Caring for the Soul in Difficult Times

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September 14, 2010

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Tami Simon speaks with Thomas Moore, a monk, university professor, and psychotherapist. His work focuses on developing a deepening spirituality, as well as the act of cultivating the soul in everyday life. Thomas is the author of Care of the Soul, and Dark Nights of the Soul. Beginning on October 28, Thomas will begin a three-part online event series at Sounds True called Gifts of a Dark Night, where he’ll discuss periods of loss or failure that we’ll all endure while offering advice and guidance on how to navigate these difficult times. Thomas speaks about the danger of sentimentalizing the spiritual life, the fear of living versus the fear of death, and what it means to live with care. (56 minutes)

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Thomas Moore is the author of the classic bestselling book Care of the Soul and twenty other books on spirituality and psychology. He has a Ph.D. in religious studies from Syracuse University and has degrees in music composition and theology. He has been a university professor, a psychotherapist, a lecturer, a musician, and a monk. He currently lectures around the world on the arts, spirituality, ecology, and psychology. He has also been active in bringing human values to the field of medicine and in training hospice workers and psychiatrists. He has won numerous awards and has been a constant presence in the media. In recent years he has returned to his theological roots and has published Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels and is about to publish his own translation of the Gospels. He has also recently published fiction including The Guru of Golf and Other Stories about the Game of Life.

Listen to Tami Simon's interview with Thomas Moore: Standing for the Spiritual, in a Secular World»

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Standing for the Spiritual, in a Secular World

Thomas Moore is a psychotherapist, former monk, and the bestselling author of the spiritual classic Care of the Soul. Thomas has collaborated with Sounds True on several books and audio programs, including Soul Work, Darkness Before the Dawn, and most recently A Personal Spirituality: Finding Your Own Way to a Meaningful Life. In this week’s fascinating episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Thomas about the definition of “meaning” in a modern context, and how we must stay true to our consciences no matter the social consequence. They discuss the importance of maintaining a personal spirituality and the ways one can borrow practice from other traditions while remaining faithful to one’s core beliefs. Finally, Thomas and Tami ruminate on the contemporary distaste for mystery and how the embrace of the unexplained is necessary for a fully embodied spirituality.
(68 minutes)

Caring for the Soul in Difficult Times

Tami Simon speaks with Thomas Moore, a monk, university professor, and psychotherapist. His work focuses on developing a deepening spirituality, as well as the act of cultivating the soul in everyday life. Thomas is the author of Care of the Soul, and Dark Nights of the Soul. Beginning on October 28, Thomas will begin a three-part online event series at Sounds True called Gifts of a Dark Night, where he’ll discuss periods of loss or failure that we’ll all endure while offering advice and guidance on how to navigate these difficult times. Thomas speaks about the danger of sentimentalizing the spiritual life, the fear of living versus the fear of death, and what it means to live with care. (56 minutes)

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Victory!

By Jeff Foster

 

You don’t have to be the best. 

You don’t have to win. 

You only have to be yourself.

 

You only have to be real. 

And speak from the heart. 

And know that you have the right to see how you see, 

and think how you think, and feel what you feel, 

and desire what you desire.

 

You don’t have to be a success in the eyes of the world 

and you don’t have to be an expert on living.

 

You only have to offer what you offer, 

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wrong thing 

and stop worrying so much about impressing anyone 

because in the end you only have to live with yourself

 

and joy is not given but found in the deepest 

recesses of your being 

so there can be joy in falling and joy in making 

mistakes 

and joy in making a fool of yourself and joy in 

forgetting joy 

and then holding yourself close as you crumble to 

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and weep out the old dreams.

 

Joy is closeness 

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You.

 

You don’t have to be the best. 

You really don’t have to win.

 

You only have to remember this intimacy with 

the sky, the nearness of the mountains and feel the sun 

warming your shoulders and the nape of your neck

 

and know that you are alive, 

and that you are a success at being alive, 

and that you have won already, 

and you are victorious already, 

without having to prove 

a damn 

thing.

 

To anyone.

This poem is excerpted from You Were Never Broken: Poems to Save Your Life by Jeff Foster.

 

jeff fosterJeff Foster shares from his own awakened experience a way out of seeking fulfillment in the future and into the acceptance of “all this, here and now.” He studied astrophysics at Cambridge University. Following a period of depression and physical illness, he embarked on an intensive spiritual search that came to an end with the discovery that life itself was what he had always been seeking.

 

 

 

 

 

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Relearning to Love Our Body

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Finish the sentence: “I’ll accept my body . . .” 

For example:

“…when I lose 20 pounds.” 

“…when I have fewer wrinkles.”

“…when I reach orgasm faster.”

 

Determine the emotional experience you want as a result of that. If numerous emotions come to mind, write them all down, and choose one that has the most charge or intensity. 

Then complete the thought with, “As a result I’ll feel . . .”

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I’ll accept my body when I lose twenty pounds. As a result I’ll feel confident.

I’ll accept my body when I have fewer wrinkles. As a result I’ll feel relaxed.

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Now cross out the “when/as a result” statements:

I’ll accept my body when I lose 20 pounds. As a result I’ll feel confident.

I’ll accept my body when I have fewer wrinkles. As a result I’ll feel relaxed.

I’ll accept my body when I reach orgasm faster. As a result I’ll feel sexual.

 

Working with one statement at a time, start each morning asking yourself, “How can I have the experience of [desired emotion] today?” You might journal a few ideas to create that feeling in your day.

When we feel the need to change our appearance, it’s not because that’s the ultimate goal. We’re using body modification and alteration as a means to a positive emotional experience. But the means are always the end. As long as we use the mindset of body rejection, that’s the only outcome we’ll ever experience—no matter how much our body changes.

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Negative feelings: hurt, sad, anxious, timid, angry, irritated, afraid, scared, confused, fatigued, tense, numb, helpless, uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed, exhausted, depleted, grief, appalled, shocked

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Pseudo-feelings include: abandoned, betrayed, invalidated, manipulated, misunderstood, disrespected, unseen, provoked, threatened, victimized, ignored.

This is an excerpt from The Invisible Corset: Break Free from Beauty Culture and Embrace Your Radiant Self by Lauren Geertsen.

Lauren Geertsen is a body connection coach who helps women heal their relationship with food and body image. In her previous work as a nutrition consultant, Lauren realized the underlying problem for her clients was distrust of their bodies, which results from wearing the invisible corset. She now helps clients around the world trust their bodies and step into their soul purpose. Her website, empoweredsustenance.com, has supported over 40 million readers with holistic recipes and resources.

 

 

 

 

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Russ Hudson: The Enneagram: Nine Gateways to Presence

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