An Ancient Proverb for Modern Times

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By  David Moats, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M. One of my mentors shared an ancient proverb from China with me that I would like to share with you.

One day in an ancient Chinese village a farmer by then name of Zhao went out to feed the mare he and his family owned. This mare was one of the most valuable of all the farm animals, as she not only provided transportation, but also pulled their wagon and did the plowing and other heavy farm work. But when Zhao came to the barn, the fence was broken and the mare was gone. Upon hearing about this, his neighbor, a man by the name of Chen, came over to see what had happened. He said to Zhao, “I am so sorry your horse has run away, that is such bad luck.” To which Zhao replied, “Do not say it is bad luck, things just are what they are.” Several weeks passed and it was very difficult for Zhao and his family to do all of the farm work without their mare, when one day she returned with an entire herd of wild horses. That afternoon Chen came over and said to Zhao, “How wonderful that you are now a very wealthy man with all these horses, this is truly good luck for you!” Zhao replied, “Do not say that this is good, things just are what they are.” A few days later Zhao’s son was working at training one of the wild horses and was bucked off, breaking a leg. Again, Chen came to visit and said, “I am so sorry your son broke his leg, what bad luck.” Zhao’s response was “Chen, do not say that this is bad, things just are what they are.” A few weeks passed and a war broke out with one of the neighboring territories. Officials came to everyone’s house to recruit all the young men to go to war, but they did not take Zhao’s son, as he had a broken leg . . . .

I believe that our lives are destined to be in perfect working order at all times. The highest highs and the lowest lows are all part of a plan that we cannot always see but can trust fully when we have faith. Faith endures all trials and tribulations. Hope means leaning into the knowing that our worst days will always transform into our brightest moments with time. Hope is about the present, not the future. It is rooted in the love of this moment whether it be “good” or “bad.” This gives us great strength and unshakable peace. We may not always understand the things that happen to us, nor grasp where we are headed, but if we can learn to surrender into whatever is, here and now, serenity is ours. Whether you are suffering from physical pain, working through the challenges of infertility, or learning how to wade through any arduous illness, may you experience peace and tranquility this summer and a smooth transition into fall.