not striving

Striving - can I aim at success, not for at triumph. 

This classic Zen story of a visitor to the monastery for practice is just as relatable now as it was the many years ago it was shared...

The visitor tells his story 'I was once given the job of sweeping the leaves away from one courtyard of a Japanese temple. The leaves were falling from the trees, some were on the ground, others were very loose.  I swept the fallen leaves carefully from the moss into a pile which I then transferred into a bag.  I wanted to leave the courtyard absolutely clear of leaves, absolutely.  In other words, I wanted a triumph. But a leaf fell, then another - I picked them up, annoyance growing within me.  So I took hold of the trees and shook them, cleared the fallen leaves and triumphantly surveyed the courtyard.  I noticed a monk quietly watching me. 'A little brutal perhaps? We just sweep up each day the leaves that have fallen.  If others come down afterwards, we will sweep them up tomorrow.  We sweep up the leaves that have fallen but we do not hate the trees for dropping them.'  

With this story in mind, checking in with yourself this week.. asking, 'am I striving for a triumph, or fighting against a natural flow? Can I let it be, walk away, come back to it another time?