Sunday, January 31, 2010

Practise daily downtime to refresh the soul

In his post about "the importance of idle time in a fast-forward world", corporate management consultant Rick Petronella quotes Thomas Moore:
"We seem to have a complex about busyness in our culture," says Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul. "Most of us do have time in our days that we could devote to simple relaxation, but we convince ourselves that we don’t."

And yet, the harder we push, the more we need to replenish ourselves. As Stephan Rechtschaffen, author of Timeshifting, says, "Each of us needs some time that is strictly and entirely our own, and we should experience it daily."

In this post, Petronella offers some ways to establish daily downtime including: "Practice doing nothing. 'Doing nothing' is an art, and like all art you need to practice it to reach your highest potential."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Illness may initiate transformations of soul

Today, Family Nurturing Tree Blog reprints Sonia Osorio's "The Transformative Power of Trauma – From Damaged Goods to an Empowered Life" that appears in Massage & Bodywork magazine, April-May 2001. Osorio quotes Thomas Moore:
"Soul pours forth from our wounds ... [The places of our] punctures and violations are areas of potential intimacy between us and those we love, even though on the surface they may seem to be precisely the areas of mistrust." Thomas Moore wrote these words in his book Soul Mates (Harper Collins, 1994), and the lines remind us that, after a wounding, sometimes the most difficult thing is to allow life to flow back into the very place where it once hurt us the most — to trust and open our body, ourselves, once again. The areas where we have been cut into, opened, bled, bruised, torn and otherwise hurt physically or emotionally are not places we immediately return to, much less celebrate, though the stories that emerge from there often redefine who we are and how we move in the world. They are the places where, once we return, we rediscover what it means to be truly intimate and open with ourselves, with another and with life. The body is restructured — and we are redefined — by such experiences, as much as by any physical therapy received."
Osorio shares individual stories of "participants of a workshop in which they follow a guided visualization and meditation, and each person draws or paints what they feel when they re-enter those places in their own body. With the body as canvas, the drawings are then repainted on the original scar or area of change, bringing the imagery and colors of each person’s experience to the surface, making the vibrant energy of their individual story visible. Trauma sometimes washes out the color in life. Exploring the trauma allows, as Moore wrote, the soul to pour forth so that life is re-experienced. These are the ways people have been transformed."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shall the truth set you free and bind you more?

In her sermon, "To seek the truth – or not", Rev. Diane Rollert refers to Unitarian Universalist Ministers Convocation 2009 where Thomas Moore held a workshop with 25 attendees:
"One afternoon, we ministers started to talk about what it means to be tellers of truth and the importance of being authentic.

"I don’t use the word truth," Tom said to us. "Not truth, not authenticity, or even integrity," he said.

You could see the shock waves reverberate across the room. Not talk about the truth? Isn’t that what we’re about? At the core of our Unitarian principles is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. We promise our communities that we will speak the truth in love. We strive to speak truth to power.

"No. Really," he said. "I never use the word truth. Why not cultivate the inauthentic?" he asked us. Be inauthentic? We couldn’t imagine it. Like the Greek God Hermes (Hermes the thief, Hermes the trickster), Tom was starting to have fun with us. Did we have to be so earnest? Were we too moralistic? Did this prevent us from truly – I mean really – connecting with our people?

"Truth," Tom later shared, "is too loaded with hidden assumptions. It’s too dangerous."

So, I decided to ask you what you thought. Is "truth" a wounded word? I was curious to see your reflections."
Rollert writes,
"I heard from a whole group of men – but not a word from any women. I admit, started to wonder: is this a "guy" thing?

So last week when I mentioned that I’d only heard from men and joked that perhaps women aren’t interested in truth, one of our female pillars of the community yelled from the back of the sanctuary, "That’s because women already know the truth!"

Not surprisingly, several women took up the challenge and sent me their thoughts this week."
Read the sermon for Rollert's presentation of "truthiness" and views about King and Gandhi. She offers an earlier sermon based on this workshop with Moore, mentioned in the Barque post, Moore asks UU ministers, "Are you prepared"?

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 11, 2010

Care of the soul may include care of the soles

Rev. Jane Page, with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Statesboro, Georgia pens the sermon, "Oh My Soul!", in which she mentions Thomas Moore's participation in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Convo 2009. Page quotes Moore's Care of the Soul in her attempt to understand the meaning of the word soul and its use by various writers.

Page shares, "The bottom line is this – although I found this book interesting, it didn’t feed my soul. Maybe a book and more information for my brain was just not what I needed at a time when my soul didn’t feel so well. I got a lot more out of an experience this past Friday. After spending the night with my mom in her hospital room, I had a special treat of getting a facial with a gift certificate that my husband had given me for Christmas. Now having someone pay attention to your face and rubbing away the tension is great. But then it got even better. Monica left some gook on my face for a while and turned her attention to my feet. First she gently washed them with warm water. And I thought about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. What a loving act! Then she scrubbed and massaged the soles of my feet, these soles that carried me everywhere and bore the weight and burdens I carried. What wonderful care for those soles! Now there’s a metaphor we could ponder with a homonym for wordplay to boot!"

Moore may endorse such experiential appreciation as a "ritual in nourishing the soul."

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Connect with rich soul material in your dreams

Today, two bloggers mention Thomas Moore's latest column in Spirituality and Health magazine. In the January-February 2010 issue, he writes about developing a dream practice. Cassie Premo Steele quotes Moore in her post, "Synchronicity, Cycles, and the Power of the Wish":
"The fundamental point in developing a dream practice is to live from a deep place and to connect the rich, profound life of the soul with ordinary activity. You live, then, in many dimensions and are closer to the roots of your emotions and thoughts and the patterns that define your life... With your dreams, you, too, are looking for the poetics of your own underworld."
Dr. Donna Cox reflects on the role of dreams in her post, "Dreaming or hearing from God?". She writes, "What I do know is how many times God has used dreams in my life. Often my dreams have been prophetic, warning me that one of my children needed prayer, that there were demonic forces working in certain relationships or that I needed to open my eyes and heart to issues I would rather avoid... As a result of reading Moore’s short piece, I decided to see what I could find on the web about Christian dream interpretation." Cox includes a .pdf download in her post.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Distinguish between spirit and soul for alignment

Judah S. Kurtz blogs a shift in his understanding while reading about the distinction between spirit and soul described by Thomas Moore in The Education of the Heart. Kurtz includes the book's passage, "... people are often confused when faced with the traditional distinction between the soul and the spirit, but distinguishing these two dimensions of experience can be helpful. We might notice, for instance, how much we are motivated by the spirit in our concentration on the future, on understanding, and on achievement. We might then see how we neglect the soul, which has complementary but very different values, such as slowness, the past, inaction, feeling, mystery, and imagination... To suggest a distinction between soul and spirit is not to advocate a separation of the two. On the contrary, it seems best to arrive at a place where in effect the two work together, as in a marriage or partnership. (p. 32)"

Unitarian Universalist ministers recently blog about this distinction in Moore's work, based on his workshops at Convo 2009 in Ottawa, Canada.

Labels: ,

A celebration of international bridge building

Thomas Moore often writes about the utility and beauty of bridges. The Detroit News celebrates the 80th anniversary of the international Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan through a pictorial slide show about its construction and expansion. The Ambassador Bridge is the busiest international crossing in the United States. At the time of its official opening, Nov. 11, 1929, the Ambassador Bridge was the world's longest suspension bridge:

Labels: ,

Spiritually open pedagogy contributes to learning

Powell's Books offers a used copy of The Spiritual Side of Writing: Releasing the Learner's Whole Potential, edited by Regina Paxton Foehr and Susan A. Schiller. According to the description, "Foehr and Schiller assert that spiritually open pedagogy is a choice that can reintroduce balance and, at the same time, foster lifelong learning. To them and their contributors, critical thinking and spirituality are not mutually exclusive but mutually intertwined. They view intellectual argument and the interpersonal exchange of ideas as some of the highest forms of spiritual empowerment, capable of filling students with wonder, exhilaration, and an awe for learning. Those interchanges give students a new vision of their own power to understand and create meaning."

The book includes a chapter of interviews, "Writing the Spirit: Interviews with John Bradshaw, Larry Dossey, M.D., and Thomas Moore." Powells includes the full Table of Contents in its description.

The Spiritual Side of Writing
Subtitle: Releasing the Learner's Whole Potential
ISBN-10: 0867094133
ISBN-13: 978-0867094138
Editor: Foehr, Regina Paxton
Editor: Schiller, Susan A.
Publisher: Boynton/Cook Publishers
Location: Portsmouth, NH :
Publication Date: March 1997
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
Illustrations: Yes
Pages: 214

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Writing in the Sand wins spiritual book award

Thomas Moore's book Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels receives a Book Award from Spirituality & Practice as one of the best spiritual books of 2009. Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat review Writing in the Sand and offer an excerpt about the Jesus vision which includes Moore's view:
"Once you understand that the Gospels do not ask you to compete for the truth or swear allegiance to a creed or institution, you are free to study and think for yourself as you adopt the Jesus vision. You are neither fanatical nor lukewarm in your embrace of that intelligent and fascinating proposal for a new imagination of what human beings can do. There is indeed something saving about it: you can be saved from unconsciousness, meaninglessness, negativity and despair, depression, narcissism, and perfectionism."
Spirituality & Practice devotes a page to Thomas Moore as one of its Living Spiritual Teachers while offering links to Moore resources.

Labels: , ,

Sheila Packa feels poetry as spiritual practice

In her blog post, "Poetry as Spiritual Practice: Work in Progress", Sheila Packa writes, "Poems are spirit/objects. They are made of sound and breath and truly good poems seem to have life — they bring us an experience, a body experience, and spirit or light." She follows this discussion of poetry as subject/object, with its characteristics of flow/resistence, ambiguity/certainty, and in her final section about vision/revision, she quotes Thomas Moore's Original Self: Living with Paradox and Originality (2000):
"The soul has its own set of rules, which are not the same as those of life ... the events of the soul are cyclic and repetitive. Familiar themes come round and round. The past is more important than the future. The living and the dead have equal roles. Emotions and the sense of meaning are paramount. Pleasures are deep, and pain can reach the very foundations of our existence."
Packa follows this quote with Ranier Maria Rilke:

"I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it."

She concludes, "The four spiritual dynamics, spirit/object, resistance/flow, ambiguity/certainty, and vision/revision, can bring healing. Using these dynamics with your material — that which is given to you — helps you engage in an interaction or exchange. The last dynamic, vision/revision, provides an opportunity to reframe experience, to identify a cultural, historical and even mythic pattern."

Packa ends this post with a bibliography, a thoughtful guide for readers' further explorations.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, January 01, 2010

Bloggers appreciate Moore's sensitivity to learning

Phil Marsosudiro writes about "Care of the Soul (Thomas Moore) and Careers" on 27 December 2009, suggesting:
"In the soul, power doesn't work the same way as it does in the ego and will. When we want to accomplish something egotistical, we gather our strength, develop a strategy, and applying every effort... The power of the soul, in contrast... is natural, not manipulated, and stems from an unknown source. Our role with this kind of power is to be an attentive observer noticing how the soul wants to thrust itself into our life. It is also our task to find artful means of articulating and structuring that power, taking full responsibility for it, but trusting too that the soul has intentions and necessities that we may understand only partially."
Marsosudiro quotes Thomas Moore's book, Care of the Soul, including:
"Maybe we could all use an emptying out of identity now and then. Considering who we are not, we may find the surprising revelation of who we are."
The following day, the Simple Mind Zen blog presents "The Teacher" in which the blogger continues discussion of Moore's book, The Soul's Religon:
"Thus as Thomas Moore notes from his own life experience, imperfection is a good and valued part of education, of both the student and the teacher. In the best moments of teaching, an alchemy or a deep moment of newness of creation, a mystery transpires between two or more persons engaged in this process of experience and perfection. "When a teacher evokes the deep process of imparting and learning subtle aspects of life's mysteries, the teaching goes on." And like any creative activity, teaching "happens best when a muse is present, initiating something far deeper" in the exchange."

Labels: , ,