Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Many have been cited as sources for the concept of having to do it all yourself in order for it to be done 'right', among them the brilliant military genius Napoleon Bonaparte, who was reported to say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

There are obviously situations where we need to be in control and take charge…

But the human tendency to over-do this concept is strong…

An opportunity to experiment with some fun ideas...

Think you need to do it all?

We often believe that it’s easier to do it ourselves than to take the time to show someone else what we need or want.

Here’s a Zen koan* about this:

In Japan many years ago a little girl ‘studied’ (she was 10 years old so the word ‘study’ is somewhat strong), Ikebana, the art of flower arranging.

The teacher made sure the necessary ingredients – bowl, frogs (not the live ones, the metal ones with prongs to hold the flowers), scissors, and of course flowers, were in front of each student.

He spoke briefly about the concept of harmony and balance.  And then, as everyone watched, he created a masterpiece with his scissors, bowl, flowers and frog.

And that was it!

As his students attempted to create their own beauty, he walked around the room smiling – occasionally reaching out and gently turning a stem here and a leaf there…

So our little 10 year old learned one of life’s powerful lessons…

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*A kōan (公案?)/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen-practice to provoke the "great doubt".

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