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A modern fable about the horse and a donkey

Today's Living Art Journal is a bit different. its a modern fable about a farmer, a horse and a donkey.

There once was a mean and impatient farmer who needed to plow his fields. He went to the donkey and said, 'Donkey, will you plow my fields?' The donkey said he would but he needed regular breaks as he worked. The farmer agreed but in his heart, he didn't care about the donkey's request. Sure enough, the donkey started plowing the field and at the end of the row, sat down and said he needed a break. The farmer got exasperated and insisted that the donkey keep going. The donkey didn't move. In a huff, the farmer went to the horse and said "will you plow my fields? That donkey quit, and I need my fields plowed." Wanting to please his master, the horse said, "no problem" and got straight to work. The farmer continued to push the horse to finish the fields. After a long day, the horse got to the end, collapsed and died. The farmer was confused. Why did the horse push through and not take a break? He looked back at the donkey knowing he was the last animal on his farm. He now saw that the donkey was wiser than he had given him credit for. The morale of this story: know when to take a break. Plowing through at the expense of your physical energy doesn't always get you what you want.

There is actually some truth to this story. Horses will work themselves to death at the insistence of their master and donkeys will sit down when they are tired. In my coaching practice, I sometimes use this analogy with my clients who are literally working themselves to death. Ultimately, they don't reap the benefits of their labor, someone else will and the person who held their boundaries will eventually be seen as the wisest. It's important to understand how this shows up in your life and ask yourself, am I being the horse or the donkey in this situation? If necessary, remember this: there are times when it's okay to give yourself permission to be the ass in the room.


Much love! ~Ann

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