When I grow old, I want to know I’ve left something behind.
Not as an artist, but as a human being who loves and cares and tends and helps other human beings. To do that is to walk in beauty
Mary Morez – a Navajo woman
Cited in Columbus and other Cannibals by Jack Forbes p.192
Personal fulfilment is not only about accomplishment, it is also a question of what we can give through each of our individual imperfections:
Beauty & Imperfections
A man had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole, which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and 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 his house the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the man delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, feeling accepted and appreciated. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the man one day by the stream:
I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you.
Why? asked the man
What are you ashamed of?
I have been able for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts, the pot said.
The man felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said:
As we return to my house, I want you to look at the beautiful flowers along the path, it will make you feel better.
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path and this made it feel a little happier. But at the end of the path, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the pot apologised to the man for its failure.
The man said to the pot:
Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side?
That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it.
I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we all return back from the stream, you’ve been watering them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to take home to my wife.
With you being just the way you are, you have given beauty and meaning to my every day.
The Beautiful memory of the Heart
Two friends were travelling through the desert and at one point they fell into disagreement about the trip whereby one of the friends slaps the other across the face.
The friend who had been slapped said nothing, only wrote in the sand:
Today my best friend slapped me in the face.
Both friends continued on their journey and eventually arrived at an oasis where there were baths to refresh themselves.
The friend who had been slapped jumped into the large baths, yet soon found himself starting to drown.
The other friend immediately jumped in after him and saved him. After recovering, the first man took a knife and carved on a stone:
Today my best friend saved my life.
Intrigued the friend asked:
Why is it that after I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now after saving you, you carve on a stone?
Smiling, the other friend replied:
When a good friend offends us, we write in the sand where the wind of forgetfulness and forgiveness will be responsible for clearing it off, on the other hand, when something great happens to us, we burn it on stone, in memory of the heart, where no wind in the world can erase it.
(Healing the Wounded Mind – Kingsley L.Dennis)