Swanson Counseling - When you're in a hole...


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When you're in a hole...

You may know the story about the mule who fell into a well. I believe there are things we can learn from it to help us manage difficulties, change and life itself. The story goes that an old mule fell into a farmerʼs well and hearing the mule bray, the farmer ran to see what it was all about. Since he didnʼt need the well anymore and the mule was old and useless he decided neither were worth saving. So he called his neighbors and asked for help in burying the old mule in the well to put him out of his misery.

At first the old mule went wild with fear but as the dirt hit his back, he had an idea.Whenever a load of dirt hit his back, he would shake it off and step on it. So he did, blow after blow, saying “shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up.” In time the old mule was able to easily step over the wall of the well. What had seemed like it would bury him instead had blessed him and all because of the way he handled adversity.

Now who wouldnʼt panic in such a situation? Many would rail against the injustice, fightand bury themselves deeper, feel sorry for themselves or just give up. But we have a choice to respond differently, we can adopt an attitude that makes it work for us, not just against us.

Imagine how the mule must have emerged from the well...all dirty, beat up and wornout, not all shiny and clean like a super hero action figure. Real life is usually a whole lot messier. One of the lessons we can take from the story is that there are times when we canʼt save our face and rear end at the same time. The mule was not extraordinary in any way. His courage was not the absence of fear, but deciding the make the right choice at the right time when he was scared silly.

Some questions to ask yourself about your own life:

• We all have wells in our lives. What are some of the wells in which you have found or now find yourself?
• What would it take and how would it change your life to shrug it off and step up?

The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

If the answers arenʼt obvious to you or you need help in defining the problem, andlearning effective ways to approach and follow through, a counselor may be able to help.


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call: 701.591.2003
email: cynthiaswanson@mac.com

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