A Time to Be Strong

This is a photo of me as a baby in the mud. I thought it was a perfect photo for the topic of control (or lack thereof!) Looks like I was either having some serious fun in the mud or I was not happy…not sure which! (I’ve been waiting for a good moment to share this funny picture!)

Reflections on Chapter 29 of the Tao Te Ching:

One who wishes to control the world
and act with force upon it
will not succeed.

The world is a sacred vessel
and cannot be controlled.

For trying to control it,
one destroys it.

For trying to hold it,
one loses it.

There is a time for leading,
and a time to follow.
There is a time to breath in,
and a time to breath out.
A time to be strong,
and a time to be weak.
A time to overcome,
and a time to fail.

The sage abandons all excess,
avoids extravagance,
and rejects indulgence.

This chapter is really about control.

There is a quote by Thoreau about a butterfly…

“Happiness is like a butterfly:
the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”– Thoreau

 If we can just let go of the things we can’t control.  So many things are beyond our control. It is important to relax and notice. Our bodies are such a barometer of our lives. Our bodies tell us everything. It is constantly giving us signals. That is what our body does! We have this ability to really be able to know when we are controlling.

Control shows up as tension in the body.

Whenever you have tension, there is a gripping sensation. What are you trying to control? What are you afraid of? Fear and control manifest in a very similar way. Fear is usually a fear of “loss of control”. That is where it comes from.  For example, a fear of bees (which I have). If I could control the bees and say, “OK, you are not allowed to be near me,” I would be fine. It seems to show up when I want things to be my way and they are not. I get that fear. It shows up in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it shows up as anger. Sometimes, with the bees, it shows up as freaking out. I want things to be one way and they just aren’t that way.

Everything always works out fine in the end. It always does. If you can let go and trust that, things work out beautifully and we don’t have that excess. You can feel when there is that excess. You can feel things starting to get out of control, in a sense. You feel it in your body that something is just not right and you need some help. You can ask for it.

You can ask for help in many ways.

It isn’t asking for help as a sign of weakness, it is asking for help as a sign of strength. A sign that you are strong enough in your understanding of yourself that you know when you are able to get help from others.

I sometimes think, if I was a sage, how would I behave? Sages are so respected and honored. Would they really ask for help? Well, maybe not in an “I can’t do it, can you help me do it” kind of way but I am certain that they do. If I was a sage, would I ask for help? I would. Definitely.  In fact, the more I practice my spiritual path – the more connected that I am to my journey, the more comfortable I feel in asking for guidance from my higher self.  This has been a big part of my personal discovery.

I have learned that there is definitely guidance out there for me.

Not only is there guidance, but there is guidance that is just itching for me to ask for help! It wants me to ask! My own specific guidance does not have a clear name yet or a clear identity. For some, it is a particular angel. For others, it is the Big Man Upstairs. For me, it is the Universe. So it’s an IT.  (Perhaps more discussion on this in later posts?)

Do you ask for help? Who are your helpers? What do you think about my control conversation? Does any of this ring a bell for you? Please share your comments in the space below!

This post is part of my contribution to the Ultimate Blog Challenge. If you are part of that challenge, please say hello and I will check out your blog as well! If you are a blogger and are not a part of the challenge, it is worth a look! It’s a great opportunity to share and be shared.

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  1. Such a great message for me who has struggled with control at various times of my life. I love the picture of you and find it interesting that just last night I added playing in the mud to my bucket list. Can’t wait to connect in person this week:)
    Michele Bergh recently posted…Satisfaction is Never Found in ThingsMy Profile

    • That is funny, Michele! I must admit that, doing the Warrior Dash, it was the first time I had played in mud in a really long time. Kinda fun. Kinda icky! I found that baby picture a few weeks ago and wanted to post it on here, but it just didn’t fit. It needed the right moment. This used to be a slide and every time we would do a slide show with our family, I would look forward to seeing this picture because it was so funny!

      Looking forward to our get together also!

  2. I was lucky to learn this lesson earlier in my life rather than later. As Viktor Frankel points out in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, about the only thing we actually have control over is our attitude.

    When I was 20-something I had a very specific career goal in mind and I did what I had to do to move in that direction. The universe continually redirected me to move me in a different direction. Finally I gave up and followed the path that was laid out for me by the universe and have had great success in that career. And now in the later years, I have become a change agent with the education, knowledge and the support to help change the lives of at-risk youth which, through the ripple effect, may change entire communities.

    Questions are the key to knowledge and receptivity is the key to the answers to those questions.

    I’m looking forward to following your blog after the challenge ends. Thank you for sharing your insights.
    Julia Neiman recently posted…20 Entrepreneurship Proverbs: Ancient Thoughts on Developing an Entrepreneurial MindsetMy Profile

    • That is cool, Julia. Funny how that is, we truly are guided throughout life. It is the little things…if we pay attention to those little niggles in our bodies and spirits, they let us know. Sounds like you are listening. I think that it is great that you are very conscious of the impact that you are having and that you see that in your life. Not many can admit to knowing that. Truthfully, I think we all have a great impact on the lives around us no matter what we do – good or bad. When we think about it that way, it seems much better to step up your game and make that a good one!

      I love you quote about questions and receptivity. That is so true!

  3. Pingback: 29 – Rhythm

  4. Hi who is the translator of your copy of the tao? I like this translation best and would like to use it for an essay. But you know, sources need to be cited. Thanks.

  5. Hello,I really like this post.Control is something that I find hard to master.I am new to the Tao.

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