Blessings and Curses

When a person I talk to is unhappy with a situation that happened to them, I love to tell a certain Zen story about a man and his son, showing that nothing is ever only as it appears in the beginning. That apparent blessings could later be seen as curses and vice versa.

About three weeks ago, something happened, that now I have my own real life story somehow similar to it! You can skip right to my experience if you know the Zen story….

Zen story

It might include some creative freedom.

One day, out of the blue, a man gets visited by a rich relative, who gifts him with a horse. So when he rode into the village, everyone said, what a blessing it is that he got that horse, because it can help with work on his farm and so many other things. But the man just said: We’ll see.

Soon after he had gotten the horse, his son took it out for a ride. But while he was riding in the forest, the horse tripped over a root, fell down and crushed the son’s leg. And everyone in the village was shocked and said how awful it is, that the son is hurt. But the man just said: We’ll see.

A little while later, a war broke out, and all the young men from the village needed to fight in the war. Only the man’s son didn’t have to go because of his injury. And everyone said, how lucky the man was that his son would not be killed in the war. But the man just said: We’ll see…

And the story goes on like this for a long time. I love it, because it helps you to see not just black and white, blessings and curses, but to just be open to whatever is happening, without judgement.

Real life example

I told that story on the one hand to show a different view of the world, but also because I love to see the world like that. But I was never sure, how I’d really react, if something that would be judgend as bad would happen to me.

Now I do.

Three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend a whole afternoon and evening with my almost two year old niece. It was the first time, that I had so much time to really bond with her, so I was really looking forward to it.

Soon after I had arrived, when we were about done with playing outside, I lifted her up to carry her back to the appartement. But I missed a step, and fell down, with my niece in my arms. It was one of the most intensely felt moments of my life, because I had never felt such a shock before. I just fell on my arm, but she hit the ground with her head first! – In that moment I was so overwhelmed, that I couldn’t think straight — not really possible to be neutral there…

Afterwards I observed her closely, but there was noting wrong with her. And since it didn’t just concern my own fate but someone else’s, who was under my care, I couldn’t just see it neutral, but felt deeply blessed.

Later, when I had made sure she was really okay, I had my arm checked: it was broken and I had to wear it in a sling for some weeks (I still do). By then I had collected myself, and was able to see both the limitation, but also the possibility of other options opening up.

With the broken arm I was forced to slow down, and take more care of my body, be more aware of what I really need and what I might be able to let go of.

My learning

And the back and forth of seemingly blessed or cursed moments has continued since then. But as a bottom line I can definitely say that I’m thankful for ALL experiences in my life, because they allow me to learn and grow and get a broader view of the world and what is possible.

With this experience I am able to get a glimpse of the miracle we call body, and its self healing powers. I mean, it grows bones back together!! And that’s just a small part of what our bodies are capable of…

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