Every once in a while, I’ll read something that just knocks me down, shakes me up, or stills my flow. These once in awhiles aren’t bad things, they are opportunities to learn something about myself or see a pattern or behavior that I can improve upon. My friend Srikala posted something last week that rocked my world. He wrote about low hanging fruit.
Do you know that phrase? It typically isn’t used in a positive context. In business circles, low hanging fruits are a metaphor for doing the simplest or easiest work first for a quick fix or knocking out the quickly dispatched tasks. They are the low priority items on a ToDo List. The no-brainer opportunity, easy targets. I’m definitely not a typical business person, but those all sound like really good things to me.
So often, I have a big goal in mind or a big project on the horizon. History shows that breaking a goal down into actionable steps is a surefire way to achieve something. If I want to accomplish something a year from now, I know if I work backwards- 9 months, 6 months, 3 months - each of those calendar segments will have micro goals and tasks within them to get me to the 12 month end game. Do I regularly get to where I’m going with this template? Noooooo. I procrastinate, I sit and dream of the big thing, I attempt the large tasks first and easily lose interest, get distracted, discouraged, defeated, whatever.
Srikala wrote these words:
I wake up in gratitude.
Grateful that I have so many great examples around me of people that are doing amazing things with their service. Some of these ninjas are killing it.. they found their zone.. and they hold it consistently. Inspiring millions. I have become so much because of them.
My other beloved ninjas are on the brink of massive unfolding. Seems like all they would need is to let go of all the baggage that keep them "busy" and focus on that single service and make it a priority.
We show up at the site of our service with all these bags. My next up level is to show up with only one bag.. with infinite magic inside.
What would happen if you picked that one low hanging fruit.. and decided to be excellent at it... As soon as possible? Finish that music.. that article.. that music video.. study that text book.. CALL that expert.. make that dress...
We all have that low hanging fruit. The thing that you see people keep asking you for. The inspiration that keeps knocking on your door during deep meditations. The thing your mentor always reminds you about..
What's your service... Take a risk..
Those are some good words, right? I’d like to think that I am a ninja of service, one who risks, and inspires. But Srikala's words reminded me that I have a lot of work to do. And I can start with the low-hanging fruit, the easy stuff. Sorry, business people who think that’s the easy way out. My biggest wish for myself and others, whether going through a transition of losing a loved one or being faced with notsogreat news, or even greeting something new and exciting on the horizon - is that all of this is accomplished and met with ease. E A S E. Ease holds a lot more value than easy, right?
As I do, I looked up ‘low-hanging fruit’ as I sat down to write this post. Yeah, that phrase definitely gets a bad rap. Even the fruit growers say going for the low-hanging fruit is a terrible idea. They start picking fruit from the top of the tree, and to reach the top they must use a ladder. As the pickers harvest their fruit, they wear a bag around their neck and shoulders to collect their bounty. Starting from the bottom, the low-hangers, the bag fills up and is too heavy to make the climb to the top to the top of the ladder. This makes for an unproductive fruit harvest.
Well, I don’t make my living harvesting fruit or doing big business, so I am here to laud the low-hanging fruit. We all have so many gifts to offer the world. Our communities need our skill, our art, and our service. Our souls need to create and offer to flourish. Start small. Do the thing that comes to you with ease, gain confidence and momentum. Crossing off the little things on the list free up the calendar space and the brain space to really focus on the big goals. These last 3 months of the year I’m going to be a low hanging fruit ninja, how about you?
The fruit for this recipe came to me from my neighborhood CSA. I'm not sure if it was low or high-hanging, all I know is that these plums were delicious! This is a famous New York Times recipe that first ran in 1983. Apparently, this is the one recipe that chefs, home cooks, and bloggers all bring out to say goodbye to summer and to welcome fall. I decided it was my turn. Friends, make this cake. The New York Times is on to something. Chewy and moist and jamlike with fruit. Not too sweet, but definitely a special treat. You can bake it with ease and cross off a few easy tasks on your ToDo list while it's in the oven.
Marian Burro's Original Plum Torte
- ¾ to 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 24 halves pitted purple plums
- Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
- Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.
- Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)