Tuesday, March 29, 2016


A man’s journey to find the Answer of Why and How

Searching for answers is a journey with many dead ends, paths to frustration, bridges requiring time to build, and occasionally finding an accurate map/guide who points you truthfully through the fog of life. That “accurate guide”, for me was James Hollis’ book The Middle Passage, published by Inner City Books. I had recently completed two books on the topic of Meaning and began searching Carl Jung as a result. I stumbled across The Middle Passage in a book search on Amazon.com and ordered Hollis’ book. The first page of his Preface declared what my thoughts had been screaming as a direct result of frustration with life, now in my late 50s:

“…the capacity for growth depends on one’s ability to internalize and to take personal responsibility…In a 1945 letter, speaking of the work of personal growth, Jung wrote: The opus consists of three parts: insight, endurance, and action…”

In this reading of the first pages I gained clarity from the fog of frustration - responsibility to act, a choice which was mine only. This was illumination in a dark room of my last decade of living. Could Hollis’ writings give me tools to build my life on rock-bed instead of beach-sand? Intently I continued reading hoping for continued guidance.

“Our lives are tragic only to the degree that we remain unconscious of both the role of the autonomous complexes and the growing divergence between our nature and our choices”

Incredible words of clarity. I saw what I was blind to today as well as when looking back. The pain of my past was requiring, no forcing me to consciously acknowledge my nature and my choices. There are reasons and now questions about those “reasons” are being answered. Continued reading brought words to my conscious requiring me to act: authenticity, obligation to view, projections, the possible path, etc. And then what I desperately yearned to acquire appeared in Hollis’ pages - Hope.

“One of the most powerful shocks of the Middle Passage is the collapse of our tacit contract with the universe - the assumption that if we act correctly, if we are of good heart and good intentions, things will work out. We assume a reciprocity with the universe. If we do our part, the universe will comply…there is no such contract, and everyone who goes through the Middle Passage is made aware of it”

Now I understand, now I get it. Not only that I am not alone - I am comforted in my pain. My pain of the First Passage has caused me to “see” the Middle Passage so as to live life passionately. As James Hollis concludes his book with the metaphor of a castaway on a ship being tossed by the sea of life - I have chosen to grab the steering thanks to the author’s intelligent promptings based on his study of Carl Jung’s teachings.
Piloting vs. Passenger of my Middle Passage,


aka “Joe Pilot@EagleDriver22” Follow Garry on Twitter @EagleDriver22 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reading companions for the ‘dark night of the soul’

An archetypal motif in mythology and psychologically associated with depression and the loss of energy, the dark night of the soul is an important stage of the quest for deeper knowledge, as Joseph Campbell said:

“The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.”
Journey through the dark night of the soul with these reading companions:
Swamplands of the Soul : New Lifein Dismal Places by James Hollis - Who does not long to arrive some distant day at that sunlit meadow where we may live in pure contentment? Yet much of the time we are lost in the quick sands of guilt, grief, betrayal, depression and the like. Perhaps the goal of life is not happiness but meaning.

World Weary Woman : Her Wound and Transformation by Cara BarkerA World Weary Woman is one whose characteristic response to stress is to struggle to achieve. However, she feels little joy in the process, suffering a disconnection from her feminine body wisdom and her creativity. Her task is to find a way of living authentically that allows her to express what awakens her heart. The provisional life exhausts her and she knows it. Thus she must detach from who she has been, in order to discover who she is meant to be.

The Middle Passage : From Misery to Meaning in Midlife by James Hollis - Why do so many go through so much disruption in their middle years?  What does it mean and how can we survive it? The Middle Passage shows how we can pass through midlife consciously, rendering the second half of life all the richer and more meaningful.

Archetypes and Strange Attractors : The Chaotic World of Symbols by John R Van Eenwyk - Is chaos in our lives a sign that things have gone terribly wrong? Not necessarily. Just as the material world oscillates between states of order and chaos, so also the individuation process involves stages of psychic balance and disruption.