THE BURDEN (Or Hauling Out The Deadwood)

It’s a brand spanking New Year and I for one look forward to carrying a few less burdens.

The past year was challenging to say the least as I dealt with personal issues that included old and new injuries, elder care, and various family illnesses.

Looking back on it all, I saw that my life needed a makeover of sorts.  This meant unloading what had become deadwood – one-sided friendships, stale practices, and unproductive beliefs that no longer served my physical and emotional health.

It was time for me to rattle the proverbial cage, flip it on its head, and for good measure give it a swift firm kick in the rear.  Letting go of the familiar is never easy but I took inspiration from one of my favourite Zen stories, which I share with you.


One evening, two monks Tanzan and Ekido were returning to the monastery.  It was raining heavily and the roads were muddy.  They came upon a beautiful young woman in a silk kimono and sash, attempting to cross the road, which lay under deep puddles of water.  Tanzan, the elder of the two monks lifted the woman up in his arms and carried her to the other side of the road.  The monks continued on their journey to the monastery.

Later that evening, Ekido approached the elder monk and asked, “Sir, as monks, we cannot touch a woman?”

Tanzan answered “Yes, brother”.

Ekido then asked, ” But then sir, how is that you lifted that woman on the roadside?”

Tanzan smiled at him and replied, “I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her”.

We all carry burdens of different shapes and forms in our lives.  Our personal burdens may be grief, fear, anger, jealousy, resentment, debt, or a dead-end relationship.  Whatever our burdens may be, when left unattended over time, they only fester and erode our physical and emotional wellness and become barriers to our personal growth.

Are you ready to leave your own burden by the roadside?

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