My Chinese calligraphy teacher painted this Lao Tzu quote for me. He explained, It means that very good is as purposeful as water. When you give your best effort, everything is good, everything is beautiful.
He paused for a moment after he said, "shui," the Chinese word for water. [Pronounced like way except with a shhh starting sound, as if you're saying shway.] Water feeds every living being, it creates the rivers and the oceans. It's an essential part of life. Giving your best effort is as helpful to your existence as water is to life itself.
I like quotes from Lao Tzu because his words are so often in tune with nature. The ideas in the Dao de jing or Tao te ching represent a connection with our natural surroundings and an acceptance of life as it flows. The tao or dao is a way of life.
For me, an acceptance of life as it flows required an acceptance of neglect in my early life even as it required an acceptance of abundance in certain regard.
The personalities in my immediate family lack empathy; exhibit minimal conflict resolution skills; and tend to minimize and devalue ideas. No matter which avenue I try, I won't change their personalities to act considerate, interested, and consistent with me. I used to think that if everyone could just talk it out, things would be ok, people would get along. I saw communication as an answer with every conflict. When I thought of communication, I saw it as people having a conversation and being open and honest with each other. I thought people did this naturally just like me.
Then I experienced life situations in which communication merely prolonged misery. I began to see how people may know how to manipulate and practice that action as if it's a right. These people maintain personalities that extort, abuse, and/or hurt. The worst of these personalities lie straight to your face, sometimes with a smile. Some annoying personalities act oblivious to their actions. I work with a couple of people who offer advice left and right regardless of whether it's requested. Perhaps they believe they are acting helpful. I've reached a point where I say, "I'm aware of that, thanks," or "I'm familiar with [insert software application], thanks."
Truth told, sometimes I listen to explanations regardless of whether I know the answers. People may offer information that's new to me, so I go along with the basics because different material may appear. Is that kind of like a lie? Hm.
My qigong instructor repeats himself almost every week. He says almost exactly the same words in the same order -- mostly instruction about what not to do. I remind myself that his instruction is about him and his perceptions rather than my reality. I remember the saying from Lao Tzu, and I breathe deeply.
Well hello there.