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Tao 15/Day 1

“Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?”

A feeling overtakes me as I run today – “I can make it if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.” I have no reason to justify this feeling. I’m still way too out of shape to think my fifty-year-old body can finish 10Ks on this beautiful wooded lakeside path. -But the sun is shining, the air is cool, the snow-capped mountains are shimmering in the distance beyond the ocean straits, and I feel it just the same.

My labored breathing finds a calmer rhythm. “Less and less do you need to force things.” says the Tao Te Ching. I stop forcing my breathing. I stop forcing myself to go forward, and instead find a slower, more natural pace. Out of the blue, I’m aware of my eyesight. Or rather, the fact that I’m quite nearsighted.

It’s a reality I’ve always thought of as a defect, but now I deliberately remove my glasses. “Soften your glare,” says the Tao. Instead of squinting to see further down the path, I allow my ‘defective’ eyesight to give me a perfect experience of what it means to soften my glare. I become completely present as a practical necessity. I can see clearly only as far as the distance it takes to keep putting one foot in front of the other. - How many other aspects of my life have I labeled ‘defective’ that need instead to be honored?

My breathing slows and deepens. My knees start to ache. I’m faced for a moment with a decision to either stop so as to not push my luck, or to grit my teeth and force myself to finish. But then a third option springs up from somewhere deeper. It says, “Don’t force it, but don’t stop. Instead, allow life to increase your capacity for it.”

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