There’s a famous Zen story about a farmer’s luck, and depending on what happens to this farmer, the neighbors proclaim that he has either good luck or bad luck. When something terrible happens, he has bad luck. When something wonderful happens, he has such good luck. Regardless, the farmer always replies, “Maybe.”
The point of the story is that in bad situations (what might be called bad luck), often times good things are born. And conversely, when things seem to be going so well, bad things can happen.
Lately, I’ve adapted this story in two ways:
- I regularly add the word “fortunately” as a preface to something that might at first seem unfortunate.
- In both good times and bad times, I am intentionally grateful.
Fortunately, I am going through a difficult divorce and some things that did not bother me before do now.
Fortunately, I was very sick last week and felt for the first time incredibly disoriented and out of balance.
Fortunately, I am feeling that my teaching is being compromised by other stresses in my life that make me tired and impatient.
Adding this simple word BEFORE the apparent “bad luck” opens up the opportunity for gratitude, which inevitably leads to “good luck”.