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Article I Found on Tao Te Ching
It had a lot of advertisements throughout it so I thought I would pull from it and perhaps it my help someone or start a discussion on it. OR this may prompt some journal writing for some.
"The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.
It flows in places people reject and so is like the Tao.
How does one do that? Consider how water behaves. As Muir notes, when it is appropriate, water can sit patiently in a pond, or it can flow as a stream. It’s non-confrontational. It makes room for everything that enters it and accommodates any situation by assuming a new shape. It is humble, always flowing down to the lowest level. Finally, it is yielding and reticent."
When I read this, it brought to mind how we as cancer patients are like the water that is being spoken of. Even if we did not behave like water prior to diagnosis, we have to learn how to once diagnosed. The waiting can be like sitting in a pond for some as they find things to occupy their minds while they await answers or stew in worry and what if's and for others, it can be like a stream. The stream could represent the flow of tears, the flow of the mind and where it wanders to as we wait for answers, the going of the flow and allowing things to carry on to take us to our destination down the stream. We assume a new shape when we receive answers we have been seeking. This could be in any of these forms: test results, recurrence or NED, surgeries, symptoms and what they mean. All of them leading to the new shape we become in our minds and our bodies as we adapt to the situation at hand. We are humble (or I like to believe we are) as cancer patients. In my mind, I feel the pull of "there is someone else worse off", "we are grateful for the care we receive", "thankful for those in our lives and the time we have been given" and lastly "no longer looking at it from a why me point of view". We pause now (yielding) and think before we speak (reticent) of how we feel on any given day be that emotionally, mentally or physically. Who would have ever thought any single one of us would find ourselves in the position of having Ovarian Cancer and facing what it means in so many ways to ourselves, family and friends. Water will always find a way both in real life and in this scenario as a cancer patient. We seem to be able to navigate through this disease and through this forum we have found each other and a way to assist each other no matter the stage or age anyone is at. What are your thoughts that come to mind when you read the quote?
"So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind;
Sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily;
Sometimes there is strength, and sometimes weakness;
Sometimes one is up and sometimes down
Therefore the wise avoid extremes, excesses, and complacency.
None of this is to say that the search for balance is easy or that we’ll always be successful. As this verse suggests, we’ll sometimes find ourselves leaning toward one extreme or the other. The challenge then is to not grow complacent or give in to despair. Remember that difficult things will get easier one day; the easy road cannot continue forever. A person’s aim then shouldn’t be to conquer the moment and to force it to fit their desires. It should be to fulfill their purpose and flow with the moment."
So much to say about this......balance.....the thing we all strive to achieve but struggle with at some point in our lives. As we navigate this journey we have many of these things occur which disrupts our balance. It is difficult on many levels as we realize the road won't continue forever. That can be taken as a negative or positive in any given situation. The road we are on could be where we let our minds wander with where are things going, breathing does not come easily, we feel weak and down to quote from above. This could be a phase for some or this could be as we face a new reality. In and of itself, I feel it is grief at its finest and allow yourself to go through stages and have feelings. If you are getting stuck ask for help, this topic is heavy at the best of times especially when we receive news we did not want to receive or a negative outcome. It also speaks of not being complacent and on this site, I believe many of us do not become complacent. So many seek out new answers or treatments that may be available to us as we navigate through. The difficulty becomes when we allow it to consume our lives (but it can certainly feel like it does at times). We can empower ourselves in many ways and leaving Living Legacies are part of that equation. I feel like I could go on and on with the quote. What are your thoughts and what is your take away from it?
"The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
They achieve harmony by combining these forces.
People hate to be “orphaned,” “widowed,” or “worthless,”
But this is how the wise describe themselves.
Here, the point is that every person houses contrasts within them. We have our yin side and our yang side. Our masculine side and our feminine side. Our serious side and our playful side. Our rational side and our emotional side. And so on.
To find balance, we shouldn’t favor one side and ignore the other and neither should we pit these qualities against each other. They are a part of us, and we should accept and embrace them equally. That includes those qualities that we might find embarrassing and unacceptable. Such qualities don’t make us moral or immoral, worthy or unworthy. They just are."
Do you find yourself rereading this many times? I feel that I can question myself a thousand times over in many situations as I contemplate the pros and cons of every situation I face. This especially for me comes in to play with emotions. I will admit that I talk to myself a lot and think, 'don't think that', 'don't say that', and 'don't do that'. But I do and then I feel upset for letting my mind go there and find me talking myself out of it. I feel that there are some spaces of time that I can feel quite alone in this and for those times, I am thankful for the forum and the safe space we have here to voice our feelings and to know we are not alone and have others that walk beside us through our own unique journey.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in small things.
To help you get in the zone, it helps to strip away complexities that interfere and distract. Instead, magnify the small by focusing on what’s the most important to the task at hand and that you can do well. Make those the small things that you can build upon."
How hard can you be on yourself at times? I know, that I for one, can be extremely hard on myself. This occurs mainly when I feel my body is betraying me by not being able to do some of the things I used to be able to do. It is hard to step back from this at times. I find myself more and more doing what I call "sitting in it" before acting or saying something. I sometimes can't pinpoint why I feel the way I feel and then as I carry on about in my daily tasks or find an alternate activity to do, it all comes to me. I find myself reverting back to child eyes and attempting to see things through their lenses. Like when they see certain nature objects for the first time and the awe and wonder in their eyes and I try to capture that again for myself and find gratefulness to be able to enjoy that in that moment of time. Anything we achieve in a day is an accomplishment. That could be something as daunting as putting on your own socks or showering by yourself (post surgery) or by completing tasks you want to complete. Where does your mind go when you read this and how to you cope with it?
"The wise never try to hold on to things.
The more you do for others, the more you have.
The more you give to others, the greater your abundance.
The Tao of heaven is sharp but does no harm.
The Tao of the wise is to work without effort.
As such, the Tao Te Ching teaches that the wise don’t try to hoard things or moments or achievements because it recognizes that these things have no value in and of themselves. It is only in relation to others that these things inherit value, and when we give or share them, we spread out their worth. That can be in the form of charity, assistance, social gatherings — you name it.
“So is [giving] selfish or selfless? Well, it’s neither and both; it’s self-full,” psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar said in an interview. “Self-fullness synthesizes the best of both worlds, giving oneself and giving others. And they work together, reinforcing one another in an upward spiral of generosity and benevolence.”
I am thankful I can share with all of you as I carry on with my journey and that perhaps a few will find something in what I write or share to assist them with their own journey. I love the quote about selfish/selfless being self-full. I think it summarizes up so much so nicely. It goes back to why I write and was wondering if I was doing it for myself or for others and now I can say it was being self-full. What a great summarizing word. I hope this little article (these are snippets I took from it) and my comments will help someone out there or at the very least allow you to find a way to accept and/or journal about your own journey.
Food for thought is what it is and a different way of looking at things as we traverse our own unique journeys knowing there are others that are walking a walk similar beside us through it all.
Take care or yourselves!