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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Remember that Shtuff Happens

One of the things I've learned about the "mysterious East": Basically, every country I've spent time in has an expression that means, "What can you do?" or "I can't worry about it."

In Japan, it's "Shoganai." A volcano buried my house in lava? "Shoganai." A typhoon destroyed my business? "Shoganai." My daughter ran off with her English teacher? "Shoganai."

In China, it's "Mei banfa." And in the Philippines, "Bahala na." (I like this one best: it's speculated that it refers to a pre-Conquest god, and means that it's all up to him.)

Now, this goes beyond the sort of flippant "C'est la vie" that we are accustomed to. Some see in it a deep fatalism, a sort of despair or giving up.

Instead, however, I see it as an aspect of non-attachment, the "serenity to accept the things I cannot change" mentioned in the "Serenity Principle."

So when things go wrong that are beyond your control, say one of these and move on.

You'll be happier.

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