Willie Nelson: The Tao of Willie

By Matt Curry

DALLAS — With a new book out about his philosophy of life, you might think Willie Nelson’s suddenly gone metaphysical. That is, until you hear his take on it.

“The fact that somebody would approach me to write something like that to begin with is hilarious,” Nelson said while discussing his new book, “The Tao of Willie: A Guide to Happiness in Your Heart.”

His philosophy is no secret. The prolific country singer-songwriter finds a lot to laugh about, and that helped him stay positive through ups and downs in the music business, four marriages, drug and tax troubles.

Despite the title, the 184-page book from Penguin Group (USA) is not a study of the ancient Chinese philosophy of life. But readers will find plenty of funny stories, thoughts on politics and religion, and even Nelson’s foray into the environmentally friendly fuel business.

“I’ve noticed that for some reason, women have always loved me,” he writes. “I’ve done my best to love them in return and generally got along well with them — until we got married, that is.”

Nelson, whose list of hits includes “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain” and “On the Road Again” isn’t above poking fun at himself.

“Like they say, you’ve got to slow down and smell the flowers. Or in my case, smoke the flowers,” he writes.

Music and laughter were two constants for Nelson’s childhood in the cotton town of Abbott, a Central Texas community of 300 where his Texas roots run deep.

“There was a lot of humor and jokes floating around in Abbott when I was growing up, making fun of life, making fun of death, making fun of everything,” he said. “Probably the best lesson I learned in life was that you’ve got to find the humor in it.”

Nelson also has written two New York Times best-sellers: “Willie” and “The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes.”

He said much of life can be summed up by making connections with other people, and that loving actions speak much louder than words.

As for his beliefs, Nelson writes about singing in the choir at the Methodist church, his reliance on the Golden Rule and a conviction that different religions are simply different paths leading to the same place.

He can’t explain why anyone cares what he thinks, but says, “They’ve seen me go through a lot of things. I guess they’re interested in what a guy 73 years old thinks about things.”

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