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Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life


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About the Author

James Hollis, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst in private practice and executive director of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Houston. Educated at Manchester College, Drew University, and the Jung Institute in Zurich, he was a humanities professor for more than twenty years and is the author of ten previous books, including the best selling The Middle Passage- From Misery to Meaning at Midlife and The Eden Project- In Search of the Magical Other. Based in Houston, he lectures frequently throughout the country and worldwide.


Whose life have I been living? Where does my spirit want to go? Hollis, a Jungian analyst and best-selling author (The Middle Passage), capably probes these questions, arguing for the need to take responsibility for our spiritual maturity as we approach midlife. If we are lucky, the author finds, a spark ignites us, and a sacred realization emerges that we have drifted from our own true nature and inner path. Miraculously, at this point, the ego can be harvested to do the work of honoring our being rather than holding us back. Discussed here is how the psyche works in relation to existential trauma, love, career, grief and loss, guilt, depression, anxiety, and loneliness as well as family of origin issues. Use of the term the Self throughout may cause slight confusion because the word usually refers to the ego and not the soul, but this is a small matter. Recommended for psychology/spirituality collections of larger public and academic libraries.-Lisa Liquori, MLS, Syracuse, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The midlife crisis is familiar enough, but as in previous works, Hollis (The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning at Midlife), brings a Jungian perspective to it that goes deeper than the idea of finding mere self-fulfillment. That feeling that you've been living the wrong life, that you're lost and confused, is "an insurgency of the soul," he says poetically, which "overthrows the conscious conduct of our lives." This mental suffering presents an opportunity to embark on a journey transcending expectations foisted on us by others, such as parents, and to find true self-knowledge. Hollis offers not a simple how-to on facing this crisis, but rather a deep Jungian exploration of individuation, the process of becoming the person one was meant to be. Sprinkling his discussion with references to prose, drama, poetry and popular culture as well as examples from patient histories, Hollis recommends working toward a mature spirituality by being true to personal experience and embracing the mystery of life. This spirituality is a reconnection to the voice of the soul, dramatized by images that appear to us in dreams. Hollis is humane and compassionate regarding the human condition, and his focus on the underlying meaning of life will resonate for many, though they may not respond to his somewhat mystical, god-laden language. (May 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"How to find your way out of the woods (figuratively)...what's at stake is what Hollis calls the biggest project of midlife: reclaiming one's personal authority..."-More magazine "Midlife is a time when people can lose their way and flounder. Jungian analyst James Hollis knows this terrain, describes it well and asks the important questions that can lead to clarity, maturity, and meaning"-Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., author of Goddesses in Everywoman and Gods in Everyman

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