“Just be like the river, Megan,” was a phrase I heard over and over growing up from my mother.
When I was younger, my Mom dabbled in spirituality. She explored Buddhism, Native American philosophy, and Taoism. And she extracted bits of each and shared her wisdom with my sister and me. But this phrase in particular always stood out for me.
“What do you mean, Mom?” I would inquire. And my gentle, wise Mom would explain her interpretation of one of the most fundamental Taoist philosophies.
Water is one of the most profound symbols in the entire Tao Te Ching. Lau Tso uses water as a metaphor for how to live a God-conscious life, a life connected to Source Energy, a life connected to the Invisible Intelligence that created the entire Universe. It is a metaphor for how to live an enlightened life, free of competition, envy and jealousy, a life free from resistance, regardless of what may come its way.
When a river is flowing, there are always obstacles that get in its way. Some small ones like pebbles and twigs, others are massive like boulders and entire trees. But none of it ever stops the water’s progressions, no matter how large it may be. The water always finds a way to keep going. It will go over it, under it, or around, but it keeps going nonetheless. And it always takes the path of least resistance and eventually creates a new path forward.
Water is both exquisitely soft and yet mighty and powerful enough to wear down the tallest of mountains. It is patient without exception.
And water is also a symbol of the Tao, of God. It is invisible, yet everywhere. It is odorless, colorless, and tastelessness yet is the essence of all that lives.
While much of the Tao uses water as a metaphor, verse 8 does so in an extraordinary way:
“The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all of creation
without trying to compete with it.
It gathers in the low places unpopular with men.
Thus it is like the Tao.
Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In dealing with others, be fair and generous.
In governing, do not try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself,
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.
One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.”
Now that I have read the Tao Te Ching myself, I can see precisely what Mom meant all those years ago. Every day I use this metaphor of water in my own life. And now I have passed that incredibly profound wisdom onto my own children.
So remember to use water in your own life to guide you, offer you reassurance, and to remain connected to Source.
“Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong.” (78.1-2)
Yes, every day I try to be like the river, just like Mom said. Thanks, Mom.
Life. This human life. What is it? Who are we? What does it mean?
I believe we are spiritual beings visiting a temporary human existence. But I also believe that we each have the ability to design and create our human experiences any way we want. See, the thing is, we are all creating our own life’s experiences, whether we know it or not, whether we want to or not.
So, if that is the case, I ask you to think about everything you do, looking at it through the lens of what view as the three most important words ever: Does this matter?
You see, our human experiences are defined by contrast. Up or down. Hot or cold. Left or right. Good or bad. And so on and so forth.
But for me, the most profound contrasts are: Ego or soul? Love or fear? Because with one, you can not have the other.
And when we understand our connection to Source – to Source Energy – the Unified Field – God, whatever you call it, you can finally understand the profound implications of those three words. Unless you are living your life connected to Source Energy, the Invisible Intelligence that made the entire universe, your answer to that pivotal question will be, well, questionable.
Anything you do – everything you do – will only matter when you experience a connection to something bigger than yourself. It is the only way.
So I ask you to think about what it is you are doing – ask yourself these three words: Does this matter?
And when you are living your life connected to Source Energy, there is only one three word answer: Yes, it does.
I am filled with so much gratitude and love. I am currently in Florida on vacation with my husband and two small children. It’s our last summer hoorah before the kids start school.
We often come to the Gulf Coast of Florida. It’s a special place for our family filled with wonderful memories. We see dolphins gracefully swimming nearby in the Gulf’s warm turquoise waters. We watch pelicans dive headfirst into the calm water in search of fish. And this time, it’s no different. The dolphins and the pelicans are plentiful.
But something miraculous occurred on this trip. Just yesterday, a family of manatees swam near us for hours, slowly moving up and down the shallow coast. They came within a few feet of us, all four of us bursting with excitement at the sight! My girls, with their goggles on, kept going under the water to look at these extraordinary – and usually elusive – mammals in their natural habitat. While we were bubbling with enthusiasm, we remained calm so as not to startle them. And they seemed to appreciate it because they kept returning to the spot where we were nearly all day. It was something none of us will ever forget.
And then this morning, we saw the rangers at one of the sea turtle nests. My husband took the girls to to see what was going on. When they came back, my girls shouted, “Mommy, the baby sea turtles hatched last night. We saw them! We saw them!” The ranger told my husband that not all of them had made it to the water before dawn and and they we collecting them so they would not be in danger during the bright morning sun and invited us to release the little hatchlings tonight once the sun goes down. What an amazing experience it will be for all of us!
I write this to share these experiences with you as a reminder of the magic that surrounds us all every single day, no matter where in the world we may live. God created this world full of beauty and wonder – we just have to tune in to see it. I sit here and watch the tides roll in and out and think about the fact that the moon’s gravitational pull is making that happen. What a miracle. I see the extraordinary evidence of reproduction, whether animal or plant, and am in awe at both the complexity of it, as well as the effortless ease with which it happens. I am grateful for the beauty of the flowers, and the feel of the sand beneath my toes, and the lapping of the gentle waves. And of course, the sound of laughter coming from my girls as they play in the water.
I am beyond grateful for the beauty that surrounds us all. It’s there for all of us to see. We just have to keep our eyes up and look for it. I hope you can remember to tune in and see the beauty all around you. I promise, it’s there.
Sending much love and gratitude from me to you,
Recently I had the pleasure and privilege of being part of the Empowered Mamas Summit, a FREE online event, organized by the incredible Carmen Rosas. (You can check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/yc92b5k4).
During my interview, Carmen asked me what being empowered means to me. I think that’s a really interesting question and something that not many people think about. My answer to Carmen might surprise you because to me it means something different to me than it does to most people. When people hear the word “empower” most tend to think of something along the lines of “being in control.”
And while there is truth in that, to me being empowered means something quite different actually. To me it means surrendering; surrendering to the care of the Universe. One of my favorite quotes is from a Course In Miracles and in it says, “If you knew who walked beside you on this path you have chosen you would never experience doubt or fear again.” How incredible is that? And so to me, that is what being empowered means. Surrendering completely to the care of the Universe and letting the Universe lead the way. In this way – and only in this way – can one achieve feel of being in control that they long to have.
I’d love to hear what being empowered means to you! Join the conversation on my closed Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/talkingshiftwithmsg.
Sending much love and gratitude,
Growing up, my father was an avid gardener. He planted everything from peppers and cucumbers to beans and peas. But his prized crop was always his tomatoes. I remember eating them right off the vine, still warm from basking in the sunshine.
And now that I have my own home, I have tried to carry on his tradition. I do not have room for a garden as big as his so I have taken to try to replicate my dad’s tomatoes. I have been at it for a few years now, though barely coming close to his crops. My plants tend to produce only a handful of red tomatoes rather than by the bushel full like his. Mine are usually small in size, not the size of oranges or grapefruits like his. And mine have lacked the sweet flavor bursting in my mouth like his did. That is, until now.
For the first time ever my tomato plants are flourishing! They are bursting with fruit and I have already harvested my first handful of red tomatoes. They are large and round. But most importantly, their flavor. Oh! Their flavor! They have taken me right back to my childhood.
So what’s the difference? Why now? Why this crop? What have I done differently?
Well, in a sense both nothing, yet everything. Where they are located, how often I water them, and the basics like that have remained the same. But this year I have added one secret, magic ingredient: LOVE. That’s right, love.
Each day, I talk to my plants, I tell them I love them and I tell them how grateful I am for them. I mean, think about it: The Divine, Source Energy, God, whichever you choose to call it, has given us these amazing plants that magically produce fruit (or vegetables) that we can just pluck off their vines and eat. What a miracle! And so I tell my plants this, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has been the difference maker.
Think I am kidding? Studies have proven that saying I love you can have a tremendous impact on whatever you are saying it to. Check out these two videos on YouTube that illustrate this point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31shlv5Z71A&t=3s and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-0PeUeYbqw
So let your love show, to whatever and whomever you want. Not only will it make you feel better but you will know that it is actually benefiting the person or thing on the receiving end.
Sending much love and gratitude,