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Pears cannot ripen alone

“Pears cannot ripen alone. So we ripened together.” That quote from novelist and essayist Meridel Le Sueur gave me double pause. I did not recall that pears cannot ripen alone. Since I used to buy pears in the can (I know, I know), the ripening issue was a moot point.

It got me thinking about how much I don’t know, and how much I’ve forgotten. I know you can put green bananas in a paper bag to yellow them up faster. I know if I put apples in the fridge they’ll stay fresher longer, but I like them in the wire basket on the counter.

But my thoughts were not just reflecting upon my knowledge, or lack thereof, regarding fruits.  My philosophical side tuned in and said, “Hmmm. Yeah.” (My philosophical side does not have a broad vocabulary.)

Each pear does its ripening on its own and in its own time, but needs another pear there. As with pears, so it goes with people.

Each baby is born, but if left alone, will die. Humans need another human for basic survival, but the meaning goes deeper than that. We are not talking about the simple bare necessities of life, we’re talking about ripening.

I am formed and fine – and perhaps just sitting on the counter — and now I need to “mature.” I want to become my fullest, greatest, true self.

To ripen is to develop, to evolve, to become fully grown. To do that, we need others along the way. It is the paradox of life that although we must grow alone as individuals, we also need to rely on each other to do so. We become our best individual self through the support and nurturing of others.

I pride myself on being independent and being the encourager of others. It helped me tremendously these past years to let down my guard and allow that I need support, too. In my process of ripening, I have been aided by others.

I cannot ripen alone. We all ripen together through the wisdom in books, the insight of song, and the understanding and mentorship of others.

Life, and ripening, is a process. We each must move forward and advance down our own unique path, but others, by forging their own way before us, make the journey easier. We are all at different stages of our ripening.

In ripening together, we all become changed for the better. By improving the life of someone around us, our life, too, is improved. The tasks needed are not heroic or exhausting. Offer an ear to listen. Give a hug, a smile, a kick in the rear. Share a little of your own experience and let the other person know that the ripening process produces the best fruit.

If you are “fully ripened,” plant your seeds for the future. Another quote from this author states, “Perhaps women like me of another generation are a bridge. Pass over, use the energy of the root in our witness and our singing.”

One of my favorite quotes is from Rumi, “Be a lamp, a lifeboat or a ladder.” I now would like to add, be a bridge.

My work as a coach helps others ripen. Be it their personal life, their career, their book, they are evolving and ripening into their full self. The flesh, color, and feel of a ripened pear is a thing to behold. So are you.

If you are just sitting on the counter alone, find someone to be the lamp, lifeboat, ladder, or bridge for you. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Let’s ripen together.

(Kelly Epperson Simmons is an author/speaker/coach. Get Kelly’s free ebook “7 Steps to Happy Right Now” at www.kellyepperson.com.)

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