Chop Wood, Carry Water

blog pic1-1There are times in life, excruciating, gut-wrenching times when the winds of change blow hard and the winds sting and blow dirt in your eyes and no matter how hard you squint, you can’t see where you’re going.

There are times when you want to shake your fist at the sky, to question, to stomp your feet, and rail against the heavens and unforeseen forces that are turning your world upside down.

And then there are times when your own choices turn your world on its side.

Radical faith is needed during these times. Faith that “these times” won’t last forever. Faith that Divine Order is in the works, shifting and re-arranging and re-purposing for some other purpose—even if you don’t understand it.

During these times, I think about the Buddhist expression, ‘Chop Wood, Carry Water.’

When you don’t know where you’re going, when you’re grieving change or loss, it’s helpful to focus on the small details of life…errands, trips to the grocery store, work deadlines, paying bills, cooking dinner….chopping wood, carrying water….until the winds die down and you regain your balance. And see the world more clearly.

Chop Wood, Carry Water. Chop Wood, Carry Water. Chop Wood, Carry Water.

It’s the mantra I use for these times. 

If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace, particularly at midlife, read my book, Tao Flashes . Or visit me at or on twitter @taoflashes.


10 thoughts on “Chop Wood, Carry Water

  1. I can recall driving down the road, doing a “in the moment” thing. “I”m OK now, right? Yes”… “I’m OK now…I’m OK now…Then I would inevitably laugh, lightening the mood. I like chop wood, carry water!

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