Fresh Start Bridge Crossing


The Parable

A senior monk and a young monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As they prepared to cross the river, they saw a beautiful, young woman in a formal gown staring sadly at the stream. The young woman asked the men if they could help her cross to the other side.

Both monks had taken vows not to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and continued on his 

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had happened. For several hours they traveled in silence. But the young monk couldn’t stop ruminating about the behavior of the elder monk. How could he have broken his vows by carrying the young woman? What kind of example was he setting for young monks like himself?

Finally the younger monk blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted to touch a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”



It takes great wisdom to let what’s over be over.

What’s done is done.

How much energy have you spent ruminating and talking about something that can’t be changed (the past)? The chapter of your life labeled as “yesterday” must be archived. Your job today is to write a new chapter.

Maybe yesterday you made a stupid mistake. More than one. You messed up. Maybe you were hurt by someone elses actions or words. Maybe it was a bad day for the stock market. Or someone backed into your car in the parking lot. Whatever yesterday’s story was, it is already written. It’s been published. Today, like every day, offers you an opportunity for a fresh start.

Getting a fresh start isn’t always easy. You carry a residue of feelings from the events of the day before. Your bad mood from yesterday spills into today. You ruminate about what you could have done differently.

How can you set down what you carried, now that you are on the other side of the river?

How do you move forward?

How do you devote yourself to the work you need to do this day?

This is the challenge we all face – spiritually and emotionally. Don’t be tricked into wasting your energy. Don’t carry life’s burdens farther than you need to.

Aspire to a fresh start. Every morning. Begin again.


Comments are closed.

  1. Gregg 8 years ago

    Hi Donna,

    Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. I appreciate your staying connected with us for so long. It’s good to hear from you and we appreciate your support and connection.

    Best wishes for a lovely Spring season,


  2. Judy Renee Boeken 8 years ago

    Great story Gregg. I am applying the message at his moment.

    There is a subject I would love to hear you share about. I clutter. Just my room, just my things, just my side of the room I share with my husband.
    That’s it. I have read books about techniques to clean it up, etc. But why?
    The rest of my house I keep neat because people will see it for sure. I don’t know if you respond to these type requests…I just thought I would put it out there.

    • Gregg 8 years ago

      Hi Judy,

      I also leave clutter around. So I speak from a humble viewpoint on this subject. But I have two thoughts to share with you. First, if you are sharing space with another person, that clutter is a way we are causing them trouble — even just by looking at it. We are imposing our lifestyle choices on them.

      The second point is about authenticity. To live an authentic life, you have to be open to showing your real self to others. If we only want to show people the part of our lives that are neat and well-kept, and close the door on the places in our lives that hide the clutter or chaos, then we must question whether we are living authentically.

      Thanks for your question and best wishes for a wonderful Spring season.

      – Gregg

  3. Tina M. 8 years ago

    Oh, thank you Gregg. I love this story, one of my long time favorite! I heard this story many years ago. For two years after my divorced, I used to ruminate and talk about the divorce, feeling sorry for myself and thinking this was all my fault. When I heard that story, I could see where I was stuck. I decided to let go of MY story and moved forward. When friends come to me and ruminate about their past stories, I tell them about the two monks and the woman. Even now, I still appreciate this story and the wisdom in it. Thank You for posting it. Namaste.

  4. Donna Marcotte 8 years ago

    Hi Gregg, The ToDo Quote of the week may be the very best thing I get in my email. I love the way the Universe (often through you, Linda and the ToDo Institute) delivers just what I need when I need it. I’ve also been meaning to write and say: I have kept all my old print copies of Thirty Thousand Days. I have them stashed in various places, and it’s so great to come upon them and re-read the timeless articles. It’s another way the Universe, through the ToDo Inst., reminds me of what really matters in our brief time here.
    Thanks again to you, Linda, and everyone at the Todo Institute.
    Sincere kind regards,


Please send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Choose what you're looking for easier.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?