September 15 : The Power of Optimism

We were told a story about someone being on the 16th hole of a golf course and hearing a frog croaking. They went looking for it and found it. One of its legs was stuck in a sprinkler and he tried to get it out. The frog was going to die if it stayed there. So, they cut off the frog’s leg, because it was the only way to keep it alive, took it home, and nurtured it. They had this little pond that they had created, put this frog in the pond, and it healed. It lived for four months in this pond until one September when there was a sudden freeze, and the frog froze there and died.

When we heard the story my heart went, “This poor frog, it died like that, frozen in the water.” Our friend was going, “It was so wonderful that it came and lived for four months with us.”

What an instance of the glass half full and the glass half empty. Whenever we talked about any of the living beings on their land it was with so much love and total acceptance of their impermanence, that they were not going to be there forever. They were temporary creatures and however long they were there, they were delighted.

Now that is really the Dharma perspective. That is totally how His Holiness looks at life. Whereas so many of us get bogged down in “what could have been but was not” or “what should have been, but is not”. They are just looking at what was and being happy about it. “Wow, the frog did not die on the golf course, it lived four more months with us in a happy way in this pool.” And our friends just rejoiced at that.

This is really an important thing for us to learn. Whether we are working with others or whether we are looking at world affairs, we always look at what is going well and what has happened that we can rejoice at, without looking at the “woulda, coulda, shouldas”, which make no difference. I have always felt that way about grief, too. Instead of grieving for a future that we are never going to have, rejoice that we had somebody in our lives for as long as we did, feel good about that, and send them on with love. Just be happy about what was. Look at the goodness in the world and see that.

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