There has always been uncertainty in the world (“the only constant is change”) but that seems to be especially highlighted this year for more people than in years past. There has been upheaval and there are threats (real and perceived) to the life of the planet, our lives, and our way of life. Yet, for all we believe we understand about these events, what do we really know about whether the uncertainty and these changes are “good” or “bad?”

 

In the moment, we can experience what we describe as good and bad feelings from or about an event. But do we have the perspective to properly contextualize the events themselves? Can we separate our emotional reactions from our responses? Can we acknowledge that whether any experience feels “good” or “bad,” whether we are “lucky” or “unlucky” may not reflect the actuality of the events? What I am working on – and what I invite you to practice – is to set aside the notion that events and emotions are good or bad. Rather, can I accept that they simply are? And in that acceptance see that all events, however I may experience them in the moment, ultimately provide opportunity for me to experience life and to grow. That what is good is to be present in each moment of life, what is good fortune is that I have these moments at all.

 

Lately, as I have reflected on the events of my last year (a painful divorce, being broke and homeless, a new leadership role at work, a staggering heartbreak, rediscovering the depth of love and compassion my friends have for me, finding new connection with my mother, new doors opening professionally, surviving serious illness), a Taoist parable has been very much on my mind. There are many versions of this story, but this is how it was shared with me.

 

The Old Farmer and His Son

 

An old farmer was working in his field with his old horse. At the end of the season, the farmer felt compassion for the horse and let it loose to live out the rest of its life free from burden. When the villagers saw this, they offered their condolences, saying, “How unfortunate you are to have lost your only horse!”

 

The old farmer said, “Maybe.”

 

A few days later the old horse came back to the farmer. He came back with several younger, healthier horses that followed the old horse into the corral. When the villagers heard of this, they congratulated the farmer on his good luck. “How fortunate you are to have so many horses!” they said.

 

The old farmer said, “Maybe.”

 

The next morning, the farmer’s only son attempted to train one of the new wild horses, but was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. The villagers arrived bemoaned the farmer’s situation. “Oh, what a tragedy! Your son won’t be able to help you farm with a broken leg. How unfortunate you are!” they said.

 

The old farmer said, “Maybe.”

 

Several days later, soldiers arrived in the village demanding that all the able, young men be conscripted into the Emperor’s army. While all the other young men were marched away, the farmer’s son was spared because of his broken leg. “Your son does not have to go to war! What good fortune you have!” the villagers exclaimed.

 

The old farmer said, “Maybe.”

 

As time went on, the son’s broken leg healed, but he was left with a slight limp. The villagers offered condolences. “His life will be so difficult now. That is so unfortunate!” they said.

 

The old farmer said, “Maybe.”

 

In the following years, the other village boys all died in the Emperor’s war and the old farmer and his son were the only men left capable of working the village farms. They became very wealthy and were very generous to the villagers. They said, “Oh how fortunate we are!”

 

To which the old farmer replied, “Maybe.”

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FRIDAY & SATURDAY’S WORKOUT

OAK PARK OPEN 2020  – Workout #4 Re-Test

For Time:

50 Cals Row

40 Pull-Ups

30 DBALL Squat Cleans (100#/70#)

20 Box Jump Overs (30″/24″)

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