Category Archives: personal change

The Tao of the Self — Three

Not bragging about your talents prevents quarreling.
Not having extravagant things prevents stealing.
Not desiring other people’s things prevents confusion of the heart.

The wise person rules themselves
by eliminating needless desires and fulfilling their true needs,
by weakening false ambitions and strengthening their body.
If you don’t express arrogance,
then others will not feel threatened.
If nothing is done with the desire to harm others,
then your life will run more smoothly.

– The Tao of the Self, Three

The Tao of the Self — Two

Anyone can see you are beautiful
If they see others as ugly.
Anyone can see you as good
If they see others as evil.

Therefore having friends and not having friends arise together.
Difficult and easy relationships complement each other.
Long and short friendships contrast each other:
High and low emotions rest upon each other;
Your voice and the sound of others harmonize each other;
Being in front of and behind others follow one another.

Therefore the sage goes about doing nothing to force relationships,
teaching not gossiping about others.
Thousands of conversations rise and fall without cease,
Creating relationships, yet not forcing them.
Working with others, yet not taking credit for their work.
Great work with others is done, then forgotten.
Therefore it lasts forever.

Tao of the Self. Two

The Tao of the Self – One

The things we can express about ourselves
are not who were are.
Your name is only what people call you.
It barely gives a hint of who you are.
If you don’t desire something from someone,
you might see their soul.
Otherwise all you desire
is what they can do for you.
The person is the same
but if all you see is the name,
you will never know who they are.
If you are willing to look further
You begin to sense their mystery….

Tao of the Self, One

Today's Lessons

Get up and do something first thing in the day.

Be active.

Be motivated by love.

Don’t be silent anymore.

Simplify life — remove whatever and whoever does not inspire, inform, add personal value and friendship, or provide a needed service

Clean it up, and make it easy to keep clean.

There will always be more things to learn and do as the day progresses, but you have to start somewhere.

Clearing

I think I spent the last month making a clearing in my life. I stopped posting on the blog every day, and spent more time reading and observing. I’ve been creating a space for a meditation garden, and now am to the point of putting in hardscape and selecting some focal points and plants. I still need to get the ground covering and create a “floor” for the “room”.

I’ve been clearing out old clothes, things I no longer want or need, and working on cleaning up my diet and trying to get back to yoga classes. Still not doing well at getting to the yoga classes, but I’ll get there.

I’ve started the spring veggie garden, and am clearing out dead branches, and one poor daisy tree that has completely died this winter. It’s a friend I’ll miss and I need to find something new to fill its space. Something that can grow as tall and graciously and provide the shade that the daisy tree used to. I still miss the large ash tree that I took out to create the meditation garden, but it had grown too large and was tearing up the rest of the yard and our patios. It’s hard to take out such a large and beautiful tree, but we just couldn’t justify the water it took, the fire risk, and the damage it was doing any longer. And now, there is a clearing for the new, for a place to meditate and enjoy some quiet space.

And I’ve found I need more quiet spaces in my life, more quiet time. As I get older I get deeper and quieter, like a large lake. For someone who is already pretty quiet, it hardly seems possible. But I’ve had a lot of rivers flowing in, and there still seems to be a dam keeping much from flowing out. So for now, a lake it is. If you flow like water, sometimes you end up in a quiet lake…

 

 

Open

Keep your Heart Open

Keep your heart open even when you can’t have what you want. It’s easy to keep our heart open to life’s magic and all its possibilities when we have what we want. It’s more of a challenge, and more necessary than ever, to keep our hearts open when we can’t have what we want.

Even on the best journey, things happen. Plans change. Things shift and move around. This shifting and moving causes doors to close, relationships to end, blocks and frustrations to appear on our path. For now, that is what we see. For now, what we know is disappointment. We can’t have what we want, and it hurts. When that happens, our tendency may be to shut down, close our hearts, forget all we’ve learned.

Keep your heart open anyway. Consciously choose to do that. Yes, you can go away, you can leave, you can shut down, but you don’t need to. Now is a turning point. If you choose to open your heart, even when you can’t have you want, miracles will unfold.

For now, remember this. Even though you don’t have what want you right now, keep your heart open anyway. Later, you’ll see more. You’ll see how it worked out. How it needed to be just so.

– Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart


Powerful

See how Powerful You Are

Although we know there is much in life we can’t control, we also know we have the power to think, to feel, to choose, and to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. We’re discovering our creative powers, and our power to love, including our power to love ourselves. We’ve embraced our power to grow, to change, to move forward. We know we have the power to claim our lives and take responsibility for ourselves in any situation life brings. Although life may deal us certain hard blows, we’ve learned to see beyond that. We see life’s beauty, gifts, and lessons, and its mysterious and sometimes magical nature.

Now, our journey has led us someplace else. We know we have powers; we know we have choices. And we no longer need to be right. Just free.

See how powerful you are!

– Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart

Resistance

We sometimes resist new lessons. And what we resist the most is likely to be what we most need to learn.

Our lessons usually come with inner conflict. The action we should be taking, the idea we should be learning is sometimes hidden behind a wall of resistance. There’s a border, a barrier we need to cross to get into the heart of the lesson. Most times, that barrier is within us. Lessons require us to let go of old feelings, old beliefs. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be lessons. We’d already know them. Sometimes, the very thing we feel guiltiest about doing, the place we’re most resistant to visiting, the person we’re most convinced we shouldn’t contact, or the behavior we’re tormenting ourselves most about is exactly what we need to be doing.

And more often than not, the lesson we’re learning is not what we think it is. We need to embrace the surprise element of life —  embrace the mystery of life as it unfolds, as the lessons appear, as we grow and change.

Do what you need to do to break through your
resistance. Often that means simply seeing your
resistance for what it is. Remember that the point
of greatest resistance is often the place of greatest
learning.

— Melody Beattie,  Journey to the Heart

Beginning

This is the moment of embarking.
All auspicious signs are in place.

In the beginning, all things are hopeful. We prepare ourselves to start anew. Though we may be intent on the magnificent journey ahead, all things are contained in this first moment of our optimism, our faith, our resolution, our innocence.

In order to start, we must make a decision. This decision is a commitment to daily self-cultivation. We must make a strong connection to our inner selves. Outside matters are superfluous. Alone, and naked, we negotiate all of our live’s travails. Therefore, we alone must make something of ourselves, transforming ourselves into the instruments for experiencing the deepest spiritual essence of life.

Once we make our decision, all things will come to us. Auspicious signs are not a superstition, but a confirmation. They are a response. It is said that if one chooses to pray to a rock with enough devotion, even that rock will come alive. In the same way, once we choose to commit ourselves to spiritual practice, even the mountains and valleys will reverberate to the sound of our purpose.

Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao

I’ve never found much that is spiritual in being preached at. Talked with, discussion, question asking, yes, but not when someone is preaching at you. Especially if they want you to accept some literal meaning of whatever they are preaching, instead of taking from it your own spiritual lessons. Religion is meaningless without personal interpretation and relevance to your own life. There are beautiful, wonderful, spiritual concepts in all religions, and then they are twisted up into this package that one must accept in whole instead of taking from it the parts that matter to you.

I guess that’s why I like the idea of Taoism. Here is a thought, an idea, a focus for meditation. Take it and see what it means to you. See how it applies to your life, to the world around you. Observe. And then, when you integrate that idea into your life, here’s another. And you can always cycle back to the previous ideas and refocus again. See the spiritual in everything, in the ordinary, even in a rock. And then the world does reverberate for you. One of the definitions of reverberate is “to have a long or continuing effect”. I think that is what most of us actually long for that is lacking in our lives. We don’t always feel that we can have a long or continuing effect. But Tao teaches that everything in life has an effect. The goal is to focus it so that you achieve the results you want. But if you are in Tao, then the only results that can matter are the ones inside yourself, since the inside reflects the outside and vice versa. So how you interpret what happens is as important as what happens, and that is what can make the difference in your life. There are lessons to be learned in all that happens. How we respond makes the difference.

I hope to respond with optimism, and faith, and resolution, and innocence. All moments are new beginnings.

(revised from the original post Jan 1 2005)

You Learn

You Learn

You learn.

After a while you learn the subtle difference

between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises,

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes open

with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

and you learn to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn

that even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,

instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure.

That you really are strong.

And you really do have worth.

And you learn. And learn.

With every good-bye you learn.

– Jorge Luis Borges

via whiskey river.