White Pebble Days

White Pebble Days

 (Another version of Happiness or more correctly, Contentment)


There comes a time in oneís life when you realise you are not going to live for ever.

There is said to be a tradition within a tribe of North American Indians, where the Elders start to collect black and white stones

At sunset at the end of the day they had to select a stone to reflect their mood, and place it in a large sack.

If, looking over the day, they were predominantly in a sad mood, they would select a black pebble.

If at the end of the day they felt happy, they would put in a white pebble.

Over the remaining years the sack outside the tent would hopefully get bigger and bigger.

Eventually, as, and when the person died they were tipped out from the sack in front of the whole tribe to view them.

If they were mostly white with only a few black ones the tribe were happy for the person and the funeral celebrations began.

If they were, however, mostly black then with sadness they departed in silence.





 I  was told the story above on a pre-retirement course my company sent me on.

Since then , I have always wanted to try ,no matter what has happened during the day, to make it a white pebble day.

Something about the story really made me think about it and I have always remembered it and passed it on

On an average day there can be many ups and downs, light and dark, moments when you wouldn't be sure what pebble to, mentally at least,  put in the sack.

Having to to reflect and decide  one way or another was also a really great way of drawing a line under a bad day.

Am I mainly happy or mainly unhappy ?

I would say without trying too hard my sack would be mostly white.

This isn't because bad things don't happen, they do.

I donít feel happy all of the time, but when I'm forced to decide I do tend to come down on the side of happiness or more correctly contentment.

When I am tempted to think it's a black pebble day, I then try to think about some good things that must have happened in between.

I find, more often than not, I can usually save the black pebble for another day.


You may have to dig deep for that white pebble, but part of the challenge is recognizing those tiny moments that made you smile, and accept that things could have been worse.


On occasions where a black pebble has been inevitable, I have at least been able to see that those few are still outweighed by the many mainly happy days that I can account for.


I have even had many white pebble days in hospital or at those appointments you just donít want to go to.


When my first little dog died I was just too totally sad, it just had to be a few consecutive black pebble days.

At the time I could not foresee that a lot more white pebble days were waiting ahead.

A few weeks later though another little dog jumped into our car all alone without any prompting from Dog Rescue. It must have been meant to happen as he turned up in time for Christmas and can never be a replacement.  Now two years on he has given us tons of pleasure.


I am sure this philosophy has been really helpful to me over the last ten years or more.

When  I finally decided to see where this story had come from I just could not track it down.

Google Search seems to return nothing meaningful about the combination of words, White,and  Pebble, and Native, and American, and Indian (perhaps it will now and that will be a white pebble day)

Oddly like all traditions it is just as though it is something that by their nature must be handed down by word of mouth

 I really don't try to look too hard just in case it  turns out to be a story made up by someone to make people feel a whole lot better about life.

Also  it doesn't matter, it really doesn't have to come from a near-forgotten North American Indian Tribe to still be a very good idea.


Buddhists also  believe that throughout our lives our good and bad deeds do indeed collect like white and black pebbles. We can easily collect them accidentally by stepping on an insect.

I often walk Jack my dog along a pathway in the pouring rain and come upon earthworms stranded on the tarmac. It must look like madness with me trying to pick them up and move them back to the grass area.

I have often walked past them but somehow felt bad and just had to go back and pick them up.

Not doing so  would only add to the black pebble pile, being kind or compassionate always adds a white pebble.

It is a conscience thing, it is called Karma.



Here is 2013