Friday, August 10, 2012

More Thoughts On Manure

I have ten nieces. When they were teenage girls I called them the “Princesses of Sadness”. I gave them this title because they always seemed sad and there was usually some kind of drama going on in their lives. These young ladies are now out of college and living in the real world. Most of them are my Facebook “friends”. A few nights ago one of them posted the following message. It said, “I wish life would give me a break. I’ve had two bad days in a row”. I probably didn’t help matters because I posted the following response. I said, “Well, you know, the first 60-70 years of life are the most difficult”. Apparently, there was no appreciation of my sense of humor because I got no response. Young people often seem shocked that life is hard. Even if your life is going fairly well and you are enjoying some measure of success, there will always be bumps in the road, detours, and the experience of having “two bad days in a row”. Life is not an easy road. If life gives you a break, savor it. The “break” is the exception. The challenge is the rule. My intent is not to depress any of you. Those of you who are older know that I am correct. Those of you who are younger are hoping I am wrong. Let me end on a more positive note. Although life is hard and full of challenges, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a beautiful thing. Once I was on a Zen mindfulness retreat. It was held on a beautiful spring day at a nearby farm. Part of the day was spent doing mindfulness walks. The Zen Master would lead us on a walk through the fields. When he rang a bell we would start walking and when he rang the bell again we would stop. On one of the walks he rang the bell signaling a stop. I looked around me. The sky was a deep blue. A cool spring breeze was blowing. The fields were lovely. Then I looked down and realized I was standing in cow manure. Later, when the Zen Master asked me to reflect on my walking experience, I responded that “Life can be beautiful even when you’re standing in cow manure”. The next time you feel like you are standing in manure, look around you. Life may be more beautiful than you think.

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