the loud voice vs. the soft one

Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu

I have a stack of books on my end table that I never shelve.  This page (pictured here) is from one of them.  Yesterday, I quickly glanced at that end table to take something outside to read.  Everything felt heavy and hard (we've been struggling with staying healthy in our house the past few weeks).  This book, though? felt light.  Even with the coffee stains and the Stella (our dog for almost 17 years) puppy-chewed corners.  

Once I found my seat outside, I just "happened" to open up to this page.

I used to take the bull by the horns and make things happen.  I used to always be in motion.  And the list of "to do"s I created for myself were always full of drudgery.  To make it worse, when this list was finished, I'd just add more.  It's a shame to admit this, really.  But this is what I thought was the "responsible" approach.  Yes, all work and no play definitely made Kari a dull gal.

It's been really slow going but, little by little, over a period of fifteen years, I have really worked at letting go of this way of living.  And more recently, over the past three years, practicing living a life other than this has really been a conscious daily practice.  

But when I feel under the weather, these subconscious habits (thoughts and behaviors) seem to win.  Because of my physical condition, I am unable to act on these behaviors but the striving and the push to return to these old ways within is relentless.  It does not rest.

The reason I initially added this book to my personal library (over 25 years ago) was because I identified with it, it offered comfort to me and it seemed to put words to feelings I wasn't quite able or ready to articulate.  Exactly one week ago, I was inspired to post these words on facebook and instagram: "Listen to the soft voice that doesn't need to compete with the loud one.  Set an intention everyday to not get distracted by all the challenges that arise.  Keep your eye on the prize (even if you don't know what the prize is...yet).  Be the tortoise in a hare's world.  Invest in learning your truth, practice it everyday and live it (even if you only can for five minutes)."  Isn't this just another way of saying what "Chapter 63" so gently says as well?

How is it possible to forget so easily?  

Here I am, AGAIN, making a conscious decision to rest in the quiet voice.


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