Let Go of the Banana

By Suzanne Wiggins

I believe the Universe has been sending me important messages out of context. Don’t get me wrong; the messages are always very helpful as provided. It’s just that when I’m struggling with a particular quandary and it hits me that the answer or lesson was already revealed in an earlier, unrelated context, it’s a pretty momentous feeling. It’s like Dorothy finding out that she could have gone home at anytime with the help of her ruby slippers. Perhaps this is how we learn to pay attention.

About a year ago while glancing through the archives of a blog, I found a post that described how poachers in some parts of Africa use a simple kind of trap to capture monkeys. They attach a jar to a heavy stone and bury the stone so only the jar is in view.  Inside the jar they place a banana then they stand back at a distance to make the monkey comfortable enough to climb down from the tree to retrieve the fruit. As the monkey closes its fist around the banana, the hunters charge forward. The monkey attempts a quick getaway, but its closed fist is unable to be pulled from the jar. Only an open hand can fit through the narrow opening.  Refusing to let go of its prize, the monkey meets his untimely demise.

‘Why doesn’t the monkey just let go of the banana?’  Hmmmm. Seems so easy, right? Well, I’ve been wondering…why don’t WE let go of the things that make us unhappy, deplete our peace of mind, limit our quality time with children, or cause us worry, stress and poor health? Why do we hold so tightly to the things that are familiar, but cause us unhappiness and pain?

What would happen if we let go of that oh, so secure job we hate, the relationship that is eroding our self-esteem, that deep concern about what others think of us, the constant urge to buy things we don’t really need, the tendency to avoid heartbreak by expecting the worst, the feeling that we have to be the one to keep the ship afloat, the idea that we have to work full-time, make a certain salary, have a specific title, or accomplish certain life goals by the time we’re 30, 40 or 50?

I get that taking risks is scary and it’s normal to avoid facing uncertainty and feelings of discomfort. BUT, what if we finally understood, that like the monkey, there is absolutely no downside to letting go of the banana?

What message might the Universe be sending YOU today?

Waking From My Field of Dreams

By Suzanne Wiggins

I have watched the movie Field of Dreams about a thousand times. I love the way it starts out with a number of seemingly unconnected people and events, all of which are convincingly connected by the end of the movie. And bonus, it involves baseball. They say art imitates life, but on my drive to work this morning I realized that my life has been imitating art in the form of my very own Field of Dreams storyline.

So for those who have seen the movie (and who hasn’t), I’m sure you’ll remember when Ray (Kevin Costner) was having a hissy fit because Shoeless Joe (Ray Liotta) invited Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) into the cornfield. Ray was insistent that he should get to go too because he built the baseball field, it was his corn and he wanted to know what was out there. Shoeless kept repeating, “I think you should stay, Ray,” “Trust me, Ray”, but he was so deep into his tantrum Ray wasn’t able to catch the subtle nuance of Joe’s knowing advice. Suddenly Ray stops and asks “why?” to which Shoeless just smiles and looks back over his shoulder. Ray follows Joe’s line of sight and low and behold there stands a young version of Ray’s deceased father. On a side note, I would have been crying uncontrollably for the past half hour starting when Karin falls off the bleachers, gets a hot dog stuck in her throat, and Doc chooses to cross the foul line which causes him to lose his dream of playing ball yet again. Sniff, sniff.

Well in my version of the story, I’m Ray, the Universe is Shoeless Joe and a person of interest has unknowingly played the part of Terence Mann. It all began a few years back on a Thursday night. I was going about my business and something very unexpected happened, something which significantly changed my life. I spent a lot of time and effort trying to decipher the clues in order to figure out what it all meant and what I should do next. It was an exhausting and uncharted road trip on life’s highway eventually bringing me to the very scene I described above. I’m obstinately arguing with the Universe, certain I know best, trying to follow Terence Mann into the corn. It’s what I want. It’s what I think I deserve. It’s what I feel is fair.

But today, today as I was driving to work I stopped in the midst of my ongoing tantrum and asked the proverbial question ‘why?’  Unlike Ray, I already knew the answer, but I let the Universe say it anyways. The journey was a means to a necessary lesson and the reason I can’t join Terence Mann in the cornfield is because there is something better waiting for me right here where I am. Something I can’t foresee. The very opportunity I have secretly longed for, but never believed could happen.

Damn it. I know the Universe is right. I finally get it. So I’ve decided I am going to stop my whining and start to trust. I am going to trust the timing of my life. I am going to trust that the Universe is on my side and learn to wait without anxiety. I’m going to trust that Pinterest will continue to provide great nuggets of wisdom that will inspire my posts.

If you’re feeling frightened about what comes next, don’t be. Embrace the uncertainty. Allow it to lead you places. Be brave as it challenges you to exercise both your heart and your mind as you create your own path toward happiness; don’t waste time with regret. Spin wildly into your next action. Enjoy the present, each moment, as it comes, because you’ll never get another one quite like it. And if you should ever look up and find yourself lost, simply take a breath and start over. Retrace your steps and go back to the purest place in your heart…where your hope lives. You’ll find your way again.  ~ Everwood