I walked into the classroom with a grocery bag full of oranges, my briefcase and a curious mind.
Today was going to be different.
I was conducting an experiment.
Today they would experience themselves with a new awareness. They were about to discover how they approach the world.
Imagine thirty teen agers from 15 to 18 years old talking, laughing and some not noticing that I was in the room, yet. As I settled I could hear conversations about the latest movies they watched on Netflix, what happened at last weekend’s party, and what they were doing after school.
“Why do you have a bag of oranges?” That question got their attention, now all eyes were on me. “Yeah, do we get to eat them?” Laughter followed. “Really, what are you doing with those oranges?” Their curiosity was building, they wanted to know what I was doing. I had them right where I wanted them.
“Today, you are going to move the tables to the side of the room and put your chairs in one big circle in the center of the room. I will give you a few minutes to do that.” I said.
“What are we doing this for?” they asked. “It’s a secret.” I replied.
The experiment began.
Some got up, moved their table to the side and put their chair in the center circle. Others were sidetracked with conversation and teasing. They had to be reminded of the task at hand.
Once they were all seated in the circle I brought out the bag of oranges. “I am giving each of you an orange, you are to hold it until everyone has an orange and then I will tell you what to do with your orange.” I called on Bill and asked him to repeat the giving of the orange instructions. I always check for understanding when working with teens, it is important that everyone know what to do.
Here are the directions. “You each have an orange. Your job right now is to peel the orange, the goal is to get the peel off in one big piece. When you are done you will have one orange peel.” Those directions are simple and open ended. Notice I did not tell them how to peel the orange, or how much time they had to peel the orange or if they could ask for help peeling the orange.
When asked questions I just repeated the directions. Peel the orange in one piece.
I became the observer. I saw one boy get serious, he took out his keys to get the orange peel started. He peeled slowly and methodically.
One student broke a small piece off the peel and now had a small piece. The look of failure came upon their face. I wondered what they would do next. They gave up, stopped peeling, and just sat there while the others peeled.
Another did not want to take the challenge and gave her orange to another student to peel it for her.
While someone else kept asking if it was okay to peel this way or another way. They wanted more “how to” directions.
I never wavered on my directions. I kept repeating the original instructions. I kept observing their behaviors.
When the students were finished peeling it was time to tell them about the experiment.
You see, this experiment was based on the saying “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
I asked the students to reflect on how they went about peeling the orange. Did they take it as a challenge, stay with it no matter what happened, give up, criticize the activity, compete with others to be first to finish, figure out a way to make peeling easy, give their orange away, or some other action?
The reflection created quite a discussion. Of course, there were the naysayers, those that don’t believe anything is connected. There were those that had insights into their default approach to challenges and were able to connect their way of peeling the orange to the way they solve problems or handle challenges in their world.
You may not peel an orange to see your default approach to life.
Your default approach may show up in how you eat.
Do you eat only when you are hungry, or do you eat at specific times?
Do grab anything to eat or do you plan your meals?
Do you choose healthy food, or do you fill up on fast food?
Do you eat slowly, chewing each bite or do you put the next bite of food on your fork before you finish chewing and swallowing the bite in your mouth?
What do you notice about how you eat?
Next time you eat notice how you do it. You may get a new awareness about how you do one thing is how you do everything. too.
Nancy Dadami is a Feng Shui Specialist, Creatively Fit Coach, and Artist. She teaches artists, writers, coaches and healers to arrange their work surroundings to support their vision, so they live in “the flow” and manifest their intentions.