An Apology:

From Men, It occurs to me that because guys are portrayed in every available media outlet as stupid, course, unkempt, vulgar, and unable to come up with an original thought, that some of you currently believe that we are all like that. I apologize for you being misled. The truth is that most of us are not like nor have we been like that. We have been called distant and emotionally crippled and while that is true in some cases, in many other cases we are just trying to figure out how we are going to pay the electric bill and the cell phone bill, or why that driver’s side front wheel is making that noise, or what the hell the boss meant by “Changes are on the horizon!” Sometimes we don’t ask for directions when we probably should, but if we are going to use stereotypes, do you follow the recipe exactly every single time? I thought not. So for that, I am sorry that we were three minutes longer getting to your sister’s party which I gladly came along to even though I knew that I was only going to have John to talk with, and John only talks about NASCAR and I loathe NASCAR. I am also sorry that I was less than happy about helping your cousin’s stepsister move again on the weekend that football season started. This was only the third time that she moved this year for not paying her rent and I helped every single time. I am further sorry that I do not look like Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Sean Connery, or Shemar Moore. Granted, they have a team of people that help them look like that and I have my nose hair trimmers and Old Spice, but that is no excuse, I should get the same results. So for all men who have failed time and again to reach minimum expectation, I sincerely apologize.

A Creature of Habit no Longer

I love to read blogs especially those written by people that I know only through their blog.  In most cases, one can get a better vision of that person through his or her writing than if one were to have met the writer in person.  Bloggers can be beautifully raw and painfully real.  I received such an insight on September 6 from a blogger that I have had a conversation with in passing.  This blog entry really resonated with me.  I have wrestled with the desire to answer this blog and it appears that I have decided to clumsily piggyback upon what she so beautifully wrote.

I was once a creature of complete habit.  I sleepwalked through life doing exactly what I had done the day before and that I was (in my mind) destined to repeat the next day.  I had a good job, the respect of my peers, and the love of my family, yet I was miserable and I had no idea why.

I left the job and it was like a small weight was removed.  I was not as financially successful I had to do other less expensive things for entertainment.  This necessitated a change.  Secondly, I took a job in a smaller city.  This made me meet different people who also had different issues which created additional change.  I returned to college, so still more change.  What is the point?  Small changes often snowball into larger changes without our knowledge or notice.  This was 12 years ago.  Since I have spent 6 years living in another country.  I have completed not only a bachelor’s degree but also a masters and a doctorate.  These are things that I would have never dream about in my “previous life”.

A small change can have far-reaching ramifications.  Take that small step.

Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Four

If you stand on your toes, you cannot stand in a steady fashion.  If you run at an unnatural speed, you will not be able to keep up the pace.  One who brags about being enlightened is not.  One that is self-righteous is not respected by others.  Striving to bring attention to one’s self for the sake of gain doesn’t last and he will fall into despair.  To the follower’s of the Tao, these traits of bragging, self-righteousness, and striving are unnecessary and are considered excesses.  The followers of the Tao have no need of these traits and will avoid them.

24

If a person puts his or her body into a position of strain, such as walking on tiptoes or sprinting, he or she will not be able to sustain that effort.  A person who talks of his or her own enlightenment will not be able to sustain that illusion either.  Neither will the self-righteous person be able to sustain that illusion of righteousness for an extended period of time.  People who constantly seek attention will lose the very attention that he or she craves.  To live a peaceful life, both internally and externally, the Sage knows to avoid talk of his or her enlightenment, self-righteousness, and attention seeking.

Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-three

To speak little is natural.  High winds do not last throughout the morning.  Thunderstorms do not last all day.  Why is this so?  It is the Heaven and Earth.  If the Heavens above and the Earth below cannot make these things eternal the how can man?  The one that follows the Tao is always one with the Tao.  The one who is virtuous knows virtue by experience.  Those who don’t follow the way of the Tao are lost and feel abandoned.  Those who follow the way of the Tao are embraced by the Tao.  Those who are at one with virtue will always have virtue with them.  Those who are lost are embraced by abandonment.  Those who cannot trust themselves cannot be trusted by others.

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People often make claims that most reasonable people know to be impossible; however, the more that these claims are repeated, the more people will take them for the truth.  At some point, the speaker will have to produce and if the speaking was bluster then it will be obvious to most reasonable people.  A person who is virtuous will know other virtuous people because he or she knows which quality should be seen.  A person who is not virtuous cannot be trusted because he or she has no trust in him or herself.

Tao Te Ching: Verse Twenty-Two

Yield like water and overcome.  Bend like a palm tree to remain straight.  Be empty like a vase to be full.  Death brings rebirth.  To have little leaves room for more.  Those who have too much are troubled.    The Sage embraces humility to serve as an example for his fellow man.  The Sage is free from the desire of needing recognition.  Therefore his example shines brightly.  His distinction comes not by force or assertion.  He is powerful not by ruling with a heavy hand.  He is chief in not having pride.  He does not compete therefore no one can compete with him.  The ancient Sages say “Yield to overcome.”  Stay whole and all things will come to you.

22

Flexibility to the key to becoming more.  Water takes the path of least resistance when it flows.  Because the palm tree is flexible, it is not broken by the storm like more rigid trees would be.  The vase has its usefulness in being empty.  The end (death) is the start of a new beginning (rebirth).  If a person feels it necessary to pat his or her own back, it is highly unlikely that anyone else will pat it for them.  By doing the best that one can, he or she becomes the example without seeking to be the example.  My favorite line is ” He does not compete therefore no one can compete with him.”  No one can challenge a person that is not competing.