Good News, Bad News Tips from Master Josh Arcemont I recently had reconstructive surgery on my ACL. This is “bad news” for me because it means I won’t be able to practice martial arts for a minimum of 6 months. When I received this news it reminded me of an ancient Chinese story my instructor once told me. The story goes that one-day a farmer’s horse ran away. His neighbor hears of his bad news and says. “I hear that you lost your horse. That is bad news and bad luck.” “Well, who knows?” said the farmer, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” Well, the next day the farmer’s horse returns to his stable, but brings along a drove of wild horses it has befriended with him. The neighbor across the way decides to come over and congratulate him. “This is such goodness,” he says. “Well, who knows,” said the farmer, “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” The next day the farmer’s son decided to ride one of the new wild horses, to break it in. As luck would have it, the son was thrown from the horse and broke his leg. Of course, upon hearing this sad news, their neighbor came over to offer condolences. “This is such sad thing,” he said. “Your son has broken his leg. This is bad news.” “Well, who knows,” said the farmer. “Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.” On the following day soldiers came by commandeering an army. They took sons from most of the surrounding farms, but because the farmer’s son had a broken leg, he could not go and was spared. And well, maybe it was good news and maybe it wasn’t. This positive “Taoist” story offers many readings. It serves as a reminder that nothing is ‘good news’ or ‘bad news’ per se, but that it always comes down to one’s own interpretation.
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Late Summer 2016
Neighborhood Publications 11
Family Life (July/ August 2016)