Earlier this week I had the opportunity to take part in a service project benefiting the community food bank. I was among 20 or so volunteers who made their way out of town to a home out in the sticks. Lots of acreage. Wide open spaces. Turns out the homeowner was gracious enough to let us pick from their extensive rows of blueberry plants, most of them over seven feet tall. For one hour, we picked perfectly ripe blueberries in clumps off the branches. The picture above shows the actual flat of blueberries I accumulated. It was a wonderful hour spent unplugged from technology. It was an hour where the thoughts in my head were free to bounce around and process, undistracted from screens or pinging notifications. The only thing that gave my mind pause were the volunteers' children running around the towering rows, laughing and playing and screaming it up, like kids should be during a warm summer evening. It was a fun experience.

Most of the volunteers chose to congregate in the nearest few rows, socializing and happily chatting while picking. I observed only a few plump blueberries in these first few rows. So I, not being one to chat easily in social settings, ventured further to the last row of blueberries. Jackpot. They were everywhere in clumps, ready to be harvested. I avoided the conversations, used my big hands to lightly disengage blueberries from their plant, and diligently filled my first flat in about 45 minutes. As I was admiring the bounty, the thought of opportunity entered my mind.

If you're among many, opportunities are scarce. Lots of competition to find the right prize. Tough to stand out in the crowd. However, if you go to a place where others aren't, opportunities are everywhere. No matter how many blueberries I picked, there always seemed to be fresh ones nearby, conveniently under another branch's leaves. There will always be opportunities to pick from, even in the same place where you thought you exhausted all possibilities.

After a while, stop and acknowledge the progress you've made. Eat a few berries. Reflect on all that hard work done and enjoy some of your successes. It might give you a boost to push forward with your work. In my case, I grabbed my second empty flat container and happily dropped blueberries into it, hoping to fill a second one with the remaining time.

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