cover image RELAX, YOU'RE ALREADY HOME: Everyday Taoist Habits for a Richer Life

RELAX, YOU'RE ALREADY HOME: Everyday Taoist Habits for a Richer Life

Raymond Barnett, . . Penguin/Tarcher, $13.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-366-8

Calling Taoism "the oldest continuous... approach to living on the planet," Barnett, a retired college teacher, offers ruminations on some 14 Taoist habits that can help people tap into a "richer, more vibrant, steadily focused quality of life." Having traveled frequently in Asia and now living in a close-knit, Taoist-friendly community in Northern California, Barnett knows firsthand how these Taoist habits can be adapted to life in the West. Among his suggestions are getting into nature as frequently as possible; creating individual holidays to celebrate personal heroes (such as Elvis or John Muir—"our guides to the colorful wonder of existence"); and "displaying the sacred" by setting up small family altars containing drawings by the kids and other meaningful mementos. Barnett weaves substantial Taoist teachings into the fabric of his discussions—such as how "Chi" operates to keep the world balanced—but these are never obtrusive. His tone is consistently lighthearted, although at times this becomes breezy and even careless. Nevertheless, his discussions carry weight, for they are grounded in his attempts to incorporate these Taoist habits into his own family life. The result is an inviting primer for those interested in Taoism and how it might help them become "relaxed and utterly at home in a wondrous world." (Jan.)