There is an old song called “Yes! We Have No Bananas.” I read that it was written about the depression and the bananas that were ruined by a certain disease. Its meaning is about lack of bananas and lack of everything in general.
I’m recalling this song today because I feel like singing it about the mango trees that grow both in our front yard and backyard. This year’s crop has been plentiful, and I have envisioned having a mango picking party. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that, but I’ve given them away, and brought them to our Center. I’ve freely given them away with plenty to spare.
But here’s the rub! It seems that the word of our plentiful mango crop has spread by the coconut wireless here on Kaua`i. Strangers show up, and at times, I observe them picking the mangoes as they pass by the house. Is the fact that I have affirmed that I want to share the mangoes created this uninvited invitation? Why does it push my buttons that someone would feel that they could just take the mangoes? I would be happy to share them. I only ask to be asked.
I’m contemplating this today, as I had an encounter that troubled me enough to have to do a lot of self-examination and spiritual work. I had picked a bag full of mangoes for a person I do not know and left them in the front of my house for her to pick up. I was washing the dishes when I observed her picking more mangoes. The button became clear: “I am not enough. I am not respected.”
The good news is that I went out and spoke with her. I’m not sure I cleared the situation on her side, but I felt better for being able to kindly express myself on my own behalf. I have not always felt that way.
What have I learned from this experience? I will tell you, and I trust it might help you if you are confronted with the feeling of not being enough. I have learned that as difficult as it can be to express how you truly feel, you owe it to yourself and to that little part of yourself who might have been told throughout your childhood that it’s not okay to speak up for yourself. When we speak up for ourselves with kindness and compassion, we are telling the Universe that we value ourselves, respect ourselves and love ourselves. We are telling ourselves that we are enough. The other person might not hear what we have to say or might not take it in the way it is meant, but that does not matter. We are responsible for what we say, but not how it is received.
The other side of me wants to say, “Yes! We Have No Mangoes,” when I am asked about the mango trees that grow here, but that is not the answer. We have plenty of mangoes and everything that we need, and it is good to share. It is also good to let others know that there is plenty where that came from, and we do not have to hoard. There will always be plenty. We share this planet with everyone. We do not own the planet any more than I own these mango trees. We are here to give to it, to receive from it, and to take care of it.
Yes! We have plenty of everything! Let us take care of ourselves, our buttons, our life and not use our feelings of lack or not being enough as an excuse to strike out at another or take from another. The mangoes can represent anything in our life that we are holding onto. I know to take care of my own mental house, love myself through it, and take action from that place. I learned a good lesson today and I thank everyone involved.
Love and Aloha,
Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Spiritual Director CSL Kaua`i, Spiritual Coach, Author
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