There is a 2000 year old Taoist story about a farmer and his horse.
One day the farmer’s horse runs away. His neighbor comes over and says to commiserate and says, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” The farmer says “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is clearly terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns.
But the horse comes back the next day and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate saying, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” The farmer replies again, “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?”
The following day as the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses and he is thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over to say, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats, “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?”
Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting able-bodied young men to go and fight in the war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg.
The story is to remind us that life is never simply good or bad. What we might first see as ‘bad’ can actually be what leads to the path of something ‘good’.
The farmer’s story was illustrated by David G. Allan in his TED talk like this:
He highlights that the neighbor was on the emotional rollercoaster and the farmer sees the bigger picture through it all. Don’t you just love how an inspirational story puts life in a nice neat little package from which we can glean a new perspective!
Maybe we like stories so much because real life looks more like this:
Life is many story lines happening simultaneously. This past year has thrown into the mixed bag of life a bunch of never-before-experienced changes that brought on a wide range of feelings. We have had to navigate those feelings and find ways to keep ourselves and our loved ones feeling safe and well, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too.
The new phase we are in called ‘trying to get back to normal’ is presenting another range of feelings: from anxiousness and dread, to elation and excitement. We find ourselves once again needing to adapt to find our footing so we can emerge feeling safe and well in our whole-person.
If this past year has given you more chance to take care of your body, and you feel stronger and healthier than you did a year ago, a sense of worry may be emerging; “how will I keep this up once life returns to normal?”
If this past year has led to choices to feel better emotionally and mentally, but they took their toll on you physically, a sense of anxiety is probably emerging; “how is my body going to handle normal life again?”
Whatever state you find your whole-person in at this moment in time, you can use that to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.
Emerging stronger means adopting the kind of ‘pandemic proof’ habits for taking care of your body that are not dependent on outside factors to be sustainable.
Emerging stronger means using how you feel now as your best guide to gain, regain or keep the physical confidence your body is capable of taking you into the new normal without strain and pain.
Emerging stronger means you arrive at the other side of the pandemic with more strength and wellbeing than ever before!
Step by step in the next few blogs we will uncover what we need to emerge from the pandemic with greater whole-person health and wellbeing as we navigate our way back to normal.