I read the Tao of Pooh some time ago, and am currently, finally, reading the original Taoist mystical text, the Tao Te Ching. That is, my eyes are reading the words on the page. Not much useful happens next. The Tao is a tough text to understand; its depth, endless. It’s about The Way (Tao), integrity, yin/yang, the nature of Life. I don’t pretend to be a true scholar, and just writing about the Tao is a quagmire of confusion, but here’s an excerpt of how I’m playing with the ideas lately:
I am standing washing dishes for the umpteenth evening in a row, adrenaline coursing through me, my breath shallow, as I wait for A’s telltale steps down the stairs signalling “all is well with our now sleeping children”. Some powerful hidden anger overtakes me one evening, I believe it was a Saturday after a long day outside. A rage-filled roar in my head shouts: HOW HAVE I LET MYSELF BE TRAMPLED BY FEAR??? The children (Ben) will fall asleep eventually, it is the Way. Parents (me) agonize over it, to the point of feeling traumatized. My roiling insides begged for mercy, for me to get out of the way of my own self-torture. It’s been life changing.
Dry rice is falling all over the floor, getting stuck into every nook and cranny of the kitchen, Daniel’s diaper, the toaster oven, everywhere. The boys are playing with it, merrily scooping it from bowl to bowl with a variety of utensils, happy as clams. It is the Way of children everywhere. Keeping a clean house as a parent is not. Neither is letting myself freak out about it.
Years of trying to get pregnant. Lots of asking “Why me??” with no good answers. Asking “why me?” is not the Way. A friend who recently experienced a miscarriage told me she is no longer beholden to believing in Karma. She no longer thinks it was anything but “shit” happening. Shit happening is the Way. What we do about it is what matters. I asked if she thinks things happen for a reason. She said she does, but not in a personal way, rather in the “Way things are” kind of way.
Lately, I have been feeling like the less I resist the Way of Life, the easier everything is to take. Duh. Like the classic pop psych maxim “resistance is persistence” I am slowly letting go of the illusion of control. It’s a mind game, and playing it, I win so much back! My joy in watching the children being children, my gratitude for their lives, my appreciation of the simplicity of our family existence right now. I am taking care to check my brain regularly: Am I getting in my own way right now? Is my brain making up stories for which I am suffering needlessly? Am I present to love?
The Way is the Way. How we experience it is up to us.