Today I start my Inspiration with the beautiful fable of the frogs in the milk pail. I found this version in the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson but originally it’s an Indian folk tale:
Two frogs left the safety of their swamp one day and ventured into a nearby farm to explore. Soon they found themselves in a dairy, where they found a large milk pail. Hopping into the pail, they found it was half filled with fresh cream.
The two little frogs were absolutely thrilled. They had never tasted anything so delicious! Soon their bellies were full. Feeling sleepy, they decided it was time to leave – and that’s when they realized they were in trouble.
They’d had no trouble hopping in. But how were they to get out? The inside of the pail was too slippery to climb. And because they couldn’t reach the bottom and there was nothing for them to step on for traction, hopping to safety was out of the question, too. They were trapped. Frantic, they began trashing about, their feet scrabbling for a foothold on the elusive, slippery curve of the pail’s sides.
Finally one frog cried out, “It’s no use. We’re doomed!”. “No”, the other frog gasped, “we can’t give up. When we were tadpoles, could we have dreamed that someday we would emerge from the water and hop about on land? Swim, brother, and pray for a miracle!”.
But the first frog only eyed his brother sadly. “There are no miracles in the life of a frog,” he croaked. “Farewell.” And he sank slowly out of sight.
The second frog refused to give up. He continued paddling in the same tiny circle, over and over, hoping against hope for a miracle. An hour later, he was still paddling in his futile little circle. He no longer even knew why. His brother’s dying words clutched at his thoughts as fatigue tugged at his tiny muscles. “Was my brother right?” he thought desperately. “Are there no miracles in the life of a frog?” Finally he could swim no more. With a whimper of anguish, he stopped paddling and let go, ready to face his fate …Yet to his surprise, unlike his brother, the second frog did not sink. In fact, he stayed right where he was, as if suspended in midair. He stretched out a foot tentatively – and felt it touch something solid. He heaved a big sigh, said a silent farewell to his poor departed brother frog, then scrambled up onto the top of the big lump of butter he had just churned, hopped out of the pail and off towards his home in the swamp.
This nice metaphor has remained with me, because it is such a fine illustration of an important principle when you want to change or achieve something in life. Now that I’m going through these huge changes in my own professional life, this very much applies to me. Since my last congress a few weeks ago, my life has been a bit chaotic – I still miss a clear direction in my coaching business and I have the feeling that I’m standing still without any results or even the slightest change in sight. This is frustrating and sometimes makes me lose courage.
But I persist in doing a few (simple) things – like publishing a new blog every 2 weeks. I have also started doing muscle strengthening exercises every morning, and afterwards – maybe even more important to me – I meditate. Meditation is not something that comes naturally to me. Sometimes, from the moment I wake up, my head is filled with thoughts and ideas that are not always easy to silence – in a friendly way – and to focus again on my breathing and on my energy field.
But slowly I’m getting better at it, although some days it feels like going back to square one. The difference now is that I remain friendly and understanding towards myself – after all my head is also a part of me! Meditation creates the mental space and introspection that I now need and from which other things can be created. So I will continue doing this every morning, knowing that I will get better at it. One day I will find myself on top of the lump of butter that I have churned and I will be grateful for my perseverance.
Activate the comment field by doubleclicking the title of the article, and use it to share your experiences!