Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learn by example

Another blog I follow recently put two quotes together that were especially meaningful to me recently, so I thought I would share. They come from two completely different cultures, but carry the same amazing insight.

Therefore the good person
is the teacher of the bad person
The bad person is the resource of the good person
Those who do not value their teachers
And do not love their resources
Although intelligent, they are greatly confused
- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching Chapter 27

“I have learned silence from the talkative; tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.”
- Kahlil Gibran

I realized recently that I am really adept at learning what NOT to do by watching others, probably more so than what TO do. My brother has always been my prime example of this type of learning. He showed me behaviors that were destructive and apathetic when he was in high school. I saw the results he garnered from such behavior and said to myself, "There's a better way." I feel blessed that he was there to teach me without having to go through the hard lessons myself. We are now polar opposite people, yet my gratitude for him remains. He frustrates me to no end, mind you, but I love the dirtbag even if he's stubborn and doesn't take my advice ever, lol.

A few years back, I was able to look at the frustrating behavior of another family member and see it in myself. I hated the way I felt when she treated me a certain way and was horrified to think that I was frequently making people feel that same way. What a revelation! This was the beginning of a complete personality transformation for me, one that is an ongoing process because old habits die hard, you know. I realized that making other people feel bad was a poor way to make them want to meet my already high expectations. So I not only tried to stop the potentially hurtful behavior, but I also examined those expectations (which I had of myself as well) and lower them to a much more reasonable level which was easily attainable by others. And Voila! I am so much happier for it.

The point of this trip down memory lane was to illustrate the power I see in these words of showing gratitude to those who not only taught us how to be a good person, but also to show gratitude to those who showed us how to not be a bad person.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Food for Thought

I watched a documentary this weekend called Fathead and it really made me start thinking about what I know about nutrition and health. The premise of the movie was to dispute the Supersize Me documentary by eating only fast food for a month and actually losing weight. The fact that the guy watched calories made that feat slightly less impressive, but the interesting part was that he actually lost more weight than his calorie deficit projected. That intrigued me, to say the least.

There was also a lot of information concerning the vilification of saturated fats. This one was new for me. In all my nutritional reading and studies I had never come across the concept that not only is saturated fat not bad for you, it actually has health benefits in your body. This one really affected me, because even when I don't watch my calorie intake, I have always tried to keep the saturated fat to a minimum. Obviously more research is required before making drastic changes to our diet. But until then, what do I eat? I was so flummoxed by these new concepts that I introduced my mom and friend to it, hoping for some more insight. Of course as it turns out, I may have done them a disservice. They were equally flummoxed, so now we are all lost.

Today, it seems clear that while more research is happening, I shall return to my Taoist roots. I have read many different takes on the Taoist philosophy of eating, but overall, I believe that the Tao doesn't have a 'good food' or 'bad food' list. Different foods have different properties which may be helpful at different times for different people. As much as a list of foods to always avoid seems handy, it is also limiting and makes a person feel restricted. But all of the articles I have read about Taoist food speak of limiting or avoiding certain foods, but never depleting it from the diet entirely with the exception of processed food.

For me, I think it all boils down to trusting nature. Nature made us to eat both meat and vegetable, therefore I think I shall. Nature made us to think about food in an entirely different way than most animals, so I think I shall. Nature gave me the ability to research and make an informed decision, and I think I shall.

But until then, I will try to keep a good balance, and remember that everything in moderation is usually a safe philosophy. I will avoid any foods which are known to have no nutritional value. I will try and eat foods which are a close to nature as possible, preferably cooked by my own hands, if cooked at all. But mostly I will realize that there may never be a clear cut answer and this is all a part of my journey on this Earth.

Friday, March 18, 2011


If you overlook the Way right before your eyes,
how will you recognize the path beneath your feet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Even after all this time, The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe me."
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.
~ Hafiz

I find this to be an incredibly profound poem. Selfless love is the hardest love to find, but is the path to true happiness. I believe we all could benefit from changing our outlook from one of entitlement to one of gratitude. Just some food for thought.

Journey from the Stream to Blogger

I am a Taoist blogger that had a blog on Blogstream for a few years. That site is shutting down and I am currently trying to decide where my home should be. I think there is a real possibility that I could end up here.

My blog will be about my random experiences and how I attempt to use Taoist philosophies to guide me through them.

I always welcome any comments or questions, I only ask that you remain polite.