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The Tao of Womanhood

"As a self-help book that affirms women's right... to help themselves to greater serenity and agency, this is one of the best and most thoughtful of such books in several years."


ISBN: 0688166296

Book Description

The Tao of Womanhood is a life-affirming guide for the woman who feels pulled in too many directions and who is searching for a way to balance inner peace and external power.

A wonderful spiritual resource for any woman who seeks to live life to the fullest, this inspiring book combines the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching with straightforward advice and illuminating anecdotes that show how the ancient wisdom can be applied in our busy, modern lives. The result is a practical road map for women who want to be at once strong, proactive leaders at work and at home but who also know they deserve serenity and harmony in their lives.

In a voice that flows from her heart, Dreher explains with persuasive clarity how any woman can incorporate calm into her busy life by learning to:
• respond to change without being frantic or reactive
• say no without feeling guilty
• seize an opportunity and summon the strength to change
• clear the absolutely necessary space for self that allows continued growth and transformation
• honor her inner wisdom

Chapter by chapter, The Tao of Womanhood is for every woman--whether a stay-at-home mom or a corporate executive. Calm and reassuring, it imparts the invigorating message that gaining power need not mean surrendering peace of mind, and that living a centered life is possible without passive self-sacrifice." Publisher's description


Booklist "The Tao Te Ching, reputedly by the Chinese sage Lao-tzu,is once of the great spiritual books of all time. Most translations into English use the masculine generic, making it seem as though only males were intended to benefit from its wisdom. Thus one welcome aspect of Dreher's book is the recasting of Taoist thought into language directed at or inclusive of women. Dreher's adaptations are direct and lyrical: "Treasure this knowledge:/The woman of Tao/ Wears common clothing/ And precious jade/Close to the heart." But she also expands upon the insights provided, fleshing them out with her own grounded, mature philosophy. As a self-help book that affirms women's right (and obligation) to help themselves into greater serenity and agency, this is one of the best and most thoughtful of such books in several years." ( (c) 1998, The American Library Association)

Free Library of Philadelphia: "What sets this book apart from other self-help efforts is the combination of Eastern and Western ideas. An instructor in literature and creative writing at Santa Clara University and author of The Tao of Inner Peace,(HarperCollins, 1991), Dreher uses terms from the Tao such as misogi("rituals of order'), ahimsa ("compassion"), yohaku("contemplation"), and musubi ("honoring your own energies with those around you") to clarify her ideas. She follows each chapter with practical pointers for greater power and peace, ways to take action using the ideas presented. For instance, to develop courage, Dreher suggests that the reader study the life of a woman she admires by reading a biography about her and answering a list of questions. Both informative and encouraging, these pointers are probably the most useful aspect of this book. With a helpful glossary of terms; recommended for public libraries." (Barbara O'Hara, Free Lib. of Philadelphia).

Catholic Women's Network"'Only remember this: Keep your life simple. Your heart pure as raw silk. Remain whole as uncarved wood, Overcome incessant striving. Return to center.' Tao, meaning path or way of life, was written about 530 BC. It is composed of 81 lyric poems with a message of harmony and dynamic growth as meaningful now as it was centuries ago. Diane Dreher,an English professor at Santa Clara University, divides this book in two sections: the Yin of Inner Peace to bring readers greater balance and peace of mind, and The Yang of Personal Power to help develop focus, energy,and effectiveness.
These ten steps are stepping stones to more mindful living. The yin lessons are oneness,centering, compassion, simplicity, and natural cycles. The yang lessons are timing, courage, strength, agency, and harmony."