Taoteching 16

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Obtain maximum nothingness

Leave your brokenness intact

When salmonberries flourish it is impossible to walk through them

When they store their juices for winter and retreat the Way becomes clear again

Flourishing is not constant

Retreating is not constant

But flourishing and retreating are constant

"Xena, why do men love combat so much?"

"Because as long as a child is growing he is filling out his potential, Gabhopper. As long as he has not yet reached his limits, he remains a child. His limits remain unknown unless they are met and perhaps even exceeded somewhat. Combat is the crisis by which men come to know their limits and obtain maturity."

"But women warriors don't need a ritual to reach maturity?"

"For many women maturity is attained in a very practical and natural way: motherhood. Maturity means acknowleging your limits and returning to your root. It is a woman's nature to make herself still and embrace her center. So even without the experience of motherhood, women are naturally mature."

"And young men are always reaching out, always moving, always extending, until they know their breaking point."

"Yes, Gabhopper, and while they are on this personal quest to find their limits, they can be enlisted in stupid vainglorious campaigns to defend the honor of warlords and kings who themselves never attained adulthood. And many of these young men die. What makes a female warrior different, Gabhopper?

"She is primarily interested in the survival of the people she protects."

Xena said, "Excellent."

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