Think about your last few days.

Recall all of the times you named something good or bad. How about lucky or unlucky?

I bet there are at least a few. We are so programmed to label something automatically without giving much thought to the truth behind it.

My kids loved this book called Zen Shorts when they were growing up. It has a series of short stories that are very impactful including one you have likely heard. It is the story about the farmer who has seemingly good luck and then bad and when his neighbors come to cheer or commiserate the farmer remains neutral, puzzling his neighbors. His horse wins a top prize- amazing they all say. “Maybe”, says the farmer. Then the farmers horse is stolen. Bad the neighbors say. “Maybe” says the farmer. Then the horse returns bringing wild horses with it. Then the son breaks his leg riding one of the wild horses. A war breaks out and the army comes recruiting all of the able bodied young men, all but the farmers son, and so forth.

This story sticks with me, and I just heard it again recently so it is top of mind. It is such a great illustration of how things are not always as they seem on the surface. When we learn to pause and broaden our minds, we might see much more. And the gift of remaining neutral saves a lot of energy and destructive emotion which wears us out, mind and body.

This week, try out not labeling things in such ways, and start an experiment to look for what might actually be something you can use in a positive way. The idea is that no matter what happens there may be something you can gain. If you are used to suffering a lot, this may be a stretch, but know that you do have a choice about how you see things, no matter what.