By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
It’s interesting how memories from the past can be triggered by something seemingly insignificant. This happened to me just the other day in the grocery store when I was doing my weekly shopping.
As I waltzed around the store’s produce department, a huge display of pomegranates beckoned to me. They triggered within my mind a journey through special memories, of sitting at the kitchen table with my cherished grandmother Mimi. I remembered watching her bite into a juicy pomegranate and swallow the seeds.
“Pomegranates are a very special fruit,” she’d told me. “They have been revered throughout the ages for their medicinal properties. If you eat this fruit, it will prevent many illnesses, give you good skin, clean your blood, and let you live a long life.”
As a young girl at the time, I didn’t think Mimi was telling me anything significant. I mentally rolled my eyes, thinking, Here she goes again with her old-world remedies that probably don’t amount to much of anything. But as I grew into adulthood, I realized much of what Mimi had told me did have deep significance and only then could I appreciate her wise counsel and good advice.
But the pomegranate has more than just medicinal significance. Long before its medicinal properties were ever described, the pomegranate was held sacred by major religions throughout the world.
In Greek mythology, Hades fell in love with and kidnapped Persephone, daughter of Demeter. Once Demeter learned what had happened, she demanded Persephone be returned. Hades did, but first he tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, tying her to him. Through this myth and others, the pomegranate came to represent marriage, fertility, and rebirth.
Drawing from the Persephone myth and the renewal it represented, Christianity views the pomegranate as a symbol of resurrection and the hope of life everlasting. The crownlike protrusion at one end of the fruit is said to represent Christ’s royalty; the deep red juice, his blood; and the bursting rind, the open tomb on Easter morning.
In Buddhism, the pomegranate is one of three fruits known collectively as the Three Plenties, or Three Abundances. Together, the Three Plenties represent longevity (peach), good fortune (Buddha’s hand citron), and fertility and abundance (pomegranate). And according to “Why a Pomegranate?” by Patricia Langley of the British Medical Association, the pomegranate “represents the essence of favorable influences” in Buddhist art.
As a career consultant, I believe the symbolism of the pomegranate can provide some interesting lessons as we venture forward into a more productive and abundant future in the New Work World.
1. The Gifts of Regeneration
In some cultures, the pomegranate represents rebirth, renewal, and resurrection, all of which can be seen as forms of regeneration. If you have lost your job, been transferred to a new department, or found yourself with experience in an industry that is either not hiring or not in high demand, what regenerative measures can you perform to become a more desirable commodity? Often such regeneration needs to begin in your mind. A rebirth of your attitude or mindset can provide positive results going forward.
2. Favorable Influences
As a symbol of favorable influences, the pomegranate can remind you to reflect on those who have helped you reach this point in your life. Who do you know who has been a favorable influence in your life? Perhaps they can make your experience in the New Work World richer and more meaningful. In my life, Mimi taught me lessons that have served me well. Is there perhaps a teacher, professor, coach, previous boss, mentor, or recruiter whom you could contact to help you move forward when you might be at an important crossroads or turning point?
3. Attitude of Abundant Gratitude
Because of its numerous seeds, the pomegranate has long been used in logos, signs, and symbols to reflect fertility and abundance. Consider applying such symbolism to your mentality. How might you make your attitude fertile with appreciation for what you have in your life? How might you demonstrate that appreciation in interviews or visits with networking friends and family? In recent months, HR reps have often spoken highly of those job candidates who talk about how much they learned from previous bosses, their appreciation for online classes, or their gratitude for the relationships their work environments brought them. Focusing on what you have and are grateful for as opposed to what you lack can strike a positive chord with the hiring authorities of the New Work World.
4. Future Full of Expansion and Growth
The pomegranate is involved in several legends and myths of turning evil to good or darkness to light. Similarly, how might you turn a negative situation that might have happened during the last several months into something positive? Could such a situation be used as a learning tool? Could you view it as an insightful experience from which you can learn important lessons to help you move forward with a belief that the future will bring you expansion and growth? Just as a dark spot or scar on the surface of a pomegranate doesn’t negate the tastiness or special nourishment of the seeds within, don’t let a challenging exterior event affect your inner determination to approach the future anticipating a more expansive career and rewarding work experience.
As many myths and legends remind us, the pomegranate speaks to the persistence of life, fertility, and regeneration. It reminds you to cherish those wise influencers who have helped you grow throughout your life. Like sowing a pomegranate’s abundant seeds, you can fill your mind with an attitude of abundant gratitude and look to a future full of expansion and growth. And the next time you’re in a grocery store and see a pomegranate, be reminded of its many benefits for living well in the New Work World.
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.