Sunday, March 29, 2015

Facing Misfortune with Grace

This post was originally published on March 8, 2015 on
My husband has been up against so many challenges lately. Lots of things came to a head recently, and he has responded by making some enormous lifestyle changes. He turned to meditation and has been absorbing himself in lots of spiritual teachings, especially those of Dr. Wayne Dyer and Ram Dass. He is like a flower finally blooming, and it is inspiring to witness him shifting and experiencing the clarity and natural high that comes from meditating and being mindful. Although I have felt badly about any suffering that could be attributed to me, from a spiritual vantage point it feels as if we are playing our assigned parts in some kind of divine symphony that is much larger than us. I believe it is a blessing when a soul wakes up - however it happens - and that we make soul agreements before incarnating, to help each other learn certain lessons.

Two days ago, in broad daylight, out in the open in a school parking lot, someone broke into Jack's multicolored "happy van" and stole all his musical equipment - a devastating loss. He can't perform without his gear and will have to cancel all his booked gigs until he is able to replace his equipment - which could take quite some time. However, the way he is dealing with this on top of everything else is beyond inspiring. I want to share with you a post he put on social media, in order to spread the word (because you never know who might see or hear something that could prove helpful) and to provide inspiration. Although he has his moments when the weight of the world and the sense of loss feel overwhelming, he is choosing a path of love that can serve as a shining example for the rest of us.

His misfortune reminds me of the Zen story of an old farmer whose horse ran away. When the neighbors heard the news, they sympathized, saying, "Such bad luck!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."

The next morning, the horse returned along with a few other wild horses. After hearing the news, the neighbors exclaimed, "How wonderful!" The farmer replied, "Maybe."

The next day, the farmer's son tried to ride one of the wild horses and fell off and broke his leg. The neighbors again visited to offer sympathy. The farmer responded, "Maybe."

The following day, military officials came around to draft young men but passed the farmer's son by because of his broken leg. The neighbors came to offer congratulations, to which the old farmer replied, "Maybe."

I am hopeful that the suffering Jack is experiencing will flower into spiritual and material blessings and that someday it all will make sense and serve a higher purpose. Perhaps in the end, the theft won't be the misfortune it seems to be right now. How can we possibly know at this point how it will turn out? The best we can do is to navigate the hills and valleys of life with as much awareness and love as possible.

It seems as if Jack suddenly is being stripped of so much that he relied on for his happiness and sense of identity. That is the kind of stripping away that people experience when they are dying. To experience it while one is still alive and healthy is both an enormous challenge and a great opportunity to live and appreciate life more fully. Jack is learning not to take anything for granted and is experiencing inner resources and states of mind that are much more gratifying and enduring than old habits or depending on anything or anyone external to himself for fulfillment.

Here is the story from Jack's perspective. May you be as inspired as I am!

Hello to all my brothers and sisters. I need to ask a favor from all of you...and that is to please share this post with everyone. I am facing a very challenging situation. I've hit a speed bump so to speak on this journey called life.

This past Friday (3/6/15) while subbing at BOCES F. Donald Myer's Education center in Saratoga Springs, my "Happy van" was broken into (side window smashed) between the hours of 7:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Every piece of musical equipment I own was stolen (except for my two guitars which were not in the vehicle). My entire livelihood has been taken away from me - many thousands of dollars worth of equipment that I absolutely need to be able to continue providing music for people of all ages as I have done for the past 20-plus years of my life as both a Zucchini Brother and as RiverJack Z.

I know that this is just another challenge in my life that I have been presented with. It's neither good nor bad; it just is. What do I do with this? What do you do with the things in this life that you are attached to and identify with and are taken away from you? I myself realize just that: They are just things. Lately, I have encountered a lot of circumstances and situations that have made me step back, slow down, and realize where exactly I am in this life of mine as Jack (a.k.a Jack Zucchini/RiverJack Z). And I realize that I am right here right now, and this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I don't need to understand it. I just need to go with it and remember that I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and even more importantly: I AM LOVE and LIGHT. This is just an experience along the way. What can I learn from it except the obvious? (Don't leave your livelihood in your van.) There are teachers all along the way and lessons to be learned with every step you take. I choose not to hate or be angry. I feel sorry for the poor, disconnected soul(s) who had to break into one of the happiest vehicles on the road and take away another person's cherished possessions. But there you go: They are just possessions, and I don't really own them, and I won't let them own me.

I remain positive. I surrender to this life. I am alive and grateful for every second I experience. It's taken me nearly 50 years to really wake up, but I am starting to do so, and in doing so I am really living in a very mindful way. It's been a long, strange trip, and I'm grateful to be still chugging along. I hope to have many more blessed years and to keep waking up a better person than I was the day before. That's all we really need to do in this life. There is no "us and them". There is only we. We are all one, and I love you all - even you who are having a hard time right now and deciding to take things from your brother. I hope whoever you are, my brother/sister, that you can start to love yourself more in this life and realize that whatever you do to another you do to yourself. I choose to love you and hope you can find the help you need to make this world a better place to live.

In closing, below is a list of my worldly belongings that have been taken away from me. Again, please share and keep your eyes and ears open. I have no way of singing my song at this point, but I know things have a way of working themselves out...

*   *   *   *   *

  • 1 -pair Merrill Hiking Boots
  • 1 -pair Costa Sunglasses
  • 1 -Head lamp ( flashlight)
  • 1-large green suitcase
  • 2 -Tripod Stands
  • 1 -Tripod iPhone camera holder
  • 2 -Sm 58 microphones
  • 3-Microphone clips
  • 2-EV-5 Roland Expression Pedals
  • 1 -1500 SHS power amp rack mount
  • 2- 15 inch Kustom DE/speakers
  • 2- Peavy PR 15 Speakers
  • 2-2ft speaker poles
  • 2 guitar stands
  • 1-Xenyx 1202 fx/1002 fx mixer
  • 1-Boss Oc-3super octave pedal
  • 1 Boss rc 300 loop station
  • 1-Digitech vocalist live 4 ( vacal harmonizer & effects processor )
  • 5-Harmonicas ( a,c,d,f,g )
  • 4 tambourines
  • 1-small birchbark covered leather drum
  • 2-Steel brushes
  • 4-small mallets
  • 2-Guitar capos
  • 4-sets of Elixir Nanoweb Acoustic guitar Strings
  • 4 20 ft. speaker cables
  • 2 50 ft. speaker cables
  • 4-3 ft guitar cords
  • 2-4 ft guitar cords
  • 4-5 ft guitar cords
  • 1-10 ft guitar cord
  • 4 3 inch guitar cords
  • 1-Panasonic HDC-TM90 video camera1-Zoom H4n handy recorder (audio)
  • 1-4GB Audio card
  • 2-64 GB SD cards
  • 1-32 GB SD card

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography ( with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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