Tao Te Ching – Chapter 74 – with Reflection

If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you aren’t afraid of dying,

there is nothing you can’t achieve.


Trying to control the future

is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.

When you handle the master carpenter’s tools,

chances are that you’ll cut your hand.


How many times have I tried to play God in my children’s life, in anyone’s life, thinking I somehow know better because of my experience, my time on this earth, my knowledge? How many times have my interferences in the way things are going actually helped?

My older boys are doing just fine. They have figured things out for themselves in spite of me thinking I needed to direct and cajole them into doing things that made sense for me. And they seem to be incredibly happy with their self-directed lives. Bravo.

The younger boys are a little more tense. We all get a tense when I am trying to handle the master craftsman’s tools and making mistakes in the process.

Always, it’s the option to let go of outcomes that is my biggest challenge. Always, it is the learning to be in the flow rather than the bossy person at the head of the ship thinking I can orchestrate the wind.

And in my own life, even, the breathing deep and realizing all things will change would serve me well. I remember being comforted when people would say, “This too shall pass,” when I was in the midst of a hard time.

But the same people would go trying to burst my bubble when all was swimmingly beautiful and I was on a high of gratitude over life. They would say, “This too shall pass,” and piss me off. Why wouldn’t they just let me enjoy the bliss? Because everything changes and staying mindful of the ebb and flow can keep us from getting too worked up over worry. If we revel too much over the good – we only allow for a more enhanced descent into a downward spiral if we’ve built up the mountaintop too much.

Balance. That damned word.

A softer, more in-tune appreciation for the ups and downs, the change that is inherent in life, the non-direction that will keep us flowing through our days rather than fighting the outcomes or trying to orchestrate someone else’s mood – this is my lesson for the day.

I so love Amy Putkonen’s blog, Tao Te Ching Daily, and her Tao Tuesdays series. If I could just remember to be a part on a more regular basis, I might get closer to an internal balance that would keep me centered.

This too shall pass. And I’m off to wake up kids and start our day.

photo from here