Saturday, April 28, 2012

Appreciate and enjoy the things that surround you

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat offer "Handle Your Things with Care" that addresses "soulful materialism" on their site Spirituality & Practice. This piece mentions Thomas Moore as one who advocates that "the objects in our homes are appreciated and cherished for their beauty, expressiveness, life, and creativity." The Brussats describe ten practice suggestions:

  1.  Create a welcoming ceremony for a new possession
  2.  Respect your things
  3.  Anoint your house with beautiful things
  4.  Bring a bit of enchantment to the office: Read Thomas Moore's book The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
  5.  Appreciate wabi sabi: Leonard Koren defines this Japanese aesthetic as "a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is the beauty of things modest and humble."
  6.  Hold a party for your things
  7.  Apologize to the offended object
  8.  Be generous to those who maintain your things
  9.  What not to do with things
10.  Pass on your things to others


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dark Eros: Natural urges to enslave and to submit?

What's up with the virgin locked in the castle? This question introduces a blog post by Stephen Snyder, M.D., "Fifty Shades of Sexual Innocence", in his series Fifty Shades of Grey for Psychology Today . Snyder mentions the book Pamela, published in 1740: "The Pamela of the story is a 15 year old servant girl employed by a powerful but corrupt young English nobleman — who finds her sexually irresistible. As in a dream, we are never told either this nobleman’s first or his last name. Pamela refers to him only as 'my Master.'" Snyder writes that the book was "to encourage premarital chastity" while suggesting its popularity was based on "the kinky sexuality." He continues, "What’s it all about, this kinky stuff that captivated eighteenth century readers? And that still captivates today in romances like Fifty Shades of Grey [by E.L. James]?" He considers two lines of thought:

"The first, as argued passionately by Thomas Moore in his little-read but magnificently argued volume Dark Eros, contends that sexual kinkiness is an inescapable part of human nature — the part that delights in the dangerous dance between predator and prey. To advocates of this point of view, we thrill to the virgin locked in the castle because the urges to enslave and to submit to slavery are part of our darker nature."

The second points to trauma as in The Lesbian Heresy by Sheila Jeffries: "... the virgin in the castle is female sexuality itself, condemned to prison millennia ago for threatening the patriarchal social order.  The sexual fantasy of being locked in a castle may be just an attempt to wring some meager pleasure from the whole sorry affair." Snyder concludes, "In subsequent articles in this series, we’ll try to hold on to both viewpoints at once."


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stretch the heart to hold contradiction and paradox

Yesterday in her post, "Deep Blue Waters", a blogger in Kadikoy Istanbul, Turkey reflects on reading Thomas Moore's book, Care of the Soul while writing about observing herself more than analyzing herself, "I realized it the most when I returned from my trip to America last week. I was seeing things with a different perspective. I want no part of contrasting my life here with my life there, or what I see, taste, or feel, either. I want to feel the natural joy of each new gift I get from being here. The old, dark, run down buildings with no windows next to the tall, brightly colored new ones. The old, thick tangled vines running along rusted metal fences hanging with the weight of the budding purple flowers."

Interspersed with quotes from Moore's book, she describes what she sees while sitting at a cafe. She shares an approach that Moore recommends, "'Often care of the soul means not taking sides when there is a conflict at a deep level. It may be necessary to stretch the heart wide enough to embrace contradiction and paradox… in fact, the conflict itself is creative and perhaps should never be healed.  By giving each figure its voice, we let the soul speak and show itself as it is, not as we wish it would be.'"


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trebbe Johnson writes about Moore's column

In her April 2012 newsletter Trebbe Johnson draws attention to Thomas Moore's column about big soul in the March-April 2012 issue of Sprituality & Health magazine. Scroll down Johnson's newsletter page to her second entry, "DIGGING FOR THE DEEPER RESPONSE" in which she recommends ways to counteract "small-idea syndrome" mentioned by Moore.
Johnson writes:
"We mean well, and because we want to make those we care about feel better, we reach for a quick answer, assuming that because it's easily available it's probably true. How do we access responses that are more authentic? One possibility is simply to acknowledge that you don't know what to say. When my brother died last year, I was deeply touched by every single one of the messages of sympathy and condolence I received — including ones by people who simply said, 'I can't imagine what you must be going through.'

To get in the habit of responding in ways that are truer than they are prompt, you can also remind yourself before you speak or write that, simmering within you, there is always a trove of knowledge and experience lying deeper than what's on the surface. Taking a moment to sink down into what you really want to communicate instead of saying what's convenient allows your deeper wisdom to percolate to the top."
She concludes, "Finally, try for one day only (you can always renew it) to make everything you say authentic and original."

Barque coverage:
10 Apr 2012 "Big souls go deeper with problems and emotions"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

New Zealand reviewer praises A Life at Work

On Sunday Liz Sloan in Christchurch, New Zealand opens her review of Thomas Moore's book A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to Do with "What a fantastic, thought-provoking book!" She shares passages from the book including Moore's view, "You need a spiritual vision, a philosophy of life and a deep, evolving sense of values. You need close relationships, participation in community and openness to social need." Sloan writes that A Life at Work is "... jam packed with insight." Her review for Goodreads ends, "I'll have to buy a copy to keep on the bookshelf for the amazing quotes that can be taken from it alone!"


Friday, April 06, 2012

Visual art inspires contemplation and writing

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer uses Thomas Moore's book, Dark Nights of the Soul as a springboard for an ekphrasis exercise with an image titled Shadows. Read quotes from Moore's work while contemplating an image that incorporates the light and the dark.


Monday, April 02, 2012

Imagination lives through education of the heart

Artist Katy Betz shares the top five books she turns to for inspiration in her post "My Top 5 Go-To Book for Ideas & Inspiration ": "My desire is to inspire other people to engage their own imagination on a daily basis, and look for the peculiarities that make life enjoyable, humorous, and sublime." She includes The Education of the Heart: Readings and Sources for Care of the Soul, Soul Mates, and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life edited by Thomas Moore. Betz writes, "It really offers food for thought on a variety of topics pertaining to the mystery of life, allowing plenty of room for interpretation (which inspires me to create!)." This Moore quote supports Berz's interests in creating space for imagination:
"To live in an enchanting world we also have to assume a receptive posture rather than an exclusively active one. We can become skilled at allowing the world in, taking its secrets to heart and finding power outside of ourselves. This is the chief teaching of the magus, that neglected visionary who has explored the secret potentialities of nature and human ingenuity in every period of history and in every culture. When, emptied of the hubris of modernism, we enjoy the role of being a conduit for the powers that lie outside us, the world floods us with its wisdom and support."
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat review this book, and offer excerpts about Openness and Enchantment for Spirituality & Practice.

The Education of the Heart:
Readings and Sources for Care of the Soul, Soul Mates, and The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life
Thomas Moore
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (January 1997)
ISBN-10: 0060174102
ISBN-13: 978-0060174101

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 4, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0060928603
ISBN-13: 978-0060928605