Recently, I had a chance to encounter the expression “don’t go against the grain” in a literal way. This is a phrase with much wisdom. When we learn to accept our life as it is, we also learn how to stop unnecessary suffering.
During the holidays, my relatives spent a creative afternoon learning how to carve wood. The teacher was a woodcraftsmen in a long line of family wood workers. As I sat on the carving horse for the first time, I began to shape the gnarly piece of wood. With the chisel in my hand, it slipped across causing gashes in the wedge. I began again, consciously attempting to follow the pattern of the grain. I uncovered a worm hole and decided to allow it to be a unique addition to the design. The result was a smooth, long spoon with an opening in the handle.
How does this experience relate to you? Allow yourself to let go of the struggle and follow the grain of life like arrows that say, “This way.” An important concept of Taoism is effortless doing. The aim is to achieve a state of harmony with the Tao or way, which is the natural essence of life.
As Lao-Tzu says, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” With this in mind, allow yourself to accept whatever life presents during this holiday season and let things flow naturally.
~Erika Marcoux, MA, RPP, RYT
Wellness Counselor and Yoga Instructor