A Bolt From The Blue

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The Crane Wife
a traditional Japanese tale

Every tale has many levels of truth and of wisdom. Like a prism refracting white light and revealing the many colors within, Story Wisdom allows us to peer into a story from different perspectives. We can see, then, the many shades and nuances of truth, receiving the facet that we most need.

On one level, this story reflects to us the apparent conflict between having a loving and simple heart, and, being astute and practical. Too often, I think, our cultural story tells us that we have to make a choice between one or the other.

Loving and astute – is this possible?

We can all relate to the kindness of Yohei’s heart when he is moved to help the injured crane. Without thinking for even an instant about himself, he wraps her with great gentleness in his cloak and with equally great care, he brings her to his home. He tends to her needs, keeping her safe, warm and secure in order for her to heal and become strong enough to return to her wild home. His life returns once again to those long, solitary walks through the snowy mountain paths, and to those quiet evenings spent before the fire.

And, this is where the story could end.

Except that whenever we reach outside of our comfortable, predictable existence we can be certain that change will come. If Yohei had known what would transpire, would he have tended to the crane? He only experiences loss because he says yes to experiencing happiness.

Courtesy of Julia Nowak

He joins with the Feminine nature – abundant, receptive, giving – in order to learn a lesson about being an effective man in his culture. He had been content, until that time, to merely provide just enough for just himself. When he married this mysterious Feminine, he now understood that just enough, would not be enough – ever again. Its essential that we gain this maturity of vision and the only path is through the experience of loss.

In this story, we learn that we must first meet in partnership with the mysterious Feminine, the energy that is wild in nature, uncontainable, graceful and capable of soaring. Through our recognition and response to it’s vulnerability, this energy brings us a rich treasure that we can share with the world in order to sustain ourselves.

We set out into the world with it and give it away for nearly nothing. We don’t comprehend the treasure’s full value at first and so we have to go the the source to replace it. We are given a yes, again. This time, we begin to understand it’s value; it can be our sustenance and raise us above the mundane. Enrapt with this new awareness, we overlook the promises we’ve made and in doing so lose our connection to the source of the treasure. We are no longer simple and still short of astute. This transition from simple to astute, while preserving our loving heart is costly. Yet, wisdom is the progeny of this experience.

In the end, we can only imagine what Yohei does with that final bolt of transcendent cloth.

Courtesy of Wholesale Fabric 

Will his time with the mysterious Feminine have etched a permanent and personal relationship with this source of transformative energy? 
The sustaining, and sustainable, path requires him to live in gratitude for the lesson, even while mourning the loss. Only then will that final bolt become an unending source of empowerment. 
Wrap yourself in that.

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