Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An authentic life includes the disowned pieces

In the cover story, "Dare to be Yourself: Eight Rules for Authentic Living" in the May-June 2008 issue of Psychology Today , Karen Wright quotes Thomas Moore about an authentic life:
"Jung says the first thing you should do is take a look at those things that are dark in you, the things that are problematical, that you don't like," says psychotherapist and former monk Thomas Moore, author of A Life at Work. "You have to be willing to look at things that don't fit snugly into the image you have of what you would like to be."

Becoming authentic, then, means accepting not only contradiction and discomfort but personal faults and failures as well. Problematic aspects of our lives, emotions, and behaviors — the times we've yelled at the kids, lusted after the babysitter, or fallen back on our promises to friends — are not breaches of your true self, Moore insists. They're clues to the broader and more comprehensive mystery of selfhood. "In fact," he notes, "we are all very subtle and very complex, and there are forces and resources within us that we have no control over. We will never find the limits of who we are.

"People carry around a heavy burden of not feeling authentic," he says, "because they have failed marriages and their work life hasn't gone the way it should, and they've disappointed everybody, including themselves. When people think of these as just failures, as opposed to learning experiences, they don't have to feel the weight of their lives or the choices they've made. That disowning creates a division that becomes the sense of inauthenticity."
Moore's 2000 book, Original Self, carries the sub-title Living with Paradox and Authenticity on its title page. Vist Barque: Thomas Moore Forum for the Opus Day 21 passage about accepting our shadow elements while discovering our life work.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Marble Collegiate Church attendees share event

The Coaching Commons posted advance notice of Thomas Moore’s event at Marble Collegiate Church last Saturday and two attendees kindly followed up with impressions of Moore’s talk. Then, Thomas Moore added his impressions of the occasion:

Nina Frost on 14 May 2008:
Thanks for your request for some comments. As one of the people who interviewed Moore, a favorite author, I was struck by his adherence to mystery, paradox, to not knowing. He continually took himself off any pedestals and called people back to their own authority – a natural coaching aspect, no?

One thing that really struck me, and there were many. (Indeed, I would recommend you stay in touch with Katherine Gotshall English re: the eventual CD of this event.) He wound up his reply to one of my questions by saying that in his many years as a psychotherapist, one common denominator with troubled folks is that they ignore (at their peril) the "flow of their own river." They get in the way of what is trying to happen organically, even if (especially if) that thing is disruptive, or strange or "not them." This really landed.

For more on these "antithetical" yet crucial parts of ourselves, I commend to you his new book, A Life at Work, particularly the chapter on the daimon.

Thanks for inviting this post. Blessings to you all.
Nina Frost
The Vocare Group
New York City

Rick Raymond on 14 May 2008:
What a wonderful opportunity to listen to conversations with Thomas Moore last Saturday, May 10 at Marble Collegiate. Sitting in the sanctuary I felt perspectives that resonated with and transported me with my deeper beliefs, infrequently spoken, now affirmed and reassured. He spoke in metaphors - the river as the flow of life, a constant stream and yet full of uncertainty. Some of the wonderful and strong messages that I enjoyed were:

In the stream we can best be who we are, which is the ultimate expression of creativity. Love our work, and be loyal to our genius and what he called our "law" – that which we must do. Be passionate about our problems, which are ours uniquely. Doing so may bring us to a place beyond our problems. Being in the flow is about lack of (self) judgment.

Speaking about relationships he said that eccentricities are the connections that make a relationship exciting and alive. He also stated some perspectives that we might find controversial. He would rather be in an interesting relationship than a healthy one; and be you over being truthful.

It was a wonderful time of having the mind stirred like a rich Italian wedding soup simmering on the back burner of the stove.

Thomas Moore on 15 May 2008:
I enjoyed the day at Marble Collegiate church very much: excellent music, a well-designed program, very fine conversations, and a beautiful setting. Nina Frost zeroed in on key themes and allowed me to rhapsodize about the river, an image I first explored in an essay on ritual many years ago. David Lewicki concentrated on the process of the conversation. I particularly liked looking for the hidden narratives deep in our talk. John Killinger surprised and delighted me by bringing up Jean Genet’s The Balcony. John and I share an interest in theater of the absurd. In my graduate school days at Syracuse University I took an independent study on these plays with Stanley Hopper. Appropriately Stanley and I met in a stock room full of empty boxes. I’ve always enjoyed Eugene Ionesco’s line in The Bald Soprano where a doctor says he always operates on himself before doing surgery on a patient, and a line in The Lesson where the student is going for her "total doctorate." She adds perfectly but can’t subtract. A common problem for us all.
Katherine Gotshall English choreographed the day perfectly.
For information about a CD of this Marble Collegiate Church event:
Katherine Gotshall English: kathcoach@earthlink.net

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Moore continues exploration of soul in medicine

On Tuesday 6 May, Thomas Moore spoke at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut during the annual clergy-physician luncheon. On his blog, First Baptist Life, Cal Lord summarizes Moore’s talk. According to Lord, Thomas Moore acknowledged medical and technological advances of the twentieth century while suggesting developments in nurturing the soul of human relationships are as necessary in the twenty-first century. Lord concludes about Moore's presentation, "He definitely gave us all something to think about."

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Listen for the call to your work as you do the job

Father Lou Guntzelman quotes Thomas Moore in this week’s column, "Are your job and your work the same?" for Cincinnati.com:
"Those who believe in God or a higher power recognize the draw of a personal call. But we may not know specifically what it is.

Author and spiritual counselor Thomas Moore responds to such a situation, "The problem may be that they put too much wishful-ness into their belief, expecting life to serve them their destiny in clear and concrete terms. They may want specific direction without the quest and search and sorting out that is also part of being human."

It is usually very difficult to intuit the exact direction we're being called. Trying to read the meaning of our fleeting thoughts and feelings, dreams and talents, is a process called discernment. This process requires a lot of sifting, sorting, honesty, time and humility."
He also mentions James Hollis in this piece,
"There are a few people who have had a hint of a particular calling for years. But because of other responsibilities have necessarily kept it hidden in their psychic closet. Or, busyness may have drowned it out. However, as Dr. James Hollis points out, "It may take years for that knowing to percolate upward through the resistant sediment, years for the ego to gain sufficient strength to act upon what it desires."
Father Lou’s conclusion quotes American poet Wallace Stevens,
"Life seems glorious for a while, then it seems poisonous. But you must never lose faith in it, it is glorious after all. Only you must find the glory for yourself. Do not look for it either, except in yourself; in the secret places of your spirit and in all your hidden senses."

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