Dear Ones —

A story for you this fine morning: Once upon a time there was a wise and beloved Guru who lived in India, with a beautiful ashram and many passionate devotees. One of his students, though, always had terrible luck. In fact, this poor man had a coconut fall out of a palm tree and land on his head not once, but TWICE. The first time it happened, the Guru was sympathetic. But the second time it happened, the Guru kicked the guy out of the Ashram, with these words: "You are welcome to come back here and be my student again someday…but only when you are fully committed to stop being a person who always has coconuts fall on his head!"

The first time I heard this story (in India) it made me laugh, but it also shocked me. At first glance, this hardly seems like a compassionate response to a fellow human's suffering! I mean, the falling coconuts were just an accident, right? Hardly the poor man's fault! It could happen to anyone!

On the other hand, as I thought about it further, don't we all know people who constantly seem to have have coconuts falling on their heads? Yes, it could happen to anyone, but doesn't it sometimes seem like it always happens to…that guy?

And haven't we all — at some point in our lives — even BEEN that guy? The poor fool who always has coconuts falling on his head? Again and again?

(I have. I've been that guy. So to speak. And then I would go stand under the SAME DAMN TREE again and again — and let it happen again and again. Always with the same terrible outcome. Until I finally learned to, you know, maybe sleep under pine trees for a while, instead. So to speak.)

And at some point, isn't there a moment of total self-accountability and complete ownership of your own life, wherein you decide, "Maybe it's time for me to figure out why it's ALWAYS THE SAME COCONUTS falling on my head, time after time"?

And isn't that moment of self-recogntion and self-accountability the beginning of adulthood? Isn't that the beginning of getting it together? Isn't that beginning of figuring it out, of breaking your own doofus-y patterns, of learning how to not be your own worst enemy, of learning how to get out of your own way — the beginning of all good things?

So what is your coconut? That's really my question today. What keeps dropping on your head (time after time!) that you keep blaming on fate, or bad luck, or persecution, or injustice, or lousy karma, or poorly-managed palm trees? What if you stopped blaming and made a change?

If somebody told you: "You are welcome to return to a wonderful life — but only once you stop having coconuts fall on your head all the time"…how would you fix it? What would you change? Who would you turn to for help? What would you turn INTO?


Big love, from one crazy monkey to all the others —


via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall