Tao Te Ching Day 24: Flexibility

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Flexibility strikes me today, as a lesson to embody from the Tao Te Ching.

I have been in the process the past few days of working on my alignment as I shared on day 21, I was out of Alignment.  Due to multiple factors, not the least of these has to do with my flexibility.  You see I can be a very stern, disciplined man.  I fight with myself a lot about this fact.  The fact that I fight this fight within is another reason flexibility has been a huge theme in my life.

I had a therapist tell me years ago that I needed to schedule more flexibility into my life, after I told her my schedule for my days.  I was dumbfounded. I thought, “how the hell do you schedule flexibility?” I mean it’s not like I can say, “Ok, Tuesday at 2 o’clock I will be more open to things not going the way I need them too.” 

It’s a fact of life that things happen out of our control all the time and my ability to be flexible means that I cannot schedule flexibility, I must live a flexible life.

“While alive, the body is soft and pliant.

When dead, it is hard and rigid.” TTC – 76 (Lin)

So, how do I live a more flexible life? 

Well, I will tell you. In the process of trying to get my neck and back in alignment again, I did yoga.  And I am not talking about difficult yoga, like you see on tv or in documentaries about crazy Yogis.  I did a 20 minute, lay on the ground, “Love your lower back” yoga.  It was so simple and felt great.  But don’t you know it, I hurt my knee doing it. 

It’s funny when you think about it.  And I knew my body was speaking to me still in that time.  Asking for more flexibility.  You see Lao Tzu mentions in the Tao Te Ching that he only wishes to teach 3 things, Simplicity, Patience, and Compassion. 

The Tao Te Ching is showing me how to use all 3 of these with myself at this moment.

“All living things, grass and trees, while alive, are soft and supple.

When dead, become dry and brittle.

Thus, that which is hard and stiff is the follower of death.

That which is soft, and yielding is the follower of life.” -TTC 76 (Lin)

My body is screaming out for me to be more on the side of life and less on the side of death.  Even by trying to make things better with gentle practices I have been making things worse.  The Tao is teaching me a different type of flexibility.

I am learning to be flexible of mind and spirit.  I lived so many years, needing regimented bodily routine to feel like I was making progress in this world.  However, I am being shown now that a new life is being brought into existence.

I can be with life by being compassionate to myself and resting my body regardless of what my schedule calls for.  I can relax my hold on the dictate of my life by having patience for wherever it is I think I am racing to. 

I can take it easy and simplify things down to what is most important. 

I find this as a more peaceful way to live.  Sure, I could get angry and upset that it seems as if my body is failing me and I may not ever be able to do certain things again. Or, I could see it as the unfolding of my true nature and raising me up to a higher calling. 

The truth of the matter is regardless of how I see it, my willingness to be flexible in this moment is being called upon and if I answer it, I can be a steward of life.

“Therefore, an inflexible army will not win.  A strong tree will be cut down.

The big and forceful occupy a lowly position, while the soft and pliant occupy a higher place.” – TTC 76 (Lin)

The Tao Te Ching teaches that to have compassion for yourself you have to allow that the big strong tree will be cut down.  That the great army will lose.  It is a call to humility, to forgive ourselves in that which we perceive as a low place. If we can be come soft in the process of being squeezed, we will not be killed, we will only be transformed.

I am learning to accept more and more the truth of life on life’s terms.  I had a sponsor once that said, “we accept life on life’s terms. It doesn’t say anywhere that we have to like it.” 

I don’t like that my body is in pain.  I do not like that I can not do the things that I have always done to keep myself in shape.  But I do except them, and I also see how they are creating space for more of what is needed in my life to transform me to the next step along the way. 

We can all be transformed in this way; it is what the Tao is all about.  The Tao is expressing itself in me and I simply must allow it, because fighting it is aligning with death and I ain’t about that.

I hope that whatever you are facing today that you will give yourself the compassion, patience, and simplicity, to be flexible with what ever it is. 

Know that you are being transformed into your highest self.

Happy Day


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

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