Thursday, March 26, 2009

Commune, converse and care in a soulful life

Yesterday I watched a video of Thomas Moore’s 2006 presentation, "Healing Through Illness: Celebrting Art & Life" that he delivered at the University of Minnesota. It is a moving acknowledgement of the role illness can play in our attempts to live meaningfully each day. Recently, Utne Reader emailed links that support Moore’s observations about living a more soulful and engaged life:

The Lonely American

The Art of a Lively Conversation

One Nation, Indivisible:
Reconnecting the public with its public servants

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The well-being of the planet affects our own

For The Valley Advocate, Alan Bisbort writes about ecopsychology in "The World This Week: Ecopsychology 101 — James Hillman and the pain of community loss":
"Ecopsychology, as propounded by James Hillman, a therapist based in northeast Connecticut, seeks to redefine the goals of psychology by paying heed to the health of one's environment just as one would the pathology of one's family. As Hillman wrote in the foreword to Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, "Psychology, so dedicated to awakening human consciousness, needs to wake itself up to one of the most ancient human truths: we cannot be studied or cured apart from the planet."

Ecopsychology is on the level — the community level, that is. That's where and how Hillman has felt it in his own town, where he has been active on environmental issues and open space acquisition. I talked to Hillman at his house some time ago, and he touched on the psychological effects on the community of environmental "crime scenes.""
Bisbort mentions the Master of Arts program in Ecopsychology offered by Naropa University.

Re-vision in London, England offers a new Ecopsychology program in October 2010 with an introductory session this autumn. Themes include:
- from mastery to mystery
- ecological alienation and collective rites of passage
- disconnection and reconnection as complementary
- relational disorders and cultural narcissism
- the ecological unconscious and dreaming the change
- experiential work for client practices and natural observations

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Music is an everyday ritual of magic and love

Marilyn Crispell praises Care of the Soul in today’s interview, "Uncompromising Power and Grace", with Lloyd Peterson on
MC: I think the arts feed the soul. They are a very important part of our society equal to technology and science. There is a great book called Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. It's wonderful and he talks about the place of art in everyday life, not just by going out to galleries and to museums, etc. There are aesthetics and beauty in everyday life.

LP: Do you connect to any of your music spiritually, politically, or socially?

MC: Spiritually. It's interesting because these are all just words and music is something that happens on a very instinctive level. And though I don't necessarily work within those contexts, I do feel that it does come from a spiritual place and is very connected with that for me. If music doesn't reach me emotionally, then I'm totally not interested in it. And there are techno wizards on their instruments who just don't get to me at all. As a friend of mine recently said after a concert, "It was brilliantly forgettable. There was nothing in it that curled around my heart and stayed there." And I thought that was a very beautiful way to put it.

LP: Cecil Taylor said that "Music has to do with a lot of areas which are magical rather than logical; the great artists rather than just getting involved with discipline, get to understand love and allow the love to take shape." How much of your music is from logic and how much from this other place that Cecil Taylor describes?

MC: You do music as a whole person, with your intellect and your heart. Everything. And I also totally relate to what Cecil says about love. And I agree with him about magic. For me, performing is like a ceremonial ritual, almost akin to a kind of Shamanism.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Are you pressured to wear your happy face?

For Scripps Howard News Service, Dr. Barton Goldsmith writes in his column that it’s OK to feel bad, Relationship: "Sometimes it's OK to not be OK". Goldsmith, a marriage and family therapist in Westlake Village, California suggests,
"Sometimes there are good reasons to feel bad: a breakup, financial or professional losses, and physical or emotional illness, to name a few. Loss hurts, and if you force yourself to put on a happy face, you may actually be taking energy away from your healing process.

If you don't let your negative feelings out appropriately, they will emerge somehow and it may not be in a manner you'd prefer. When you can no longer hide your pain by keeping yourself busy or by being a party animal, you have to face it so you can heal. And most of the time that process is usually somewhat arduous.

There are great thinkers like Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, who tell us how to grow from our pain and loneliness. I like the concept, but when you're so distressed, growing as a person isn't No. 1 on your to-do list. Most people going through an emotionally difficult time are using all their energy just to function.

When you're in pain, it can be an effort to go to the store, and being happy about it is way out of the realm of possibility. But so what? It's perfectly normal to feel down when your life takes you there."
Dr. Goldsmith says this down period should be only between two weeks and a month.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Blog recommends The Soul's Religion by Moore

On the blog Faith Exploration, Rob writes about Thomas Moore’s The Soul’s Religion in his post today, ”Getting Over Ourselves”. He provides eight short bullets from Moore's book to "get the juices flowing", it seems, of those involved in a church-based group at the First Church of Lombard in Lombard, Illinois. Rob recommends this book and all of Moore’s writings to his readers. I like Moore’s observation, "... you can certainly be intelligent and inspired simultaneously."