by Shelly Sharon, Canova Creative
I moved to Italy 5 months ago, where I live with my partner up in the mountains in a very small village, where nature is still wild and there are still a few of the old generation who live a simple life and appreciate natural living.
I chose to come and live here as my husband and I had a vision to establish a practice centre, for people to share, learn, and create connections. As we all know, uprooting one's existence is no easy process for a human being.
As a 'foreigner' there's always the fear of being left out, of not finding the fertile ground to reroot again. You become sensitive to the environment, the external and internal conditions, in a way which doesn't necessarily happen in your home town.
One afternoon we travelled to the closest city to get some shopping and noticed a market in the centre of town, so we approached to have a look.
The first stand sold white radishes and a few other vegetables, and they all had a bit of an unusual shape. I immediately realised that this market was run by local people selling their natural products. I was struck by the suddenness of the realisation of what I was seeing, because never before had I seen a market selling natural vegetables and fruit.
I was overwhelmed by a wave of joy, I was so excited and intrigued and interested. I felt like something inside me had suddenly switched itself on and was reacting to a much deeper sense inside me. As if my inner soil had finally been watered to its fullest satisfaction.
I realised also how normal it made me feel as a human being to see and buy vegetables and fruit which had not gone through the whole cosmetic rigmarole, that process of 'normalisation' which leaves us all stripped of our truest characteristics as human beings, copy cuts of the latest fashion. Being able to buy something which maintains its natural shape and vitality made me feel that I belonged. A simple sense of belonging which we are all looking for. Unfortunately nowadays most are looking for it in the wrong places.
The mainstream of what is considered beautiful has robbed us humans of the sensitivity to react and interact with natural beauty. Funnily enough, we need celebrities to raise public awareness to the need to embrace healthy styles of living, to cultivate mindfulness practices in order to bring us some peace of mind, and learn to dig into ancient wisdom to find a recipe for genuine happiness. The irony is that as much as it may be useful for marketing, it is still not carrying the essential message of diversity - you are still just following another fashion.
Because diversity lies in all things natural. In the fact that we have over 80,000 different kinds of species on the planet, in the ability to see, feel and taste things just as they are without being filtered through layers and layers of marketing filters like in the supermarkets.
All things conceived and born give rise to a miracle, that upsurge of creation you cannot control which brings along with it the unknown and the beauty of living. This miracle is what gives rise to diversity. Even though we cannot control the next step, since it pertains to the unknown, nonetheless it is full of the juice of life, sparkling with nutrients and vitality. It is only as we are judged upon our beauty, how fast or slow we regain our "normal" shape after giving birth, how fit we look with the latest fashions, that we ourselves become that ugly fruit.
When we reject the ugly fruit we reject everything which we haven’t accepted within ourselves. It is a powerful mirror.
As a teacher of consciousness and a long-term practitioner of yogic and energy practices, I have met a lot of people over the years, and a lot of the personal baggage of "the ugly fruit" they carry with them. One of the most simple exercises I give people is to wake up in the morning look in the mirror and say to yourself 'I am beautiful'. Do you know how hard it is for people to do that? Yes, indeed.
We don't exercise our freedom of choice, our will power and ability for unique self-expression if we go blindly to the shop, filling our baskets with machine-like movements, automatic gestures coming out of our ego-building inner state.
The rough division between ugly and beautiful is relevant for the one who has not experienced and embraced the natural diversity. The diversity of people, of opinions, of flowers and tress, the diversity of life. This is a source of suffering.
Well, I choose to indulge in the "ugly" fruits, and to celebrate my feeling of belonging to this planet, to enjoy the sense of true and simple joy.