Tag Archives: Lao Tzu

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[Photo Credit: SplitShire]

“True words always seem paradoxical, but no other form of teaching can take their place.” ~ Lao-Tzu

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The complex phenomenon called love finds its one description in the following words of Lao Tzu: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage (http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/2622245.Lao_Tzu).”

This conviction of love’s ability to give strength and courage found a home in me beginning with the year of 2005, the end of a year during which I faced one of my most trying ordeals.  The summer of 2008, while being a time to take me to a new state of trial, enabled me a realization that heightened anew – and continues to intensify today – my passion for life.  All along, I had been deeply loving the same someone, gaining courage from my love during my thus far most difficult experiences.  I had, however, not been aware of the depth to which extent that someone had been loving me.  All along, having to face and come to terms with the unwavering tribulations of my mutually wounding ordeal, nesting within the one of own.

Coming across Lao Tzu’s words just recently when a late January 2013 blog on my host platform – WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LOVE– was still on my mind now feels like this coincidental bridging was meant to be. Hadn’t Kant claimed that coincidences are not about a coincidence, after all?

Sara Rosso, the writer who conceived the challenge in question, had one invitation to other bloggers:share a picture which means LOVE to you!”

I haven’t had the chance to participate in that challenge on its deadline.  I am, however, dedicating this Sunday’s post to it.  Aside from the obvious (a scene from Venice), my photograph captures that someone with whom I share love at its ultimate state, gaining strength and courage from the depth of its multitude of dimensions.  To fulfill my lifelong wish, I had made arrangements to visit Venice and Florence with her.  When I arrived in Germany for a brief visit with her first before we took of to Italy, she started feeling sick.  Everything for our trip was arranged, yet she only got sicker.  Without skipping a beat, she forbade me from cancelling our entire trip – which I was ready to do and kept me company to her best capacity while at our destinations.  She knew that I wouldn’t go to my dream sites on my own.  She knew how important that trip was for me for reasons that only she and I knew the best.  In addition to her sickness, she had to leave her husband behind, for no visa arrangements could be completed for him.  They were still newlyweds.

My daughter.

Image of love

Out of respect for her most cherished privacy, I have opted for a picture that shows only her back.  Instead of her outer beauty that is in immense harmony with her inner beauty.  Dear Sara Rosso, here I am sharing a picture which means LOVE to me!


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Lao Tzu (604 B.C.)

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

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A Virtual Visit with Ovid (Repeated Post)

Dear Reader, on November fourth of 2012, I had created this post for the first time. I am re-posting my entire reflection because this Sunday comes only a day after the birthday of my cousin’s daughter whom I had talked about along with the love and death story of my cousin. Lilia, her daughter is always in my mind, so is Yasemin. Yesterday, I wrote a poem on the occasion of the lovely Lilia’s birthday, and today, I am having my old post honor both, mother and daughter here once again. But I am also reminiscing with the importance and immortality of love in our lives. 

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Sometime between 43 BC and AD 17, Publius Ovidius Naso is claimed to have made the following statement that I take to the heart: “Happy are those who dare courageously to defend what they love.”  The “what” in Ovid’s assertion leaves, to me, open doors for us to interpret in a way that is most befitting to our own lives.  For me, it also equals the “whom”.  Whom did we love, or do we love and will love?  Before I get into a deliberation, though, on the love concept of my choice today – love for a man, I must mention how fortunate I have been all my life (thus far) to have experienced thoroughly the love of my parents, my extended family members, true friends – dost, the singular form of a gender-neutral noun, dostlar in the plural – as we distinguish them in Turkish from good-times-only-friends, and that of my one and only child: my daughter.  Oh, have I been ever living that love to my limits!

Today, though, my thoughts take me back in many years.  To my first love.  A mere scanning of a few examples of the world art – in poetry and music alone – and philosophy, will remind us how much emphasis the unexplainable transformation process we call “love” has received over the centuries in the human psyche.  In those brilliant individuals, whose words on the subject appear in a myriad of citations.  Time and again.

I count as one concrete example of an anti-thesis to those in Ovid’s claim.  Having been unhappy for several decades for not having ‘dared’ “courageously to defend what” I loved with my first love.  Having nurtured for too long my conviction that such happiness will never come my way ever again.  Devastated. In despair. In chronic pessimism.  Waiting.  All along building a life that resembled to me the action behind the use of the sticks in the Mikado Game: Bundled and dropped, re-bundled and dropped, re-bundled again and dropped again (and so on).  That lost love was beyond restoration for me.

Drifting to another first love… That of Yasemin.My best friend, my sole confidante, my beloved sister, my guide… before my daughter.  My cousin, fifteen years my junior – yes, not a biological sister but a sister nevertheless.

“He is too young for you,” her parents told her – the way my parents had spoken to me about their “he is no-match to you” conclusion… “He has too much of an outgoing personality; you will be left behind,” her parents also said to her – almost echoing my own parents way back when.  She was confiding in me, seeking my advice.  I encouraged her with passionate confidence in my articulation of every word: “Stand by your own decision. Otherwise, you will regret giving in for the rest of your life.”  She did stand by her own decision.  Unlike I, she achieved happiness with the one she loved first, for she ‘dared’ “courageously to defend what” she loved in him and the who she became with him.  Her courage didn’t stop there.  She also insisted on going through grueling emotional turmoil to have her baby, Lilia Felice, now an eleven-year old.

Less than a year after her child was born, cancer had invaded Yasemin’s body.  It had been living and growing inside her all along during her pregnancy. A fact sheet that came in too late.

I am more fortunate.  Not for living beyond her.  Living without a meaning in one’s life only delivers emptiness to me after all.  Love for a man – as I have started out my reflection today, eliminates such void in me on the personal level.  We all embody distinctive levels about us, as we have different roles and functions in our lives.  The mother, the father, the daughter, the son, the husband, the wife, the spouse, the companion, the partner, the aunt, the uncle, the grandfather, the grandmother, and so on.  But then, there is the “I” we take with us everywhere at all times.  At the deepest personal level.  I see it as not only our privilege but also our right to fulfill any emptiness inside that unsubstituteable “I”.  In order to achieve happiness in what we have: one life, and one life only.  One life that can cease to be for us in any split-second.  As it had for Yasemin at the age of thirty-one.  With her having to leave her one-year old child behind.  Before her life ceased to be, however, she dared; she defended; she achieved what to her was an extra-ordinary cause for happiness.

Late, too late or not, I realize and admit one fact about myself at last: The more I aged, the more I feared leaving life without a similar experience.  I fear no longer.  One outstanding feel has come my way.  One that continues to enable me with a fundamental transformation toward bettering myself through intellectual, psychological but also emotional growth I had not known before.  I have not refused it.  For this or for that reason… I have not been able to refuse it, neither have I wanted to: A late love.

Unlike my first time, I no longer lack the courage to ‘defend what I love’.  I finally also know my “what” in Ovid’s pronouncement: My love not only for him but also for myself in this love.

Whenever I allow myself to ask, if my love is returned, and thus, lead myself to doubt, one outcome leaves no room for a question: Love’s beauty has been real to me.  It is being real to me.  Of utmost importance, though, is the fact that the spectacular knowledge of this unique life experience is a vital part of my existence and will nourish my soul  for my remaining time.

Like Ovid’s conviction, a collection of words on love by Lao Tzu is also subject to many quotations: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”  May your days meet and embrace ‘deep love’ of mutual nature and may that experience lend you strength.


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