Balance – That Damned Word


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

4 thoughts on “Balance – That Damned Word

  1. Hi there, Liesl. Thanks for including me in your post. That is sweet. I am glad that you are getting something out of it. It’s interesting, isn’t it, to contemplate these ancient words into our modern lives? I am on my fourth year of it and soon to be on my fourth iteration of the chapters for this blog. The first round, I just wrote the chapters in my own words. Second round, I wrote a commentary to each one. Third round, this one, I am just re-posting the chapter I wrote and asking others to input their own essays. This round will complete on January 6, 2015. Then it is on to ROUND FOUR. Round Four is still a mystery. I was thinking, perhaps, of doing an art piece for each chapter. I may still do that, but that would take YEARS and I suppose that is appropriate. Perhaps each subsequent round should be longer in time? Haha. Not sure yet. The art piece one scares me and excites me at the same time. What if I don’t finish? What if I abandon it halfway? Of course, I will continue to blog about the I Ching and other wonderful fillers. For sure, in January, we are doing an online book study group for a book called Soul Space. I will be blogging about my entries and updates for that. You should join us! I think that it would be fun to have you in there.

    Well, now that I have just rambled through your comments field, I will stop. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Ours is supposed to be warmer, walkable weather. I ordered cleats the other day so I can get outside and walk even when it’s icy here in Minnesota. Feel free to email me if you would like to chat more about the book club. 🙂

    1. For my part, I am thankful beyond measure that you have been consistent with this blog, and allow me and probably countless others like me to find you again when we are in need. I am really going to attempt to stick with it a little more closely and get to your blog every Tuesday. Consistency is not my forte, but it is something I continually work towards. I think a new art piece for each chapter could be a daunting, but powerful exercise. I am not a visual artist. I think, going through it and writing about it each year, from the perspective of life as it is today, you’d probably never end up with the exact same essay, you know? It’s one of those living manuscripts that hits you differently based on where you are in life.

  2. I think it is awesome that you are applying the wisdom from this amazing book to your life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with reading the TTC daily and I’ve found much peace and growth in my life doing so for only a short time!

    Your children are very lucky to have you. You are doing great. Thanks for this post 🙂

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