Archives for category: Travel

th-8This is the part of practicals, wherever you are, no matter your station in life.  From washing dishes, to raking leaves, to riding trains or walking in rivers, we can know the Tao.  All forms of life are a form of play and if we divorce ourselves from the conventional, cultural and contrived constraints of meaning and “status,” we can and will know freedom.

I know this because, over my own lifetime, I have, for “pay,” washed dishes, driven security vans, operated and fixed tractors, sold jeans in a retail store, achieved at and completed graduate school, served as the Director of a Trauma Team in a major teaching hospital, volunteered at libraries and wildlife rescue centers, provided service as a bodyworker and massage therapist, worked as a receptionist, accountant and water works specialist, served as a pet/house sitter, wild-crafted and made my own organic salves, cut my own wood for warmth and fished streams for my own food, conducted weeks-long vision quests throughout the Southwest in a 1977 Westphalia camper van (and you have to know how to “wrench” that engine yourself in the middle of nowhere to do so) and lived in a 10’x10′ cabin with no electric, no phone, just me and a wood stove and cold running water from a stream.  The expansion of self, the willingness to find ourselves in any and all situations and the self-found capacity to know that we can handle all of them is what allows us full, rich and authentic expression of self in this one lifetime.

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th-6Based on the philosophical and practice principles of the Tao I laid out in my last post, I am offering here just some simple exercises of play I discovered over the years, born out of my own, daily, mundane activities.

The first I developed while still living and pursuing a highly successful professional life in Boston, where I studied with my SiFu in the Taoist meditative, martial and medicinal arts.  He was just one of many I knew there, but he stood prominently at the core of my studies for over 10 years.

The second was born out of my explorations in an environment in which I chose to live at a more humble, simple and naturally-oriented way long after I left the confining perks and financial contrivances of my “professional” life.  Trade-offs always occur in our choices and I gave away the prestige of position for a more authentically personal one.  Yes, I now live at an economic level far below the one I left, but I inhabit a place and time whose riches I have not even begun to mine fully.  The thrill of a larger reward of experience now is far and away worth the “sacrifice” I made to do so.

th-2Like the children depicted here, play is spontaneous and individually invented.  Here, a group of boys has decided to play a game of cricket in between abandoned railroad tracks.  Who knows why they chose this venue over any others – that’s just the serendipity of humanity and that serendipity should be honored and appreciated.  It is what makes us all human: whose core base I assume to be curiosity, inventiveness and enthusiasm for being in the world to our fullest extent.  These boys are obviously, completely, inside their game and should be applauded for all of the originality that led them to this moment, in this captured photo.

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