Saturday, August 27, 2011

Care of the Soul regarded as self-help classic

On Thursday New Model Advertiser reposts the review of Thomas Moore's book Care of the Soul published in 50 Self-Help Classics: 50 Inspirational Books to Transform Your Life (2003) by Tom Butler-Bowdon. Butler-Bowdon's review includes, "Care of the soul is ‘an application of poetics to everyday life’, bringing imagination back into those areas of our lives that are devoid of it and re-imagining the things that we believe we already understand. Rewarding relationships, fulfilling work, personal power and peace of mind are gifts of the soul. They are difficult to achieve because the idea of soul does not exist for most of us, instead making itself known through physical symptoms and complaints, anguish, emptiness or general unease." This review and others for books such as James Hillman's The Soul's Code and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's  The Phenomenon of Man from 50 Self-Help Classics are available on Butler-Bowdon's site.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Library recommends Moore's A Life at Work

Milwaukee Public Library's reading blog shares a review of Thomas Moore's book, A Life at Work:The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to Do by Danielle R. in the library's Serials Department. Danielle concludes, "As it promises, this book isn't just about finding the right job but about uncovering who you were meant to be and finding opportunities that enhance that." This review echoes Moore's position in his recent twitter posts (@thomasmooreSoul): "Moore shows us that we are all unique beings and that each of us must chose a course that suits that uniqueness." A Llife at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to Do (2008) is published by Broadway Books.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rest with the question and listen for the answer

Chris Cade, self-proclaimed reluctant hero, today writes about Thomas Moore's book Soul Mates in "What If The Unknown Were A Gift?". Although the book didn't help Cade with his relationships, it did offer insight:

"Thomas Moore suggests that rather than constantly trying to seek an answer or 'fix' the situation, we allow ourselves to stay in the uncomfortable zone. He says that by staying in the uncomfortable zone we will naturally discover what the true best answer is for us… because our mind’s desire to get rid of the discomfort will be overridden by what our heart and soul have to tell us.
Ever since reading his book, I have found that to be true in my life. More recently, I’ve taken that concept in a different, deeper direction. I’ve found that it applies not just to situations of discomfort and conflict, but rather, it applies to life."
Cade suggests an exercise in which you ask yourself a meaningful question and don't insist on an immediate answer. He also suggests asking different parts of the body to answer the question: "That may sound strange, but the truth is, we are integrated, whole, connected beings… and that means, just as our minds contain wisdom our bodies don’t know about, our bodies also contain wisdom that our minds don’t know about."

He recommends that we give our innate wisdom time to respond without always turning to teachers or external guidance.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Religion reporter follows her calling in daily job

CT@Prayer shares Tracy Simmon's work in the profile of her, "What makes religion journalist tick", describing her role as a reporter of religion. Simmons interviewed Thomas Moore when his book, A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to do became available and asked him about career satisfaction:

"I interviewed Moore in 2008 when this book came out and asked him why people with steady careers were unhappy. He said people could be successful, even if they aren’t doing what they were created for. 
'…beneath the surface, your labors are shaping your destiny for better or worse. If you ignore the deeper issues, you may not know the nature of your calling, and if you don’t do work that connects with your deep soul, you may always be dissatisfied, not only in your choice of work but in all other areas of life,' he writes."
Simmons considers her role confronting ignorance and stubbornness that often influence reactions to religions:
"I believe that my true calling is to work as a journalist and educate people about various faiths. With the state of the media as it is religion reporters are an endangered species. So that means those of us left have to work a little harder to be heard.

So, yes, sometimes a clergyperson’s words will haunt me. But at the end of the day I feel even closer to God because, like I told Moore, I feel like I’m doing what I was born to do. And if it weren’t challenging, I’d be bored and would be one of those 45 percent of Americans who are unhappy with their careers."
Simmons is editor of, an online magazine that covers religion news in Connecticut.


Monday, August 15, 2011

The child is the soul's unfolding of possibility

Life-coach-in-training Sasha Cagen writes about rereading Moore's Care of the Soul and coming across passages that resonate with current uncertainties, in her post "The Power of Admitting You Don’t Have It Figured Out" on her site Quirkyalone: Fuel for Uncompromising Romantics. Cagen includes:

"I get the feeling that from the outside I look strong and sure, but I often feel small and confused. Like a child. Breaking down in tears to my peer coach felt potent and real.
Later that weekend I snuggled on the couch rereading an old favorite book: Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Sacredness and Depth in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore (Harper Collins, 1992). I stumbled on a perfect passage to clarify why admitting that I don’t have it figured out – that I feel like a child – actually felt very pressure-relieving."
She also states, "Later he writes of the 'beginner’s mind' of a child, 'we have to find ways to unlearn those things that screen us from the perception of profound truth. We have to achieve the child’s unknowing because we have been made so smart.'" Cagen suggests we accept our child parts in all of life's transitions.


Novelist reviews Moore's Dark Nights of the Soul

Branka Cubrilo's review of Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way through Life's Ordeals by Thomas Moore summarizes the approach in this book about melancholia and difficult times while introducing some of the people Moore references:

"Throughout the book the author speaks from his personal life experiences, he skillfully uses stories from literature, mythology and art to present the reader with the ever-present theme throughout the history of mankind – the struggle with dark nights of the soul in order to grow emotionally, mentally and eventually spiritually. Throughout the entire book, Moore uses beautiful parables, metaphors and archetypes which make it easy to find mementos of one’s own life and identify with them. He evokes some of the important figures of the dark night of the soul, like poets Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens, authors Oscar Wilde, the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Beckett and painter Frida Kahlo. The author includes examples of distressing films and mysteries, even the stories by Zen teachers and Sufi masters as allies during the period of dark nights."

Cubrilo associates Moore's descriptions of psychics and astrologers with New Age pop psychology and regards these as less serious topics "in some parts in direct opposition to what he was brilliantly portraying earlier through the concepts of Greek mythology and the rich Christian tradition." Cubrilo is a novelist, short story writer and a journalist.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

A country doctor's practice spans Moore's books

A Country Doctor Writes "Following the Path of the Soul" on Saturday, sharing the arc of a story that starts in 1995. The plot line/ life line/ vital sign is Thomas Moore's, book Care of the Soul. This country doctor describes receiving a copy of the book, taking it to Cape Cod for one of Moore's programs in 2007, evaluating what is important in life, and now ordering online Moore's latest book, Care of the Soul in Medicine (2010). The story includes death, dancing and devotion. Perhaps the country doctor will continue his story after he reads Moore's sequel.

"Within weeks our dog died in her favorite spot in our kitchen. Two months later another Shepherd was given to us. He had been born July 23, the same day Callie got sick. Six months later my wife’s health caused her to leave her career as a Nurse Practitioner. We reassessed our priorities and vowed to take care of our own health the way we had always told our patients to."

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Sift your dark nights of the soul for hidden gold

In her recent post, "Journeying from darkness to light", Irish blogger Marie Ennis-O’Connor shares helpful quotes from Thomas Moore's book, Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life's Ordeals (2004) as she deals with her experience of breast cancer. More than 20 comments suggest others, too find this book valuable while going through dark times. Readers appreciate Moore's observation about a dark night:
"It pushes you to the edge of what is familiar and reliable, stretching your imagination about how life works and who or what controls it all." offers an excerpt from Moore's Introduction that includes:
"Many people think that the point in life is to solve their problems and be happy. But happiness is usually a fleeting sensation, and you never get rid of problems. Your purpose in life may be to become more who you are and more engaged with the people and the life around you, to really live your life. That may sound obvious, yet many people spend their time avoiding life. They are afraid to let it flow through them, and so their vitality gets channeled into ambitions, addictions, and preoccupations that don’t give them anything worth having. A dark night may appear, paradoxically, as a way to return to living. It pares life down to its essentials and helps you get a new start.

Here I want to explore positive contributions of your dark nights, painful though they may be. I don’t want to romanticize them or deny their dangers. I don’t even want to suggest that you can always get through them. But I do see them as opportunities to be transformed from within, in ways you could never imagine. A dark night is like Dante getting sleepy, wandering from his path, mindlessly slipping into a cave. It is like Alice looking at the mirror and then going through it. It is like Odysseus being tossed by stormy waves and Tristan adrift without an oar. You don’t choose a dark night for yourself. It is given to you. Your job is to get close to it and sift it for its gold."


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Dreams of beans may be food for imagination

Janet McNeill shares a favourite dream story from Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul in today's post, "Beans!". McNeill appreciates Moore's observation:
"... That dream sounded like a Zen story to me and led me to reflect for a long time on the value of plain pedestrian food, especially when we consciously order up something more special. Life has a way of plopping extreme ordinariness in front of us when we are entertaining exotic gourmet daydreams."
She also links to the review of Care of the Soul at Spirituality and Practice.


Monday, August 01, 2011

Loving may not require self-understanding

Dave Brown, "a workplace chaplain to firefighters, ambulance staff and brewery workers" and a Church minister in Dunedin, New Zealand writes about the ordinariness and the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven in his blog post, "Mustard seeds and statistics". He includes his enjoyment of the book, The New Believers: Re-imagining God (2003) by Rachael Kohn:
"In a chapter entitled "Re-souling Psychology" she is writing about Thomas Moore, a former Catholic monk turned psychotherapist. She writes: "Thomas Moore is urging his students and readers in a direction that is dynamic — he is saying there is a deep knowing in the doing, in  the loving and in the living. Self-understanding in a clinical sense is not a necessary condition for unconditional love — the chief expression of the soul — and may even stand in the way of it."  That is what I find. There is a deep knowing in the loving and living of the way of Jesus that is just so hard to communicate ... it is found in the doing."
Brown may want to read Moore's own Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels (2009) in which he too stresses the ordinary and the mysterious in the Kingdom.

In his previous post, Sunday blog", Brown describes the way of Jesus and includes, "One man said once that many Christians 'Have just enough religion to make them miserable — not enough to make them happy.' Now it may sound judgmental, but often I suspect this is true, even for people who have been in Church for years. I think many are immune to the real Jesus, because they have a domesticated-easy-to-handle-church-focused Jesus. I think too that when we have not given ourselves to his servant lifestyle, Jesus is just a vague belief in a metaphysical saviour, and not a dynamic-life-changing-life-enhancing-mentor and 'presence'.  He comes alive for us when we risk all, and I would suggest most church goers have not risked much."