"There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life."
— Pema Chödrön (The Wisdom of No Escape: How to love yourself and your world)
This feels like my life at the moment. Well, it feels like my life most of the time. The difference being that I’m seeing the strawberries and I get that worrying about the tigers and mice won’t get me tasting that luscious fruit. Of course, tasting that luscious fruit will also not get me out of the tigers and the mice.
But, Tigers + Mice + Strawberries > Tigers + Mice – Strawberries.
I’ve been in a dark place the past few weeks and have had to make a very difficult decision. It’s a decision where no one comes out unscathed. The pressure of that decision combined with the fact that my work contract is nearly up for the semester has me stressed. Nothing new, I suppose.
And the Strawberries look tasty. And the mice might like them. And the tigers would like me. I guess the real question is, will letting go of the vine to take the strawberry make me fall into the mouths of the tigers?
Maybe it’s time to find out.