Before success comes the courage to fail:
Today, while jogging up past some small farms in the mountains near our home in Nara, I passed through a familiar bamboo forest. But today something was different. I noticed one of the bamboo trees had given way and snapped during a strong wind we had recently. This caused me to take notice and slow down. We notice what is different, and if we slow down long enough a lesson may be revealed; this is a kind of "listening with the eyes." It seems that in a strong and unyielding wind, even the bend-but-don't-break adaptability of the humble bamboo will be tested to the point of failure. A subtle reminder from nature that even the strong and the courageous and the flexible fail sometimes. An old Japanese proverb says "Even monkeys fall from trees." (Saru mo ki kara ochiru — 猿も木から落ちる.) Somehow knowing this allows us to push past fear and to participate more fully as we embrace or own imperfections, even as we work to improve.