Monday, August 27, 2007

The Tao of Menopause

The Tao of Menopause is where I am going to comment on readings of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu, something I have been reading for a couple of years, at random. The translation I work from is Stephen Mitchell's, and I love its simple poetic flavour.


Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Three little things, yes, and so difficult for me to achieve! It seems I started out with simplicity, with wanting nothing but the basics, living close to the source, and as I grew into a child, and then an adult, 'wanting' things, desiring recognition and achievements, gathering and accumulating relationships, furniture, clothing, art, books, children, persian carpets, a bigger house....the simplicity escaped. Patience has never been one of my virtues, and compassion, I thought, was for the weak and needy.

Oh but the wisdom life brings: in menopause the motto for me has been simplify! unload! empty out closets, give away houseplants, make do with less. Too much clutter, too many remote controls, too much stuff, too much confusion, makes me long for simplicity.

Patience I will work on, God, but give it to me quickly!

Compassion for myself.....learning this one out of 'no choice'. A broken leg, a sadness in the soul, a feeling of bug soup meltdown in the chrysalis....menopausal midlife change brought me challenges, health wise and emotion-wise, that have helped me learn compassion. It means "to suffer with" someone. As we learn from our own suffering, so we can be com-passionate with someone else's sufferings.

The nonsense Lao Tsu teaches comes with life experience, is more than mere words.
Its roots go deep.

Feeling is believing,