I love blackberries. I love picking them, eating them, cooking with them. A few weeks ago I observed there were many blackberries on nearby bushes that they were rotting. Excited about the abundance of blackberries, I returned a few days ago ready to pick all the ripe berries for a cobbler. To my surprise and dismay, the blackberries were shriveled, hard and pruning. There was a hardly a good blackberry to be found. Across the walkway though, where there was a lot of foot traffic, and where berries were picked regularly, the bushes were producing plump and abundant berries. Through research I learned that when blackberries overripe they mold and grow a fungus which affects the whole plant. In other words, when not picked berries harden and affect their neighbors. I can’t help but think about this on a personal level. When we stifle our hurts, don’t move toward opportunities, become afraid of change, or cling tightly onto the past, we can become hard but more importantly we don’t grow our “fruit.” When the blackberry is not picked, the bush does not fruit. When we do not move forward, we close up.
Similar to how fungi on overripe berries infect the entire plant, our attachment to past experiences can limit our capacity to grow in subtle but vital ways. Some yogic belief suggests we are made up of seven energetic levels, each vibrating at a different frequency. Our physical body is the lowest vibration and visible to everyone. Although we may not be witness to the remaining six layers, they are always functioning and always affecting each other. For instance, our emotional body, the second level, often is reflected in our physical body. When in a state of joy, our skin is flush, eyes bright, and our whole being radiates. When depressed our skin is ragged, hair greasy, and sometimes we physically feel pain in our muscles and bones.
Many of us are afraid of feeling or expressing emotional pain. We avoid confronting others and ourselves because we don’t want to experience hurt. But, we must feel, and we must let go in order to move on and flourish to our full potential. Just as we are to acknowledge our pains, sorrows, and losses, we must also release joys and successes. To fixate on a past love, past success or glory can be so fun at times, but sometimes we attach ourselves to shining moments and therefore dim everything else in comparison. When we do this, we dishonor the present and no longer see the amazing gifts in our life. This often occurs in relationships. We can cling to the good times, unable or unwilling to see how both people are unhappy. Or we move on from the relationship and compare everyone we meet, every new experience against the past relationship, thus making us unable to forge new bonds. When we refuse to let go, we only hurt ourselves.
We all know that change is inevitable yet so many of us resist any form of transformation. Yet, when we don’t allow ourselves to evolve, like the overripe blackberry we shrivel up. We harden and do not fully develop into our majestic self. Take time in your yoga practice, in your meditation, and in your day to day life, to feel and experience your natural rhythms and let go of the past. By releasing the old baggage that weighs you down, you will find yourself lighter, happier, and more apt to enjoy the fruits of life.