Tao of Perseverance

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” – Walter Elliot

How true. David, one of my fellow three hikers and climbers, told us a story about giving up on getting to the peak where he met Marie and I, where he went on to an even more difficult part of the journey. I found it fascinating because he showed me a video of him explaining how giving up was taking care of himself. By the end of our journey, he was able to see, as well meaning as the need to self-care might be, wasn’t truthful, but a story he told himself. He freely admitted that watching another person pass him by shortly after doing the video changed his mind, someone he saw as determined and willing to persevere despite limitations.

So, how do we know when to give up? I have no answer to that question. I would suggest when we focus on what’s in front of us, step by step, we don’t have time to think of giving up, or persevering for that matter. When what we are doing in this moment is our entire universe the only choice is how we do what we are doing, not whether we can do it. We don’t give up, we redirect. We may change course, but we don’t abandon our direction. We may modify our goals, but we don’t let them go. It’s a very Zen and Tao approach to the gritty experience of living in a transient universe.

I was grateful to David for sharing his, “There’s a time to give up” story with me. It really reflects that we are so much more than our perceived limitation will allow, it’s just a matter of that next small step, the one David’s taking in the photo.

Take care of you and all you care for,

Bryan Wagner

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