Thirteenth Verse of the Tao Te Ching:

Favor and disgrace seem alarming.
High status greatly afflicts your person.
Why are favor and disgrace alarming?
Seeking favor is degrading:
alarming when it is gotten,
alarming when it is lost.
Why does high status greatly afflict your person?
The reason we have a lot of trouble
is that we have selves.
If we had no selves,
what trouble would we have?
Man’s true self is eternal,
yet he thinks, I am this body and will soon die.
If we have no body, what calamities can we have?
One who sees himself as everything
is fit to be guardian of the world.
One who loves himself as everyone
is fit to be teacher of the world.
Author’s Commentary:

What would you do if you weren’t held back by your concern for what others might think?

Imagine the freedom in living without concern for how you might be judged.

It has happened to us all, at some point in our lives we let ourselves shine, and what happened?  Someone else got jealous, offended, upset, and let us know they didn’t approve.  So what did we do?  We dimmed our light.

The world needs you to shine your light as brightly as you can.  Not because you want someone to love you or praise you, but because you love you and it’s too painful to keep your light hidden any longer.

If you do it for the praise, you’ll inevitably fall.  That’s how it works.  The Universe supports authenticity.  If you’re not authentic, you create disharmony, which is not sustainable.  Our self-correcting Universe will overcome whatever illusion you’re trying to maintain.  So just let it go now.

What’s in your heart?  Where does your passion lead you?

Who in your life supports your passions and dreams?  Who tries to keep your light from shining?

Spend more time with those who encourage and empower you.  Avoid those who drain you, but realize it’s always your choice to give your power away and keep your light dim.

Divorce is a time of great transition, a time when many reinvent themselves.  It can be a clean slate.  Use your emotions as a guidance system.  Move in the direction of your joy.

If you’re feeling dismay, use it to help you understand where you’re being inauthentic.  Ask yourself, “What illusion am I perpetrating?  How am I dimming my light to spare someone else’s feelings?”

Of course, I’m not advocating that you do something to cause deliberate harm to someone else, just that you begin realizing that what others think of you is none of your business.  Worrying about it only dims your light.

Be yourself.  Your Authentic-Self!  Your family might be resistant at first, but who’s a better role model for your kids, someone who’s controlled by their fear of what others might think, or someone who shines brilliantly despite their fear?

You are so much more than your body.  You are an infinite, eternal being of light connected to everything and everyone.  By being your Authentic-Self as completely as possible, you act as a teacher for us all.

Utilize this time in your life to recognize your Authentic-Self.  You are not what your ex-spouse thinks you are.  You’re not what your kids think you are.  You’re not even what you think you are.  You’re so much more!

Contemplate the old prayer, “God, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.”

Even on a cloudy day, the sun is there, shining brightly, just obscured from view.  Even in times of struggle, your inner light shines brightly, perhaps just obscured by your limited beliefs about yourself.

When you feel passion, joy, excitement, it’s like a glimpse of the sun through a break in the clouds.  You have the ability within yourself to rise above the clouds and bask in the glory of your true light.

Spend a day exploring your joy.  Put aside your false limitations about what may be possible and move in the direction of your deepest passion and excitement.  Find a quiet space and imagine an ideal scene where you’re fully engaged in life, shining brightly.  Describe the scene in detail.  What are you doing? Who are you with?  What are your surroundings?  What does it feel like?  Write it down.  There’s great power in the written word.

Next, do something that brings you closer to your ideal.  Call a friend who knows someone who does what you’d like to do.  Read a book about it.  Start with baby steps that you can take consistently, each day.  Before you know it, you’ll be shining so brightly others’ opinions won’t stand a chance in obscuring your light.

Whatever resources you need to live more authentically are always at your disposal.  It is simply the way of the Tao.  Having the courage to use them is the key.

Love & Light Ahead!

Michael C. Cotugno, Esq.
Conscious Divorce Attorney & Coach
M.A. in Spiritual Psychology