Friday, 12 March 2010

It is Good

While gardening in my plot I was aware of the number of leeks I still had not harvested, over eighty still had to be dug. Talking to person who has the neighbouring plot I bemoaned the fact that I had so many. “This is good,” said she, “I have none, so I can have a few of yours.” This I was happy to do and also made me aware of the many other friends I had who might enjoy a fresh grown leek. “What is more,” said my friend, “you have no Jerusalem artichokes so I can give you some of those in return.” So I enjoyed those and a great many people in the village are even now making leek and potato soup.

There is a story of two friends, one who was an emperor and the other who no matter what happened always declared, “This is good.” One day the two were out hunting, the friend loaded the rifle of the emperor who shot it and in the process shot off his thumb. “This is good said the friend.” “How can you say that,” yelled the emperor? “How can you say that when I have lost a thumb and I am bleeding badly?”

The emperor was so angry he put his friend in prison. About a year later the emperor went hunting again, this time on his own. He was captured by a clan of marauding cannibals. They tied him up and trussed him to a stake. Just before they set light to the fire to cook him for eating they noticed he was missing a thumb. This particular tribe did not believe in eating anything that was not whole so let him go free.

The emperor rushed home and went straight to the jail. “It was good my losing my thumb,” he said to his friend. He told how it had saved his life. He also told him how sorry he was that he had put him in jail. “I feel so bad about that,” he said “No, not at all it is good,” said the friend. “If I had not been in jail they would have eaten me.”

So what does this tell us? It simply tells us this. “It is good.” When we as artists think we have hit a disaster area and all is wrong, look again, it may be good. When it is wrong, that is good because it is a wonderful learning opportunity. For all of us no matter what happens, remember, “It is good.”

This is the way of Tao.

The story of the choice of art can be seen at:- T in The Park


  1. Yes, as an artist I can easily call my last disaster 'bad'. I can bin it, toss it and learn nothing. Or, I can study it and consider it 'good'.Good for what I have learned from the experience of producing this canvas. It's really a matter of attitude and of being a 'possibilitarian'; seeing beyond the bad to the possibilities ahead.

  2. As an add to seeing 'good' and 'possibilities'. Just viewed a news item...tulips cannot grow in Southern California, it is too hot.....a 'bad' situation for tulips. One man stores tulip bulbs in an old refrigrator for several months....then plants them by the hundreds in his garden; and people come from all around each March to view his tulips growing in a 'bad tulip' environment in Southern California. Here is a gentleman who raised his eyes to find the 'good' and the 'possibilities'.

  3. Ralph...what a delight to read this. Thank you once again for sharing and your insight.. I have a little smirk on my face...that I hope will stay at least for the morning...all the while saying "This is good".

    And thank you for you beautiful words on my blog yesterday....