Monday Musings Part Eight: The Jewel in the Mud

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Jewel in the Mud


Bad things happen. It’s part of life, no matter how much we might resist it. Like you, I don’t want the hard stuff. I want my life to be easy and run smoothly, but we rarely get what we want.

When things get tough, it feels awful. I won’t dress that up for you. However, the way we respond to that will affect just how bad we feel. The more we resist it, try and deny it, the more we suffer.

Our choices are both born of our attitude and shape that attitude. It’s down to us. Down to you. Only you can change you. Nobody can do that for you.

All of the Monday Musings so far lead to this point. They each show you tools with which to catch the smaller stuff and change it for the better. Sadly, it’s usually when the big stuff hits that we realise we need to do something, but by then, it’s much, much more difficult. You have to do the work on the small stuff, the easier stuff, first. That approach doesn’t feel quite so overwhelming.

What are those tools?

  1. Live in the moment (no dwelling in the past or what-iffing the future)Zen Stones for Monday Musings
  2. Don’t have a position to defend (be a nobody)
  3. Let it go (this too will change)
  4. Look in the mirror (your thoughts/stories/judgements are showing you who you are right now)
  5. Use silence (quiet reflection is essential to seeing yourself and the situation)
  6. Don’t just do something (use your tools and sit with it [reflect on it])
  7. No strings (whatever you’ve done, for good or ill, is done. Move on)
  8. Find the jewel in the mud

Point eight is what today’s musing is all about. You can either wallow in the mud, or you can find the jewel in the mud. The Zen monks I lived and trained with used to have a saying: ‘Great Suffering—Great Enlightenment.’ It is through trials and tribulations that we grow the most. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

Are you a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty personality? Remember, don’t judge it, just see it. Once you’re aware of your baseline, you can work with it. We all start from different places, and your journey is unique to you.

Look at what you’re telling yourself about the awful situation you find yourself in. Allow the emotions. You don’t need to try and squash them. You do need to keep one eye on the bigger picture though. Your thoughts and feelings are only a tiny part of the whole experience that is you.

Here’s where you have the choice. Here’s where you can choose to heap on the suffering or make the best of it. I know which one I prefer.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘The Lotus flower grows and blossoms in the mud.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links below:











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Marina Osipova

Your Musings are so helpful, Harmony. Thank you!