Thursday, June 24, 2010

Corporations sponsor chaplains in the workplace

For The Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger writes about corporate chaplains,"Praying With the Office Chaplain":
"A growing number of companies are offering the services of chaplains in the workplace. Managers say many employees who wouldn't think of calling a therapist or an employee-assistance program will willingly turn to a chaplain ...

Following the military-chaplain model, these roving spiritual advisers typically visit offices or factories weekly, greeting employees, hanging out in the break room, handing out business cards and meeting one-on-one with workers. But they're also on-call 24/7, so chaplains rush to hospitals, restaurants or homes on request, providing comfort and support free of charge to employees.

They perform weddings or funerals for people who have no one else to do so. And they pray with employees over problems from medical or marital crises to job loss, addiction and financial woes, holding the information in confidence."
She reports, "In another side of spirituality at work, about 15% of employers have set aside space for prayer or religious practices in the workplace, and 9% allow religious groups to meet on-site, says a 2008 survey of 543 employers by the Society for Human Resource Management. Texas Instruments Inc. offers 'serenity rooms' where employees can go to pray and meditate."

Thomas Moore writes about spirituality in the workplace in his book A Life at Work (Broadway Books, 2008).

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Blogger summarizes points from Soul Mates

Today Tuesday Grier, a graduate student in Art History at New York Univeristy, blogs summary notes about Thomas Moore's book, Soul Mates. She divides her notes under section headings, and then paraphrases Moore's observations or quotes the book, sometimes with page numbers or her own comments. Under "The Soul in Love", two points are:
  • Samuel Beckett was notorious for his love of his sparse apartment and for his resistance to the world. "All I want to do is sit on my ass and fart and think of Dante." (This reminded me of the much less coarse John Maeda quote, "All I want to be is someone who makes new things and thinks about them.")
  • Marcilio Ficino, Renaissance philosopher, Neo-Platonist, (declared heretical by the Catholic Church) who insisted upon the immortality of the soul.
Her last point, under "Endings" is:
  • p. 197 I realize that friends and professionals sometimes urge those who suffer an ending in a relationship to hold the other responsible, or tell them that they should move on in life, happy to be rid of such an irresponsible partner, but that hero's way of conquering the death of the relationship defends against the initiation that is offered.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reviewer in Australia recommends Dark Nights

Mary Emeleus reviews Thomas Moore's Dark Nights of the Soul on 8 June 2010 for Eremos, Exploring Spirituality in Australia.

Emeleus writes, "I am a medically trained psychotherapist, and I often feel disillusioned by the medicalisation of life’s difficulties in our culture. The balance between illness of the body and illness of the soul is hard to define and I find Moore gives me some alternative ways of thinking. This book does not deny the existence of illnesses such as depression and anxiety, but it raises the possibility that these are life experiences which contain meaning and need to be thought about in order to find the way through. He provides a framework for that thinking process which would be acceptable to people of all faiths, and of no faith. I imagine it is not everybody’s cup of tea, but it made so much sense to me that I am unable to find anything I would have liked changed."

She mentions sources for Moore's confidence as a therapist and includes, "Indeed, he brings ideas to life through experience, thought and writing from people as diverse as the figures of Greek and Roman mythology and characters from religious texts and teachings; Dickens, Freud and Bonhoeffer; Sylvia Plath, Oscar Wilde and Emily Dickinson. He encourages us to notice and learn from the mythology around us, in film and television, in novels and paintings, and in the daily events of our culture."

At the end of her review, Emeleus states, "I discovered Thomas Moore had put into words so many things I had sensed but not been able to articulate."

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Consider depression's gifts as well as medication

Today in Beck Corley's blog entry about medication and depression, she references a section entitled "Gifts of Depression" from Thomas Moore's book, Care of the Soul. She writes,
"I was reading my fave magazine Wellbeing and I stumbled across an article on depression and anxiety. I was excited because I have experienced both and I knew my fave mag would have lots of natural remedies and healing modalities to offer.

But I couldn't get past the second page where there was a section on depression as a gift. Thomas Moore wrote an essay called "The Gifts of Depression" likening depression to the winter of the soul."
This writing by Moore is available online. Corley includes, "I have also been keeping up my healthy eating and exercise. Mum and I go to the gym at least 4 times a week and every morning we return home buzzing and glowing. Yoga at least 4 times a week too. Exercise really helps me mentally. I'm not sure whether it's a great distraction from the thoughts in my head or if the serotonin is kicking in and giving me happy times. I don't care. It works and I'm going to keep it up."


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Marriage thoughts include the archetypal wife

Today on Vanessa's blog Into Something Rich and Strange, she writes about her upcoming marriage to Phil and how they plan to live as a married couple. After mentioning some helpful resources, Vanessa shares, "At the same time, I just finished Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, which is a fabulous book and has helped my thoughts on ALL of the above areas start to crystallize. This morning, because I didn't feel ready to put it down, I was flipping back through Care of the Soul, looking at some of my underlinings and dog-ears. I came across the following passage in a chapter entitled "Jealousy and Envy: Healing Poisons," which discusses Hera, wife of Zeus and taker of vengeance against his paramours." Vanessa quotes from Moore's book about wife, including,
"It takes special skill and sensitivity for a man or woman to evoke the wife within a relationship. Usually we reduce the archetypal reality to a social role. There are ways that Hera can be drawn into the relationship so that being an attentive and serving partner is vitally present in both people. Or Hera might be evoked as the atmosphere of mutual dependency and identity as a couple. In the spirit of Hera, the couple protects the relationship and values signals of dependency. For Hera, you make a phone call when you're on a trip or out of town. For Hera, you include your partner in visions of the future."
Vanessa follows with her own feelings about inferiority and dependence.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

See the world's magic to enjoy happy contentment

Victoria at smaller living asks, "So how do we find contentment in an achievement-oriented and materialistic society such as ours? This tension is something that I occasionally struggle with in my own life and I sometimes find that the pendulum swings a bit too far towards my over-achiever, goal-setting, and personal growth tendencies to the extent that I become discontented with where I am in life and, at times, with what I have." She considers cultivating contentment in daily life through a list of eleven activities.

Under no. 6, "See the magic in the world," Victoria includes, "There is magic all around us – noticing it brings fresh waves of contentment to me, regardless of what’s going on around me. Thomas Moore wrote a lovely book called The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life, that delves deeply into the subject and gently shows how to re-infuse our days with a sense of magic and wonder, which brings on happy contentment."

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Consider how internal planets animate the soul

In Charleston, South Carolina, Rev. Peter Edward Lanzillotta blogs "The Sun, The Soul, and The Solistice" in which he states "Today’s theme is a mythopoetic one - it’s about symbols and synchronicities and the archetypal connections between the yearly cycle of the Sun, the solstice, and the changes in one’s life; the revolutions of the heart, the seasons of the soul." According to Lanzillotta:
In his first book, The Planets Within, Thomas Moore makes this observation and conclusion: "There is a solar consciousness, an awareness of the spiritual value in material things, bringing these things to life, animating them... giving them soul."

This ability of the Sun to influence us can be taken one step further. As our emotional patterns and possibilities are very much a part of each of us, so too, it could be said that the Sun adds to the vitality and to the clarity of our identities; that the Sun affects the human soul or psyche as well. Moore points out that we should read these mythic and astrological symbols as an internal landscape, not as hard science. He favors the view that the symbolic qualities of the planets, the Sun and the Moon, and the stars of the heavens, create for us distinct patterns for discernment - they create patterns not only in the night sky, but also in our psyches - [a sky-chart within. The planets in this sky within, somehow correspond with the deeply felt movements and inclinations of the soul.] In the mythopoetic language of astrology and mythology, these movements and the patterns they create, can be seen as celestial clues to our internal workings, and their movements might be barely perceptible at first, but within time can be cumulative and transformative."
Lanzillotta, a Unitarian Universalist minister since 1982, guides Interfaith Services of The Low Country.


Baptist minister reads Dark Nights of the Soul

On his blog, Last Stop for Miles, Miles Catlett reviews Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore. He writes, "I'm amazed at the depth of this man’s spiritual journey and his clear and concise writing style." When describing Moore's approach, Catlett highlights:
"The images and practices he suggests are meant to help you let go and come to grips with the dark side of your own personality and experience, not bring you to a place of healing in the conventional sense of the word. This makes the book very profound and unlike most of the literature I’ve read that deals with this kind of topic."
The reviewer states, "Overall, I think this is a wonderful read, and you can find incredible depth on every page." Catlett is Associate Minister for youth and missions at First Baptist Church in Mocksville, North Carolina.