The other day, I was re-reading one of my favorite inspirational books, Sylvia Boorstein’s short and pithy “It’s Easier Than You Think“, and came across this famous parable:

“A monk was being chased by a tiger toward the edge of a cliff. He leaps off the cliff, grasping a vine that has grown over the edge. Below him is a long drop to certain death, above him is the snarling tiger. As the monk swings in midair, a mouse begins gnawing at the vine above him. His position is one of utter precariousness. Growing out of the cliff in front of him, however, is a wild strawberry, which the monk picks and eats. He says, “This strawberry is delicious.”

We can all understand the monk’s position, can’t we. Smaller budgets…co-workers being laid off…departments (and colleagues) being out-sourced. There’s the tiger of uncertainty, directly above us, while down below we see the long, long drop towards unemployment and home foreclosure. And what’s that nibbling away our life vine? Why, it’s the mouse of credit card debt! Letting go would be so easy, wouldn’t it? . And yet…if we stay in the present and consider our situation, we find something beautiful right here and right now, a glistening strawberry: perfect, delicious, and within our reach.

Although it may seem like despair is the only option in these difficult times, it’s important to stay present in the moment. Even in the midst of our worst travails, we’re bound to notice beautiful and tasty opportunities right before our eyes: a chance to reconnect with our clients, for example. Or needed downtime to develop new products or services — not to mention “down-economy” buying opportunities.

What is your interpretation of this parable? What’s your tiger, what’s your mouse? What’s your strawberry?