Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dick Russell writes biography of James Hillman

James Hillman, eminent psychologist and Thomas Moore's mentor and friend, died Thursday 27 October, 2011. promotes the first volume of Hillman's authorized biography, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: The Making of a Psychologist by Dick Russell, to be launched April 2012. Barque continues to update links to James Hillman tributes.

According to the publisher, "In The Making of a Psychologist, we follow Hillman from his youth in the heyday of Atlantic City, through post-war Paris and Dublin, travels in Africa and Kashmir, and onward to Zurich and the Jung Institute, which appointed him its first director of studies in 1960. This first of a two-volume authorized biography is the result of hundreds of hours of interviews with Hillman and others over a seven-year period."

 The Life and Ideas of James Hillman: 
The Making of a Psychologist
Volume 1
Author: Dick Russell
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Date: April 2012
Illustrations: 40
ISBN-10: 161145462X
ISBN-13: 978-1611454628


Monday, November 21, 2011

Is it time to learn a new dance in the marriage?

From Mona's Musings
Mona's Musings uses dance as a metaphor for a satisfying marriage in "Tripping the Light Fantastic: Flexibility and Intimacy". As Mona chronicles her own marriage through popular dance phases enjoyed with her husband, she shares, "Only recently, as I’ve been musing about what elevates marriage to the level of true intimacy (“the ‘very within’ place of the relationship… looking beneath the surfaces”, as author Thomas Moore puts it), have I realized how critical it is to be a GOOD DANCER."

Accompanying her conclusion that, "... the mindset required to learn a new dance is the same one required to achieve real emotional intimacy in marriage… vulnerability and forgiveness" are quotations from Thomas Moore's book, Soul Mates: Honoring the Mysteries of Love and Relationship, including:
"A major part of soul-work involves just getting out of the way so that life can go on. We may hang on fiercely to our own interpretations and programs, as if we knew best what we should do, but care of the soul is more a process of listening and following ..."


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celebrate beauty and a youthful heart at all ages

In an undated article, "What's Fitting", Sara Davidson ponders age-appropriate fashion for older women. She speaks with Thomas Moore about beauty and age:
"Clarity arrived when I spoke with Thomas Moore, the former monk and psychotherapist who wrote, Care of the Soul. Moore, in his late 60s now, lives in rural New Hampshire where, he says, “we have barns and old farm equipment out in the fields. As the barns begin to lean and the machinery rusts, suddenly the artists come out and paint them. I think that’s true of people as well.”

But then Moore surprised me. He said he supports people’s efforts to look as youthful and beautiful as they can. “I think it’s wonderful to be concerned when you’re older with the Venusian thing — with the body and your own beauty. I’m very much in favor of anything you can do to keep your youthful spirit.”

What about older women who wear tight leggings, like their daughters might? I asked.

Moore smiled. If you can get away with it, great. It’s the attitude that matters. If you’re doing it because you’re afraid of getting older, that might not work. If you’re doing it to celebrate beauty and a youthful heart, I think that’s wonderful.”

Moore said it’s possible to do two things at once: “Age with grace — say, `Okay, I’m going to be older and enjoy it,’ — and at the same time say, `I don’t want to lose touch with my youth.’ Our childhood is always with us, our adolescence is always with us. Youth is always inside us, no matter how old our bodies are.”

In the days following our talk, I came to understand what balance might look like. You can focus on developing the inner qualities that make people compelling and appealing as they age: humor, curiosity, enthusiasm and zest. And you can take care of the outer package, in the same way you would refurbish a historical building so it doesn’t look run down and dilapidated. So it looks its best and its character will shine through."
Although "balance" may be interpreted in different ways, Davidson shares one of Moore's approaches for many situations in life: Don't choose one. Do two or more things at the same time.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Imagination helps us to live artfully in the world

In her post "Imagination as Gospel", Jessica Mendes shares her delight in story telling, especially through film. She mentions 2011 is the 35th anniversary of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and that with a good cinematic story, different scenes become prominent during different viewings. This time, she describes Jack Nicholson commentating the world series baseball game in front of the ward's blank television screen with residents (and viewers) getting caught up in the excitement. She concludes,
"Thomas Moore once said that imagination is more weighty than fact. If we could mine the annals of our consciousness, we might discover experiences there that had little in common with the circumstances of our lives – experiences so vivid they stunned us with their repercussions. So what determines our experience more, I wonder – what we imagine or what actually happens? I am inclined to think it is how we imagine what is happening to us, and how we imagine what will happen.

And that includes our experience of aging. Though the forces that shape our experience are vast and complex, it might be wise to take our imagination a lot more seriously, and in this sense, consider living artfully in a world bent on rationalism."


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What does the story of Narcissus tell us?

Christine Marietta, a self-described progressive Christian feminist therapist refers to Thomas Moore's book Care of the Soul in yesterday's blog post, "Narcissism".
"In the first chapter—or maybe the second, I can’t remember (definitely not the third)—Moore writes about the myth of Narcissus.  More accurately, he interprets the myth, in a way that is so different from tradition, reading through it was like watching a familiar movie play upside-down.  The traditional interpretation goes, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection, and his self-absorption led to his ultimate demise.  Eventually his lack of intimacy with others shriveled his psyche so much that he was no longer even human, and the flower-form of narcissus (aka, the daffodil) exists to remind us of the dangers of self-love.

The problem, though, is that narcissists don’t love themselves. Healthy people do. Secure people walk around with a heavy, solid ego (sense of self), whereas narcissists are empty and weightless. They make up for their lack of density by increasing their size. They brag, they philosophize, they grow loud and pompous in proportion to how threatened they feel.
Thomas Moore asserts that for the mythical figure of Narcissus, self-love was the cure, not the problem. Narcissus was a hardened narcissist before, not after, he glimpsed himself in the water. And he was healed of his narcissism through falling in love with his own reflection."
Marietta writes, "For most of us, the clear, still lake of the Narcissus myth is another human being. We cannot truly see ourselves by ourselves. And yet, most of the time, we’re scared to ask others, “Show me the parts of myself that I can’t see.”  She invites readers to answer, "Who has reflected you?  What aspects of yourself  have you found surprisingly lovable?"


Monday, November 14, 2011

Transform education into teaching and learning

Today Learning in the Open Spaces shares "Is School Good for the Soul?" by Fran Norris Scoble, head of Westridge School in California. Scoble opens and closes with passages from Parker Palmer's book The Courage to Teach and includes Thomas Moore's views in The Education of the Heart. Scoble writes,
"One way that the academic culture discourages us from living connected lives lies in the very school structure itself. Unconsciously, over time, we begin to accept the belief that the primary purpose of school is to convey conventional wisdom and objective knowledge, not to provoke new ways of seeing. The following passage from Thomas Moore’s book, The Education of the Heart, speaks powerfully to this issue: “To be educated, a person doesn’t have to know much or be informed, but he or she does have to have been exposed vulnerably to the transformative events of an engaged human life. One of the great problems of our time is that many are schooled but few are educated.”

How do we connect so fully with our work and experience in school that we are invigorated and renewed; that our deepest selves are “called out” and not stifled. How do we make our work, to use a phrase, “soul satisfying”?
Following a poem by Mary Oliver, Scoble writes about the current challenges in schools: "I believe there are systemic problems built into the way we “do” school that make schools places that are not good for the soul, so that schools foster arrogance, indifference, and fear and create time structures that leave us both exhausted and frustrated."


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Feel the spark when soul imbues a special place

Lucie D’Alessandro blogs about the significance of home in her post, "Mangonui: The Pearl in the Oyster" on Friday. Mangonui, in northern New Zealand is tied to D’Alessandro’s family since the early nineteenth century and in describing its sense of place, she writes, "Thomas Moore talks about the spirit of a place as being like ‘the pearl in an oyster’ or the ‘spark of its soul’ in his book The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life."


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A rigid and defensive belief may signal anxiety

"Belief is so subtle and mysterious that we can’t always count on ministers, rabbis, priests and other spiritual counselors to get it right. Even a professional may confuse faith with an allegiance to an organization." ― Thomas Moore

Retired minister Rev. Alvin Petty relies on Thomas Moore’s book The Soul’s Religion for today’s column, ”A little doubt is good for the soul,” published in Plainview, Texas. Petty writes, “The churchgoer who is rigid and defensive in belief and morality is manifesting signs of failure in belief. Really get to know these kind of people and you will find them mean in spirit. Watch them for they fight dirty in the clinch. Belief/faith is rooted in love. So we may expect believers to be good at loving others and themselves. But those who proclaim loudly their faith are usually the least loving and compassionate of people.” He concludes, “Someone who has no doubts is a dangerous person. Do not trust those who are too certain.” Petty also uses Moore’s book for writing about Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.