A Mesmerising Take On Effort In Life || You Reap What You Sow
Adventures of the Soul by Khadija Muhaisen Dajani
I had the best curry I have ever tasted the other day. It was fresh, flavourful, fragrant, and plant-based -naturally. The perfect lunch. So I also had a bowl of it for dinner. And breakfast the next day. No, this is not going to be a blog about my eating habits. It is also not a “domestic goddess”-inspired narrative. (I can hear your sigh of relief.)
This curry was the fruit of labor. That bowl of zucchini, eggplant, potato, and carrot was the light at the end of the tunnel. (I can see your look of confusion). This concoction of heavenly bliss had fresh turmeric. Fresh turmeric from my garden. My garden is very small. And most of it is tiled. We have barely any place to plant anything. But we do. In small pots, we experiment. Most of the time, we fail. But not with the turmeric. Not this time. It was nurtured until it sprouted. Then the hands that carefully watched it every morning as it sprouted picked up dirt into a tiny pot, and nestled the sprout right into it. Those same hands watered it every day. Most summer mornings and afternoons, they moved the pot around chasing the perfect conditions. And the sprout responded. With love and fruit -the fruit of love. When this fresh turmeric made its way into our curry -the curry we have always cooked without that turmeric from that pot in that garden, we got to literally taste the sweet nectar of sweat. As I dove into the food, I was reminded of small family farms. And the hundreds of reasons they are unmatched. I could feel the elation of picking and eating straight from the tree. No wonder my favourite foods were actually first put together by domestic-goddess farmers.
I may have uncovered a scientific formula. I was never good at science. My current obsession with equations and relationships is worrying me. My 15-year-old self would have been proud -or really confused. Growing up makes no sense whatsoever. My scientific formula does. It is not rocket science. And you may have most likely figured it out way before I did. (You really should blog. It is awesome.) I was finally able to see the big picture -the whole idea- only recently. Effort=fruit. It is a linear relationship. It may take a few thousand tries. It is a direct linear relationship. The higher the number of attempts, the riper the fruit. Individually, each involves highly complicated pathways that are the contrast of linear - the part of science that still baffles me. I acknowledge its existence now. Sometimes, I even see its incomprehensible endless twists and turns. It is distracting, but ultimately all I care about is that eventually the flower will bloom. I recognize that it may not bloom in my garden. Yours could have less tiles than mine. I will happily carry the pot to yours.
This formula is universal. It works. It applies to everything we do. If you want results, you need to do the work. In yoga practice, I encourage people to show up. It is work to get yourself to your yoga practice. And that may be your fruit for that particular season. At some point, you may tire of this particular fruit and wish to spice it up a little. New fruit=new effort. So you show up on your mat, and you practice for a few minutes. And you keep showing up. And you keep practicing. And the tree keeps giving.
My wise friend Josh Fabia summed it up beautifully. From his perspective, there exists two types of people. (He also seems to be fascinated with science and formulas. I have no idea if he paid attention in class. I also have no clue if categorization is part of science. It is complicated.). One type sees the finish line, and stops in its tracks. Of exhaustion. Of desperation. Of boredom. The other sees the finish line, and in spite of the exhaustion, desperation, and boredom, keeps going. It isn’t the end of the tunnel. Because the tunnel is endless. It’s just a brightly lit part of the tunnel with a basket of fruit.
Those same two types of people are also categorized as the “go-with-the-flow” and “flow-with-the-go” types: Go-with-the-flow=float=no effort=no fruit and flow-with-the-go=efficiency=effort=fruit. I like to subscribe to the latter. Results require work. Blowing in the wind and praying you gently land into whatever garden you dream of will not likely guarantee success. You may end up with a fruit that has fallen from a tree, if you are lucky. Bending with the wind, while you maintain a firm footing on the ground and an eye on the goal is a much better bet. A firm footing includes engaging your legs, your glutes, and your core. Keeping a lookout for where you need to softly land requires alignment and connection. Both these actions are called effort. It is science. Your effort softly lands you where you need to arrive. Sweaty, sore, and so fulfilled. For there awaits the fruit you have been craving.