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[NOTE: Another helpful insight from Landon Saunders. If you’d like to receive his emails, there’s a place at the end to sign up.]


I just saw a line from the Japanese Zen poet Ryokan Taigu. He wrote: “Last year, a foolish monk. This year, no change.”

During this time, many of us are coming face-to-face with our own humanity, and some of us are surprised!

Some say, “I’m doing better than I thought I would.” Others say, “I’m stressed.” It’s interesting to ask, “What is my own unique humanity telling me right now?” We ask this, personally, and we realize the question applies to all humanity.

The Zen poet quoted above recognized a remarkable quality in himself. He wasn’t saying he hadn’t grown some, or that he hadn’t done some good work. Last year he grappled with his humanness, and this year he is still grappling with his humanness. We’ve laughed, and we’ve cried. We’ve been kind, and, well, we’ve had our moments.

Years ago, I remember making a speech, one that was billed as particularly important, and I completely failed. Nothing worked right in the speech. Afterward, I was driving through the night, miserable, when suddenly it was like I was somewhere watching myself give that speech—watching myself flounder around, struggle for words, the audience simply looking at me with no response—and, for some reason, I started laughing.

 It wasn’t that I didn’t feel bad over not giving a fine speech. I did. But I also realized my humanness. Sometimes we do well, sometimes we don’t.

So, take a moment. Just a moment will help. Accept that you’re doing the best you can, and you’re trying to do as well or better. Your humanity is steady—last year and this year. But, each year, as we realize this more, we can laugh. And accept ourselves.

And that will be very good for you and for everyone around you.

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