The full title is actually Women’s Tao Wisdom: Ten Ways to Personal Power and Peace. It is one of my Bedside Pile. I had read this some time ago but thought I would revisit it before putting it back on the shelf. It comes from a period in my life when I was really interested in and bought quite a lot of books about Daoism / Taoism.
The Ten Ways of the title are Oneness, Centering, Compassion, Simplicity, Natural Cycles, Timing, Courage, Strength, Agency and Harmony. Each chapter involves a brief discussion of these aspects of our lives. At the end of the chapters there is also a section that revises the key points and gives either exercises or suggestions on how to enhance that aspect.
The writing style doesn’t particularly grab me. I can’t really rave about it from that perspective, but it is one of those books that will always have some little thing resonate each time you read it. And from this reading, here are the two sections that rang bells for me.
If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries, you have an imbalanced relationship. Getting back in balance will require some adjustments. Listen to the other person with compassion, but set your boundaries and honor them. You can’t expect other people to respect your boundaries unless you show them the way. Gradually, your interactions will change. Some relationships will adjust while others will not endure. But in time, the people in your life will respect your boundaries and you’ll have more power and peace of mind.
I’ve seen this lack of respect for boundaries in many people’s lives and it is such a shame to witness the result of not standing up for yourself and clearly defining where the line is. Not only are other people likely to impose on you if you are unclear in your own mind what is acceptable to you, but you are likely to come to resent those who continually cross that line. The only person truly responsible for this situation is yourself. You set your boundaries, not other people. It is a very simple piece of wisdom, but has a profound effect right throughout your life.
And finally, a wonderful quote from Aung San Suu Kyi.
You should not let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right. Not that you shouldn’t be afraid. Fear is normal. But to be inhibited from doing what you know is right, that is what is dangerous. You should be able to lead your life in the right way – despite your fears.
This quote could quite clearly apply in so many areas of life. Doing what is right is often incredibly hard when social pressure pushes and pulls at us. Over time that little voice we hear in our head can be drowned out or pushed down until fear has won the fight to control us. And living in that place certainly gives no peace of mind. Allowing fear to override what is right as an individual can create localised problems and en masse has lead to some of the greatest atrocities being committed. We owe it to ourselves and our community to take heed of this advice and act upon it.