On Living Fruitfully

by Christopher Lovejoy on June 30, 2013

For several months during summer, I ate nothing but fruit – whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organically grown fruit. I did this after following the 80.10.10 dietary regimen for many months previously.

For weeks on end, I thrived on melons for breakfast, fruit smoothies for lunch, and citrus for dinner.

Truth be told, I lost a lot of weight, weight I could not afford to lose – a sliver less than 120 for a 6-foot frame – but I felt healthier, more clear, more vital, more energized than ever.

And I knew when to stop.

This wasn’t about striving for perfect health; it was about having and doing what came naturally.

My circumstances were ripe for eating an abundance of fruit.

I followed my bliss until I knew, deep down, that it was time to eat a few nuts.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 44

Wealth, power, money, status, possessions, recognition: the world thrives on them like a pimp with serious bling bling thrives on a bevy of choice hookers in search of their next fling fling.

Luckily, verse 44 saves the day, serving to bring bring us all back down to earth, inviting us to consider the essence of what really and truly matters in this taxing world of trials and tribulations.

Which means more to you,
you or your renown?
Which brings more to you,
you or what you own?
I say what you gain is more trouble
than what you lose.

If love is the fruit of sacrifice,
wealth is the fruit of generosity.

Contented persons
are never disappointed.
Those who know when to stop
are preserved from peril;
only thus can they endure long.

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Knowing when to stop, we say farewell to troubles that accrue for those who sacrifice arriving for a lifetime of striving.

My Impressions of the Verse

My general impression of this verse is favorable, although I must admit I winced a bit when I saw that word sacrifice.

Sacrifice.

Before going any further, I invite you to take a few moments to let its meaning wash over you, into you, through you, with you, for you.

Sac … ri … fice.

An offering to a higher purpose? Or an affront to the essence of who you are?

Which means more to you,
you or your renown?
Which brings more to you,
you or what you own?
I say what you gain is more trouble
than what you lose.

Acquisitions and accumulations carry a weight all their own.

Are you ready, willing, or able to bear them?

And what do you do if you aren’t ready, willing, or able?

If love is the fruit of sacrifice,
wealth is the fruit of generosity.

There’s that word again.

Here are two possible readings of this word:

  1. sacrifice as something of value given up or lost;
  2. sacrifice as surrender of something for the sake of something else

Harmonizing these two readings yield, for me, the following insights:

  • If that something else is of equal perceived value, it’s not a sacrifice
  • If that something else is of higher perceived value, it’s not a sacrifice

If romantic love is conditional (“you gotta be this, this, and this for me”), then that other kind of love (call it what you will) is unconditional (“I’m willing and able to accept you just the way you are”).

With no conditions attached or imposed, I am free to use my discernment as to when or whether to surrender a value for the sake of a higher purpose, where such purpose includes the higher good of marriage, family, country, culture, or humanity.

Here’s another interpretation:

If love is the fruit of responsivity,
wealth is the fruit of generosity.

Responsivity involves being responsive to others, but it also includes being responsive to yourself.

Knowing when to stop includes (a) knowing when to stop caring for others and start caring for yourself, and (b) knowing when to stop caring only for yourself and start caring for others.

Contented persons
are never disappointed.
Those who know when to stop
are preserved from peril;
only thus can they endure long.

Looking after yourself includes knowing when to give up the chase.

Looking after yourself includes knowing when to stop eating or sleeping; working, shopping, and buying; whining and complaining; forcing and feigning; controlling and demanding; striving and surviving.

Business going well? Give it a break.

Have enough saved? Give some away.

Looking as gorgeous as ever? Move on.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

What are the implications of knowing when to stop for personal fulfillment? In other words, what does it mean to live, love, learn, grow, and evolve favorably, faithfully, fruitfully?

Practice knowing when to stop and take a breath by loosening or even releasing at least one attachment to being, having, or doing.

Stop being so … [fill in the blank].

Stop wanting so much … [fill in the blank].

Stop doing you know what and start … [fill in the blank].

In a nutshell?

Be present, be at peace, be promising; be alert, be assured, be responsive.

Follow your bliss, go with the flow, enjoy the fruits of your life.

It’s now or never.

I choose now.

Next up: Beyond Superficial (Living Beyond Superficialities)

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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