The first time I heard the Tao I was enamored with its feeling of completeness. It makes perfect sense to me and is a story I’ve used to guide my decisions a lot throughout the past year.
“When everyone in the world sees beauty, then ugly exists. When everyone sees good, then bad exists.” I find great freedom laced within these words. They remind me of a truth I once learned from my Grandfather which states “there’s a season for everything in life.” It sounds overly simplistic but, in my eyes, it gives structure to the mechanism of being. There is a time to laugh, there is a time to cry; a time to fuck and a time to sit; there will be highs and there will be lows – you will feel pain and you will feel pleasure; challenges are coming and so are the victories. The Tao reveals how “opposites are united in a necessary whole.” Finding an inner balance is paramount to living a quality life.
We are the experiencer as well as the experience. From our vantage point we attempt to divide that which is undivideable. The deeper seeded truth is revealed by the words: “what is and what is not create each other. Difficult and easy complement each other. Tall and short shape each other. High and low rest on each other. Voice and tone blend with each other. First and last follow each other.” One of the main reasons I’ve decided to embark on this bike ride is because I believe in the human ability to adapt, and although I fear a lot of what I’m running toward, I trust the other side of fear will reveal something far greater than the fear I currently possess.
Since arriving back in Michigan after my two-year vandwelling experience in the Bay Area I’ve realized a deeper sense of self-respect and trust within my body. I’ve always been a people pleaser, so much so I carried unnecessary stress regarding things outside my control. I allowed people’s opinions of me to be the version of me I accepted as truth, rather than digging deep and allowing the essence of me to manifest as my daily embodiment. I very much conformed to my environment and the way I thought I was “supposed to act,” rather than being the weird, curious person I am.
Living in a van was a direct attempt to live outside my comfort zone, as a way to grow as an individual. It took a long time to adapt to the new environment, but after two years surviving as a vandweller it became my normal. I plan to carry the same mentality over to the bicycle when I leave next month. What one-person views as adventure, another sees as safety. There is no one way to live this life, it’s unique and individualized for each of us. I highly recommend reading the Tao or start by listening to this audio version on Youtube, found below.