Tao Girl

Share/Bookmark: 

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? What does faith or mindfulness mean to you? This is the place to explore your soulful side and the mind/body connection.

Tao Girl

tao girl - Girl Zone

What Is Tao?

 Tao (which you will remember is pronounced
“Dow”) is an ancient Chinese philosophy. It isn’t a religion and that is a very important fact to remember. That means whatever religion you follow you can also understand and follow the teaching of the Tao.

TIME TO DEFINE philosophy—a way of thinking, your values and beliefs

What is Tao?

Around 2,500 years ago in China, a wise man named Lao-tzu wrote a book called the Tao Te Ching as a way of sharing his wisdom with the rulers of the cities within
China. The hope was that, by following his words, those rulers would make life easier for all of the people of the country. There is really no definite way to prove that
Lao-tzu was actually the author of this book because it happened so long ago, but many believe that is the case.
Regardless of who wrote it, the wisdom of Tao has lived for centuries.

The word Tao translates to our word “path” and is often called the philosophy of nature because it reminds us that every creature in life seems to find its own path without
getting in its own way.

We humans tend to try to control our futures and often end up frustrated and unhappy. By following the Tao we learn to understand that life sometimes hands us stumbling blocks. When we accept that and find a way around these challenges, rather than fighting them, we can continue on with our lives more contentedly.

There are four principles of the Tao that help us understand just what that all means: tzu jan, wu-wei, te, yin and yang.

TZU JAN  -  Of Itself So

LISTEN UPIt starts with a dream.  Dreams are how we figure out where we want to go. Life is how we get there.  Always allow time for traffic.” —Kermit

Tzu jan (pronounced “sue ron”) is the part of Tao that reminds us that our lives follow a natural path with many changes and challenges. It is sort of like the river racing
downstream, flowing over soft sand and then big hard rocks. No matter what, the river keeps flowing, finding its path.

I suspect you have experienced tzu jan in your life;  everyone does.

Let me share with you a story that Julia J. told me when I met her last year. Julia was happily living in Kansas when her mom announced that she and Julia’s dad were getting a divorce. Now, that’s difficult enough news to handle, but her mom also declared that Julia and her mom were going to be the ones to move out of the house. In fact, they were moving to Texas. Tomorrow.

The moving van was on its way and as of the very next day Julia would be uprooted and beginning a new life thousands of miles away from the place that had been home for all of her thirteen years.

I need to stop here for a moment and talk about Julia’s mom. At first it would seem that she was being mean by making Julia pack up and move out with so little notice.
You might feel, as Julia did, that she should have handled this in a better way; perhaps give Julia more notice before the move or discuss the situation with her daughter and ask her what she’d like to do. But you need to remember that this was a big change for Julia’s mom, also. She was struggling to do the best she could during a very rough time in her life. When Julia finally realized that her mom was also hurting, it was a bit easier to accept the situation.

This is tzu jan. A big hard rock plopped in the middle of what Julia thought was a very safe and calm stream of life.  She and I talked a long time about this upheaval and
how the understanding of tzu jan could help her. And it did. (You’ll read more of Julia’s story in Tao Girl's Chapter Five:Accepting.)

MINI CHALLENGE What would you do if you were in Julia’s situation?

WU-WEI - Not Forcing

LISTEN UPI’ve realized that being happy is a choice.”— Angelina Jolie

 Wu-wei (pronounced woo way) means “not forcing” a situation to be what it isn’t. If you find you have to move to another town, as Julia J. did, and don’t want to leave — well, kicking and crying won’t help. Making the best of the situation is the way to go.

Have you ever fought so hard against something that all you ended up doing was making everyone around you unhappy — especially yourself? Perhaps you were asked
by your parents to go to your grandmother’s 85th birthday when what you’d really rather do is go to the spring party at school with your best friends.

Shauna K. had that happen to her. She remembers how it all turned out: Even though she knew going to her grandmother’s birthday celebration was the right thing to do and was important, she was so upset about missing the spring party that she had a major blow up with her folks. Shauna did go to her grandmother’s with her parents (almost dragged into the car, actually), had a miserable time and took much of the joy out of the event for herself and others because of her gloomy attitude. It was afterwards that Shauna realized how important the birthday celebration was, admitted that the food was terrific and knew her grandmother was so happy to have the entire family around her.

This is an example of wu-wei — being in a situation that you don’t want to be in. But Shauna did not follow the Tao way because she tried to fight, rather than accept, the situation. If she had understood wu-wei, she would have recognized that her parents were determined to have her go with them. Fighting only ended up making everyone — especially Shauna — miserable. By accepting this as a chance to be part of a very important family gathering and going with a good attitude, she would have at least had a nice evening and made many people — especially her grandmother— happy. Quite honestly, as the years passed, she would have always remembered being at the birthday party and might have completely forgotten about the dance. After all, there will be many other dances to attend, but only one grandmother’s birthday party.

MINI CHALLENGE At school tomorrow find three situations that you are “stuck in” (like a class you don’t enjoy) that would be considered wu-wei.

YIN AND YANG - The Two Opposite and Complementary Sides of Life

TIME TO DEFINE- complementary — two parts or things that work together to complete a whole or make something perfect.

LISTEN UPThe way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton

The Yin and Yang show us that all of life is made up of opposites. But they don’t conflict with each other; rather they complement each other.

Yin is the female: the dark, the passive, the negative.
Yang is the male: the light, the active, the positive.
These two forces in the universe, according to Taoism, are found in the seasons, our food and all of nature. The words mean “shaded” and “sunny” as in the shaded and
sunny sides of a hill. The shaded side (yin) is associated with everything dark, earthy and female while the sunny side (yang) was bright, dry and active and male.

There is always some yang within yin, and some yin within yang. Chinese philosophers stressed the importance of balance between the two to keep harmony in all parts of
our lives. When you go through tough times, it is important to remember yin and yang because it’s those difficulties that, in the end, teach you very valuable and positive lessons.

Ups and downs don’t conflict — they help you grow into a more confident and stronger woman.

MINI CHALLENGE Think about three examples of yin and yang at work in your life — like dropping your donut on the ground but finding a dollar bill when you bend down to pick it up.

 TE - Being the Best YOU That You Can Be

LISTEN UP “I really don’t know how to be anyone else, and whenever I try to be anyone else, I fail miserably.  Or I disappoint myself.  It doesn’t build my self-esteem, and it doesn’t help me grow me at all .” — Queen Latifah

Te (pronounced “day”) tells us to be the best people we can be without comparing ourselves to others.
That means accepting and being proud of your strengths while forgiving yourself for your limitations. It is natural to want to compare yourself to the celebrities you see in the magazines and on television. It is very human to contrast your attributes against someone who you see walking around the halls of your school. Perhaps you know of a girl who is always the star on the softball field because her pitching arm is so very strong. Maybe there’s a classmate who always gets A’s in the subjects that are most difficult for you. It could be that the guy you want to date has decided he’d rather be with someone else because she’s “prettier” or “more popular” than you are.

TIME TO DEFINE attributes — the qualities that make you YOU.

Well, I’ve got to tell you — that’s life. There will always be someone who does something better than you do, or looks different than you look. And when you decide that
you’re not “as good” as that other person you’re setting yourself up to dislike yourself by ignoring your strong points.
 
Everyone has good and positive qualities and it is up to us all to recognize our strengths and be happy with who we are. When you understand te, you will begin to love
yourself and your abilities and you’ll forgive yourself when you can’t do something just like someone else does. You are uniquely YOU and that is something to be very, veryproud of!

There is so much more we can all learn about this fabulous philosophy of Taoism, but it would take a lifetime to understand it all. When you begin, however, to use even
these four principles in your life you’ll discover how much happier and more content you can be — especially when you hit one of those stumbling blocks along the way.

Now let’s see just how “dynamic” can join forces with the Tao so you can be a Tao-Girl and have a Tao and dynamic attitude in your life.