Sunday, October 19, 2008

Live the Life You Love: In Ten Easy Step-by-Step Lessons

This is a book by Barbara Sher, also the author of Wishcraft. I particularly like several of her processes, which I've used for years without ever realizing it was a process.

The Wish/Obstacle Solution:

Tell as many people--friends, colleagues, people on the bus--what you wish and what is the obstacle you face.

For example, "I wish to go to the Himalayas (wish) but I need to talk to someone who has been there first."

Her premise is that our minds go into problem-solving, even when we don't plan on it, because we're natural problem-solvers.

Inadvertently, I used this technique years ago when I thought I might have to have hand surgery. I asked everyone who was the best hand surgeon. And a consensus from disparate places began to form.

Later, turned out that this eminent hand surgeon agreed with me (without my ever saying anything). He said the surgery could cause me more harm than good. After that, a number of doctors reversed their diagnoses to match his.

Sher gives several examples, including one where someone stands up in a workshop and declares that it's her dream to dance with Patrick Swayze. Turns out that another woman knew he'd be at his mother's resort on Thursday night, and the woman was able to meet and have that dance.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Finding Meaning In the Second Half of Life

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis, Jungian Analyst

Your life asks you a number of questions. Here are some that I selected from Hollis' long list.

1. What has brought you to this place in your journey? (this moment in your life.)
2. Whose life have you been living?
3. Why do you believe you have to hide so much from others, from yourself?
4. Why have you come to this
5. Why is the life you are living too small for the soul's desire?

Why is now the time, if it is to happen, for you to answer the summons of the soul, the invitation to the second, larger life?

Finding Meaning:

Question we are more starkly faced with after age 35: What does the soul want?

By this age we've done our best to conform to social and societal needs, family directions and expectations, and now something presses from within.

The soul wants a larger life. We all walk around in shoes too small for us," renowned analyst, Carl Jung said.

From an energy point of view, we could say that the soul does not want to be confined to the limits of the physical body. Typically in the journey of a soul, one will meet up with betrayal of or from the body, a loved one, a job...Generally it is from the area where we've placed our strongest projections.

(I would further define that area to mean the one where we are the most vulnerable.)

"Suffering is the first clue that something [within] is soliciting our attention and seeking," says Hollis.

Our "task is to ask what the psyche wants, not what the parents want, not what the parent complexes want." We must risk giving ourselves the larger journey. (Hollis uses psychic interchangeably with soul.)

He leads us to Job's realization that being compliant did not obligate God to treat him well. Betrayal, Hollis tells us, breaches our hope that the world might be manageable and predictable.

As children, were were given the message that the world was big and powerful and we were small and dependent. We had to learn ways to deal with that.

Hollis reminds us that "Courage is always demanded of those who wish to live a life with some integrity." He labels most of our guilt-driven or compliant behavior as anxiety management.

In an ideal world, the family would support the growth and freedom of each of its members. It would not be used to serve the narcissistic needs of the parents or any other member. This level of early support would take us far more gracefully into the second half of life.

In the second half of life there is a greater need to live authentically from inner verification rather than submissive behavior constructed to deal with a neurotic culture.

"The soul has no interest in social adaptation," Hollis reminds us.

In the second half of life we experience the overthrow of the ego's understanding of the world. "Nothing from the outside can spare the periodic encounters with confusion, disorientation, boredom, depression, disappointment..."

These difficult states are intended to move us toward healing and wholeness. Hollis reminds us that our suffering can bring wisdom, depth, dignity, and ultimately spiritual enlargement.

Increased understanding of one's self leads to a richer life.

"Only through making the meaning of that suffering and its agenda for spiritual enlargement conscious can we ever emerge from [Dante's] dark wood.

In the second half of life, we're ready. We've learned from history, and our emotional resilience and level of insight are more acute.