Don’t Squeeze the Noni
On the island of Kauai, there is a Noni Tree farm. The fruit of this tree is heralded as incredibly medicinal and curative. It is processed in many different forms. I have had some personal experiences with the pure Noni juice, and my thoughts are if you can survive the ingestion, you will most likely be cured of anything that might ail you. Close your eyes and imagine savoring a shot of Limburger cheese, with the accompanying smell and taste in liquid form. It is the kind of elixir whose essence lingers in the mouth, long after the liquid has been flushed down the gullet. The creams and salves, thankfully, are much more benign.
We took a tour of this Noni tree farm. We were told that the Noni tree usually just produces one crop. In order to produce multiple crops of Noni after the first harvest, they very tightly wrap a chain or cable around the trunk. This has the effect of giving the tree the sense that it is dying and causes it to quickly produce a second and then a third crop. So, while normally there is but one crop of the nutty fruit per year, this proven process dramatically shortens the time between harvesting fruit. It also shortens the lifespan of the tree. But how long it lives is not as important to the growers as the amount of fruit that it can produce in a short period of time.
This is not unique to the Noni Tree. A friend who lived through the Katrina Hurricane disaster said that 6-weeks after it hit, all the surviving flora and fauna blossomed and reproduced as normally happens in the springtime, though, calendar wise it was late fall. I hypothesize that human beings have that same genetic panic button that manifests itself in behaviors we are all familiar with.
I am working with a young couple. One of them is consistently asking more of the relationship than the relationship can provide. Not because of the limitations of the person being asked, but because no relationship, in and of itself, can provide what they are looking for.
The relationship is as the Noni Tree. And because one of them is trying to extract more from that relationship than it can provide, it is akin to squeezing and wrapping a chain around the Noni Tree.
There will in the short term be more fruit squeezed out, but just like the Noni Tree, the relationship, more likely than not, will die a premature, sadly unnecessary death. I can actually see, hear, and feel that happening as I witness the two of them interacting.
The way I see things, we all have six basic needs.
1. To belong.
2. Have autonomy.
3. Feel safe.
4. Have ways of expressing ourselves.
5. Possess a sense of purpose.
Money, power, prestige, where I live, who I live with, a relationship (whether it be with another person, or a job, or family, or a role we play) etc. can only partially fulfill each of these needs.
The rest of each can only be filled by a strong relationship with who I am, understanding my unique place in the universe and by understanding that there is a world beyond myself.
So, in a private conversation with the one that I perceive is “Squeezing the Noni Tree” of their precious and unique relationship, we have agreed to find ways of being satisfied with what the relationship can actually provide and find other ways to fulfill the rest.
Much easier proposed than done, but what I have found is when I am unhappy with my partner, it may very well be I am asking more of them than any one person could ever provide. They can only give me a bit of peace and comfort for my insecurity, jealousy, fear, sense of specialness, my purpose in living, freedom, sense of belonging, etc. The rest is for me to find elsewhere. Otherwise, I risk killing by smothering and strangulation my very own Noni Tree.