Do your work, step back

This is a nice bit of Tao reflection… especially for those of us who are very good at doing, but not at stopping.


Fill your bowl to the brim

and it will spill.

Keep sharpening your knife

and it will blunt.

Chase after money and security

and your heart will never unclench.

Care about people’s approval

and you will be their prisoner.

Do your work, then step back.

The only path to serenity.

Lao Tsu

The trick, of course, is to know when your bowl is comfortably full, to know when you’ve done enough work.

I think you only know that once you step back quietly. In actuality, work is never “done”. There is more we could always do. But we need to realise backing off, releasing control, letting things be for a bit is as essential to creating as doing is.

This is a relief. Honestly.

What can we all do to step back? A walk around the block? Some care of the soul? Some gentle trusting that enough is done? Maybe just do less and see what happens?

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