My mother is a secret practitioner of Tao theory. Every time my life falls into another state of crisis (every 2 weeks or so – no, this does not diminish the importance of each ensuing crisis), she tells me to relax – do what you can, and leave everything else to time, and to the world.
Concurrently with this simple advice, which has been doled out heap-by-heap over the course of my entire life, I have been reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey for my autobiography class. I have never before been interested in drug narratives – I barely got through (ie. I did not get through) Confessions of an Opium Eater – and the only reason I picked this book to present a seminar on was because it was the most modern one of the year (heyo- as if I was going a presentation on St. Augustine). I rushed through the book in the past week, but I was blown away by how enveloped I felt in its story. I am not a drug abuser, an alcoholic, or a criminal. But I saw something in this book — a man who wanted to live with self-responsibility, not victimization – that really touched me. It appalled me and strengthened me and calmed me. Since then, I’ve been reading interviews with Frey that touch not only on the Oprah debacle, but also on his writing style, which, he says he spent 10 years perfecting. “I want my audience to be sick when I was sick, joyful when I was joyful, depressed when I was depressed.” (Paraphrase). This, consequently, led me to almost chuck my lunch when I read the part about his double root canal without any pain meds. But how powerful is your writing, when you can make people physically sick with your words? Powerful.
In the book, Frey’s brother Bob gifts him the book Tao te ching by Lao-Tzu, as we know him in North America. He reads this book and feels calm with it. He feels that what he is reading resonates with him; is truthful.
When I was reading Tao’s excerpts in the book, I thought they made sense too. The inherent balance in the universe will work things out. Let go, and receive.
To me, that is a lesson I have to remind myself of over and over again. I like holding my life in check – knowing what I’m doing, where I’m going, how to dress for the weather – everything. But sometimes, when I let go and let my gut decide, that is when everything is simple, clear, and unencumbered. That is when I am being honest with myself and seeking truth.
So I am reminding myself today, with this lesson, to let go, and everything will come that needs to come. I have only seen the effects of this every day of my life, so I’m not sure why this isn’t a constant mantra, but maybe I really am that thick.