Tag Archives: Life

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis

These are some of the quotes from this book that resonated with me:

1) “As we have seen, the most important messages of life come from the primary relationships with mother, father and siblings and then, in ever widening circles, the culture as a whole. These messages are internalized and we accede to them, seek to evade them, or unconsciously solicit treatment for them. These messages, or complexes, are splinter mythologies, embodied in daily life as fractal personalities, and to ether they enact the ego’s daily dance. Most of the time the ego is in service to these scripts even when it thinks otherwise….Thus, we marry, go to college, join the army, produce children and careers, and only from tim ego time question why or to what end.”

2) “But the question why continues to be asked in the unconscious.”

3) As Jung reminds, “It is not I who created myself, rather I happen to myself.”

4) “Perhaps the highest achievement of consciousness is not the self-serving reiteration of its own glories, its agenda of regressive reinforcement in the face of the late, intimidating cosmos that is our home, but rather its capacity to acknowledge that it has been called to witness, and to serve, to serve something larger.”

Quite consistent with the ideas of Buddhism, the way to a larger life is to become more conscious. Hollis provides a list of questions to reflect upon and answer.  The questions force us to contemplate the areas in which we are living out of habit, rather than intention. This leads to fear, rigidity and resistance to change. Rather, Hollis asks us to consider:

  • 1) Where has life blessed you?
  • 2) Where are you blocked by fear, stuck, rigid, resistant to change?
  • 3) What is the fear beneath the fear?
  • 4) Where were your parents stuck and where has that manifested in your own life? Are you repeating their lives, their patterns or trying to overcome them by compensation?
  • 5) What ideas, habits, and behavioral patterns are holding you back?
  • 6) Where are you still looking for permission to live your life?

Even if you do not believe in a “soul” or are indifferent towards Jungian or Buddhist thought, these are excellent questions to ponder on. This type of reflection can be the difference between living a deeper and “larger life” and feeling stuck and out of control.

I’m back – 2015

neildegrassetyson

Towards the end of last year, I was exhausted. I was teaching a couple of university classes, trying to turn my PhD dissertation into a book, and working 60% percent time for an international nonprofit, while also serving as a Board member for another nonprofit with which I have been involved since 2004.

Although I enjoyed my work, I was relieved when it was time to take a break. I spent time with family, read books for fun (yes, what a novel idea!), and traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Capetown, South Africa for pleasure and for work.

Since then, 2015 has been relentlessly speeding ahead.

My plate continues to be full. I’ve decided that I need to incorporate more yoga in my life and continue my journey of spiritual and self-help exploration. I thought to myself, what have I been rather passionate about for most of my life and how can I use this passion to provide a service to others?

I’ve always been a kind of junkie for self-improvement and spiritual articles/books. Perhaps due to my training in practical/applied research, I’ve also been a strong proponent of applying theory to everyday life. I want to see if theories in the abstract hold up in concrete settings. In what ways can knowledge make our lives better?

More than ever, as my life gets busier, and my work continues to be meaningful, I crave a deeper knowledge of what makes others tick, what it means to be “vulnerable” a la Brene Brown, and how to make our lives more meaningful a la Viktor Frankl and reflective.

That’s why I want to make 2015 the year in which I explore this topic using this blog by examining, condensing, cogitating (how I love that word!), and applying some of the profound ideas to our modern and fast-paced lives.

Here’s to new beginnings and the understanding of knowledge as they apply to our lives. I leave you with an inspiring quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson. Enjoy!

Cheers,

Janny