Lao Who?

Hey there ,

So, it should be obvious to you now that I am taking a new tact in our discussions. You have, undoubtedly, noticed certain changes in the tone of what I write, my subject matter, and, most obviously, in my closing.

For some time I have signed off with the simple phrase, “Stay strong.” I used this because I wanted to leave you with the subtle reminder that you already are strong and it was my job just to remind you of it and encourage you to explore it.

Since I returned from St. Petersburg, we’ve been exploring the idea that you are already perfect, as you are, right now and I sign off with a celebration of that fact, “to your perfect imperfection.” The change is a reflection of my own desire to be more effective in my work and to do the most good.

Too many of us feel that there are things we have to do before we “get started.” We don’t recognize or embrace our strengths because we’re too busy focusing on our weaknesses. This why the idea of your perfect imperfection is so important. There’s nothing you have to do.

Which brings us to a seeming contradiction. Namely, if we are already perfect, what’s left to do? Why run a gym? Why post these emails? Why exert effort? If we’re already perfect, what’s left to do?

“By doing nothing. Nothing is left undone.”

— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Of course, at first blush this quote can be downright annoying. What are you talkingabout Lao Tzu? How can I do nothing and get everything done? If I stay in bed all day I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid, the laundry stays in the hamper and very soon stuff starts to fall apart.

Lao Tzu is crafty little devil. He loves nuance and subtlety. What he really means is “Don’t force it.”

When looking at your perfect imperfection you have to see the whole package. Yes, we all have deficiencies. Somethings we don’t do as well as others, but our weaknesses are balanced by our strengths.

Our passions and our drives are part of our perfection and yes, they drive us to “do things.” So do our fears and insecurities. The difference is that one side opens, spontaneously, like a flower. The other is closed, tight and forced.

Think of it this way, how often have things you did because you were “supposed to do them” worked out? Especially when viewed in light of the things you did because you wanted to. “Supposed to” requires effort. You had to make yourself do them. “Wanted to” often seems to happen all its own.

I believe there is a spiritual quality to our lives. If this doesn’t jive with you, I understand, but you might consider bailing now, because this one is pretty central to my view on all other things.

I don’t pretend to know God, whether he’s male or female or both, what name he/she/it prefers to be called, or what rules and regulations define me as a member of the good team or the bad team.

I do perceive that there is a quality to life that exceeds the merely physical. There are times when I’ve been able to step outside myself and watch with emotional detachment the goings on of myself and the world around me. For lack of a better explanation, I embrace the idea that we are spiritual beings on a material plane here for a purpose, one that we agreed to before we came here and that a part of our lives must be spent rediscovering that purpose, the remainder in fulfilling that purpose.

We are here to do something. But the first step in achieving that something is to get out of our own way. As spiritual beings in material bodies we are subject to the whims and mechanizations of being physical. We feel fear and hunger and anger and lust. These feelings motivate us and often drive our actions, steering us away from the nobler actions motivated by love and joy and compassion and respect.

The cool thing about this life is that we are a constant flux of competing emotions, motivations and desires, a constant interplay of yin and yang forces. At every moment, on every step of this journey we are exactly where we need to be.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
— Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, I couldn’t have said it any better.

To your perfect imperfection,


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Filed under Empowerment, Motivation, Perfect Imperfection, Personal Development, Recovery, Self Help, Strength

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