Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: free speech

The Tao of…Me

What is Tao? My understanding comes only from my initial reading of The Tao of Pooh, so it’s pretty limited, but Wikipedia says, “Tao is the natural order of the universe whose character one’s intuition must discern to realize the potential for individual wisdom, as conceived in the context of East Asian philosophy, East Asian religions, or any other philosophy or religion that aligns to this principle. This intuitive knowing of life cannot be grasped as a concept. Rather, it is known through actual living experience of one’s everyday being. Its name, Tao, came from Chinese, where it signifies the way, path, route, road, or sometimes more loosely doctrine, principle, or holistic belief.”

I can be translated as “The Way” and I find it fascinating.

Yesterday’s epic adventure was unexpected, but highly satisfying. It started with a simple breakfast date and Target run but ended up with seeing my boys again, experiencing a bit of engine trouble (no worries, we got this), and getting home FAR later than expected. That last part, the driving home in the dark part, needs to not happen again until I get new glasses. Yikes!

The best part was…

Wait for it…

I have found my purpose!

Let me tell the story. Short version? Sure.

My son needed me, and I was available. That’s it. As we sat there in their kitchen eating burritos we’d picked up across the street, I told them, “I found my purpose.” My oldest chimes in, “Your Tao?”

Hmm…yes! I’ve been wondering for years, maybe my whole life, floating from one thing to the next, not really seeing the big picture. But yesterday, when my son called and I offered to come down and lend moral support, all the pieces fell into place.

I’m the friend that hosts the party. I’m the one that calls and texts to ask what you’re up to and if you’d like to meet for lunch or a hike. I’m the one that picks up the phone when you call and drops everything to make some cookies and visit. I’m here.

My youngest son says, “You’re Pooh, mom. You visit.”

I sighed and smiled. I guess I am. My copy of The Tao of Pooh that they had borrowed was sitting on the table nearby. They’d been reading it.

You’d think that wouldn’t be much of a purpose, but it is. It’s very important. And from now on, instead of grumbling that I have no real mission in this existence when I’m at home alone reading a book or working in the yard, I’ll sit back and realize that I’m resting between projects. At any moment, I may be called into action.

And what about this blog? Is it part of my purpose?

Yes. Listening to The Knowledge Project podcast on the way down to my breakfast date (which is a regular thing I very much look forward to), I heard Sarah Jones Simmer interviewed. I had such a plethora of notes on this podcast, but there were three that stood out to me as somehow connected. Before I went inside, I took a moment to capture the idea with some added commentary.

Note #1 “Just because you question things, doesn’t mean you have the answers or think you know better than others.”

I’ve withheld my thoughts, limited what I write here, because I don’t have the answers, but I question things. Curiosity and questioning (contrary to popular opinion right now) is a good thing. Gender identity, politics, war, public education, Covid…the list goes on and on, I have questions and concerns. Asking out loud things like, “Why are we doing this?” “Is this right?” “What will be the outcome of this kind of thinking?” “Is there some other way?” is not a subversive or malicious activity. The day we all just go along with everything that is happening around us and NOT question it, is the day we begin to lose everything.

New slogan: “Questions and curiosity are not a crime!”

Note #2 “Let’s not let the craziest and loudest of us take over all the conversation in the world. Keep speaking your thoughts and quit hiding your light.”

It’s terrifying to speak your mind (especially online) these days and more of us (including myself) need to start facing our fears. We cannot let the lunatics run this asylum.

Another podcast I was listening to last week mentioned “fringe ideas” and related them to garage bands. 99.99% of garage bands suck, but garage bands are where the great new music comes from. It’s the same with ideas. If we ban them, silence voices because we disagree, shut down people we don’t like, we miss discovering the .01% that results in awesome innovation. We need to allow people to speak their minds, throw ideas around, and be crazy, but we also need to know most of those ideas won’t work, they may even be really bad ideas, but if we ban them, ban books, ban speech, ban blogs, we end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

I speak/write from a place of curiosity, empathy for others, and with positive intent to understand and respect others. Yes, sometimes I’ll hurt feelings, make someone mad, or even make a mistake in judgement. I am still a good person, and so are you.

Note #3 “Do I have coaches? Coaches help you arrive at your own decisions and create a safe space to talk thoughts and ideas out.”

If coaches can be books, magazines, blogs, and podcasts, yes, I do. For me, this blog counts as a relatively safe space to talk out some ideas. And I have a few very close friends and family that I can bounce ideas around with face to face and they mean the world to me.

These ideas are in no way fully formed, but they led me closer to understanding my Tao, my own personal way of taking up space in this world. So, even though things did not go as I had expected them to yesterday, it ended up being a very productive day and all because my son needed me.

Before I get the look from people about kids becoming adults… He didn’t call me because he isn’t smart, mature, or capable of taking care of himself, but because together is always better than alone. Interdependence is what works best. Community is more efficient. But that’s a whole other blog post.

Today I’m relaxing in the peaceful quiet of home and reading more of Disneyanity by Douglas Brode. I may even watch a Disney movie!

Tony Robbins, Aimlessness, and Free Speech

Yes, I finished reading The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight this morning, I’m too mentally and physically exhausted to write about today, as I was once again out galivanting around Southern California yesterday. Instead, I shall leave you with a quick Podcast Roundup!

On Purpose with Jay Shetty: Tony Robbins on: Breaking Negative Thinking & Unlock the Unlimited Potential of Your Mind

I’m not a Tony Robbins fan, but I do commonly find that even people I’m not in love with have wisdom to share. This one, though…I’m not sure if it was because my back and shoulder were hurting so much on the drive (I somehow hurt myself (hoeing, lol) pulling weeds last weekend), but the whole conversation was exhausting. I guess I’m not that much of a “driven” kind of person. All I wanted to do was yell at them to take a freakin’ breather.

Yeah, I was grumpy. But I did get a few little gems out of it.

We humans tend not experience life directly and in all it’s glory. We experience what we focus on. And we usually look for what’s missing instead of what we already have.

Also, humans tend to unconsciously mirror each other. What everyone else if feeling and projecting, so shall we. Pay attention to your surroundings, the people you interact with, the books you read, the tv/news you watch.

He also mentioned some ideas from The 4th Turning by William Strauss, which I thought I’d read in the past, but it’s not on my shelf, so maybe I heard of it or read about it somewhere else. I think it may be a book recommended by Oliver DeMille and his Leadership Education model. I will be adding it back to my TBR list.

Secular Buddhism: Aimlessness

The old “You’re not lost if you have nowhere you are supposed to be” thing. Sounds crazy to our “go get ‘em” culture, but it resonates with me. Aimlessness is one of the Three Doors of Liberation. It means letting go of where you think you should be and embracing where you are.

Hmm…suddenly I realized that this is related to the previous podcast.

Conversations With Coleman: The History of Free Speech with Jacob Mchangama

Book: Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media by Jacob Mchangama

I love the people that Coleman has on his show and this one really got me going, even on the long, later than I had expected, drive home from my adventures last night. Not only did I get to add another great book to my TBR list, I found another podcast to listen to. Clear and Present Danger is all about the principles of free speech as they apply today, where they came from, and how they evolved.

There was a lot of great stuff to think about in this episode, and when I read the book, you can bet I’ll be sharing THAT information with you here. Today just I’ll share my two favorite takeaways.

Censorship only brings more attention to words and ideas you don’t agree with. In most cases, the best thing you can do when you hear things you don’t agree with is simply scroll on by, don’t buy the book, watch the video, whatever. Saying “I’m certainly NOT going to listen to Joe Rogan on Spotify because he’s a bad man!” only makes me (and millions of other people) go find out who that is and what he said that upset people, and the subscribe to his channel because we’re curious what else he has to say. Buy banned books! Watch banned movies! Read, study, and decide for yourself what is right and wrong!

And some wise advice from the Stoics about social media. Detach a bit. Use it if you want to. It doesn’t matter what someone else says. That made me smile. I love sharing what I’m doing and finding in the world through social media, Facebook and Instagram, (that’s an invite to follow me) but negative feedback is hard on my insecure little heart. And reading other people’s negativity…well, remember what Tony Robbins said about humans unconsciously mirroring each other?

I’m doing what the Stoics teach; being me, loud and proud, and taking a step back from other people’s feedback. Like it or not, I’m here to stay.

And there you are! Only three podcasts and I found so much. Let me know in the comments if you decide to chase any of these links, or if you’ve read or heard any of the podcasts and authors. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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