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The Fear and Joy of Harvesting Purple Potatoes

fear tiny huge Jun 19, 2023

I’ve just harvested my first potatoes of the year. They're purple. Magnificently purple. And far bigger than expected considering the lack of rain.The sheer joy of this is hard to put into words as I write this to you.


I've no idea what they’re called because obviously the label has gone missing, as usual. The label I found said Broad Bean. This happens every year despite my best attempts to get my gardening ducks in a row (did you catch last week’s podcast episode about letting your ducks be? And if you did, did you notice one of my podcast ducks was definitely misbehaving).


Just before digging I noticed my mind telling me stories of fear, trailing tantalising loops about how it's not the right time, if you dig now you’ll get nothing and warnings to google what the experts say first. As if potatoes read the rules about when to produce. Nobody knows what's going on under those potato plants except the potatoes. And I so wanted to eat them tonight because, excitingly, the beautiful Crimson Broad Beans are ready to eat too. Put them with a lamb chop and some mint sauce and man that’s one heavenly summer dinner.


So, I sidestepped all the warnings with a gently rebellious exploratory dig, bypassing my amygdalae with reassurances that it's just a little dig, no big deal, I’m not going to lift the whole plant, it's safe to do this.


I was rewarded. I love, love, love harvesting potatoes. The sheer childish joy of daring to dig with absolutely no idea what you might find. It feels like digging for gold. My potatoes held in the colander like a scared treasure as I excitedly take them into the kitchen to wash. My whole body filled with joy at such a simple thing.


I practise my tiny huge life changing practices on these kinds of things because it's easier. Harvesting purple potatoes might not be high stakes - but looking after my mind by cultivating feelings of safety and adopting a playful, gently rebellious attitude is a skill you can take into a high stakes situation once you get the hang of it.


Is there something tiny you can practise soothing the nagging fears and sneaking past your amygdalae? 


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