Lessons of the Tao

For my last birthday, I asked for a subscription to Whole Living magazine, which is a Martha Stewart publication with the subtitle “Body + Soul in Balance.” Reading it makes me feel like a marathon-running, yoga-practicing mom of 3 with a passion for vegan recipes and regular facial treatments. And though I’m not always thrilled about articles discussing the many uses of kale or tumeric, I came across one story that I appreciated called “The Gift of the Tao.” Written by a guy named Andrew Leonard, he talks about the Tao-te Ching, a centuries-old Chinese text that gives thoughts on living in this nutty universe.

So this Andrew tells readers about his constant striving in life, be it with his cycling, writing or relationships. He always felt like he had to beat his previous cycle time or constantly write something innovative, creative and perfect. Basically, he worked under his own pressure and ignored the words of the Tao: “Temper a sword edge to its very sharpest…you will find it soon grows dull.”

And I think I enjoyed this article because much of it resonated with my own life. Though I do consider myself somewhat of a dreamer, I’m very much a doer. I have my methods of getting things done and done just so. Because of this, I rarely go outside my box. That’s frustrating.

“The five colors blind the eye/ The five tones deafen the ear/ The five flavors dull the taste/ Racing and hunting madden the mind/ Precious things lead one astray/ Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels/ and not by what he sees/ He let’s go of that and chooses this.”

Though this could definitely be interpreted in a million in a half ways, to me it says to go outside of routine and to let go a bit. There has to be more to my life than only 5 colors, 5 tones and 5 flavors. So how does one balance this sense of adventure and newness with duty and responsibility?

This is the time where you respond.


1 Comment

  1. My first thought for you is that I don’t think most of us ever DO achieve complete balance. It is a work in progress all through our lives, because our situations and priorities are ever-changing. That’s not to say we can’t get better at keeping it all in balance. Just being aware that one has a tendency to get stuck in the same routine or whatever is a good start to getting out of that box, if it’s what one wants to do. Not everybody does, I suppose.

    Still thinking about this…

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