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  • Writer's pictureSona Parmar

The Bitter Cucumber

Unless it’s “Holy hell, yes!”, just say no.

- Tosha Silver

Once upon a time, I was asked what kind of people I wanted my children to grow up to be. Words like kind, resilient, courageous, and joyful came to mind. But the thing I really, really, really want for my kids, is for them to have strong, internal GPS’.

(I guess parents tend to want to give their kids the thing that they either never got, or the thing that they value the most.)

Marcus Aurelius once said, that “if the cucumber is bitter, don’t eat it.” Such simple, sound advice.

And yet, for the recovering indecisive, people-pleaser that I am, this can be troublesome to implement. This idea that I needn’t do anything for anyone, to do it only because it makes me happy. Just me. Hmmm.

But sometimes, with all the overthinking, I don’t think I even know what makes me happy. So the other hack I use, involves getting in my body: does the choice make my skin tingle or does my stomach churn? Tingling means do it, the churning tells me to back away.

I may also ask whether the action will bring me more peace (comes from the Higher Self) or more problems (all ego).

I really shouldn’t need all these tools. But I do. It comes from a family of origin where I wasn’t always able to trust my reality. As an adult, learning to do that has been, and continues to be, an eye-opening, scary and rewarding exercise.

While I see that I’m growing, part of me wonders why I didn’t know all this before. Maybe it’s like learning a language: it gets easier the more I practice.

So now I am practicing executing decisions more promptly (really going with my gut) and changing them slowly.

And when I do make a committed decision, I begin to think and act like the person I want to become. I am then a person who is committed and will do whatever it takes, rather than someone who is merely “interested” in moving forward, doing only what is convenient.

As Brene Brown says, it’s about choosing “courage over comfort” every time.

So I commit, to spitting out the bitter cucumber when I next encounter it, instead of washing it down with some wholesome, cleansing carrot juice to disguise my discomfort.

This is how I will slowly start trusting my gut. This is how I will build my GPS. This is how I will “be the change” (Gandhi) for my kids, so their mirror neurons pick up what they need.

It is said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with. A kindergarten headmistress mentioned to me the other day that as a single parent, I make up 75% of those five people for my kids.

I guess it's high time that my GPS gets my ass in gear.

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