One of the concepts central to Taoist thought is learning to "go with the flow." As we all should know, this idea often proves difficult to put into practice. When the flow of life is going the direction we already want to go, then "going with the flow" can be damn easy. We pat ourselves on the back for doing something that meshes well with our preconceived desires and expectations.
But what happens when the natural flow of events and circumstances is going off in a different direction, a direction that we don't want to go? Aah, that's the catch. Do we have the wisdom and courage to go where that flow takes us?
I am facing this situation right now in terms of my growing debilitation in my left leg. While I had sincerely hoped that the inflammation in my hip would begin to lessen, it's actually getting worse. I'm having a lot of trouble getting around with the use of a cane and crutches. Today, in fact, I'm going to visit the local pharmacy to see if they have and we can afford to purchase a walker!
I have known since my mid-teens that this day would come. I knew that the chances that my diseased hip would last my lifetime -- barring an early death -- were not good at all. I knew that it was very likely that one day my hip would give out, but I crossed my fingers in the hope that the hip would last into my 60s or early 70s.
But that doesn't seem to be in the cards for me! While I can't be sure that I've reached the point of no return this time around, I am aware that these bouts of inflammation are becoming more frequent and long-lasting. While this flare-up MAY burn itself out and not prove to be the end of the road for my hip, that end is not far off.
So, I'm sitting here watching the river of my life flowing in a direction I would rather not go. I want to remain self-sufficient. I want to remain able to
I don't want ANY of these things, but that's the direction I'm headed and most likely will stay headed if I don't opt for hip replacement surgery (with its long period of limited mobility and recuperation).
I've put off this operation for more than a decade as I fought against the flow of my life. Now, however, I see the error of my ways. The pain and suffering I'm experiencing today are the direct result of going against that flow for so long.
The time is long past that I willingly jump into the water to allow the current to take me where it will. All I have to do is to find my swimming trunks and goggles!
This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.