Tao of Daily Life

The Tao of Daily Life {No. 5}: Dealing with Negativity

We all encounter them in our lives – people who seem as if their constant source of amusement is to criticize every person they know. (Well, maybe not every person, but you know what I mean.) As Derek Lin wrote in The Tao of Daily Life, “Criticizing others while being unaware of their own faults is something that many people do. We can even say that it is something we all do from time to time.”

Backyard Mushrooms

How do we then deal with these negative people, especially if we don’t want to fall prey to following their habits by criticizing back? I personally just stay away from them as much as I can – as simple as that.

Now it’s one thing for people to talk about someone else and another when they actually talk about you. The Tao teaches us not to get angry. “It is in their nature to be critical and judgmental, so it would be absurd to take offense.” In this case, I would say that negative criticism and gossip are almost synonymous. I recently learned of a rumor that circulated about me among some people I know. I should have been upset from the fact that they were passing out news before checking out its truth value. (It was as easy as asking me.) But I wasn’t. I was simply amused at how some people can idle away their time spreading such nonsense and very much interested at how it got started. That was it. It was pointless to react to it other than with indifference since I knew it was in their nature to gossip.

Back to criticism, I’m not exempt from making it. “It is something we all do from time to time.” I just stay away from people who make me want to say things I know I will regret later on. Again, it’s as simple as that. Bottom line is I strive to be a better person, I strive to maintain peace and harmony in my life – that means getting rid of negative energy and surrounding myself with the positive. How about you? How do you deal with negativity?

“Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect only the best. Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. Live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you!” – Christian D. Larson

Con mucho amor,

If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:

Tao of Daily Life

The Tao of Daily Life {No. 4}: Overcoming Adversities

“How would you behave toward other people
if you realized their powerlessness to hurt you?
Behave like that.”
“How would you react to so-called misfortune
if you saw its inability to bother you?
React like that.”
Vernon Howard

This week from The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin, we read the story “The Donkey”. (If you don’t have a copy of this book yet, I suggest you get one here – it will absolutely change your life!) The lesson this week is about overcoming adversities. We all have them – moments when we feel trapped, days when we feel that misfortune just keeps pouring down on us. And because we’re only human, naturally we complain. Oh do we love complaining! We anguish about why this always happens to us or what we’ve done to deserve this. The Tao reminds us that “expressing outrage and feeling sorry for ourselves do not change anything”. Many of us know this but yet we find ourselves “in a repeating pattern of frustration followed by complaints followed by more frustration and more complaints”. We don’t realize that when we fall in this pattern, “the cycle of negativity prevents our mental state from being resourceful” and we fail to be at our best.

Autumn Leaves

Endless complaining is a waste of time and energy. In order to handle any situation with calmness and composure, we must keep in mind that there’s a lesson to be learned in everything that happens in our lives – both the good and the bad experiences – well, especially the bad experiences. And there is always a way to turn the negative to positive.

So what do we do when we find ourselves seemingly trapped in misfortune or drowning in negativity? First we shrug it off – which simply means don’t take it personally. The universe is not out to get us. (This is a very simple concept but will make our lives so much easier when we learn how to practice it.) Next, we spring back up on our feet and evaluate the lessons we can learn from this misfortune. When we start to think that every experience is a learning experience, we begin to realize that there is no “bad” experience. We can use everything that happens to us to improve ourselves. Then we are able to transcend beyond adversities which we will find no longer have any power over us.

Like Troy always says, “Fall forward fast.” He’s a master of this concept. I never see him dwell on bad things. He recovers fast and is always excited to implement what he learned from “misfortunes” in his next moves. I, on the other hand, am slowly learning. I still need to complain – just to vent out. Usually I vent out on my husband or my dearest friend Rhea. They don’t even have to say anything, I just need to let out the bad energy. Afterward, I’m good and I move on. I’m glad to say though that lately, I find myself not even caring about complaining anymore – which is good, really good. It means I’m transcending – I like that! I’m starting to naturally see the lessons in every experience.

Again, I leave a quote as my parting words. May all these lessons from the Tao bring you closer to a more fulfilled life!

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment. This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath. Every moment is the Guru.” – Joko Beck

Con mucho amor,

If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:
If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:

Tao of Daily Life

The Day Your Life Begins

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.
No apologies or excuses.
No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.
The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey.
And you alone are responsible for the quality of it.
This is the day your life really begins.
– Bob Moawad

This week’s reading from The Tao of Daily Life, entitled “The Monk and The Spider”, is about taking responsibility for your destiny. This is a very powerful message – one that if we just keep in mind and practice will make our lives so much easier. When you wake up in the morning (sorry, I’m still in morning mode), you have a choice. Do you want a happy, fruitful day or a miserable one. You decide. It is your choice, it is your life. You’re the only one who can make it happen, no one else can.

Rotary Garden in Janesville, WI

As Lin says “when we realize that we are the cause of our own misfortunes, we can begin to adjust our thinking at a fundamental level, and start to create real changes.” It’s all about the power of the mind. Think about it. Are the problems that afflict us really out of our control? Are they real problems or just circumstances we’ve allowed to linger and affect us? Can we shift our way of thinking to come up with a solution? (I can cite so many examples – but I won’t. I don’t want to get in trouble. But we all understand what I’m talking about here, right? *smile)

I’m simply going to end this post with this food for thought:

“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.” – Tony Robbins

Make this the day your life really begins.

Con mucho amor,

If you missed the previous Tao lessons, here are quick links to them:

Tao of Daily Life

What You Are In Love With

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination,
will affect everything.

It will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love,
stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

– Father Pedro Arrupe

I’ve decided to fall back in love with life, nature, and the simple things in life. In the process, I’m becoming more aware and appreciative of the wonderful things that surround me.

Sinissippi Park in Rockford, IL

What gets me up in the mornings? Just the thought of a new day, filled with possibilities, fills me with vigor. I get out of bed ready to fill my day with little adventures, ready to savor every moment’s delight. The sight of my husband still sleeping on his side of the bed puts a smile on my face. I sneak a peek at my two daughters still snug under their blankets and the peaceful way they sleep reminds me how fortunate I am to have such wonderful family. I go downstairs, and as Dexter hears my footsteps, I see him anxiously waiting to be let out his crate. {Now here I digress but} as I look into his puppy dog eyes, I think of power – the ability we all have to affect other creatures, our environment, other human beings. I let out a sigh and release a thought out into the world – a hope for all human beings to exercise power with caution and compassion. {Now let’s go back to my mornings. Of course, at this point I’ve let Dexter out already.} I go to the kitchen. I brew my coffee and light my votive candle. Their aroma fills up the whole living area which helps me meditate and enjoy a few minutes of silence before everybody else wakes up. I draw open the curtains and I look outside my window, out onto my own view of nature. It’s very easy to take for granted the things you see everyday but I’m really grateful for my backyard view. I can see the lovely red and orange hues in the sky at sunrise, observe the life cycle of leaves and flowers as seasons change, enjoy the visits of my wild animal friends like the birds and the squirrels. Coming back from my reverie, I take in a deep breath and prepare myself for a busy day of homeschooling and everything else in between. And as I go through my day, I delight in the excitement I see in Rinoa’s eyes as she learns something new. I get frustrated whenever I hear Mica’s groans as I give her more schoolwork. {Hey, life isn’t perfect.} I treasure my walks with Dexter, enjoying the fresh air and time spent alone dwelling in my thoughts. A quick exchange of greetings with friendly neighbors is a plus during these short, refreshing walks. Then my day winds down to a relaxing evening which I will reflect on in a future post. *wink

This week’s reading from The Tao of Daily Life, entitled “The Best Meal”, is about finding joy in the simple things. And, as you can see, it coincides with my reflection on the passage above.

How about you? What gets you up in the mornings? Do you drag yourself out of bed, dreading another day at work, or do you start your day with zest and delight? What fills your life with great fervor? I hope you’ve found it. If not, I hope you’ll find it soon.

Con mucho amor,

If you missed the previous Tao lesson, here is a quick link to it:

Tao of Daily Life

The Tao of Daily Life {No. 1}

As I continue to nurture my children’s minds and train their bodies, so, too, shall I nourish their souls. Just recently, we started sitting down at least once a week to read together stories that enrich our spirits. As we embark on this journey of mindful living, I will share with you the lessons we pick up along the way – in hopes that they, too, will enlighten you.

I’ve been studying the principles of Taoism and it’s something I’ve been wanting to share with my family. So for our first book, we are reading The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin.

“The beginning of a new day is a wondrous gift. It is a blank page, containing nothing and yet filled with possibilities.” – The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin

This week’s reading, entitled “Living In The Moment”, is about living fully in the present. It reminds us to be mindful of the beauty and goodness in each moment, to not dwell on the past and not worry excessively about the future. In order to do so, we need to let go of attachments that hinder us from living our lives to the fullest.

Photo by Troy Redington

We discussed a little bit about our attachments and I’d like to share some of mine with you:

  1. Books. I’m not exactly sure how this hinders me from being mindful of the present, but it is definitely an attachment. Whenever we go somewhere, anywhere, I have to have a book in my purse or at least in the car. I cannot go anywhere without bringing a book with me. I don’t necessarily read it, it just makes me feel better.
  2. Relocating. I’ve been so obsessed with wanting to relocate to a more familiar environment ever since I moved to wherever I am now that it prevented me from enjoying my neighborhood. I used to go by everyday unattached to my surroundings, thinking I’m not staying here long – not realizing soon enough that it’s actually making me more miserable.

I’ve been doing better with my second attachment. I’ve loosened my grip on it a little bit and I find that I’m able to enjoy each of my everyday moments better.

What attachments do you have that block you from living fully in the present? Are you willing to let go?

Con mucho amor,