Parenting and The Doorway to the Mysteries of Life

This article is based on a prompt from a blog I enjoy called the Tao Te Ching Daily – which gives beautiful, peaceful, soothing, inviting, mindful advice about living. The Tao, as I understand it, is a philosophy of thought, read and enjoyed by C.S. Lewis among a multitude of others. On her blog, writer Amy Putkonen works through her interpretations of the writings within The Tao Te Ching. Today, she is encouraging her readers to do the same.

Chapter One of the Tao Te Ching

The Tao that can be told is not the Eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name.

Nothingness is the Origin of Heaven and Earth.
Beingness is the Mother of the Ten Thousand Things.

When you are free of desire, you will understand the Essence of your life.
When you identify with your desires, you will observe the manifestations of your life.

Both contain the deepest secrets arising from the dark unknown, the Doorway to the Mysteries of Life.

There are so many things we want to share with our kids, so many principles we want to convey. And this morning, I am reminded that it is not necessarily the things we say that stand out and are remembered forever, but who we are, how we treat ourselves and those around us, our very essence survives in our children, and is passed down to their children in turn, not through their words, but through their actions.

I think of my parents, who passed down to me and my sisters the essence of joy and laughter at the dinner table.

I think of my husband and I and all the things we want our boys to learn from us. My husband is better at this than I am – he is better at the hanging out and just being. I want to teach with words and worksheets. I also want to show my children art in any form possible, so we do lots of art excursions. But today, I am reminded again that what I want them to learn from me cannot come from my words so much as from my very core, and I want to make sure that unnamed  and unspoken thing about me is filled with love and joy, and not the scolding or directing that sometimes takes over.

And this reminds me that the time I take to get my heart in order before the start of the day, those few moments of reading, thinking, dwelling on something lovely – those moments that create a haven for my soul are ever so important. Out of that place will come the outpouring of everything I truly am, not just the dressed up version of myself I’m hoping I can put on display. The real me will always be the me that my children sense and know and learn from. Wow.

photo from here

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. ooh, this is good, especially for me because I’ve been thinking about that funny, tinny way I sound when I try to convey my thoughts about things–even things I really care about, even TO people I really care about–because it’s ‘the dressed up version of myself’ and not really, authentically me. I like the hope that you leave us with, too: that our children can sense who we really are under all of the layers we can find ourselves buried under. I want to believe this is true and I will choose to for the entire rest of the day. 🙂 thanks, liesl.

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    1. Liesl Garner says:

      You are such a delight! I absolutely love your Ice Cream Sundae Outlook!

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  2. Amy Putkonen says:

    Oh, Liesl. I just love this! It makes so SUPER glad that I did this linkfest. How fun to see how others interpret the Tao and your commentary is beautiful! Our children teach us so much. In many ways, they are totally unique human beings from us but in other ways they are a ripple of our existence. I love the art excursion idea. My daughter and I have been talking about doing an art day at the zoo. I have a book called Drawing Lab and one of the exercises is to go to a zoo and draw animals. I have never done this and my daughter is an amazing artist who practices drawing much more than I ever have so it will be fun to do this with her and let her teach me some things. I love art so much because it brings me to a special place where I am quiet and my mind has a chance to be still. Thank you so much for sharing. You are the very FIRST to kick off this new chapter in my blog.

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    1. Amy Putkonen says:

      I love your image too! Did you take that photo? If so, could I borrow it?

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      1. Liesl Garner says:

        Actually, there is a link to the artist at the bottom of the post. I have a go-to photo place – it’s called morguefile.com – sounds morbid, but it’s for photos that aren’t being used by the artists and up for grabs. Most are royalty free.

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    2. Liesl Garner says:

      Oh Fabulous! Your blog is such a refreshing place to visit. I like this kinky idea a lot. I cannot wait to get in there and read some if the other contributors.

      Thank you.

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