lucky shamrock

Win Some, Lose Some: The Tao of Luck

Or, as one clever person suggested as the new name for my blog.

But this post is not about the new name for my blog. That is still under deliberation. Honestly, I didn’t give this much thought to either of my children’s names.

This post is about the yin-yangy nature, the wobbly nature, if you will, of life. Of my life, anyway.

Last week I got an emailed notice of blog eviction. This week I got an emailed notice that I won an iPad. Last week I was searching the yellow pages for boarding schools for one of my beloved children. This week at parent teacher conferences, the same child was called a model student.

During this swell of good fortune, Roger and I went to a schmooze-fest last night at a local hotel, which was trying to court some meeting business. We were given raffle tickets at the door. Toward the end of the evening, his number was called — he won lunch for two at the hotel restaurant. Sa-weet!

Lightning couldn’t strike twice, right? Especially since I had already won an iPad earlier that day. But with the last door prize, my number was called. I won beaucoup points with the hotel chain, enough for a weekend away.

If I were a betting person, I’d buy a lottery ticket. But I’m not. I know not to get caught in the swell. Either the “good” swell (“swell” swell?) or the “bad” swell.

(I use the word “swell” because when I look at the line dividing the dualities of  black and white, it’s in the shape of  a wave.)

People say of the weather in Colorado, of the weather in Cleveland, of the weather in Vancouver and Melbourne and Geneva, that if you don’t like it, wait 10 minutes.

Perhaps this impermanence applies to life in general. The key, then, is to be rooted so firmly into your essence, your true, divine nature, that you are not swayed or broken by the stories that swirl around you, neither the “happy” ones nor the “sad.”

Years ago, I first heard of a practice Tibetan monks have of painstakingly painting mandalas out of grains of sand. Over the course of six or seven days, a team of monks will place grains of sand, one by one, into their work of art. By the time they are finished, they have a true, one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

And then they blow or brush it away.

The last part of their practice deeply offended me. How dare they destroy something that brings joy to people. How could they? Why so destructive?

But now, I am coming to understand. Creating and destroying. Winning and losing. Being happy and being sad.There is an ebb and flow to nature, to our own beingness, that makes life so exquisitely meaningful and whole. Half a tao symbol looks like, well only half of something. When we pursue only part of life and try to resist the other, we are not whole.

The monks demonstrate non-attachment to what they create. And soon I will say goodbye to Weebles Wobblog, my constant companion of the past 5 years. I will be sad.

And then I will renew.

As for my recent good fortune? This, too, shall pass. And I’m OK with that.

28 thoughts on “Win Some, Lose Some: The Tao of Luck”

  1. Sometimes things just run their course too. Congratulations on the upswell – an iPad, a free lunch, and a weekend away sound fabulous.

  2. Oooh congrats on the wins 🙂 That video is amazing – I would be so attached to a piece of art like that if I created one. Definitely deeply thought provoking.

    Even though I agree that people should learn to take the bad with the good, I hope your forced blog change will turn out to be a good thing as well.

  3. Have I mentioned lately how much I adore you?! I LOVE this post and the reminder that ebb and flow is the nature of life and that EVERYTHING passes – and that is okay.

  4. I like that – it sort of reminds me to cherish the good moments even more before they pass.

    I’d still be tempted to go out and buy a lottery ticket though!

  5. You realize that I started twitching when you wrote about the iPad?

    I think it is beautiful that you can see the good in letting go — with every lose comes a gain. And may this next blog identity fit you like a mandala the moment before it is blown away 🙂

  6. you won an ipad? how freaking cool. and a weekend getaway and fabulous lunch? wow.

    about 15 years ago we were at an exhibit where some tibetan monks were nearing completion of a gorgeous mandala. we watched from above as the finely applied the sand so delicately. we were in awe. at the time I remember thinking how could they possibly destroy it. I so didn’t get it then. impermance. attachment. the cycle of life, destruction and renewal, death and rebirth. joy and pain.

    a few days later, some loony woman broke through the rope barrier and destroyed the mandala before it was completed. now THAT was disturbing. it reminded me though, of a life unnecessarily cut short. as opposed to the peaceful natural passing of one at the end of life.

    anyway. may the end of this space as we know it simply be beautifully reborn with its new name, whatever it will be. xo

  7. Yes yes yes yes. I love this post, I really, really get it.

    Many moons ago, a therapist in rehab told us all this story, about a man who lived in a village. He had one son, and they owned some horses. One day, the gate was left open and their horses escaped. The people of the village visited the man, saying, “Oh no, your horses have escaped! That is very bad!”

    The man just shrugged. “Good, bad … it is what it is.”

    A few days later, his horses returned, bringing with them twenty wild horses. The villagers rejoiced – “Oh! Many horses! Such good luck!”

    The man shrugged again, “Good, bad … it is what it is.”

    Soon after, the mans son broke his leg, working in the field. The crops went dry and they barely had enough food to eat. The villagers shook their heads.

    “Such bad bad luck.”

    The man refused to agree …. “Good, bad, it is what it is.”

    A war was declared with a neighboring country, and all of the young men got drafted into the army to fight. Except the mans son, whose leg was still healing. So he did not have to risk his life and fight.


    Lori, that story annoyed the crap out of me for YEARS. I thought it was so dumb. I just didn’t get it.

    Until, the night Dave was diagnosed with cancer. All around us people were freaking out and swirling – “But you’re about to have a baby! Oh, what terrible timing. What bad news.”

    And I was given a huge, peaceful gift at that time – the thought that things were neither good nor bad. They were just how they were, right then. And I thought of that story and I deeply understood it.


    We never know why things happen the way they do – most of the time we are not meant to “work things out.” If I did not have secondary infertility ….. I would not have discovered your blog. If Dave did not have cancer ….. I would not have actually met you in the flesh.


    PHEW – soz about the epic comment. You probably know that story anyway, wise sage that you are. Love you XOXOX

    PS LOVE that I introduced you to the word soz.

    1. I’m so glad that story was in your psyche the night you really needed it. Would you be surprised to know that I considered that story as I wrote this post? I love sharing a wavelength with you <3.

      I love your ifs. I have thought that many times, too. IF has brought me such riches. The kind that really matter.

      I'm going to replace my current lexicon with "soz." It's so much cooler.

  8. I’ve been reading my Buddhism books a lot lately, trying to put a smackdown on all the worry about my health issues and the worries about how many years they will take off my lifespan. We spend so much effort creating a life well lived and these beautiful children- it seems such a tragedy for that wonderful life to be cut shorter.

    This video is a perfect visual demonstration of those Buddhist tenets that say, “So what? It is the nature of life to end- and to begin again.”

  9. Your post made me think about how tightly I’ve been holding onto life lately. So tightly, that it’s literally painful. Lots of stress, lots of worry, lots of anger. The work – or lack of it, the relationship, the body, the kid, the money – or lack of it. It all just makes me tired, and sad.

    But I appreciate the reminder of the impermanence of the moment. If I just wait 10 minutes, maybe my internal weather change.

  10. How wonderful you won an iPad. Wasn’t I at the same blogging conference? Did I put my entry in right next to yours? I can’t be ungrateful. I won an itunes gift certificate. 🙂

    I love your descriptions of the ups and downs, wins and losses…and smiled with the boarding school/model student. I can relate.

    I saw the monks create a mandala this year. Very cool! I felt the same way when I learned they destroyed it…but it is a very good lesson. Ups, downs, wins, losses…impermanence.

    It’s a great reminder that life is short and to take time to be grateful. Bet that’s where Perfect Moment Mondays came from.

    Great post!

  11. Here from the future via Time Warp Tuesday and grateful for the opportunity to visit this post with you. I love this:

    “Creating and destroying. Winning and losing. Being happy and being sad.There is an ebb and flow to nature, to our own beingness, that makes life so exquisitely meaningful and whole. Half a tao symbol looks like, well only half of something. When we pursue only part of life and try to resist the other, we are not whole.”

    I really appreciate your perspective here, especially the emphasis on not trying to resist certain aspects of our lives. I see what you mean about how we can get “caught” in both good and bad swells. This is a good reminder that though luck can effect our lives greatly, our intentions and attitudes are a very significant factor too.

    I love the comment you left on my post today, where you spoke to your trying to be open to luck in your life, as opposed to trying too hard to control all aspects of it. That really speaks to me right now and is something I look forward to chewing on. Thank you for that and for doing the Time Warp again with us this month!

  12. I love this one! I always try to remember that nothing is ever as great as it seems or as bad as it seems — not easy, but I try. My husband and I were just having this conversation, to not take praise so wholeheartedly, in order to remember to do the same with criticism. Always hard, but oh-so-true. Thank you! 😀

  13. Lori, I love how you helped illustrate the wholeness of life. I will now be more mindful of my resistance and how that holds me back from being full. I’m happy I followed the wave that led me to you, my friend.

  14. I love this. I’ve actually seen a mandala painting … we had some Tibetan monks come to visit our fellowship last year. And yes, it’s easier to think about the ebb and flow, rather than some preordained good fortune. 🙂

  15. I’m with you about the ebb and flow of life. After years of what felt like chronic ebbing life is now flowing and it feels glorious. I want to keep it like this for a while — but I understand it will only be to get to a place of equilibrium. Thanks for reminding me that life has a way of righting what’s been wrong…

  16. Oh my gosh this is so true. It’s like you wrote about my life my week. My month!! This is so true. It all
    Balances out huh? Is it a higher power or the alignment of the planets? Either way so true. Here’s hoping you win more stuff 😉

  17. Love this. It is like you have been reading my mind for the last 18 hours. Your last line captures it perfectly. I was riding on a swell of good fortune and then it passed. Now, again, all feels turned upside down and on the other side of good fortune.

  18. I’ve been experiencing a challenging 2013 so far. I am very off balance. Being reminded that I need to accept the bad (not like it, just accept it) with the good is a reminder I’ve needed. Thank you.

  19. Oh, wow, that mandala in the video is beautiful! But I appreciate that they blow it away. It’s a perfect ending. Learning about that, though, reminds me of something I read somewhere (specific, I know!), and I’ll paraphrase the whole thing with ‘use it or lose it.’ It was an article about how we tend to save things for special occasions, not burning pretty candles, not breaking out the good china, hoarding our favorite perfume. The suggestion was to light em, eat on em, and spray away. Use these items for their intended purpose, or you’ll never smell that candle, eat on those plates, or wear that perfume. By using the ‘special’ items, you make every day special. I feel like I’m explaining poorly, but I know you’ll get the connection.

    I love that you use ‘swell’ to describe luck, because it does feel that way. When I sit back and relax, I can feel the buildup and release of tension and calmness, and if I expand that view, that’s how life is. Ebb and flow. Rise and fall.

    Awesome post, and I hope y’all enjoyed that weekend getaway and free meal!

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