I stayed with a friend recently and we decided to make some apple pancakes together for breakfast. I was given the task of grating an apple. I was feeling a bit tired but very hungry, so I threw myself into my role as chief apple grater and attempted to grate the apple as fast as I could.
After about 30 seconds, apple seemed to be flying all over the kitchen. I felt like I would lose the skin on my knuckles at any moment; I was getting nowhere, my friend was laughing her head off and I felt frustrated and defensive. I was trying so hard to get this job done and it was tough. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to laugh.
It took some convincing (I really had my cranky pants on), but eventually I let my friend explain that there was an easier way to grate the apple. All I had to do was grate gently and use the skin of the apple to protect my fingers as I went. After a short demonstration it was clear that my friend was on to something! She made this apple grating thing look so easy… but I wasn’t convinced until I tried it myself. I thought that maybe my friend just had stronger arms than I did.
So I gave this new apple grating method a try, and sure enough I had to admit my friend was absolutely right. My apple grating chore became so easy and lovely I actually began to enjoy myself. It didn’t take me long to realise that I have approached many things in my life the way I approached that poor helpless apple that morning.
I am learning that when I am gentle, I am present – and when I am present everything seems easier, runs much more smoothly and there is a graceful flow. It is amazing what we can learn from the smallest action or thing. I was amazed by the beautiful lesson that I eventually allowed by simply grating an apple and being open to a different way, and it has stayed with me ever since.
By Leonne Sharkey, Brisbane