Freedom To Be The Failure That One Is ? !

A quiet moment, birds singing, front lawn mowed, back yard begun and I have to rest a moment, this book is always waiting, so I read. One passage of brilliant and deep illumination cannot go without noting. Here it is:

“For enlightenment, or accord with the Tao, remains unrealized so long as it is considered as a specific state to be attained, and for which there are tests and standards of success. It is much rather freedom to be the failure that one is.

Unlikely as it may seem, this outrageous and nonmoral freedom is the basis of all mental and spiritual wholeness, provided…that it seeks no result. But so full an acceptance includes also this seeking, along with just anything that one happens to be doing or feeling. The apparently extreme passivity of this acceptance is, however, creative because it permits one to be all of a piece, to be good, bad, indifferent, or merely confused, with a whole heart. To act or grow creatively we must begin from where we are, but we cannot begin at all if we are not “all here” without reservation or regret. Lacking self-acceptance, we are always at odds with our point of departure, always doubting the ground on which we stand, always so divided against ourselves that we cannot act with sincerity. Apart from self-acceptance as the groundwork of thought and action, every attempt at spiritual or moral discipline is the fruitless struggle of a mind that is split asunder and insincere. It is the freedom which is the essential basis of self-restraint.”

Alan Watts (of course!), Nature Man and Woman (from the chapter titled “The World As Non-Sense.”)

I am reminded of moments even just this weekend where I was split on “what next?” And with good reason. But I realize that the moment I accepted myself unconditionally, gave myself permission to feel what I feel, to act on it with wisdom and grace, in that moment I was released to flow into decisiveness and rest. We can make a mountain, even, out of self-acceptance. Or we can rest and trust the process of surrendering to all we realize about ourselves. There is this deep abiding with self, a deep releasing of all we value (simply in the moment) that enables what is always there awaiting emergence – that wellspring of resonance with Source or Spirit or Tao and it is a tremendous opportunity to be with. Be with faults, be with failings, be with what didn’t work and why (even if the “why” is ugly-seeming), be with desires, be with even the most troubling mental disturbance and, in that being with, resting in non-judgement. Not running. Not refusing to see. Not making a decree against. Just withness. In that moment, it is as if these roiling elements simply want mommy to come along and witness. They sigh. They settle after a few whimpers. They melt gradually. They fade. And in this process self-acceptance is not forced or brought about by some acrobatic mental exposition. It simply emerges. Then we taste freedom.

So, in this sense, this freedom is “amoral.” There is no bothering with good or bad. It’s a being-withness in acceptance that provokes a release, and it is that release that enables the very thing Watts highlights as a by-product of not effort supreme or hog-tying the ego – the emergence of self-restraint, when it matters most. And when it will produce the ripest, richest fruit.

It becomes a dance with Source, with love, with whatever you suppose to be Divine. With Tao. Not grasping, grabbing to be the grand evolved one. Just unfolding, witnessing and letting go of judgement.

Why does it matter? Don’t we just need to go get the groceries, fight corruption and plan out the summer? It matters because the peace and energy such a process releases is worth more than any notion of enlightenment or success. We become – while plotting, revolutionizing and shopping – the feasts we’ve always known we could be and life cooks us up from her grandest kitchen of delights. And yes, of sorrows. And it turns out that the “failures” provide some of the best ingredients in a rich stew.

But now I ramble…time to get back to work.

Not Just "Out There," But Within.


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62 thoughts on “Freedom To Be The Failure That One Is ? !

  1. Some enjoy living in the jungle. Ones paradise is anothers hell…lol. That is the what keeps life fun. I always try to do what is right but sometimes I fail.

    I figure, as long as I can live with my failures I am golden..the rest is frosting. I like frosting but what if its the cake I want to consume?

    1. Ah well…you’d likely find it sadly everyday real and less interesting than your own history and life, I’m sure! The exodus from my history to now includes territory no one should have to cover at those ages. So, yeah. “Incorrigible” is more like what some would consider blasphemous but I consider simply human. But I don’t always have that attitude. I swing back and forth. The jungle of the mind…

  2. Ruth

    Thanks for painting you being bad in my head…I think I have too much good behavior that needs balancing…lmao. Come on, recommend

    1. Ha! You go on and lyao! : ) You’ve NO idea the stuff I’ve had to UNDO from the dogma crapola of my past. Man, it’s the one saving grace…that I get to justify my lapses in “good sense” with it! I’m gonna ride that train as long as I can (but I’m not much up for any stupidity!). I’m pretty incorrigible with my attitude about the influences of some doctrines. Now THAT’s a book I should get published! Oh baby… ; )

  3. Ruth – there is another one to ponder…”fear of consequences” all part of the avoidance we all were dicussing. Two emotional actions that create re-actions…”Fear and Guilt”…I am glad I don’t carry either…I am a liar…we all have guilt and when I think of it..I do avoid things because of it…but maybe some things we should avoid…lol. See how I justify it all…lol

    1. I’m grinning from ear to ear here. Thanks for the honest unfolding! Fear of consequences is a major inhibitor and not without good reason sometimes. Some things we should avoid. Yes. What we do when we’re more mature (I like to think I’m there but there are exceptions at times, patches of immaturity or needs to bring balance, of course!) is to cultivate the wisdom (based on our life experiences) that tells us why our love-based concerns for things like personal safety, integrity, commitment etc. causes us to avoid scenarios that might risk the upheaval or destruction of things growing securely in the fields we’ve chosen to cultivate…relationships, career, artistic endeavors, etc. So, in these things it’s not about justification but about what you cherish and why you will avoid some things in order to protect them. Then it becomes not about the “bad” thing you won’t do or say but about the choice you’ve made to nurture what you value because it is beautiful to you. It ain’t bad. It ain’t good. It’s what it means to unique you. This is what I see Watts encouraging in the quote that started this whole thing. He mentions freedom, self-restraint and that freedom is “amoral.” I’ve done things others call “bad” because I had to correct an overabundance of fear-based “good” behavior. And wow, it was fun. But do I recommend those things in general? Heck no.
      Round and round we go…
      G’nite… : )

  4. Ruth – I am blessed to have been a participant in your life. I believe we can all benefit from the experiences of others and I enjoy sharing my perspective and visiting the perspectives of others. Thank you, I hope this is just the beginning to a long journey.

    HPGirl – I admire your courage to contact the police against the advice of your husband. I am sorry he does not support your actions. I think you did the right thing. You can’t develop or heal without truth. You have no choice but to find out if what you are observing and sensing is true. Once that is determined then you can find peace of mind.

    We can not allow fear to create avoidance…guilt does that enough on it’s own.

  5. Good Morning Ruth,

    Thanks for the chat and enlightenment of this thread. You are certainly a worthy friend. I am sure I will take your offer and at least give you a private shout from time to time. I would stick around but real life calls.

    Have a wonderful day as well, Ruth :~)

  6. Italco, actually my husband thinks that getting the police involved will only escalate the situation. So it wasn’t really a decision we made together. He wants me to talk to the guy before going to the police, and I don’t want to talk to him. I think me talking to him will only validate whatever he thinks about me.

    1. HPG…I wouldn’t want to talk to him either. That could confuse perspective. Can you not just go file a report at the police station? Tell them there’s someone you think is following you, give his license plate #, make it official, on the record without alerting the guy…? What does Ed say? I did this once. All the harrassment ended after that. Seems like you’re entangling yourself on personal levels that can send a mixed signal if you go to him yourself. Too bad the hubby can’t confront him…? Don’t go near him alone, that’s my sense.

  7. Guilt, that’s certainly something I’ve struggled with my whole life. If someone looks at me wrong my automatic response is to feel guilt over what they MIGHT think I did wrong. If someone thinks I did something, even if I didn’t, I feel guilty. This comes from my childhood, I think, or maybe it’s an innate trait of mine. I suspect the former.

    It’s a daily struggle for me, the guilt thing.

    As for the trials in life… I’ve had a few myself. Some pretty serious ones, similar to what you’ve mentioned above, jruthkelly. All I can say about those is that time softens the edges. I also believe looking at things head-on is a really good way to get a handle on them. I write about things, in the form of semi-fictional stories, and try to get inside the heads of the people involved. It sort of helps me understand how they may have felt, or why they may have done things the way they did. And by doing that, trying to ‘play-act’ the other person, it seems to help me.

    In fact, I wrote an entire book (fictionalized but mostly true) about my mom and dad’s life together. I won’t ever publish it, but it was really really helpful for me to let go of some of the stuff, and to realize I was not my mother or my father.

    1. Aye…guilt. Sometimes I think it’s a woman’s main problem but then you add any kind of disruptive, unsettling or abusive childhood and you’ve got this multi-layered guilt nightmare. Toss in some children of your own…wow. This thread has really gotten me thinking, asking myself where the lingering guilt is (thanks Ed!!) and I’m finding it. It’s like you get so accustomed to it, don’t even know it’s there. I’d not say I’m inhibited by guilt but…do I know?! We’ll see! I just know I’ve found a layer that’s been roiling. And it’s undeserved. I want to chase it down and melt it away.

      I did the book thing too…It was an amazing cauldron of change. Tons of anger and hurt pouring out. I keep wanting to finish it. To bring it to peace. But it feels finished, oddly. Know what I’m looking at lately? How much of a pleasure-focus my life has/has not and what I can do to increase it! That’s a real guilt-ousting, life affirming practice. I think some of us are programmed to take life as a great big DUTY. Hasn’t been a big problem with me lately but the transitions I’m going thru can kick in major guilt struggles. Divorce, going to school full time in the fall…total shift.

  8. You know most women would be flatered…at least that was the intent of my age comment…lol. A little back handed compliment.

    As far as tramatic issues, I believe we all carry those “I should have’s” or “only if’s”. In the sense that all of us have issue, you are not alone. However, you are certainly entitled to feel your pain. I wouldn’t want anyone to take my pain or belittle it in any way. Loss and tragedy is something that only time can make tolerable. I am sorry for your loss and if you ever need to discuss any of the other stuff…I can be for you what you offered to HPGirl. I do have some experience with criminal behaviorisms. My personal e-mail you have through me making comments on your thread. Feel free to discuss anything you need. Maybe another perspective would be of some usefullness.

    Your communication is excellent. I was merely crossing swords…;~) sweet dreams my friend, Ed

    1. I did take it as a compliment…I was just going along with the “backhand,” so to speak. ; )

      Thank you for the kind words and offering of support. It feels great. My mention of the negative layers in life were part of the thread here, by way of explanation of my earlier words. I’m not particularly buried by any of it anymore. But I can always use another perspective. So, I’ll take you up on it, I’m sure. And feel free to do the same.

      Have a great day Ed…

  9. I meant no disrect by calling you a young lady. I understand what it was like at the age of 30. Us old men (46) have to keep you young girls in line….hehehehe

  10. @Ruth

    You stated – “I find that erasing is often impossible for me. I have to sit with the negatives and say “oh yea? so what? that’s human.”

    Why the need to justify? I wonder if this is something geared towards being female. I am the opposite …It is quite easy to merely dismiss the negatives with no reasoning or guilt.

    Your “Freedom of inhabition” statement above makes me wonder if the two are related…Do you feel guilt for having negatives? or is it that the fact that negatives cause internal battles so you go into avoidance which in turn creates inhabition.

    Maybe the only lesson needed is learning to not carry guilt.

    1. @ed…ah, my communication stunk. by “impossible” I meant that “erasing” is more like repressing and it comes out somehow. some way. “it” or “negatives” would be things that have hurt me or another person I care about or things I don’t like about myself (significant things worth changing). i see the “so what? that’s human” as not a justification but just an acceptance of what goes on in life. So…I’m not clear on guilt as an issue here. It’s more about managing some of the more frustrating realities of living. Then we can go deeper and get into the truly negative things like a dear friend’s suicide or a sister’s rape. There’s no guilt there for me (okay, maybe a smidge. i should have called. etc. etc.) but there is certainly a negative that cannot be erased. But I can be with myself in my grief. I can be with myself in the fact that maybe it still rankles. I cannot, however, erase any of these types of things. So, there’s a whole range of “negative” that spans from the triflings of life’s ups and downs to the truly negative/shadowy/tragedies/corruptions we cannot explain away. Or erase. Or even forget. We can only “be with.” And some of them we can revolutionize, insist on change. But that is my language and it likely lacks!

      Gotta scram for now…I agree, whether your comment applies in this case or not…the lesson is to not carry guilt around. And it’s one I have been working on all my life. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  11. Hi Ruth –

    A “cute” response? Excuse me young lady but last time I checked it was you that was the cute one…lol. I am a man, swauve, handsome, full of myself, with way too much confidence…I can’t be having a beautiful lady going around the internet calling me “cute”. Just not good for the rep.

  12. I have to respond to my dear friend HPGirl. I am proud of you. I have always been impressed with the way your mind thinks and the words you write. I have never even opened a Tao Book in my entire life. My views come from my experience and my heart…and an occaisional “google” search. But if I quote from a passage I always disclose the source (good habit taught in College). That is all this is, speaking from your truth…no right or wrongs.

    You and your husband made a good decision to find out the truth…you are not being accusitory…you are being concerned. Not only for your safety, but for the safety of your family. Congratulations on the first step to healing.

  13. jruthkelly and Italco, I just wanted to tell you that today I finally got up the nerve to call the police. Two years after this stuff started. I wasn’t calling because I wasn’t sure if he was stalking me or if it was a bunch of coincidences because we lived in the same town. I felt guilty about the idea of calling the police if he wasn’t stalking me. Still do, in fact.

    But you know what? I want it resolved one way or another. So, I told the officer I wasn’t sure if I was right or not. He suggested it would be a good idea for him to go talk to him anyway, just to make sure the guy understands the situation from my view. So, if I can get his license plate number, the officer is going to talk to him and ask him to leave me alone. I believe my husband wrote it down, so if he still has it then the cop can go do that.

    Hopefully that will resolve the situation. At least I’m finally taking some action!!

    I want to thank you for giving me the courage to do this!

  14. I have a lot of things to think about from this blog. I’m not ready to have an opinion about Taoist concepts, because I know nothing about them. I’ll start by reading the book you suggested, and thinking about the things you’ve said. You’re like a spiritual leader, did you know that?

    1. @HPG That’s cool. I understand. Jump in anytime if you change your mind or see anything that grabs you. No Taoist experience needed! The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao anyway…

      Spiritual leader? I’m not sure. I’ve decided to pour out my heart as it feels to flow and to speak my vision and see how it can grow. If that turns out to make a “leader” of me, then my desire is that it will be a truly healing, creative reality of community, of people growing together as their intrinsic wisdom emerges and weaves into a force of people who are led not by one person or one concept as much as they are led by wisdom in love. Thank you though. Your words leave me feeling that my outpouring is not without influence. That matters to me. We all have much to offer from the dark days of our lives, much to provide that can bring a group work of leadership by “accident.” The best kind…

      The day calls…

  15. Jruthkelly, do you think your exploration of these concepts has improved your life and outlook? Did you struggle before and have found some measure of constancy after? I find your conversation with Italco very interesting, but I also don’t understand all of it (yet). I am looking for some philosophy that can give me some peace. I’m a very worried person, generally, and I’d like th shed that aspect. I don’t really see how worrying all the time helps me.

  16. @ HPG – I have always found your insight to be an inspiration and insightful. I would love to view your thoughts on this post as well.

    @ Ruth – You found my name and have my permission to use it…Ed is correct. In fact you both my call me Ed. I read through the rest of your summation and am going to have to read through and linger a bit longer on your words. Unfortunately I have to run but will take the time later to ponder…Ed

    1. @ Ed … I look forward to any input. Or sword crossing. ; )

      @ HPG … I second Ed’s words to you. Dive in, if you feel to on this dissection. Even if it’s to disagree or point out what doesn’t make sense to you. I’m not up for pretending my expression is adequate or even “error-free” and I’m ready to learn. Also, feel free to call me Ruth… And to answer your questions: I spent most of my life anxious, neurotically so at times. I also had times of incredible serenity and joy. Like two extremes (but not bipolar. not that that is a bad thing. it’s just a thing.). These concepts and ideas came along around the same time they were already cooking up in my own soul. It was like an appointment with affirmation – my finding of Alan Watts and Taoism. But I can tell you that it came about also through a relationship of support. I will never be able to NOT acknowledge that the support put me on a path of peace more rapidly than any concept could do all by itself. Worrying all the time doesn’t help you at all, you’re right. I actually tell myself, when the worry commences at times, “This anxiety won’t make for a better outcome. It never has. It never will. Trust life. Trust love. Trust yourself.” It works but it works because I’ve done some major homework on the source of my fears. Concepts help but the real work is in going into the source of the anxiety and allowing someone to go there with you without criticism. It could be that you find that someone is yourself. I don’t know if you can see this but when you are worrying, you are leaving you. If you can imagine staying with yourself, see this split part of you running away, chasing after all the possible bad outcomes in order to somehow prevent them. Go after that sprinting worrying part of you and bring her back, tell her it’s going to be okay. Tell her that no matter what happens, no matter how much she may fail, you will never give up on her, never not love her. Tell her it is not all up to her. Life and love can make a difference without the worry. That may sound hokey to you but it was powerful for me. And I was enabled to do that because I was being supported beautifully. So, yes. I’ve struggled. Tremendously horribly so. I’ve wanted to die. Many times. I’ve comforted myself with how I could take my own life. It has been that tough. I know peace now more than any other reality. Joy is slowly finding a foothold too. Slowly. This has been going on for over 20 years, this work. And concepts like this are great to explore because they can open you up to those places within you that you’ve not known exist. You can live in peace. It’s a process of patient refusal to accept constant worrying. It’s a process of exploring where the fears orginate and how you can dismantle them, a process of sharing it with people who will support you.

      And I found that the best support was not the spouse (now ex) or the siblings or anyone strongly tied to my past or invested in me being okay so they could have their needs met. It had to be someone not afraid to know my deepest worries and highest hopes and who did not require anything of me. If you need support, here it is, btw. I’m a work in progress, always will be. I still have days of dark worry. I curl up in a ball sometimes and the pain and grief rolls through me. That is life. I know though, when it’s happening, that I can trust it is a process that will allow me to emerge with a deeper appreciation of myself, of life and of love. And it does. It is.

      But I’ve said plenty! Strength to you…feel free to ask anything, argue anything. I’ll be away for a few hours but back when the demands of my day subside.

  17. I don’t have a cell phone, so I have to bring my camera. But that should work too. Imagine being him and having me point a camera at him the next time he shows up!

  18. I think my husband is starting, finally, to take it seriously. That will be really helpful, both physically and emotionally.

  19. You guys are awesome! You both have so much insight, and I plan to take my camera around with me until I get a picture of him. That’s a really good idea. My husband knows what his car looks like, but not him. So if I can get lucky enough to get a picture, that will be very helpful. I could also take it to the police then.

    I’m going to check the Watts book out from the library today, I think.

  20. “To act or grow creatively we must begin from where we are, but we cannot begin at all if we are not “all here” without reservation or regret. Lacking self-acceptance, we are always at odds with our point of departure, always doubting the ground on which we stand, always so divided against ourselves that we cannot act with sincerity. Apart from self-acceptance as the groundwork of thought and action, every attempt at spiritual or moral discipline is the fruitless struggle of a mind that is split asunder and insincere. It is the freedom which is the essential basis of self-restraint.”

    It is saying self acceptance will help us to grow. Without it we will not succeed in finding true emotional freedom.

    Erase the past in your mind…even if for moments…and allow yourself to connect within yourself…start from ground zero. Look at the positives and ignore the negatives. Focus on the good things that come into mind and dismiss anything negative. I would recomend a quiet place in the woods where a brooke is flowing and look for that 0 starting point.

    1. “Erase…”

      For me, it’s be with. But if that’s too disruptive (some heavy stuff overwhelming!), erasing in order to get that sense of peace is great. Just letting it go. I find that erasing is often impossible for me. I have to sit with the negatives and say “oh yea? so what? that’s human. i’m not going to hate that. i’m going to see how it, as a negative or shadow, might be a perverted assertion of how precious life is.” Then it’s like they are erased or quieted. I can then just flow next to the bubbling brook flow. And then, the real exercise is carrying that with m into the mean streets of daily living. I like to imagine it flowing into my whole life. Then there are no mean streets. Hopefully, that is. Ed, I love your thoughts. They help this gel for me. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  21. “Unlikely as it may seem, this outrageous and nonmoral freedom is the basis of all mental and spiritual wholeness, provided…that it seeks no result. But so full an acceptance includes also this seeking, along with just anything that one happens to be doing or feeling. The apparently extreme passivity of this acceptance is, however, creative because it permits one to be all of a piece, to be good, bad, indifferent, or merely confused, with a whole heart.”

    This passage refers to the inability to be who you truely are while trying to meet the expectations you allow others to set for you. You can’t truely know your inner self if you are consumed in the search of pleasing others. Their judgements cloud yours.

    1. Italco…”this passage…”

      I can only agree and say that I feel it goes deeper still. We get to be free of our own idea of what we should be, too. We just respond. It’s a call for freedom from inhibition – without making an outcast of yourself (if that’s possible!). It’s saying, too, that when we give up on living based on what is “right” or “wrong,” we are no longer creating a “me” in reaction against something. We are unfolding and our goodness, the innate least judgemental kind, flows from us freely. I love the “whole heart” bit. So many hearts held hostage…

  22. I will disect one thought at a time concerning this post.

    “For enlightenment, or accord with the Tao, remains unrealized so long as it is considered as a specific state to be attained, and for which there are tests and standards of success. It is much rather freedom to be the failure that one is.?

    It is saying to be open to that we don’t understand and not set yourself up for failure by trying to be what is expected. Accept your own faults and the truth will set you free.

    1. Wonderful stuff here Italco…I’ve got to catch up with you!!! Late nighter and going down for the count. I look forward to this in the a.m. HPG?? Chime in on this too!! G’nite for now…(if I can sleep!! insomnia’s been haunting me!)

    2. Italco: “It is saying…”

      I like what you express here Ed (found your name!!). Through our acceptance of our faults we find there is something deeper to experience and it might not (here I’ll slightly differ from you) be about knowing a “truth” as much as about finding that place of being perpetually nourished by Source (and this is a truth, of course – that we can be perpetually sustained). There’s a layer of recognizing that -for those who seek that grand somewhat guru or sensei level of enlightenment – there is never going to be such as long as the quest is the consuming inspiration. The seeking of a particular state of “arrival” is the very end of connection with Source/Tao. On this effort-based path, enlightenment becomes something you “put on” as opposed to bearing fruitas a tree bears her pears in response to life. The avid seeker has just disconnected by such seeking and yet there is a way to seek that is more an unfolding, flow, response to all.

  23. or have a wonderful italian buddy follow you around and catch him the act and fit him for some concrete shoes….just kidding JRK…lol. I am a retired cop…no mob in the

  24. HPG – If you believe this guy is stalking you then you must treat it as you are right. That being said, this man might very well have liked you was siad that he didn’t. He may have some secrete crush he has hidden from everyone including his wife. It might very well be that you are highly reseptive and instinctual. His showing up at odd times and convienantly disappearing so that your husband doesn’t know could be real. The only way to deal with assuming it is real is the same way you stop a child molestors and bullies from raining hell and havack on people….you expose them…the only way to deal with a real situation. Get your camera’s ready!!….if it is in your mind, the camera’s will tell you that as well and then you turn to counsel to deal with what the real issue is…either way…the truth will set you free.

  25. We live in a town of about 70,000. So it IS unusual to be seeing this guy everywhere. I’ve never put much stock into mystical things, so I’ve gone along for most of this thinking of it as a series of unfortunate coincidences. However, I’m coming to think maybe there’s a more spiritual side to it. Maybe it’s a way of bringing me over to the spiritual side of life, forcing me to think twice about my staunchly atheist, pure-chance way of looking at life. I have a hard time thinking I constantly run into this guy by pure chance.

    Your comments were very insightful, which I suspected would be so. That’s why I brought it up here, because you sounded like someone with some worthy things to share. I will try to do these things you suggest, look at how I react to these encounters, and then just let myself be/feel that way.

    I do not think I was particularly out of line or unusual when I was a teenager. I did typical teenage girl things, had typical teenage crushes, and so on. I don’t feel like I did anything that bad to cause this guy to react that way to me. But I WAS a ‘brainiac’ aka nerd. And my childhood was very … dramatic. My parents weren’t exactly good for each other. So I had that going on. It probably affected how others viewed me.

    Do you have any good Taoist books to recommend?

    1. @hpg It’s good to hear you’re looking at the more spiritual side of things. There are some who say “there are no accidents” and I’d say that’s a bit extreme but … then again. We can, at the very least, learn from the patterns our lives present. The synchronicity. And I’d say this guy is definitely presenting an opp. for you to see the patterns. It sounds almost like he could be life’s way of inviting you to go back to that time on some levels and restore anything you lost in reaction against things you couldn’t control (like the parents’ struggles). When we can’t control things that are really important, sometimes we react by refusing to believe in anything that can’t be nailed down.

      I can say that I decided to take all my “stock” out of mystical things for a season and those thing didn’t much care about that fact. I was ruthlessly “stalked” by the spiritual side of life. So, I gave up my “if I can’t touch it, it ain’t real” mindset. We are powerful conduits of energy, of vibrations that influence us from our past, from the people around us.

      But! Italco is right. If you’re truly being stalked, you need to decide that and act on it. But do it without fear or, from my own experience I can say this, it will only escalate. You’re wise to trust your instincts while also asking yourself what life could be saying to you through this odd series of encounters/sightings. You can command this situation so that you do not feel at the mercy of these encounters. Enlist someone to help you get clear perspective on what’s going on. If not your husband, then someone who will see it as worthy of tracking.

      Taoist books…I’ll tell you what I read because I do NOT consider myself any type of expert. If you want specific intro into things Eastern and more Taoist or Zen, Alan Watts is great. I read Become Who You are, The Wisdom of Insecurity and Behold The Spirit. As well as the one I quote all the time here “Nature, Man and Woman” (it dives into many of the layers of religion and atheism) Then strictly Taoist: “Tao, The Watercourse Way” By Alan Watts. Awesome. It’s quite a sea to dive into. Then there’s “Cloud Hidden Whereabouts Unknown” which is a compilation of his work. Any of Watts books will open your world in terms of making peace with layers of atheism, religion and philosophy and how it can tie into just being human. I would say, given all I sense of your interest and concerns, “Become Who You Are” by Watts is a great starting point and it need not be a huge concern as to whether or not it is Taoist or Zen. He speaks to the logical person and he makes sense. That, I believe, is where atheism rests most firmly and he has a wonderful way of opening doors there. But, you can, of course go straight to The Tao Te Ching. It is the classic text that is the basis of this philosophy. It would likely be a very frustrating read if you are just putting your toe in. So, again. Watts is a great mediator.

      Check this out too… This is an online interpretaion from a great group of Taoists and it’s right there for free.

      If you feel inclined, I’d love to hear from you on how all of this evolves for you. You need to be clear on what it means on practical levels as well as spiritual.


    2. Also…re: stalking type realities. I’ve made a point to look at a guy who’s being a bit too frequent in his path-crossings with me and look sternly and clearly showing “I SEE YOU” and I’ve pulled out my cell phone to take a photo, just in case. Dunno if you have one. Dunno what retired cop Italco would say of this but it seems effective. It’s a way of saying “I’m not a victim. Get out of my way.” And we do need to say that sometimes, eh? Don’t be afraid, but don’t be afraid to be especially cautious and (confident!) until you know what this is.

  26. @HPG P.S. A Taoist approach would be one of not reacting against this in judgement of yourself or f the other guy. It would be one of witnessing how you feel about it. Allowing yourself to feel fully what is evoked by it all and then to simply allow the feelings. Then ask yourself what they say of your regard for you. How much do you operate with an identity divorced from the truth of your immeasurable worth, divorced from the truth that life will bring to you all the best things? I’m not asking this for you to answer. I’m telling you how I would feel the Tao working on my soul in the form of these questions. It’s possible this guy is tied to other things you have not resolved. Issues surrounding self-acceptance. He may represent a part of yourself you do not feel worthy to acknowledge. So many possibilities!

  27. The first thing that comes to mind is that you likely live in a small town…? This can cause paths to cross fairly often. But! Having said that, I’ll say the opposite. I live in a small town with people I know well and we, in 9 years of living here, have almost never run across each other accidentally. You hear some people say “oh! I live in a small town and run into my friends all the time. no privacy!” So, it’s a conundrum.

    I can say that if this were happening to me I’d consider the likelihood that I’d not ever forgiven myself for being a really open-hearted, unabashedy admiring teenager with her interest openly and shamelessly showing. It’s NOTHING to forgive but we have our weird judgments of ourselves. Forgive first. Then recognize it’s a sweet thing in the first place. That’s how you need to see it, if you don’t.

    As much as I rant at the doctrines that spring from the laws of attraction, I do believe that we attract things we have not resolved. I attracted a stalking-type person who was abusive years ago (internet). I’m not a stalker type. But I sure believed I deserved to be treated badly (and not for anything bad. It was a result of my history and things I was healing). And it didn’t go away until I resolved that personal issue.

    It’s true that we draw to us what we fixate on and I’ve found this to be true for me without fail. That is NOT a criticism. We often fixate on what we need to bring into the light so that we can find the balance we need.

    This is my initial response to this. If you have any further input or response, feel free. I’ve no problem with this unfolding here on the blog. If you’d prefer privacy, feel free to e-mail me at If that doesn’t work, get in touch with me here. It sometimes doesn’t work. I can then give an alternate e-mail.

    But, I’ll say this in parting:your description of yourself as a stupid teenager has got to go. You were a person bravely exploring her interests and loves. There’s no shame in it.

    I’d say this is life’s way of giving you an opportunity to accept yourself in the past…


  28. @HPG Wow…This is multi-layered. I’m going to pick my daughter up from guitar. Then I’ll sink my teeth into this. Thanks for sharing. More in a few…

  29. OK, thanks! I wonder if me taking a Taoist approach might make the situation go away.

    So I went to grade school and middle school with this guy, and I had a crush on him when I was a kid. One time I skipped school to go over to his school (and my best friend’s school because she got kicked out of our Catholic one…) Anyway, he noticed me, but he decided I was a creep instead of just some stupid teenager with a crush.

    Fast forward twenty years.

    My husband and I moved to the town we’re in now, and surprisingly this guy lives here too. (It’s not that far from where we grew up, but still far enough to be an unfortunate coincidence.)

    So for the last two years he’s been following me around, giving me dirty looks when he passes me on the street, having his (I presume) wife follow me around. Stuff like that. He’s called my house several times (but didn’t actually speak). I suspect he has his friends follow me around too (though that could just be me being paranoid). It’s been going on for a LONG time. I’m an avid skier, and apparently he is too, because I’ve seen him at the ski hills on more than one occasion too.

    It’s friggin strange. I can’t get away from this guy. My son goes to kung fu (has done for the last year and a half), and now this guy is driving by the kung fu place. He actually had the balls to ride his bike right past me last week. But again he never said a word.

    For a long time I thought he did all this because he thought I was a creep, or something. Paranoid about me. But I’m starting to wonder. Maybe He’s really a creep.

    Whatever the reason, I really, REALLY want it to stop. I can’t walk out my front door without wondering what will happen next.

    So, do you think Taoism can help me here? I GOTTA find a way to live my life without this guy being an ever present ghost in it. He’s like a hateful ghost from my past that won’t forgive me for being a stupid teenager. And the really upsetting thing for me is that my husband thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing, since he’s never actually seen the guy.

  30. HPG and JRK – You know what would be fun, to take it paragraph by paragraph or sentence by sentence and each of us put it in our owns words as to what it means to you…the wonderful thing about his work, is the individual perception is a reality different to each of us. It would be interesting to see what it means to the two of you. You are both very interesting ladies in your own right, but I would love to see the depth of your minds.

    1. @ Italco I’m game. I will say that I believe Watts had a specific intent beyond our own perceptions of his communication. It’s tough to do justice to such a brilliant mind! But I certainly have my personal conclusions.

      This is a good idea. We’ll see what HPG says. And you too Italco, your input… give it. : )

  31. Are you a Taoist? I thought this was a very interesting piece, but I admit that I didn’t entirely understand it. I’m trying to apply it to myself, and I’m wondering if doing so can help me understand what I just read, and thus stop worrying about it.

    Do you mind if I share it so I can get some perspective and maybe a way to have it not bother me?

    1. @HPG – Understanding this piece (Watts quotes) is, for me, somewhat like looking at something in the dark. You have to be sure your focus is not as tight. Ever notice how when it’s pitch black out and you try to look straight at something but it becomes invisible as soon as you do? (This happens to me anyway) Then if you look a little to the left or right of it, it’s more visible (understandable). (Watts’ words are so densely layered, it’s difficult. Deciphering it and putting it into my own words ain’t easy either!)

      I don’t think I qualify for that tag “taoist” since I’m so new to it all. Began exploring it in 2004 but was also exploring atheism. That was short-lived. Can’t deny a sense of the divine. I’ve come a long way but wow, my tendency is to take no label. But I love Taoism. It is one of the biggest influences of my life right now.

      Feel free to share anything. Anytime. Glad for you presence here. (3rd correction of my response to you here! My fingers and mind are not working well together right now… Sheesh!)

  32. Absolutely beautiful…I enjoyed the post as well 😉

    It all comes back to the person in the mirror….

    Do not judge harshly and be forgiving so long as mistake and failures were un-intentional. If found to be otherwise then the only person who can change your path is looking at you.

    1. Well said. Such simple truths and yet they are not so simply implemented at times. Too bad the human life cannot hold the health and vision of the best age (what age would that be? for me…40 something) and live on to hundreds of years of wisdom. It seems a cruel timeline to manage with the lessons learned.

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