Do you know the trick for getting a pit out of an avocado? You hit it with the blade of a knife and it just pops right out.
There are two key things to remember to do this trick safely:
- Do not hold the avocado in your hand. You could accidently miss and cut yourself. Set it on a cutting board.
- Use a sharp knife. The knife must be sharp in order to stick successfully into the pit.
Well, I had achieved point #1.
I was too scared to use my new, super sharp, huge chef’s knife on my little avocado, and had opted for a paring knife—a dull paring knife. I hit the knife into the first pit. Since I knew what a crap knife I was working with, I was surprised it had actually worked. I moved on to the second pit. (I was making fresh gauc for two people. Obviously, three avocados were essential.) I hit the knife into the pit but it had barely broken skin. I tried again. The knife slid off the pit. I’d give it one more try and then I’d have to use a spoon to scoop the pit out.
I lifted the knife to drive it into the pit with more force. I had no idea how it happened but the next thing I knew, I saw the blade sinking into my left ring finger instead of the avocado.
My boyfriend came in from the other room, and rushed to my aid. I’ll spare you the details of what the next twenty minutes looked like but it mostly consisted of less blood than anticipated and me crying out, “I knew better! That was so stupid to use that stupid knife! I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I just knew better!!!”
My injury turned out to be as if a paper cut had gotten into a car crash and the airbags failed to inflate. It wasn’t nothing but it wasn’t a huge deal either. I just felt so stupid for making such a silly mistake. I knew better and I KNEW I knew better.
“Well, now you know even better,” my boyfriend said in response to my weeping.
That’s when I thought, maybe the first cut isn’t the deepest, but the sweetest. It’s that first cut that reminds us of what we may already know, and it re-emphasizes how we should act. We are cut just deep enough to take the moment more seriously, to become more mindful, and awake. That cut is what allows us to prevent the real, big, bloody mess from happening.
Last night I used my new, super sharp, huge chef’s knife and was especially mindful as I effortlessly glided the blade through broccoli florets. Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” Well, as it turns out, sometimes we need to experience something more severely so we can really know better and then, we’ll really do better.