Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This tale comes to mind for me so often!

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

"Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

"We'll see," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

"We'll see," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

"We'll see," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"We'll see" said the farmer.

from here.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

acts of kindness

I've been discovering that acts of kindness are valuable mostly for how they can transform us.

Often, doing "good deeds" left me feeling self-conscious and goody-goody, proud, and then loathing myself as I notice how awkward my thoughts got.

Recently Adam & I have been in his parents' pool quite a bit. Little bugs and bees fly in and get stuck in the water. Rescuing the ones that are still alive has revived a very tender part of me. Allowing an insect to sit on my finger while its wings dry teaches me patience. I study it, and see how beautiful it is. To my surprise, I realize that even loving insects is something I carry within.

The potential to be appreciate this little bee is within me, but it is the act of rescuing her that awakens that potential.

In the same way, killing insects strengthens my feelings of loathing towards them. (And I don't necessarily feel ready to be kind to mosquitoes and ticks.)

But the thought that remains with me is that acts of gentleness, generosity, and love are powerful for the transformation within me that they can create. The focus is no longer on what I am doing for others, but how doing these things changes me for the better.

What I do becomes who I am.