Four years ago I arranged eight translations of the Tao Te Ching on a round table, like place settings at a dinner party. They’d come into my life gradually, randomly as I browsed used book stores during thirty-five years of practicing T’ai Chi. It occurred to me that it would be fun to read them all at once, moving my chair from one to the other, making a full circuit with each chapter. The vivid hologram of Laotse that emerged was riveting; it felt like I was having a prolonged dinner conversation with him–the kind where you lose track of time. I’d been reading Ralph Waldo Emerson intermittently all my life and was struck by the parallels between them, so I invited Emerson to the party. The fact is I was starved for conversation on ideas and observations that have filled my head, heart, and gut over a lifetime. I wanted to talk to Laotse and Emerson about them.

What do age and time matter? Laotse was 2,500 years old; Waldo (the name he preferred) was over 200; I was 65. We were all intensely eager to talk and we were all good listeners.
My three-way conversation with the Taoist philosopher Laotse and the “American Taoist” Ralph Waldo Emerson explores the nuances of concepts vital to the three of us, including the Tao, the Sage, love, illusions, and the Inner Guide. The writing builds from chapter to chapter to its conclusion on the multifaceted nature of balance between yin and yang, feminine and masculine.

Laotse, Waldo, and Me is a call to restore equilibrium to a wildly out-of-balance world before it’s too late. It illuminates the need to take a new path away from the toxic masculinity of the “dominator” culture we live in toward a “partnership” culture in which the sexes are linked instead of ranked, and in which the feminine principle—compassion, humility, and cooperation—is the organizing principle. It’s hopeful to know that this is not really a new path—in the Neolithic Age, both Europe and China had highly developed partnership cultures.

I want this book to be one particle of influence streaming into the upwelling of the feminine spirit that I see happening in America and across the planet.

Margaret (Margy) Emerson writes, paints, and teaches T’ai Chi in Humboldt County, California. She has been practicing T’ai Chi, qigong, and meditation since 1979 and teaching since 1989. Margaret’s books are Laotse, Waldo, and Me, Breathing Underwater: The Inner Life of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, A Potter’s Notes on Tai Chi Chuan, and Eyes of the Mirror, a memoir. She is a contributor to the book Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching, also to Qi Journal, Aikido Today, and Black Belt Magazine. Her video is “Wu T’ai Chi, Kao Style: As Practiced and Taught by Margaret Emerson.”


For more information or to purchase an item, contact Margaret Emerson
73 12th St., Arcata, CA 95521
(707) 822-6508