in an attempt to clean up my eating habits. Fortunately, I love veggies so I’ll admit it’s been more interesting than I thought to find new ways to prepare them, and I’ve really enjoyed eating vegetables that I always thought were too “exotic” to be cooked by me at home.
Enter my experience with the artichoke.
I love artichokes, especially when there are prepared with lots of spinach and cheese and served on salty tortilla chips. I mean, what’s a better vegetable than that? The artichoke and I have had several encounters but it’s always been at a restaurant and sometimes without its friends spinach and cheese. I like them plain, so I decided to get brave one night and prepare a delicious artichoke in my own home.
I placed this beautiful food on my cutting board and without bothering to find out how one actually cooks an artichoke, figured I was smart enough to figure it out.
So, I started to peel it.
First, I peeled off the “top” layer. Those top parts looked sketchy and everyone knows the good stuff is on the inside. Once those were gone though, the next layer looked the same so I peeled off that. Same thing. I repeated the peeling process. I kept peeling and peeling, just knowing that the good part, the part that I would love was on the inside and that soon I would get to it. After many rotations of peeling, I had nothing left to peel and my counter was covered with artichoke bits and pieces. What the heck? I peeled the thing into oblivion! Where was the center, the meat, and the part I was meant to get to? My tasty reward for dedication and diligence? It didn’t exist! I now had no vegetable to go with the rest of my dinner! After a few moments of confused silence, I laughed out loud. “At least this will make a good story,” I thought.
It occurred to me later, that this wasn’t just a story; this was a metaphor for life.
I was so focused on getting my reward from the artichoke that I peeled away its very existence. I was convinced if I just worked hard enough, I would get to the good part. I was determined to meet my goal; that of a tasty vegetable on the inside, once I tore off the surrounding parts.
But the surrounding parts were the reward. The “stuff” on the outside was what I was meant to have. The sketchy looking shell had nutrients I needed and a flavor I would enjoy. In short, the end result that I was going after with such zeal didn’t exist. It was always there.
We do that as people. Peel away, tear off, head for the center, chase down the good part, get to the goal, strive for the finish line. We’re focused, dedicated, driven and determined as we follow that life vision in our head, the expected outcome we’ve pre-determined.
We miss the whole point. We peel the artichoke. We find out there’s nothing there. No, we find out it was all there and always was. We just pull it apart until there’s nothing left to enjoy except the fantasy.
The next time you are “going for it”, whatever “it” might be, don’t miss the forest for the trees, or rather, don’t miss the artichoke for the leaves. You need the whole thing, your whole life, all of the parts of it. There’s no prize at the end. The prize is here, now and is already whole. The prize is complete if only you would recognize it. If you’re always telling yourself you’ll be happy when you get to the good part, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of peeling only to find there’s nothing left. Don’t do that. Live your artichoke!
© Copyright 2013 Jane Garee
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
“Sales Strategist Jane Garee trains entrepreneurs and business owners around the world simple yet savvy strategies to create more contacts, convert more clients and to have more FUN while doing it. Get her FREE MP3 download, “Sales Secrets for the Entrepreneur: 4 Tips to Stop the Stress and Get To YES!” at www.janegaree.com”