Little Steps to Success for 2013

Reflections on Chapter 63 of the Tao Te Ching:


Act without doing.
Work without working.

Taste that which has no flavor.

Make great the small,
make many the few.

Return harmfulness with good.

Prepare for difficulty while things are easy.
Take care of big things while they are still small.

The world’s most difficult problems
started out easy.
Great undertakings start from small deeds.

For this reason,
the sage never strives for greatness
and thereby has the ability to achieve great things.

One who lightly commits to great deeds
rarely keeps his word.

Don’t take things lightly
or they will surely become difficult.

The sage confronts difficulties
and therefore in the end has none.

Some things just come easy.

Do you ever wonder while you are struggling with something that perhaps it is just not meant to be? The Tao seems to tell us, again and again, to just calm our jets and let things happen. The natural way isn’t necessarily easy, but it is the way things want to flow – like water.

Sometimes our messages are subtle. 

Tasting that which has no flavor is about paying attention. Everything has a flavor, but in our “gimme now” culture in the U.S., we want everything to be handed to us on a silver platter. We want it to be tasty and loud so we can hear it, but so much of what we are meant to learn is very quiet and may seem tasteless at first bite.

I have been reading up on Paleo diets recently.

I first read about it on Mark’s Daily Apple, but then also have read similar dietary suggestions on and on Zen Habits. Not sure if they are all “Paleo” per se, but all pretty much focused on eating better. Many have said that once they start eating more healthy foods, they start to taste better and sugary stuff loses it appeal. I think that this is definitely an interesting phenomenon and why I am mentioning it here. Not sure if Lao Tzu was suggesting good eating habits, but I know that good eating and good spiritual practices often go hand in hand.Since we are close to the new year, and many of you may be making some resolutions to trim the fat in many parts of your lives, I thought that this chapter held some particularly good ideas for this.

“Great undertakings start from small deeds.”

For any changes that you want to make in your life, you have to start somewhere. It doesn’t help things to go all out and try and change everything at once. Pick one thing and just focus your energy on one day of change instead of promising yourself the entire year. What can you do TODAY to make your life better?

Find a way to commit to this one thing every single day.

The “Twelve Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous has been a great tool that has helped millions of people to overcome the effects of alcoholism, so perhaps this simple step can help you this year to make it a great year.


What do you think? I would love to hear from you. If you have been reading for a while and have not commented, I want to hear from you! Please say hello in the comments or hit one of the sharing buttons in the top of the right column to share this post with your friends. I appreciate hearing from you.


Happy New Year, Everyone!




  1. A great post, I really enjoyed reading it.
    Athena Brady recently posted…Athena Brady’s Book Reviews December 2012My Profile

  2. I agree with you, Amy, food seems to play a huge role in our spirit – however you want to define it (whether good eating habits were a part of Lao Tzu’s intent or not). Who doesn’t get sluggish and irritable when eating the wrong foods and energized and open when healthy intake is the norm? One of the big items this year (I do believe weather patterns play a role in what our bodies need – makes sense if you think about all life as interconnected)that seemed to have me and my produce clients craving tons was lettuce. Oddly, head lettuce wouldn’t grow here (unseasonably hot and dry) but the loose leaf was fantastic. I was planting every two weeks and couldn’t keep up with demand. I feel different (worse) without this primary food item in my diet. Didn’t expect this to affect my energy so much. So, this ‘taste that which has no flavor’ verse kind of struck me as interesting. It’s amazing how much flavor (and texture and color) lettuce has fresh, chemical-free and when you’re savoring it as a primary diet component. This is a food item most would define as tasteless. Funny, actually – I used to too (my favorite part of a salad used to be the dressing).
    Nanette Levin recently posted…Animals and kids teach us how to sell well – and appreciate lifeMy Profile

    • You are so awesome, Nanette. I had to laugh when I read your bit about Lao Tzu not intending dietary discussions! Yes, I knew when I was writing it that perhaps I was digressing a bit. Sometimes I feel like I just want to add my own stuff once in a while. Perhaps this year I will do more of that since I am done writing the chapters. I guess that I need to work on refining my weaving things together a bit! lol… You are so wonderful how you always are there with such gentle loving guidance. Thank you.

      I never thought about the weather patterns and diet. That is interesting. I am not a big fan of head lettuce. I have always loved the leafier stuff. The greener, the better! I am so with you on how I feel when I eat good foods. I would love to try and grow some this summer! I must admit, though, the dressing is still a favorite part. (hee hee) I just love salad with lots of veggies! The more the merrier!

      • Amy, honestly, I wasn’t making a call on what Lao Tzu’s intent was – you know this text far better than I do :-). My point was I think the idea of diet affecting spiritual enlightenment is a valid one. On the impact of weather on our rhythms (and food needs), this isn’t something I had considered either prior to being introduced to Chinese medicine. I’ve noticed since there’s a huge value in understanding and applying some of this. I’m much more prone to go to warming foods on days like today, for example, while recognizing what cools and the adverse effect. Hope you’re staying warm as these storms pass through the North.
        Nanette Levin recently posted…Are you on the right trail for small business success?My Profile

  3. I agree about the food too and started looking at the paleo diet a couple of months ago. Now that it’s just me, I can focus on what works for my diet and definitely want to make some changes. I love your idea of choosing one thing and committing to it for the day.
    Michele Bergh recently posted…Deepest Fear – Free Inspirational DownloadMy Profile

    • Have you looked at the tiny habits website? I mentioned it in the post. This is a superb way to make little changes that turn into big ones. Paleo appeals to me. It is close to South Beach, which I have had some success with and have felt much better when eating that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge