There’s an old story of mine that teaches the value of patience and having a long term perspective on existence and things you want in your life. It’s a story of how a goal or something you strive for may take a lifetime, but in the end, it works out as it is meant to. We have the ability to control ourselves in life, and the more we lessen our attempts to control situations, paradoxically, they seem to open up more to us. The story goes something like this:
In a town far away, many many years ago, there lived a blacksmith. He was a humble blacksmith living his life with his family, providing for them, and giving service to the town through his creations – armor, weapons, and all manner of trade goods.
There were many others in the town as well who worked different jobs, some fletchers, others cooks, and other still worked doing guard duty.
Finally, there was a town elder who would gather everyone around to speak to them of important things and to give direction for the future. One day, the elder was talking to everyone and he mentioned a magnificent unicorn which had been spotted recently down by a lake nearby. It had a silver horn on its head and long light brown/blonde hair on its mane.
Once everyone in the town knew of this unicorn, they all thought of its beauty and magnificence and wanted to be the one to own the unicorn. They didn’t think much of what the unicorn wanted, but they were sure of what they wanted. Many towns people spent quite a few hours each day in the pursuit of the unicorn.
The elder of the town gave word that the unicorn was very elusive and could easily sense the neediness of each towns person as they sought to own it. Only one who was completely void of insecurity, neediness, and was completely centered from within and in a situation where they could afford to have the unicorn with them without anyone getting hurt could speak to it.
The blacksmith of the town decided he would try and go by the lake and talk to the unicorn. He saw it drinking water and jumping around in the flowers by the lake. He walked slowly to the unicorn. The unicorn did not run away from the blacksmith. And so the blacksmith talked to the unicorn and the unicorn spoke back. The blacksmith felt no desire to own the unicorn, but to just speak to it and share time with it.
As time went on, the townspeople wondered how the blacksmith was able to speak to the unicorn. “What’s your secret?” they would say to him. The blacksmith didn’t know how to respond, except that he didn’t want to own the unicorn.
As time went on, the blacksmith realized it cared dearly about this unicorn. It could see a pure and tender soul inside of it. He grew to have feelings for the unicorn. As this happened, the blacksmith now thought about taking the unicorn with him so that it could stay at his home with his family.
The unicorn sensed this change and immediately withdrew itself from the blacksmith. As it galloped away, the blacksmith realized the folly of his ways. He tried in vain several times again to speak to the unicorn, but it eventually was nowhere to be found.
The blacksmith spent many a night holding his head down, wondering how he could have messed up for there was a time he had no desire to own the unicorn and that is when it was most receptive to him. He had failed and knew that as long as he felt the way he did, the unicorn would always withdraw itself.
Still, the blacksmith always kept hope in his heart. Perhaps one day, when the conditions were right, he would be able to talk to the unicorn again and teach it and they could learn from each other again. Each night, the blacksmith said a prayer to himself to ask that his heart would be made pure again, that in the future, if fate would allow it, that he could connect with the unicorn again.
The years went on and the blacksmith would walk to the lake once a week to see if the unicorn was there. Usually he would find many other townspeople doing the same thing. He realized that what he was doing was not the right way to bring back the unicorn. He went to the town elder for advice. The town elder told him:
“You of all people have it within you to bring back the unicorn and reconnect with it. For everyone else seeks to own it, but you have the capacity to understand it more than anyone ever will. Your situation is not yet right blacksmith, for even if you regain purity of heart, you have a family to take care of. The future is an interesting thing. It may be many years down the road before there is alignment for you to talk to it again. Best you spend this time taking care of yourself and those around you and allow the future to unfold in the way that it will.”
The blacksmith heard this and he knew that there was nothing he could do but take care of what he could. It was out of his ability to see if he would ever be able to connect with the unicorn again. And the only way he knew he could do it was to completely surrender to the loss of it and that perhaps some day in the future, it would contact him.
And so this is the end of our story, I’m afraid. Discover for yourself what the townspeople, the blacksmith, and the unicorn represent for you in your life. Perhaps it is your career goal, fitness goal, relationship goal, or some other thing you’re working toward. The ending is not yet written – and the ending cannot be written except by time itself. But know this friend, that if you take care of you for you, you will then be able to take care of others around you, and then life and the universe will find a way to also take care of you.
- Listening and Talking to an Olympian
- Learning to Accept Reality
- Being Humbled
- Cut Off Compulsive Behavior
- Always Have Gratitude