Skip to main content

Chop Wood, Carry Water

There's a Zen proverb that's been resonating with me lately...

Image result for chop wood carry water

Essentially, what it means to me is similar to the "keep on keepin' on" mantra.  No matter where you are at in life, obstacles you may face, successes you may have, "chop wood, carry water" or "keep on keepin' on".  

You see, a lot of people believe that the end result is what we are working toward, but is it?  Isn't it the work that leads you there the most rewarding and important part of your journey towards the end result or your, dare I say, enlightenment?  

Are we ever in a place in life where we don't ask ourselves whether or not we will be there next year, or the year after?  Sometimes we have a choice in those matters and sometimes we are just along for the ride.

Point is, be in the moment.  If you are chopping wood (so to speak) pay attention to the way the handle of the axe feels in your hand, the smell of freshly cut wood, the sound of the fibers of the wood breaking apart.  If you are carrying water, feel the weight of the bucket against your fingers, pay attention to the water sloshing out as the bucket tries to build a cadence with your step.  Don't watch the clock.  Focus on your work because at the end of the day, the wood will be chopped, the water will be carried and your life will be lived.  




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Identity First, Then Culture

First, allow me to get this outta the way, real quick like.  

I am, unabashedly, an Indiana University basketball fan to the core of my being.  I grew up in Indiana and in Indiana, if you were raised right, you were raised to be an IU fan.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of my lifetime, they haven't been that great.  I don't remember the national championship in 1987, I was only 4.  

Recently they hired Archie Miller from Dayton University who is known for defense and toughness.  A "grind it out" culture if you will.  He gave an interview  (here) and in the interview, he mentioned something about culture that struck a chord with me this morning.  


“The big thing is to create the first identity opportunity,” Miller said. “Not culture.” I stopped Miller there. Coaches love talking about culture – it might be the most popular buzzword in the profession today. What’s with the avoidance? “I think culture is earned,” he said. “You don’t start talking about culture four weeks …

Restorative Morning

Some kids come to us in the morning, not ready to learn.  Not ready to "do school".  They are upset, angry, tired, hungry, frustrated, etc.

Does that surprise you?

Probably not.

What are you doing about it?  Morning work?  Have students sit at their desks, silently, and watch morning announcements?

Do we expect the students who come to us in a state of mind not conducive to success at school to just, get it together?  I would argue the opposite of the "get it together" mindset.  We are educators and we educate more than just the academic side of our students lives.  We are also responsible for equipping our students to be socially and emotionally resilient.  Intentionally.  Like, actually TEACHING students how to be mindful of their feelings and what to do when they aren't 100%.

At the elementary school I am fortunate enough to be the Assistant Principal at, we have had some teachers put Morning Circles into place.  The first part of these circles is a sim…

Goals

One of my favorite questions to ask students is - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

It's simple

It's old

You might hear it on Sesame Street.

It's not innovative

But I am always taken aback when they don't have an answer for me.  Sometimes, they literally have NO IDEA.  I understand if it's a K-2 student, but in my opinion, students in 3rd grade and above need to, at least, have some idea.

I wanted to be an NBA player when I was a kid.  In high school, I was a 6'3", slow, had a pretty good jump shot, could never dunk a basketball and, like my best friends to this day remind me, was never a real stud in the weight room.  It didn't take long before I realized the whole NBA thing wasn't going to pan out.  BUT, before I realized that, I had a goal.  I had something to shoot for.  I had a path, and while I didn't always stay on it, I knew where it was and I had people to help me get back on it.

What do you think kids that have n…