I originally learned of this Zen story from a friend who shared it in her blog. I now think about it all the time. Nothing speaks truer to how I am feeling right now, so I will let the tale give a little insight. A few unexpected new tigers have emerged in my life – tigers that I once thought were strawberries I could grasp onto for hope and support. Each new tiger brings a pack as everything in my life and my treatment plan is so interdependent. I see a lot of yellow eyes and baring teeth focused on me right now while I dangle here on a vine awaiting answers.
Tomorrow, I will be sucking strawberries when I finish my PET Scan and await my meeting with my doctor, ignoring the ridiculous amount of tigers and gnawing mice around me at the moment. Because what the hell else can I do?
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
― Pema Chödrön