A woman one day realized that an elderly man she passed each morning appeared to spend his time weeping on his porch. She approached him, and said, "Sir, I don't mean to pry, but why are you crying all the time?"

The man said, "I have two children, and both run shops. One sells umbrellas; the other sells sunglasses. On days when it's bright and sunny, nobody buys umbrellas, and I worry about my child who runs the umbrella shop. On days when it's cloudy or rainy, nobody buys sunglasses, and I worry about my child who runs the sunglasses shop! I can't win!" He burst into tears.

The woman nodded. "But," she said, "why don't you think about your child who runs the sunglasses shop on clear days, and how well that business is doing; and on cloudy and rainy days, think about how well your other child's umbrella shop is doing!"

The man looked up. "I hadn't thought of it that way!" And from then on, whenever the woman passed the man on his porch, he was smiling and laughing to himself, rain or shine.*


We think of information coming in as "bad news" and "good news". But really, it's just news. The information itself isn't bad or good, just information. We are the ones ascribing badness and goodness to it.

So why not make the opposite choice when we see what we think of as "bad news"? There is an opportunity even when developments come that we've been conditioned (or conditioned ourselves) to think of as painful.

(If you are like the average person, you're going to resist this, hard. That's okay. Just be mindful of why you're doing it. What beliefs do you have that are causing you to reject the idea that you can transform bad news into good news, or at least find goodness in it?)

* adapted from a story in Zen Speaks: Shouts of Nothingness, by Tsai Chih Chung