When I am reading “Just for today” (one of the textbooks for the Narcotics Anonymous group) this morning, I am reminded that “Though I may be feeling low, I don’t need to tear someone down to build myself up…The way to build our self-esteem is not to tear others down but to build them up through love and positive concern. To help us with this, we can ask ourselves if we are contributing to the problem or to the solution. Today, we can choose to build instead of destroy”.
Today, I choose to build. What/how about you? What/how about tomorrow?
In his book, “The Tao of Daily Life”, Derek Lin points out that “in our conflict-oriented culture, we have a tendency to counter force with force. If someone yells at us, we yell back louder. When we feel disrespected, our first impulse is give that disrespect right back…the conventional approach is all about confrontation and clashing. It is the ‘hard’ path to traverse through life because it focuses on the external manifestations of power. Its method is to pump up the self by diminishing others”. Have you seen and experienced what Lin describes in your life & world? Yes, I have…
Lin offers us the Tao approach that “isn’t about confrontation and clashing. Instead, it is all about redirecting and channeling. It is the ‘soft’ path because it focuses on internal strength. Its goal is to improve oneself so that everyone can win…when you make a gut-level decision to commit yourself to this teaching, to be like water and allow the soft to overcome the hard … that is when your world, your life, and your fate will undergo a startling transformation. When you improve your character and elevate your spiritual understanding by utilizing the Tao approach .. that is when your destiny will never the same again!”
As I am getting older, my internal strength and confidence are getting stronger, I have more power to love, let go and forgive. That is the way of Tao.
Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist wrote a poem called “On Children”:
“And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Even this poem was written long time ago, as both a son and a father, I think it is out of date. As a son, I always want to be that arrow; as a father, I hope to be that bow. May the archer, the creator of life help me.
In Francine Jay’s book, “Lightly: how to live a simple, serene, and d stress-free life”, she wrote, “When we’re fluid, we let people, possessions, and ideas move into and out of our lives without becoming attached to them. We go through life with open arms, ready to welcome and to release. Instead of being rigid in our views and set in our ways, we greet change with flexibility, curiosity, and a sense of humor”.
Being fluid is the practice helping me to live through the pandemic.
We just had our first snow in Vancouver. My daughter and I had a meaningful conversation on our way to church this morning (I was going to do the service and she’ going to record it).
Daughter: Dad, why is February coldest?
Dad: It is because we are in the transition between winter and spring. That is the law of the nature. Before it becomes warmer, it is always very cold. When we experience severe cold, we should have hope that warmer weather actually is not far away from us.
Dad: It also applies to my aspects of our life. Therefore, do not give up and lose hope when you feel you life is messed up and you can’t handle the pain/chaos/difficulty anymore. Just hold on for a little bit longer…
In Ashely Davis Bush’ book, “The Little Book of Inner Peace”, she wrote, ” An amazing truth is that your body and mind respond to what you imagine, even if it isn’t real. For example, your body will relax, whether you literally lie in the sun on the beach or visualize yourself lying in the sun on the beach….Once you have your time and place, summon the details in your mind’s eye: temperature, sounds, smells, sights and tastes. Direct you attention to the positive feelings and associations that arise in your body – warm heart, relaxed feelings, a smile, and so on. Breathe in deeply and let the feelings of well-being expand within you.”
I really appreciate her concept here and I do believe these exercises should be able to help us to cope with our vacation/travel/social gathering hunger. However, I have problem with her title for these exercises, “instant travel”. My imagination is not that rich. While I was trying hard to visualize travels it was very hard for me to feel relaxed. I think I need to adjust my expectation and itinerary, or a good experience in the past should also helps. The point is we have ways to let the feelings of well-being expand within us.