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A Personal Tao – A Midlife Journey

The Tao of Midlife

A Personal Tao is a Taoist book exploring midlife and living in the modern world. It’s about how to apply Taoist ideals simply and modestly one day at a time. Living as a Taoist in western society isn’t easy. Modern society is almost the opposite of Taoism. The American dream is about consumerism. The modern consumer culture is unkind, judgmental, and all about living in excess. This book is also my story of finding a balance between my Taoist lifestyle and Western Society.

As a Taoist, I always stood out quietly, with kindness, living uniquely in my own story, refusing to be defined by cultural norms. Not every Taoist will agree with my path or my interpretation which is great. The Tao is undefined and unique for each person.

For the reader, it isn’t about the details of my path as much as to help give you clues on how to make your path, yours.

Becuase the site is A Personal Tao, you will find the chapters embedded across various site pages. You may find a book page in the poetry section and another as a blog page. At times a page will be hidden as a small subsection of a larger page.  Just because I finished the book in 2005 didn’t mean I stopped writing a Personal Tao. The book was the seed that the site grew out of in reality. The site begins where the book left off and I have merged the two into one to represent that truth.

While the book may not be perfect, it served as a seed that allowed me to polish and refine the teachings on this site for 15 years. Think of a snowflake for a second. A snowflake grows over time as an amazing crystal. That same amazing snowflake requires an imperfect seed to grow from. Using our imperfections to become more is part of the Taoist path. We are a blizzard of snowflakes within the wind of Tao, each one of us reflecting a path of Tao.

This means each book page will now lead to additional topics beyond what I imagined in 2005. So now you can read 250 additional, in-depth, pages about midlife crisis, healing, relationship work, and other aspects of life that arise when waking up at midlife.

Reading A Personal Tao

The Personal Tao book isn’t a mass-market self-help book, rather it’s art, to enjoy in the same manner you would sit next to a river to just watch the water passing by. This book was my processing a midlife crisis into a transformative experience. Taoism, as a practice, helps people expand and grow in midlife. It has many teachings to help a person find their power. Taoism also stresses as you come into your power, to always remember you are connected to everything around you. A Taoist will one moment be busy at work, and the next moment enjoys the shade of a tree.

Imagine sitting down, beside an old maple tree. 

Close the eyes.

Feel dappled sunlight dancing on skin,

	Leaves eclipse stray beams

	as shadows tango to the light across the body.

Listen to leaves whisper 

	joy as the wind tussles them

		into the air. 

Smile as branches complain 

	in creaking strains

		as younger leaves bounce in play.

Sharing My Midlife Experiences

I share my life in this book. Moments spent under a maple tree, at the beach with my son, snapshots from my life and much more. This isn’t a western or normal biography. I share more of my life than you will realize, yet I do so to help teach about life. My goal is to help you discover Tao directly within how you experience your stories in living. Tao is never defined by words; it’s embraced by how you live. The goal isn’t to reflect on the past nor accomplishments; instead, I’m sharing experiences to help show a Taoist perspective of life.

In a larger sense, these teachings are to free a person. Midlife is a time of life where we wake up to come into our power. Personal freedom could be discovered sitting under a tree or even flying under the moon.

A truth about the nature of freedom: once you experience freedom, part of the very experience is to share and pass it along to others in your life.

Freedom is to be shared if it’s to be had at all.

Take time to share & express freedom with your actions.

Lessons Learned as an Author

Here are a few quick lessons I learned from being an author.

Writing for Your Audience

Authors often get caught up in their writing. It’s an easy trap to get caught in the details of the writing and forget the purpose.

When writing it must be considered how does the writing connect to the audience. This leads to a more critical question of (1): Who is the audience?

This is important, so it can be written in a way to be understood by the target audience.

What is equally of importance is (2) How the tale, story, subject connects to your path: how well does it help you to move forward with your own life?

Where most authors fail is they unconsciously merge (1) and (2). Most authors write for an audience of 1: themselves

This is where larger problems creep in since often the author adds in the hope of making money or changing another person’s life or a dozen other things, which end up getting ignored when the author forgets the audience viewpoint, needs or expectations.

This often sets writers up to experience a negative feedback loop of self-worth: when other’s don’t value their effort as much as they do.

Of course this can be applied to many things not just writing.

Remember all actions and writings must balance out personal needs to the needs of others. This is a fine balancing act. But if you remember both sides, often it makes the final result much better.

I see some authors and bloggers fall into this trap, reaching out to be helpful but due to poor response, internalizing it as a negative statement on their worth.

Remember

  • To balance out the needs of your audience so you can take care of your own needs in the effort.
  • Not to place extra expectations for your effort. If you act from your heart, then keep the expectations to be based on your heart and not tied to the whims of another heart. If you create for another person’s heart, then do so for that person’s heart and expectations! This last statement is deeper than might be guessed, as soon as we mention heart, it becomes personal and hard to untangle from the need to connect out more largely. This is because the heart is about connection.

For this reason, I never review other people’s poetry or work. It isn’t for me to be critical of their heart but rather to just accept their heart as they present it.

Publishing a Book

A Personal Tao is different enough that it will be hard to find a publisher. Publishers want a product which will sell. The mass-market never wants to risk something new; it desires to follow safe and pre-defined trends. I have only submitted the book to two publishers. One publisher has sent me this feedback after I asked their opinion:

I recall the book being very unique and rather nonlinear in its narrative construction. From an aesthetic perspective, it was beautiful. Filled with solid wisdom. From a for-profit publisher’s perspective, it would not fit into either the square nor the round hole of trade publishing, so you may have a hard time finding a traditional publisher to publish it in its current incarnation.

Heh! The Tao of midlife is most assuredly not about trends or following the leader; it’s about following yourself. I gifted the book and worked away for free from day one on purpose. Also: I know in the end we don’t save the world. So I am not writing for some larger noble purpose. It might have started that way, years ago, with a desire to help make the world a better place. I wouldn’t mind helping to make the world nicer, but I already do that just by being kind and living as myself.

The world is the world and will turn and tumble about thru space without my assistance.

So in all seriousness, this is a mirror. I have always used this site and the book as a deep reflecting pool.

Until I die, I will polish, add, and tweak A Personal Tao simply because It helps me connect and see the world as I live it.

Additional Reading

Personal Tao Book – Audio Version

The audiobook is available to our 5.00 Patrons.

Chapters Currently Recorded:

Taoism Articles
Taoism Articles

Explore Taoism

Live life kindly, gracefully, with modesty while embracing a colorful story to enjoy!

A Community Based on Kindness

Support A Personal Tao, and we will support you with additional writings and teachings. Becoming a Patron enables us to write more and give back more to you! Patrons get access to exclusive audios, chats and live stream events with Julie and Casey.

We are building a community, join us on Patreon and let’s work together!

Sincerely
Casey & Julie

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Tao of Midlife – Questions & Comments

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Van Austin

Thank you for your words on the essence of the Tao. Somehow I’ve been my own kind of Taoist since my earliest memories– which I’m just now realizing.. in the simple joy of it all– Van

Antonio

Today while reading something about China, Taoism came up so I looked into
it briefly….as a senior citizen and Anti organized religion guy I have recently felt
that I need more in my life, but not religion…
Several of the 5 statements about Taoism that I read felt closely held
In my heart ….I am living out of the USA but will be back in southern Fla.
and will pick up the books mentioned on line today…

John

Finally got around to reading this and I’m glad I did! A great read

Donny

Hi Casey, I am an addict with feelings of self-loathing that I do not understand, and which no amount of good works, positive thinking and therapy seem able to change. I have studied Tao for years, and believe I have a little “understanding”. The study has greatly enriched the life I have made in spite of myself, yet I’ve failed to heal whatever is wrong inside of me. I am new to your page and find it a hopeful place. Would you mind recommending to me a place to begin such as a specific chapter? Thank you so much.

Rebecca

Donny, It sounds like you have lots of shame, I found shame a hard emotion to really sit in, and until I did sit in it, it didn’t leave me……But the good news is it can leave, especially if we are not doing more things to create more shame…..Also one day I realised after hating myself for well my whole life, is that I am hurting myself everytime I say or think a bad thing about myself, and guess what I am stuck with me until the day I die, its impossible to get away from yourself. So everytime I… Read more »

brian

thank you Rebecca

Trevor Hesley

I would recommend Health Kinesiology as well as this book. It is good to help your body in priority sequence. A Health Kinesiology practitioner can help you with this. I am a practitioner myself and have had similar issues. I did everything I could and it seemed I could not find a way to help myself until I found Health Kinesiology. It has helped me in so many ways. If you have any questions feel free to email me. Otherwise you can search Health Kinesiology on goggle. Call the international headquarters to find a practitioner in your area. May peace… Read more »

@Danielle: I am honored and happy that A Personal Tao has been helpful for you to find strength in your own personal path ahead.

You will find your style in being graceful and in that also discover your own person power to live in kindness and well. 🙂

Danielle

Love your “Waking” chapter, especially the foot note about being careful not confuse anyone else’s direction with your own. I believe I made that mistake and ended up in a harmful codependent relationship. Your site has helped me make baby steps at finding who I really am and not let past abuses define who I am today. Thank you!

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