A Parable from India

Quote of the Week

“Since no one is perfect, it follows that all great deeds have been accomplished out of imperfection. Yet they were accomplished, somehow, all the same.”
— Lois McMaster Bujold

A Parable from India

by Diana Harris

I close this month’s newsletter with a beautiful parable from India. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

“An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’ ”

All of us have gifts and challenges. This parable reminds us that our perceived challenges contain hidden gifts. Sometimes, we need someone to hold the candle of compassion for us so that we can see the gift within our cracks. It’s the cracks that make our lives interesting and each of us unique. It may be that we are too quick to judge ourselves and are equally willing to give away our power to some idea of “perfection”. Within this story are gifts of self love, acceptance, and an urge for us to look beyond the obvious to recognize beauty in every life experience.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape! Isn’t that the truth!

As retold by Diana Harris, spiritual counselor, in her July 2008 newsletter. Article includes her commentary on the healing wisdom within the story. www.sacredspiraldance.com.

Coaching Call to Action

First of all, a word of thanks. Thank you readers of Coaching Tip of the Week for your suggestions on Tips that would be of interest to other readers. This Tip was forwarded by Dianne W. Thank you, Dianne.

Many of my clients come to our work together as self proclaimed “perfectionists”. This may work in their favor to increase their ambition (see last week’s Coaching Tip) and it could work against them by their setting the bar at a very high level on everything they do. Spend some time this week considering which projects/tasks/areas in your life you could give yourself permission to be imperfect. Be curious. What insights, thoughts, and/or ideas occur to you? How might you behave differently knowing what you now know?