good luck clover and shamrocks

Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?

With St Patrick’s Day upon us, I know this weekend is about all things Irish, but I want to share a Chinese proverb.

Once there was a poor farmer. He was able to grow just enough to feed his family. One day his horse ran away.

“BAD LUCK!” the neighbors cried. “Now you won’t be able to work the fields.”

The farmer shrugged. “Good luck, bad luck — who knows?”

good luck, clover, and shamrocks
The next week the horse returned — with a mare.

“GOOD LUCK!” the neighbors cried. “Now you’ll have many horses.”

The farmer shrugged. “Good luck, bad luck — who knows?”

Later, the farmer’s son was breaking the mare. He fell and broke his leg.

“BAD LUCK!” the neighbors cried. “Your son will always have a limp.”

The farmer shrugged. “Good luck, bad luck — who knows?”

War came and all able-bodied young men were required to join the army.

“GOOD LUCK!” the neighbors cried. “Your son is spared.”

The farmer shrugged. “Good luck, bad luck — who knows?” 


The Tao of Luck

Many years ago after winning a writing award (good luck!), my little blog, whose name at the time was a riff on a popular child’s toy,  got on the radar of the manufacturer of that toy. The company sent me a notice saying I needed to change my blog’s name or it would take legal action against me.

Bad luck. I had to figure out a new name. I eventually renamed this blog — which feels like an extension of myself — for my favorite color (lavender) and the Spanish word for light (luz, pronounced looz, though I’ve found most people say luzz, which is not what I hear in my head).

I can’t tell if any good luck came from the change, other than not getting sued.While contemplating my blog’s new identity I wrote a post called the Tao of Luck. It explained how, like for the farmer,  good luck and back luck were coming at me in waves, and how Tibetan monks used sand mandalas to show non-attachment to circumstances.

I used to get depressed when in the trough of bad luck (will it ever end!?) and anxious when riding a wave of good luck (oh, no! some day it will end!).  As time goes on, I am getting better at flowing with the swells of fortune and understanding and accepting that This, Too Shall Pass.

Good or Bad.

It’s a message I need to remind myself of on occasion.

Wishing you all a luck-filled St Patrick’s Day.  Ádh mór, droch-luck – a bhfuil aithne aige?

9 thoughts on “Good Luck, Bad Luck, Who Knows?”

  1. I try to stay on an even keel, since I notice that the things that upset me don’t bother others. And I’m not bothered by things that others find upsetting. Life is a roller coaster, right?

  2. I love this. I think about stuff like this often, wondering when I’m upset about something if I’ve unknowingly also saved myself from something worse by taking this path. It’s a good reminder. I should probably pin this post somewhere.

  3. Love this post. Bad luck is sometimes good luck in disguise, but that can be hard to see when you’re on a bad luck train. I feel you can always find some kind of silver lining, even if it’s REALLY a stretch. Such a great reminder to ride those waves and see what that bad luck brings in the way of balance later… 🙂

  4. Yes, a good reminder for all of us.

    (I had to smile at the whole looz/luzz thing. I know it is looz, but I pronounce it luzz in my head for some reason. I also know that everyone probably mispronounces Mali – in my head and in Thai (it’s Thai for jasmine) it is Maaalee, but I know North Americans probably pronounce it with a short a as in mal-lee.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *