I am watching a leaf chase itself across the yard. It twirls, skips and dances in silent ballet with the wind, and then it pauses. For now, the dance is over and the leaf falls content on to a bed of grass.
I notice the leaf doesn’t fight the wind, it dances with it. And when the wind rests, the leaf is content to be still.
In Taoism, this is known as being in the flow of life. And nature.
Oh, if it were only that easy. For most of us, this idea of allowing, well, it’s something we resist.
Many of us don’t want to dance with the winds of life. We work to manage or manipulate outcomes when what might be best is to dance with the wind. To be like a palm tree, flexible and bending, so that we might survive the storms of life, even the ravages of hurricane force winds which might blow in our direction.
Sometimes these winds are meant to blow our house down so that we might be reshaped, retooled, into a more authentic way of being. Does this ring like an inconvenient truth to you?
After all, dancing with the wind is scary stuff and not the way of sissies. I am a clumsy dancer at best. I have clung to false promises and platitudes, old relationships, old ways of being because of fear. I am a master manipulator of myself and others when I feel threatened and out of flow.
The truth is, I try to live in integrity, gracefully, in flow, but it is not always easy. My instinct is to cling to what I know, to want a guarantee of a safe landing before I jump. Even while know that is not the way.
It is not in keeping with the philosophy of the Tao, either. The word Tao actually means the Way, as in the way of being true to nature, being harmonious with life.
What might this look like? It might be dancing in harmony in the midst of a shit storm when we know we can’t stop the wind from blowing. Accepting what is and knowing it will likely pass because seasons have cycles. Life does too.
Or, it might be finding your passion, following your beat, your inner rhythm, no matter how out of sync it might seem to others. Maybe it’s just about being true to your own nature, dancing with your own wind.
If I followed the more successful templates for writing these days, I might offer you five ways to dance with the wind. But the truth is, my way may not be your way.
And you must follow your way.
If I were to offer you anything at all, I might tell you to give up your resistance. But even the idea of learning to work at the dance, feels like striving, managing, manipulating. And not in flow.
And further, who is to say that there are not valuable lessons in resistance at times? For many of us, we must reach a point of surrender –the point at which we learn that our resistance has only served to stall the inevitable, before we can accept the grace of flow.
As I said, I am a clumsy dancer, a slow learner myself. Maybe that is my way, rocky and hard, in the flow, and out of flow at times. Maybe this is my terrain.
So I will leave you to your way, as I follow my own inclinations and learn what it is I am in need of learning.
But for now, I will sit here and watch the leaf shuffle quietly across the yard. The wind is picking up ever so slightly. And so the dance begins.
If you’re interested in more thoughts on integrity, compassion and grace–if you’re looking for exploratory questions to unearth pieces of your soul, check out my book Tao Flashes. Or visit me at http://www.facebook.com/taoflashes or on twitter @taoflashes