In a few days, we will transition into fall. Seasons—they are something we can count on—year in and year out. The dates appear on our calendars while Nature changes her colors and her habits. Since Covid hit, it seems like we are making transitions almost continually—and a lot of those changes are unexpected. We respond to some with joy and anticipation and others with sadness and fear. We’ve come to expect changes, but how can we weather them more evenly?

We can live in the moment. This moment is all we have. We can open our eyes to really see what is all around us—not anticipate what we expect to see, but really see each object completely—without judgment or meaning. What do you notice? Do you see things you haven’t seen before? Marianne Williamson, referring to A Course in Miracles, stated, “… clear your mind of all past associations, to see things exactly as they appear to you now.” As you do this, do you find that your body is relaxing and your mind is less busy? The objects you observe are really indistinguishable from each other…what separates them is the meaning we give to each of them. So it is with everything in our lives—the response we give to the changes we experience is totally up to us. We can choose to respond to those changes with joy, anticipation, sadness or fear. It’s up to us and how we choose to respond creates the lives we lead. Here’s a parable to think about:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who 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. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” 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. “Maybe,” 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. “Maybe,” said the farmer. 

This story has several iterations, including in Tao: The Watercourse Way, by Alan Watts.

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