Lotus In the Mud


The goodness of suffering is something real. Without suffering there cannot be happiness. Without mud there cannot be any lotus flowers. So if you know how to suffer, suffering is okay. And the moment you have that attitude, you don’t suffer much any more. And out of suffering a lotus flower of happiness can open.

Sometimes I will read one of these lessons and I feel like I get part of it but not all of it. Which is okay. One truth I have discovered is that upon each reading these nuggets of wisdom can impart a new, slightly different understanding.

Today as I read the passage, I understand it to say that in order to know the good, you need to know the bad. AND that the more you recognize the value in the mud/bad then the less the mud is bad and the more the mud becomes part of the process. This reminds me of an article or perhaps it was a radio interview, it doesn’t really matter, discussing the role of the art critic and their importance. There is no doubt that being creative and expressing oneself artistically is one of the amazing and unique things we do as humans, yet that does not mean all art is good or particularly meaningful. Most importantly,  part of the process is creating regardless of the outcome and growing from each attempt.

So on the most basic level for us as creatives and this is particularly for my landscape designers and other designers, there are really well-designed projects and those that are not. We must know the difference. If you are like me then you will welcome all ideas into your design process if only to highlight more clearly the good ideas.

The other thought that comes to mind is the process of identifying your ideal client. Anyone who ends up discussing business with me know that:

  1. I love my clients.
  2. I will only work with clients I love.
  3. It took me a long time to get to this place.
  4. I believe a key foundational piece to success is being willing to know your ideal client.

I have known suffering in the form of working with less than ideal clients.

It was good suffering in that it was the journey I needed to take in order to come out on the other side. Several years ago, I almost quit landscape design entirely before I was willing to think about my ideal clients and ideal projects.

If you would like to talk to someone who has been through hell and back then please make an appointment. Life is too short to work with people who do not appreciate your gifts. Life is too short to not being doing work you love. I can help you discover your gifts and turn them into a profession and I can help if you have a creative business that is not what you want it to be.

In gratitude,


Thich Nhat Hanh. Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh. Ed. Melvin McLeod. Boston: Shambhala, 2011. Print.