Supping a Blackberry Way smoothie from Hippy Shake in Newcastle this lunchtime, the remaining chunks of strawberry sitting at the bottom of the plastic cup led me to ponder. In particular, it was the way I tried to prevent their escape from being consumed that started me thinking.
Some slightly smaller chunks of strawberry had provided an unexpected delight when they were sucked up the straw, not having been completely pulverised in the smoothie blender. When I reached the end of my refreshing, summery drink however, these three small chunks were left sitting among a scattering of raspberry seeds and a last dribble of cranberry juice.
I first tried to get the pieces to climb the straw, creating a powerful vacuum which I thought might remould the pieces of strawberry so they would be easier to extract from the container. Augustus Gloop would have sympathised had I managed to pull them into the end of the straw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style. I tried all three pieces, but all were too big. But then a thought crossed my mind.
Perhaps this stubborn attempt to make the strawberry chunk bend to my will and be consumed through the straw had more in common with my approach to other problems than I wanted to give it credit. Perhaps there are other areas of my life where I try to force something that just won’t fit. There are some problems where just wanting something to happen won’t result in our desired effects. We have to change our way of thinking and the approach we’re using. But we can be so consumed with using the tools we have in their conventional way that we don’t see how they can be adapted to still achieve the same outcome, if we only take a moment to step away and evaluate the situation.
When I realised that no matter how hard I tried to get the strawberry chunks up the straw, it wouldn’t have the outcome I desired, I changed my approach. I took the lid off the container and used the straw to move the pieces to the rim of the cup. It took a little more patience, and once or twice the pieces slid back to the bottom. But I got the strawberry pieces out.
I could have become frustrated and thrown the cup with the three pieces remaining into the bin. It wouldn’t have really mattered in the case of a few chunks of strawberry. But in other areas of my life, would throwing in the towel due to a little frustration have such small consequences as three less strawberry chunks to enjoy?