The Tao Te Ching: Verse Fifty-Nine

In governing people and serving Heaven
There is nothing like conservation
Only with conservation is it called submitting early
Submitting early is called emphasis on accumulating virtues
Accumulating virtues means there is nothing one cannot overcome
When there is nothing that one cannot overcome
One’s limits are unknown
The limitations being unknown, one can possess sovereignty
With this mother principle of power, one can be everlasting
This is called deep roots and firm foundation
The Tao of longevity and lasting vision

                                                                                    Lao Tzu

There is nothing like conservation.” This is the verse of the Tao Te Ching in which I believe that Lao Tzu is actually giving professional and family caregivers instruction and permission to say, no and reserve some energy for another day.

Giving is on a caregiver’s DNA. Saying no to anyone asking for our services, support or buy-in is at times unthinkable. But that is because we do not give ourselves permission to weigh our own needs into the equation of all that is asked of us.

Accumulating virtues in Eastern thought refers to the development of your character so that you can not only identify those habitual behaviors that lead to the same regretful outcomes but you can actual resist falling into those patterns and make a better choice.

All too often I listen to caregivers as they explain to me that making their own needs a priority is not necessary, important or impossible at this time. I don’t buy it. Why is there always some piece of you left to offer to another and nothing of yourself left for you?

This habitual behavior can be changed. There is Middle Way. What is needed is the development of a relationship with yourself. A true relationship where you become attune to your moods, needs and desires and make a decision to take good care of this new friend. “When there is nothing that one cannot overcome, one’s limits are unknown.” These beautiful words serve as a reminder that behaviors that do not serve to anchor contentment in your life can be changed and a new way mastered. Find your Middle Way.

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