Picking raspberries this morning, I was thinking about the kind of people who understand how to pick berries. It takes “listening to” the readiness of the berries, that is, sensing if it’s ready to let go of the vine. If it’s necessary to pull hard, then the berry won’t be sweet. Is that a personality trait? Or something anyone learns with a little experience and tasting?
I remember when my brother Allan was visiting us for our daughter’s wedding. He picked blueberries for us from our front lawn berry patch – enough for me to bake blueberry roly poly (look it up in Fannie Farmer cookbook) for the whole group attending the rehearsal dinner. Since he just passed, I’ve been thinking often of my brother recently.
Perfect person to be the official blueberry-picker, Allan was a non-aggressive person. He drag-raced cars in his teens, rode a motorcycle, was adventurous, but as well as I can remember, did not create or seek conflict, even when I was a pestering little sister.
I rarely quote the Bible, but since the words kept arriving in my thoughts, I had to do a little research. I was thinking about the Biblical phrase “blessed are the meek” from Matthew 5:5 or Psalm 37:11. What does “meek” really mean? I think I’ve associated it with wimpy or self-effacing and never quite understood why it was a good idea for those people to “inherit the earth”. But that’s only one meaning given in my Webster’s dictionary. Others imply “patient, mild, not inclined to resentment,” and Webster even categorizes the meaning “gentle and kind” as “obsolete.” Geez, I hope that being gentle and kind is not obsolete!
The Wikipedia article on Matt 5:5 mentions 19th century theologian James Strong, who argued in his Strong’s Concordance, “The English language does not have a word that translates conveying both gentleness and power together” (what a cultural lack!). Wikipedia also references a rendering of the Beatitudes in Monty Python’s 1979 film Life of Brian, which includes the verse, “How blest are those of gentle spirit. They shall have the earth for their possession.”
I feel inspired to emulate my big brother’s gentle spirit in even more aspects of my life, aspiring to infuse every interaction with his style. And given my Nia training in care of the body and the self, a related project is to also choose gentleness and kindness in how I exercise and go through my day. How I treat my own body, my “earthsuit” as friend Leif calls it, is a great place to practice how I want to be in the world.
Inspired to improve your relationship with your body, especially as you add years? My Nia White Belt Intensive Training would be an excellent place to launch your plan. I’m not a guru with all the answers. My training in the Nia curriculum supplies me with lots of very useful questions. In this first level of Nia Training, we explore the Art of Sensation. We notice our own bodies’ messages as a guide to clarity, understanding, comfortable movement, and life path (up-dating for who you are now and how you want to be).
Two versions and venues of the training are available this October. One is a whole week retreat at the Oregon coast beginning September 29th, and continuing through October 5th. The other is a series of 6 Fridays in Springfield, Oregon. It begins with a brief meeting on Thursday, October 17th and then continues October 18th through November 22nd.
I would love to have you join me for a Nia Technique White Belt Training, exploring the Art of Sensation in depth. We will practice how to treat ourselves with gentleness – a good place to start changing the world to one full of gentle and kind people.