June 18, 2007

Good day, team,

I read a short story yesterday that I wanted to share with you.

You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told you are big enough to join them. You begin to lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear: The pile of money in front of you is almost gone. Your brothers are snatching all the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost.

And suddenly you remember that it is only a game. You jump up with joy, and you accidentally knock the lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry, but you laugh when you go upstairs.

You know, for you have seen the joy of being nothing and having nothing. And that knowledge gives you an immeasurable freedom.

-Janwillem van de Wetering

This lovely story comes from a book called “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace” by Jack Kornfield. It’s a collection of poems, stories and sayings about these subjects. His lesson from this story is “With a big picture, life becomes a play.”

Your challenge this week is to see how your life is like a play. There are days when we win and days when we lose. And, all along, we continue to play our parts the best we can. When I read this story, I actually could feel the anger and frustration in my heart that the child was experiencing when losing. I have vivid memories of playing Monopoly and losing, and I really hate to lose!

As the story progressed, I found that I was breathing more easily as I read about the lamp falling and the teapot spilling-life can be a tragedy one moment and then quite a comic scene the next. That’s the way it is, and holding on to any portion of it often brings us great suffering. None of us picture ourselves as losers. In our mind, we’re all winners. But if we enlarge that picture to include the entire drama, we realize that we play many parts, some of which involve not winning or losing but learning something new that we didn’t expect.

This week, choose some aspect of your life to which you’d like to apply a more objective view. Maybe you feel that you’re losing a battle at work-someone is winning out over you. Ask yourself, “What am I really losing?” As my father used to say, “Where’s the blood?” Is this situation really harming you in such a way that it’s life-threatening? Probably not. Perhaps in this scene you’re playing the part of someone who’s learning about humility. Try learning as much about it as you can before the scene changes again. Perhaps you are winning in this particular scene, and therefore your heart fills with pride. So be it. Wear it proudly until the scene changes again.

I’ll always try to win at Monopoly, and I’m sure I’ll always hate to lose. But if I can remember that’s it just a game, it tends to take the sting out of the loss. I’ll still wake up the next day, the sun will still rise, and the play will continue. There will be a new scene with new costumes and new actors, and my challenge will be to continue to play my part the best I can and not to be attached to the outcome.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

(c) Copyright 2007 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.

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