Tag Archives: Taoism

Be alive, be flexible

While alive, the body is soft and pliant
When dead, it is hard and rigid
All living things, grass and trees,
While alive, are soft and supple
When dead, become dry and brittle
Thus that which is hard and stiff
is the follower of death
That which is soft and yielding
is the follower of life
Therefore, an inflexible army will not win
A strong tree will be cut down
The big and forceful occupy a lowly position
While the soft and pliant occupy a higher place

Laozi, Tao Te Ching

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Sometimes diabetes is TOO easy

Stasis is the antithesis of life. Like a river in springtime, life flows constantly.

This philosophy – this process metaphysics – has been my personal philosophy for the past 5 years. It’s a worldview that I was first exposed to through two great traditions of the East: Taoism and Buddhism.  Although I’m neither a Taoist nor a Buddhist, they’ve certainly influenced my own philosophy.

Initially, this change-centric conception of the world merely intrigued me. The novelty of it seduced me. In time, I began to reflect  upon my life and knowledge of history. I discovered that, in the main, change is the law of life – both of people and of nations.

Life is the Great Teacher. Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned countless lessons. My awareness has expanded. The implications of change is now clearer to me.

What was once a philosophy learned mostly from books ( such as the Tao Te Ching) has become deeply personal. Life is the ground out of which our philosophies grow and receive their nourishment.

My recent experiences with type 1 diabetes has nourished my understanding.

What I have come to the realization of can be sumarized thusly: With new circumstances come new challenges.

Let me show you what I mean.

Back in December – prior to starting this diabetes blog – I was burnt out. On a brisk December night – in the first week of the month – I experienced a stubborn high. Everything I did was for naught.

I drank water like a fish. I did a correction with a syringe. I did everything that I’ve been taught to do over at the Joslin Center. My actions helped, but only a little. My blood glucose levels remained above 350 for 12 hours.

Did I mention that I was panicked?

This event made me realize that I was experiencing diabetes burnout, and I realized that I’d have to climb out of the deep, dark hole that I’d stumbled into. I procrastinated.

Just to be clear, at this point I did desire to liberate myself from my situation. The psychological barriers to me doing so were still too high. It would take another unpleasant event to spur me into taking serious action to rectify my situation.

It took another stubborn high to motivate me to take decisive action. I knew that I had to rise above the frustration and fear that I was experiencing. I coped with it (mainly) through writing. This d-blog played an essential part in that process of recovery.

Back then, managing my type 1 diabetes adequately was too difficult. Therein lied my problem. It’s the reverse today. Now that managing diabetes is no longer a psychological burden, T1D has become too easy to manage.

The ease with which I’m managing my diabetes isn’t bad, per se. The problem lies in how it impacts my attitude and actions.

There’s a very real possibility that, given my psychological makeup, I’ll become lax, and allow unskillful diabetes to creep back in.

I have reached the publishing deadline that I have set for myself. This post will come to an abrupt con…….

The Law of Life

imageChange is the only constant. – Heraclitus 

Today is winter solstice. As autumn flows into winter, so does each moment flow into the next. Nothing remains the same. Change is the law of life.

Life is a flux. This is both a blessing and a curse… as are most things.

For those of us who have struggled in the past, or who are struggling now, change is a blessing. We are not enslaved to the past, or bound to the present. We are constantly marching on towards the future.

For those of us who’re thriving in the present and are unwilling to accept that things will change, this is a curse. However, for those with open minds and receptive hearts, it’s a cause for overflowing joy. The joys of the present moment fill their hearts.

One of the greatest fallacies we can make is to mistake the present for the future. Where we are now isn’t where we’ll be tomorrow.

All of these realizations have grown in me over the years. Every event in my life… every person… every book… every interest – all things I’ve encountered have left their mark.

I have changed; I am changing; I will continue to change.

My life has been a crash course in philosophy.

Since March of 1993: I have been near death, and I have been full of life; I have been frail, and I have been strong; I have been fit, and I have been out of shape; I have had beta cells, and I have lacked beta cells. The only constancy has been change.

I have come to accept uncertainty. I have come to accept the fate of all things. I am no longer afraid. In these realizations, there’s freedom… In them, there’s peace.

I am free: the present doesn’t bind me. The past’s influence isn’t set in stone – I am free.

As all things must come to an end eventually, this is where I’ll end this post.