Chop Wood, Carry Water

This past month was absolutely crazy, and I hope I’m not the only one who felt it!

I felt like my month had been a series of barely there watercolor paintings that I could never really finish painting… unfinished masterpieces where I didn’t know how to complete.


Recently, I was told my month could be summed up by the phrase “Chop Wood, Carry Water.” 


Now, I have never heard this phrase used before.  I mean, I really hadn't even heard it said, like ever.  Have you?


If so, bare with me.


It didn’t bother me that I hadn't heard the phrase because, to be honest, it sounded like something I felt I had been doing… but maybe not as well as I would have liked too.


There is that hint of not quite hitting my “100% productive” mode that I am so desperately trying to conquer (a task that isn't even truly feasible… just like that watercolor painting that was finished, but looked like it was just being started.)


Are you with me?


“Chop Wood, Carry Water”…  You're right!  I am already getting exhausted, but you've piqued my interest, Proverb!


The woman that said this to me repeated the phrase several times, saying “You have to chop wood, carry water.” or “... just like you have done: chop wood, carry water.” The most impactful, though, was when she said “When you want to give up, you chop wood, carry water.”


I immediately had to google it. 


I metaphorically felt like I had been chopping wood and hauling water Every. Single. Day last month.  Did the month even change? I felt last month was just maddening at times… did I complete enough… was I prepared?


This Zen Proverb is really about taking responsibility for ourselves.  


Put simply, it references the fact that if we don’t keep moving, keep chopping wood and gathering water, we can quickly find ourselves without the warmth of the fire and without the quench of the water we so desperately need. If we do not prepare and use our resources wisely we can quickly realize that we must ask for help and support.  It is a reminder of what “prepared” really means.


Chop Wood, Carry water has said to be like the Zen analogous of “this too shall pass” and Oh! How I loved hearing that one growing up.


However, I can now recognize that circumstances are temporary and, no matter what you're faced with or what is going on in the world around you, if you have it in you to keep moving the energy, circumstances can change fairly quickly.


That wheel of fortune can turn on a dime….


Add in some gratitude… and… well, the sky's not even the limit! You can shoot for the stars!!


So, let's Chop Wood, Carry Water…


Life is waiting for us to make our move and finish our masterpieces, one at a time!