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The Fruit of Letting Go (Transcript)

Once Upon a Business – Episode 75

The Fruit of Letting Go

Lisa Bloom: Long ago, in the early world, there lived the first man and the first woman. They lived together as husband and wife, and they loved one another dearly. But one day, they quarreled. Although neither could remember the reason later, the pain grew stronger with every word that was spoken. Until finally, in anger and in grief, the woman left their home and began walking away to the east, toward the rising sun.

Hi, I’m Lisa Bloom, the Story Coach, and you’re listening to Once Upon a Business. In each episode, we explore a story, a fairy tale, folk tale, or traditional story so that we can discover the amazing lessons relevant for business and for entrepreneurs.

After the woman left, the man sat alone in his house. The anger left him and all that remained was terrible grief and despair. A spirit heard the man crying and took pity on him. The spirit said, “Man, I have seen your woman walking to the east toward the rising sun.” The man went after his wife, but he could not overtake her. Everyone knows that an angry woman walks fast.

“I will go ahead and see if I can slow her steps,” said the spirit, who soon found the woman walking, her footsteps fast and angry and her gaze fixed straight ahead. There was pain in her heart. The spirit saw some huckleberry bushes growing along the trail and made the bushes burst into bloom and ripen into fruit. But the woman’s gaze remained fixed. Her footsteps didn’t slow. She looked neither right nor left. She didn’t see the berries.

The spirit caused the trees of the forest to burst into bloom one by one and ripen into fruit. But the woman’s eyes remained fixed, and still she saw nothing but her anger and pain. Then the spirit caused a green carpet to grow along the trail, starred with tiny white flowers, and each flower ripened gradually into a berry that was the color and shape of the human heart. As the woman walked, she crushed the tiny berries beneath her feet. Their delicious aroma rose to her nostrils. She stopped and looked down, and she saw the berries. She picked one and ate it, and she discovered its taste was as sweet as love itself.

So she began walking slowly, picking berries as she went And as she leaned down to pick them, after a time, she saw her husband coming behind her. The anger had gone from her heart. All that remained was the love she had always known. So she stopped for him, and together they picked and ate fruit. Finally, they returned to their home with a new taste of peace and happiness.

Strawberries is a story from the book Body Eloquence by Nancy Mellon and Ashley Ramsden. When I discovered this story, I was quite surprised by how it resonates for me. I think I’m drawn to the gentleness of it and to the idea that sometimes we need something not quite ordinary to help us find our way back to what we truly feel and what we want.

The role of spirit in this story is lovely, a kind of gentle guardian that helps remind us of who we are, which is love. We can’t help but love. And that feels so clear in this story. And yet we find ourselves walking away in anger so often. That feels familiar to me, too.

When this line came, “Everyone knows that an angry woman walks fast,” I found myself smiling with recognition. And at the same time, it’s that terrible trope of the angry woman that speaks to the patriarchal way of thinking, that women should not be angry, but should always acquiesce. The silent agreeable woman is always preferable. That makes me want to walk away at high speed, too.

The reality is that in the patriarchal society and business system that we find ourselves in, it’s easy to feel angry and frustrated. And so it’s important to do as the woman does in this story, to walk away, to take some space, to figure out what you’re fighting for and recoup your energy and love for the continued fight until the system changes. This is how it is. And yes, we are still drawn back to love and rightly so.

Let’s talk about the quarrel they have. The story tells us that neither can remember the reason that they fought, and yet the anger grew with every word. And finally, the woman left in anger and grief. I think we sometimes underestimate the power of grief in our relationships and in our business. While we might be creating our dreams in both realms, we’re constantly losing them, too. What we imagine for our business is never quite how it evolves. And though we might be thrilled with what emerges, it usually requires the letting go of what we imagined. And there’s some sadness and even grief in that.

In the story, the woman walked away towards the rising sun. I love that image. Although she’s sad and angry, she’s walking towards renewal. She’s not hiding in the dark or walking blindly. She’s going towards the new day, new possibility, and maybe new opportunity. What a great business lesson as we move away from our disappointments, which are inevitable because there are always failures, misses, and letting go in business.

It’s important to walk towards the new thing, the renewal, the opportunity. And then spirit gets involved to try to slow the woman down, but she is blinded by anger. How true is that in life and business? Often, we’re blinded by our emotions, unable to see anything around us, never mind the beauty and wonder that spirit provides.

I remember being angry with someone in my business who had let me down. As we spoke on the phone, I instinctively went out into the garden and started pacing. I was so angry that I was blinded by it. I could see nothing around me. I do think that my own spirit led me to the garden so that after we finished the conversation and I was in tears, I was in a beautiful place where I could sit and catch my breath and understand why I felt so betrayed and, most importantly, what I needed to do next.

I love that what finally slowed the woman down was the smell of the strawberries. Often we ignore our senses, our physical senses and our intuition, and yet sometimes it’s overpowering. We can’t not smell the roses, or in this case, the strawberries. Senses are so much a part of storytelling. When we remember the smell, what comes with that is an entire story ecosystem.

Think about the smell of fresh bread. It will always take you back to the little bakery you visited on a vacation or the precious moment in your childhood. These are stories that live inside us. In this story, it’s the smell that literally brings her back to her senses. And funny how that expression speaks to bringing you back to truth, in this case, to love.

Love is such a funny thing. We don’t think of it in terms of our business very often. And yet as a business owner, we’re usually passionate about what we do. We truly love our work. I often find myself thinking and talking about how lucky I am that I get to love my work. So yes, this story is so important.

When something goes wrong in our business, when we feel angry or betrayed, when we feel grief; we need to remind ourselves that the core of what we do, we actually love. We need to find a way back to that feeling so that we can remember what we truly want. In the story, she was reminded of the love between her and her man. And boy, have I been in that situation when I’ve been so angry and needed to be reminded of the love between us. I don’t think you can be in a relationship without this experience.

And in my business, during challenging times, I’ve also had to remember again and again, is this what I love? Is this where I want to be? Is this what I want to be doing with my time and energy? Is this what I love? Thankfully, I’ve always found that strawberry to bring me to my senses, to bring me back. And now with this story, I’m not sure that eating strawberries will ever quite be the same again. And I’m happy for that.

I’m Lisa Bloom, and you’ve been listening to Once Upon a Business. You can find out more about me at That’s Once Upon a Business is part of the Mirasee FM podcast network, which also includes such shows as Just Between Coaches and Soul Savvy Business. To catch the great episodes that are coming up on Once Upon a Business, please like and follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channel or your favorite podcast player.

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