Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When is enough enough?

I have been contemplating the Tao Te Ching's concept of enough is enough. It says - When overfilled, the cupped hands drip, so better to stop pouring. Our society has really taken on a more is better attitude. We think that we have to have more to be happy. From our food portions (I'm quite guilty of this one) to our vehicles, Americans tend to want more and want it as big as possible, not to mention they want it NOW. I find myself falling prey to this alot, falling for the old marketing ploy of why get 1 for $3 when you could get 2 for $5. I think it's this line of thinking that Lao Tzu was warning against.

A glass can only hold so much water. No matter how much more you pour, no more will make it into the glass. I equate this to the thought that things can only make you so happy. So if you have some things, buying more things will likely not effect your happiness level much. Where if you stop and look at those things you already had, you may find that you can be quite happy just appreciating what you have.

It also talks about how filling a house with gold and jade breeds only insecurity. It makes sense to me that in theory the man with nothing to lose feels no need to lock his door at night. Having very valuable possessions makes someone fearful of losing them. I used to be that way with diamond jewelry my husband bought me, I was afraid to wear it for fear the chain would break or I would somehow lose this expensive gift. One day my husband asked why I never where a particular piece, so I told him. He wisely responded, "Honey, I did not buy that for you, hoping you would lock it away and never wear it. I'd rather you wear it always and enjoy it, even if one day it does get lost, then it would be worth it because it brought you joy that it never can sitting in a box."

Amazing how much my husband teaches me everyday, I hope it's always that way. I think today I'm going to appreciate everything I have in my life, instead of focusing on the few things that may be absent.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lesson well learned

So last night we headed, against my hubby's better judgement due to weather to Cedar Rapids for a celebration of Yule. Us 3 girls had looked forward to this night for weeks, practically giddy as we departed.

We had great conversation on the way, our expectations were high. Imagine our shock and dismay as we pulled up to the church and it was dark. After jumping out, I read the sign on the door that said Yule celebration moved...to next weekend!! We were beside ourselves with grief for a few minutes. Then, we rallied like champs in my opinion. We headed off to Olive Garden, where we discussed what lesson the universe was teaching us.

We came to several conclusions, I believe all could be right. The one I found most true was that we were so excited to celebrate a holiday with a bunch of strangers, doing it their way, and perhaps we needed to learn that we only needed each other, and our way, whatever it may be. We also hopped over to Barnes and Noble, a favorite haunt of all of ours and stayed until they kicked us out. The ride home consisted of more in depth conversation, that was amazing and enriching in my opinion. I came home thinking about what we talked about and how I can use it in my daily life.

All in all after the night I felt immense Gratitude. It is so amazing to me that these three women can have these in depth conversations, never judging and always with an open mind. From a point of view of learning and growing, which I felt we all did last night. My Yule revelation has to be that I am so lucky to have two friends I love so much. I am truly blessed.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The miracle of water

I have always been a big fan of water. It is no secret amongst my family and friends that I waterfalls with a passion.

The 8th Verse of the Tao Te Ching asks us to contemplate water and its ability to nourish life without even trying. To me, water is like a physical manifestation of the energy (or Tao) that runs through everything. It has the amazing ability to move mountains with its power, yet is gentle enough to bath an infant. Water can take any shape, and has no problem changing course on a moments notice. I believe that's where we get the phrase, "go with the flow." This is a fine example of the Taoist teaching of nonaction. The water does not resist the obstacle, it finds another way around the problem.

A Taoist practicing in life would not be easily upset by anything, trusting that everything is unfolding as it should, and merely looking for the alternative route around whatever problem presented itself.

Welcome to my journey as a Taoist...

I would like to start by saying that I do not take calling myself a Taoist lightly. Although I am new to Taoism as a religion, my religious journey began as I was very young. My parents never really took us to church, my mom being Lutheran and my dad being Methodist, but neither really practicing.

We went to bible school in the summers, so I learned all the Christian basics. I spent a week with my grandparents, with my grandmother who is the most devout and true Christian I've ever met to this day. As a teenager, I felt something missing in my life, and my spiritual search began. I went to no fewer than 6 churches in the town where I live. All were full of nice people who welcomed me with open arms.

Unfortunately, for me, the teachings of all these Churches just didn't speak to me. I went to college right after high school where I met a friend who is Celtic Wiccan, she introduced me to it, and I thought I might be on to something. My last year of college, I met my now husband who is a Pagan. This path interested me a great deal, but there was still something missing.

I began researching every major religion I could come across. I read about Buddhism, which also spoke to me, but it still wasn't what I was looking for. I read the Koran, learned about the Jewish faith, and looked into Baha'i, Hinduism and Mormonism. Non of which was the path I was seeking.

Then, I came across Taoism. From the first translation of the Tao Te Ching I read, I was hooked. I could not believe how much sense this book made. Everything fit. I felt as though a light inside me suddenly flickered on and I could see the way at last.
So I began my journey into Taoism, reading everything I could find from the library and on the Internet. I have never looked back since. Even my family said they saw an amazing change in me, a passion they hadn't seen before.

I now officially call myself a Taoist, because every day I try to think about the Tao and how it effects my life. This blog is just a piece of that. There is not an overabundance of Taoist information out there, so I thought I could help anyone who is where I was to find the true Way.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lost in a sea of blue

OK, so here's the story of my devotion as a daughter/aunt.

My dad came to me and told me that for Christmas he wanted to do something really special for Kylie (my 3 year old niece). He said that she enjoys watching cartoons with Grandpa, and her favorite was Oswald, the big blue octopus. I had no clue what he was talking about, but he said he wanted to find a stuffed Oswald for her to cuddle with while they watch cartoons.

Sounds really sweet right? Well it is, unless you realize that there are no stuffed Octopus' available, anywhere. The only place I found them was on Ebay for the tune of over $200. Not quite the price range my dad had in mind. So I look at him, all disappointed, and my eyes fall on my spanking new sewing machine, then back to Dad, then back to the machine. Awwww, how hard could it be?? Famous last words.

So I set the DVR to tape an episode of Oswald and find my cat's toy jelly fish to use as a pattern. I spent days working out the right way to put it together. Walmart is the only place in town I know of to get fabric, so off I went. I found a nice fleece, a little darker than I wanted, but the lighted blue they had. So anyway, I set about sewing a blue octopus.

All was going well until I realized that while dad had wanted it to be about the size of a basketball, it was fast becoming more the size of a beach ball. It grew and grew as I made it.

I finally finished it today, and I've got to say, I'm pretty proud. While it is obvious that it is homemade, I think you can tell who it is, and that's what'll matter to Kylie. It's also very soft and cuddly.

Here's what he's supposed to look like:

Here's Mine, with a cat in the picture to give you an idea of the size:

Friday, November 28, 2008

2 Down and Ready to Blow

Just back from the 2nd Thanksgiving today, and a wonderful feast it was. My 3 year old niece, Kylie, set the tone for the evening. She was elated from the time we got there to the time we left. She was excited about everything from the mashed potatoes to the marshmallows in the apple salad. Her happiness was totally contagious.

Right before dinner, I was sitting at the table and she was telling me the most fascinating story about flying bears and stolen trucks when finally I asked her, "why are you so happy today?" Kylie looked around at the people next to her and said, "everyone's here, we're all together!" She said this with a tone of how could anyone not be ecstatic when surrounded by these wonderful people. My heart glowed at this amazing little girl who was speaking words that are wise beyond her years.

Anyway, it was a wonderful day overall, the only thing missing for me was Zach who had to go home earlier than we got there. But I think I learned something today, and that makes it a great day for me.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 08

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my family and friends!!

I love the idea of this holiday, in that we should all stop and give thanks for the wonderful things in our lives. It's so easy to get caught up in day to day life and forget how lucky we really are.

I am so thankful that I have wonderful friends and family. I am also thankful to have found a new spiritual path this year, it has changed my life in amazing ways. I am thankful for new friends and old. I am so grateful for the understanding of the universe that I have, and that I have so much still to learn.

I am so happy that I can look forward to a life of learning and growing.