Quite some time ago I read an article about a South American rain forest tribe. Without going into great detail about the article, one of the tribe’s hunting strategies caught my attention. The tribe had learned how to capture monkeys by hanging a wicker type of basket with a banana placed inside. There were slits in the weave so that the banana was visible. There was an opening in the weave, a hole, large enough for the monkey to be able to reach in and grab the banana, but not large enough for the monkey to get its hand out while still grasping the banana. A lot of monkeys were ‘caught’ this way. They simply couldn’t conceive of letting go of the banana.
Now, many of us, in our approach to our lives, are quite convinced that we know what is best for us. This is our banana. Because of this presumption, we map out what we ‘think’ should happen (what we want to happen) in most of our life’s situations. We seldom greet deviations from our expectations cheerfully. In fact, when the unanticipated occurs, we will spend a great deal of time and energy analyzing, worrying and blaming ourselves and others. It always feels like something went wrong. We’ll sit there stewing and reviewing. We won’t let go of the banana. We get stuck.
Our expectations are often a form of tunnel vision, narrowing what we ‘see’ and what we will ‘allow’ to be acceptable to a size so small that reality cannot fit in. In this place, there’s no room for equally valid alternatives…not for you and not for me. Our expectations become, in many respects, demands to be met. (Although we’ll not ever admit this) We can trap ourselves with these demands just as completely as we can hold those around us hostage by them…or be held ourselves captive by their return set of expectations. It is a sad and unsatisfying way to live.
It cries out to be undone.
We all feel better…live better and love more fully….
when we let go of the banana.