Born to a Scottish Catholic mother and a Welsh Non-conformist father, I was exposed to different western religions as I grew up, all of which demanded allegiance to and worship of a ‘one true God’.
The nuns at my convent school introduced me to the guilt-tripping concept of ‘sin’. Anything my five-year-old mind could think of appeared to be one, so I lived in fear of unwittingly upsetting the Almighty. God only knows what he would do next!
My mother decided to become Anglican, taking me along with her. But, even as I attended confirmation classes, I questioned the catechism – how could there be only one God, yet so many complicated religions? None of it made sense, so – as soon as I was able to chose for myself – I became atheist.
Much later, when my life seemed to have fallen down around my ears, I was encouraged to choose a ‘god of my understanding’, which proved difficult until I imagined her as a woman, like myself. A loving, forgiving mother who wished only the best for her children. Gaia, Mother Earth.
It is appropriate, then that I discovered Taoism when my daughter gave me a Boots gift voucher for Mother’s Day. I spent it on some luscious bath products, created by The Barefoot Doctor; visited the website address on the packaging, bought his book, ‘The Urban Warrior’ and became a ‘wayward Taoist.’
Significantly for me, Taoism is not a religion or even a philosophy. According to the Barefoot Doctor, it is merely a universally applicable collection of methods for self-enlightenment, generously passed down from it’s ancient, Oriental origins.
Literally translated, ‘Tao’ means ‘The Way’. So Taoism has become a way of life for me, involving mindfulness, meditation, gentle exercise and observation of the natural flow of chi (energy).
This freeform ‘Art of Harmony’ works well for me and it is little wonder that I am also drawn to crochet (and everything else) ‘without rules’.