Many, many centuries ago in Ancient Greece, when gods were believed to freely roam the earth and the sky, they were led by a mighty king called Zeus. He reigned over the lesser gods, along with his wife Hera, obviously known as the queen of the gods.
One day, as the king and queen of the gods sat watching the difficulties faced by humankind from their comfortable palace in the sky, Hera became somewhat unhappy and upset by the sight of a poor man and his wife. They looked like beggars.
This man and his wife were burdened down by the weight of all their troubles, their own hunger and that of their families, as well as their own children whom they could no longer afford to feed. They had failed. Their children were starving, and it was clear that both the man and his wife felt shame and defeat.
As she watched them struggle, Hera felt great pity, as a parent herself, and quickly turned to Zeus, begging him to show compassion by helping the poor couple. She argued passionately that they needed help; strengthening her argument by drawing Zeus’ attention to the fact that even their sandals were old and were now tied together with seaweed.
Now, Zeus loved his wife Hera greatly and usually gave her whatever she asked for without hesitation. However, this time, when Hera asked him to help the man and his wife, he explained that as much as he wanted to give her the desire of her heart by helping them, they were not yet ready.
Hera was bitterly disappointed! How could Zeus be so unfeeling? She scolded him loudly, trying to shame Zeus into taking action by reminding him that it would be the easiest thing in the world for him to put a sack of gold in the couple’s path. This would mean that they would never have to worry again.
When Zeus heard this, he replied, “Oh, that’s easy! I can give you that small gift immediately.” Without warning, there was a loud bolt of thunder, and bright lightening zig-zagged across the sky.
A sack of the purest gold suddenly appeared in front of the man and his wife. Who both carefully lifted their feet and stepped over the sack of gold; careful not to do anything that could damage their sandals any further.
What would happen in your life today if you replaced fear of the unknown with curiosity about what is possible? How have you sabotaged yourself by perhaps secretly believing that you don’t deserve any better? By setting mental ceilings on what you think you are capable of, without ever having even tested your assumptions? What gifts, those personal strengths such as perseverance, etc., might you be overlooking in walking your path? And most importantly, how can you make sure that you focus on what’s important so that you don’t waste your precious resource of time and therefore waste your life?
I would like to acknowledge Nick Owen for the first version of this story which I came across in his wonderfully helpful book ‘The Magic of Metaphor’ published in 2001.