Jean Croker Petke

Searching for Strawberries

Searching for Strawberries

I recently attended the International Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN. The weekend was filled with magical and sobering moments, tales of truth and belly-bursting laughter.

Claudia Schmidt, a singer and songwriter and poet, chooses her words thoughtfully, speaking mindfully with solid voice. I beg forgiveness as I will not do her story justice. She told of foraging for wild strawberries, tiny red orbs hidden among other growth. Walking along, searching, we see no berries, though we are looking, looking. She suggests we get down on our bellies, lie down, with our faces in the undergrowth. And that’s when we see them. Lots of them. Berries ripe for picking.

Then she said, “Once you’ve adjusted your perspective . . .” I missed the rest of the story after she spoke those words.

Perspective — it’s how we look at things. And it’s how we’ve chosen to look at things. If we’re an artist, we learned early on that perspective matters, and we’ve struggled to get it right. If we’re a caretaker of a loved one, they become the center of our universe, as we work to nourish and heal and love them. If we’re a workaholic, all else in our world moves to the fringes. If we’re a musician, we deny distractions when we’re composing or practicing or performing.

Perspective allows us to see and respond to what is important to us. It can be a good or not-so-good thing, depending . . . If we’re a parent, struggling with our child’s behavior, such behavior becomes our focus. They have a habit of behaving badly, we’re in the habit of looking for it and expecting it, and sure enough, that’s what we see. However, if we change our attitude and begin to look for the things the child is doing right, and respond positively to that, their behavior slowly begins to change for the better.

Perspective makes all the difference — and it can be changed. Like looking for wild strawberries. Walking along the path, even though we were looking and searching for the berries, we couldn’t see them. But when we got on the ground, in strawberry territory, we could see them in abundance.

What are you looking for?

And how are you looking?

Perhaps some perspective adjustment is required.

Until next Tuesday . . .