The oft neglected Tao Te Ching project

As I am picking up a blogging project that has faltered and stalled over the last year and a half, I thought it was worthwhile to just re-introduce you all to it, so that if you drop in mid-stream you aren’t trying to figure out what I’m talking about.

25 Forgotten Walt Disney Read-Along Books and RecordsAnybody remember those read-along books that came with a 7″ record that you listened to while you followed along in the book (complete with magic sounds to tell you when to turn the page)? Well this is sort of like that, so grab yourself a copy of of Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching and read each chapter as I pull key lines from it and expound on what it means to me (in that moment anyway, every time I read it something else grabs me and runs me on a different tangent).

You could call this a sort of Taoism for Dummies, a read-along series for those wanting to understand the paradoxical nature of Taoism, letting go, and just being.

This was originally supposed to be a project laid out over a few months; now, as the path to true happiness lies in lower expectations (and I now have several other projects in full swing), I’m aiming to average about one post a week on this theme, which will land me into 2015 before I finish it. So lots of time for you to go back to the beginning, catch up and follow along amid all the hubbaballoo that is the rest of your life.

Oh, and I’d love your comments – even on the old posts. Everybody has a different spin on what any of these topics means to them, and often one of those perspectives lights something up in somebody else, helps them see it in a way that is more meaningful to them. So please do share that perspective, and light that spark of understanding in someone else …maybe even me, I’m still learning too!

ToV 24 – the idea of you isn’t YOU

The idea of the thing is not the thing. This is a throwback to chapter 1, and a more personal extrapolation of the same idea. This chapter is full of couplets like:

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.

But the one I really like is:

He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.

For me this is all about stop trying to be the thing you think you should be and just be whatever it is you are. Granted, who we are are ever-evolving beings and what we are now is not what we were, or what we may become; but that is all the more reason Continue reading

Sohbet – hot shot: humiliation

A hot shot writers prompt this weekend (one word cues a 5 minute writing sprint) got me writing the first poem I’ve concocted in nearly a year – yes ten tragic poetically void months.

So here it is, comments by other writers on the same prompt pending, and hopefully your poetic responses too. Let’s spark up this sleeping sohbet!


I cocked it up again
The words spilled out

Not the right time
Not the right place
Not the right thoughts

Flushed with shame
I tuck my exposed self
Back under my skin


lookit the monkey driving the bus!

After finally curing myself of my compulsion to argue with reality (pausing while ya’ll laugh your asses off at that…) I have discovered I’ve just transferred this habit to arguing with people about whether or not THEY are arguing with reality. …yes, I know what that sounds like when I say it out loud, but at least I know I’m doing it. Ever since I came back from my retreat my groovy peaceful has been tested as I get caught up in these debates with people being irrational.  Inside my head I am shouting OH MY GOD I AM NOT A TREE I AM NOT A TREE, and while this gets me some points for self awareness, it’s really not going well in the outside world.

MaggieSimpsonDrivingBut I had a great insight during meditation; a paradigm shift that has cured me of arguing with others about their arguing with reality Continue reading

Ask Me if I am a Tree

Hey I'm a tree“Ask me if I am a tree…” in my teen years this was my best friend’s favourite riddle. The answer is: “no.”

Yeah… I still don’t get it either; but when you’re hopped up on slurpies and skittles things are funny even if you don’t know why. Questionable humour aside, this may be my new prayer to self centering. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I don’t know when or how I lost that sense of connection and groundedness I used to have, but I know when I really started to notice it. This summer started a game I have come to call: Pass the Crazy. Everyone in my sphere has been going through some flavour of crazy-making stress, or doing some fine self-generated crazy for internal reasons, or some combination thereof. Including myself, as per being flooded out of my home. Traditionally how things work with my friends is a trading of support, when you’re in the crazy tree you reach out to somebody on the ground. Trouble was, NOBODY was on the ground. It was really just a matter of who was on a lower branch of the crazy tree. So there we sat, just passing the crazy from one branch to another.

I found being a support to whoever was most crazy when I was feeling my least crazy was frustrating and exhausting, Continue reading