I roasted some parsnips fries for lunch today. OMG – they are incredible in my humble taste buds’ opinion. I LOVE them. Sweet, earthy, caramelized, scrumptious. And as I ate the first couple fries, I had a sudden flashback to the early 90’s.
I was a new homeowner, living with my ex in a cute little bungalow we had renovated from top to bottom. And one day, an elderly neighbour from across the street rang the doorbell. He introduced himself and explained that he had a huge garden – and too much produce for him and his wife to consume by themselves. He proudly handed me a plastic bag full of dirty, root-like looking things. “What are they?” I asked. I honestly had no idea. “Parsnips.” he replied.
Hmmm. I thanked him profusely as my puzzled brain tried to work out why anyone would think it was a good idea to eat what he had given us.
The parsnips sat in their bag in the kitchen for a few days. Peeking out. Staring at me. I did think about going to the library to see how one might cook a parsnip (this was before internet was omnipresent in our lives). But, life was busy and I never turned the thought into action. So the healthy, yummy parsnips from the kind old man across the street were thrown away.
Now, this is not a cooking blog. I am not a chef or a foodie. I am an adequate cook who is trying to eat more healthily, like so many of us these days. And I am still a bit miffed at myself for throwing away that opportunity to discover my love of parsnips at least 15 years earlier!
What else have I missed out on because I didn’t take action? Or because I didn’t like the look of something, or I didn’t make the effort to look beneath the surface? Perhaps I never got to really know and connect with a special person because they seemed too distant and hard-to-read initially. Perhaps I missed out on discovering some really great books because the cover didn’t appeal to me.
What if we reframed our reactions to things and people that initially turn us off or scare us? I’m not suggesting we open ourselves up wholesale to people and things that are truly repellant, or energy-draining. I’m suggesting we simply go a bit further, a bit more frequently.
What if we decided to ask a couple more questions, to research a bit more? What could we discover? The possibilities are great. Less conflict and more connection. Less comparison and more understanding. Less judgment and more acceptance. Less missing out and more enjoyment.
I firmly believe that we benefit from leaning in and choosing to ask questions and listen closely. When we are open to seeking out dissenting opinions and appreciating styles that are different from our own, it broadens our perspective and, far from causing us to lose our voices, allows us to get clarity and conviction around what we really do stand for and believe in.
How about you? (Food for thought)
What is an example in your life where you avoided something or someone for ages (maybe years), only to discover you loved it or them much later? How did that experience broaden your perspective?
Think of someone at work or in your life that you perhaps haven’t given enough of a chance. What might happen if you tried to lean in a bit? What are the possibilities? What else could you try?
What is something that is making you feel a bit stuck and you aren’t taking action for some reason? What is ONE crazily small step you could take today that moves you in the direction you want to go?